Is virtual reality your business reality?

There was a time when people would put on glasses to see better. Now we can put on glasses to immerse ourselves in new worlds using virtual reality (VR) or enhance our existing surroundings with augmented reality (AR).

You might think this technology is for gaming or multi-million-pound businesses, but it could benefit any size business, including yours.

VR and property

Do you own a B&B, hotel, rental property or estate agents? Imagine if customers were able to take virtual tours of properties. Different to 360 degree photos, they can wonder down corridors, view bedrooms and experience the property layout all without being there. This will save you and your employee’s time spent on the phone, responding to emails and the administration associated with these tasks. Time that converts into money, money that could be used reaching new customers.

AR and retail

If you have a retail business, you know the financial impact caused by returned items. A modern-day ‘try before you buy’ culture is said to cost UK businesses an average of £60bn a year.1 This is due to orders being returned and the client refunded a potentially hefty part of their initial expenditure. Not only are you out of pocket from the original order, you also have the cost and time incurred in restocking and relisting items. As a result VR and AR could help to greatly reduce the risk of returns. Customers can enjoy a futuristic ‘try before they buy’. By experiencing virtual items before purchasing, there will be more quality orders and fewer returns.

AR and employee training

As a business owner, you may have expensive equipment, which your employees need to use. Training using AR removes the trial and error aspect of adjusting to new equipment. A real time setting for training means a high risk activity can be practiced and perfected in a live (but non-live) environment.

VR and HR

Arranging and attending interviews can be hard work. There can be many variables to consider before you meet a candidate. Aside from whether you think they could be good for the role; the logistics of a time, place and attendees availability need to be considered. But, once you have sourced a potential candidate, you might not need to wait for all the pieces to fit together before you can meet, filling that vacant employee space quicker. VR can enable people to meet in virtual spaces. Therefore, you and the interviewee can take part in an interview, at a flexible time and no travel logistics need to be taken into account.

VR, AR, product design and manufacturing

By using VR, products can be designed and tested in a 3D workspace. Consequently removing the need for dummy models and repeat prototypes. These products, once created can be used in real life manufacturing situations using AR. AR can show technicians what is happening with machinery if a problem occurs. Through access to virtual manuals, guides and videos, AR can show how to repair or replace a part. Making it easier and quicker for employees to do their jobs.

The future is now

All these situations focus on risks that you face in your business, and may even sound like a sci-fi movie, but it is interesting to note that VR has also helped solve crime. It was recently used to recreate a 3D replica of a road traffic collision. It helped resolve an expensive 3-year court case!

VR may even find its way into the insurance industry and revolutionise the way claims are assessed. AR could also be used to simulate businesses risks such as fires and flooding. As a result, precautions can be put in place and appropriate insurance policies issued.

Not only could VR and AR help you stand out from your competitors; it could save you money, streamline processes, give your clients a better experience of your services and reduce risk. It is incredible to think the tools you, your employees or your customers could be using might not even exist!