While current video training technologies do a poor job of capturing participants’ emotion and tone, AR and VR alleviate that emotional and cognitive tax by incorporating intelligent contextual tone and nuance, such as body language. That enables full-body, immersive experiences like virtual meetings that feel like you’re actually with other people.
Last year we introduced the new Oculus for Business platform, and already companies like Johnson & Johnson and Nestle Purina are using VR in the workplace for essential tasks like training surgeons and improving retail planning. Government workforce agencies, like AIDT in Alabama, are turning to VR to help provide skill training and propel high-potential unemployed people into viable new careers. And Infinite Office for our new Quest 2 headset will offer a flexible virtual work environment tool for any worker. Many businesses will see meaningful ROI thanks to VR.
That’s because it’s ideal for developing the soft skills of leadership and management. Comparing workers trained in VR with those who were more traditionally trained, PwC found that the former learned four times as fast, were 275% more confident in applying their new skills, were 3.75 times more emotionally connected, and were four times more focused. And the same study found that VR training becomes more cost-effective than traditional methods as learners scale.
Vicki Huff, Vice Chair, PwC United States and Ventures and Innovation, Global Leader, explains: “Companies today face a training dilemma. Their employees need to learn new skills and upgrade existing capabilities more urgently than ever before, but many now aren’t able to do so in person or alongside colleagues. How do employers deal with that challenge? VR is already known to be effective for teaching hard skills and for job skill simulations. But we also expect to see companies starting to adopt this technology to help employees learn soft skills, such as leadership, resilience, and managing through change. Our research shows that VR can help business leaders upskill their employees faster, even at a time when training budgets may be shrinking and in-person training is off the table.”
Meanwhile, businesses are increasingly using AR to enhance the consumer experience and engage new audiences in meaningful ways. For example, cultural institutions around the world like the Smithsonian, the Palace of Versailles, and the Tate Britain are employing our Spark AR platform to augment art, science, and culture exhibits. We're also helping The New York Times deliver AR news stories on Instagram. And brands everywhere are offering AR shopping tools, like augmented reality ads on Facebook.
When businesses utilize VR and AR, their employees are more connected and productive, regardless of where they live. Like previous technology shifts to the computer and the smartphone, AR/VR will unleash a flood of creativity, new applications, and new jobs that we couldn't previously have imagined.
Prediction 4: Location will cease to matter as we see a narrowing of the digital divide.
When the pandemic forced businesses to transition overnight to remote work, many expected the change to be temporary. But Gartner now predicts 47% of companies will let employees work from home full-time after the pandemic, with 82% green-lighting the practice part-time.
Done right, remote work can be highly effective, saving everyone time and money. To capitalize on this sea change, smart companies will adopt effective team collaboration technologies, like Workplace, that provide a true sense of presence and that help make business communication between employees and managers more transparent.
At the same time, they need to move beyond standard video-conferencing platforms to tools, like Portal or VR, that are more immersive and inclusive.