Internationally acclaimed tech guru, author, TEDx speaker and futurist, Theo Priestly, is no stranger to technology’s role in businesses that want to survive and thrive. We caught up with Theo regarding his thoughts on the future of virtual reality (VR) in business.
Priestley has spent the last two years evaluating trends in the marketplace, providing insight into new and emerging technologies, and carefully evaluating and communicating the role they may (or may not) play in society and business. He’s also been placed (multiple times) within the Top 100 global technology influencer and evangelist on the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), VR, and Fintech. It would be difficult to find a more appropriate individual to provide insight into the future of VR and its efficacy across various applications within different industries.
Where is VR now, and where is it going?
The main application for VR at the moment is in gaming. Its appeal for immersive and interactive gameplay is clear. For anyone who hasn’t played a game in VR: it’s about a million times better than the Nintendo Wii. In other words, the prevalence and excitement for VR gaming distracts from the potential this technology has in the professional world.
Theo Priestley is enthusiastic about the future of VR, and its potential in education in many contexts: soft-skills training, schooling, and in professional safety demos.
VR for Workplace Training
Workplace training needs for large and multinational organisations are massive, and this is where VR has the opportunity to shine by offering a practical, scalable, bespoke, and efficient solution. VR is already changing the nature of work. Therefore, the return on investment (ROI) potential for a VR workplace training solution is significant, and with knowledge retention jumping from a paltry 5% for traditional lecture-based training to a significant 75% for training that uses VR as its medium, it’s a no-brainer. In addition, the interactive nature of immersive VR will easily supersede any video or class-based training protocol regarding retention rates and skills development.
VR in Education
PwC’s report on Extended Reality tech, Seeing is Believing, reported that immersive learning improves knowledge retention by up to 65%. VR is a powerful tool in secondary and tertiary education the normal constraints of physical boundaries no longer apply. In other words, students experience full immersion in educational scenarios. After that, these scenarios are infinitely repeatable and standardised.
“There is huge potential for VR … this technology is scalable, effective, and cost-efficient.”– Theo Priestley
Virtual Soft-Skills Training
VR has already been effective in soft-skills training in various industries. In addition, Priestley spoke to examples of how VR has been utilised in the banking sector. Bank of America has recently instituted VR training to help their employees to “better understand the diverse needs of their customers”. VR Training has been used to help employees manage stress, pre-empt customers’ needs, as well as improving interviewing skills. VR can create realistic spaces where this immersive and experiential learning can take place. Training employees in VR before they interact with real customers is a brilliant way of preparing them for the role.
Businesses that have already invested in VR make that positive cost-benefit connection and understanding the true investment potential of VR. This technology can help with education across a broad spectrum of applications and industries. Having attentive, well-trained, and engaged staff is crucial for long-term success. VR has the power to make this happen. It is an investment, not only for an organisation’s staff, but for their business as a whole.