6 Key Considerations When Planning a VR/AR Strategy For Your Company
6 Key Considerations When Planning a VR/AR Strategy For Your Company
1. What are you trying to accomplish?
First, you need to know what you are trying to accomplish.
- What impact is virtual reality/augmented reality going to have on your business?
- How is VR/AR going to enhance a sector of your business?
- What need is VR/AR filling?
It is important to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) that you hope your VR/AR strategy will address. In order to track your progress, you must gather baseline data. This doesn’t have to be an extensive study, but it requires measuring key metrics based on your business activity prior to deploying a VR strategy. For example, if you are implementing VR training due to high error rates, you need to know the number of mistakes being made prior to the new training being implemented. After you have integrated your VR training program, you can revisit those error rates to see if that number has changed.
2. VR/AR/XR/MR … Oh my! How are you going to debunk the confusion?
First, let's decipher what these acronyms stand for?
- VR - Virtual Reality: complete immersion in a digital environment
- AR - Augmented Reality: digital elements added to live view, typically using smartphones
- XR - Extended Reality: combines multiple technologies to create immersion with senses
- MR - Mixed Reality: combines elements of VR and AR, used specifically with Microsoft’s HoloLens technology
Virtual and Augmented Reality are emerging technologies that are evolving rapidly. Educating yourself is key in building your understanding of the potential impact to your business. Hardware, off-the-shelf software, customization options, integration challenges, and platform scalability are all factors that need to be considered.
There are a variety of avenues to educate yourself. We suggest the following:
- The Virtual Reality Augmented Reality Association (VRARA) is specific to immersive technology and there are specific training and development associations like ATD where there are many training executives in a variety of industries, including immersive training like AI/VR/AR specific education.
- Find the right community, such as a LinkedIn group where there are other like-minded individuals that you can share best practices with: an industry colleague, same industry or a group of individuals that are open to share their experiences.
- Partner with a Consulting Firm; it can quickly onboard you and provide valuable insight that will save you time and money. A firm that specializes in VR/AR will help you assess the thousands of industry resources to provide "best-in-class" solutions; as well. Such firms will have the industry knowledge to help steer you in the right direction.
3. Do you have organizational buy-in?
What comes first: the buy-in to implement VR/AR solutions into your company, or the research in order to get buy-in? The chances of a stalled project is much greater when you are the only one with buy-in. Start the research, even if it is high level. This way, you can have conversations and feel confident that you understand your “why” and what the benefits will be for your organization. Alongside your research and education, you can ask yourself questions to better understand what the opportunities and obstacles may be in your organization. Not sure what to ask? Think about the following: What is the culture of your company? Is this innovative technology something that your company's employees can grasp? Are the employees at your company excited by new innovative technology? Is your team willing to make a change and utilize virtual reality and augmented reality? Can your company financially support the decision to implement virtual reality? Once you have your “why,” you can then go onto the next step of establishing your team.
4. Do you have an internal team to champion projects?
Attempting to be the sole VR/AR advocate for your organization can be frustrating and time consuming. The educational burden to bring others onboard is extremely high, and with the commitments you already have with your normal responsibilities, it’s nearly impossible to devote the resources necessary to carry the burden alone. It’s imperative that you involve an internal team from the beginning that learns everything as you do, and that can be your advocates and evangelists when proposing this new technology to the rest of your business. Know who that team is and verify that they will be in your corner. One way to build your internal champions is through a Get Real SEED package. The SEED program (Spatial Computing, Experiences, Expertise Development) helps organizations understand the VR/AR industry, provides up to 5 VR/AR experiences, and offers strategic consulting from the Get Real team.
5. Knowing Your Problem > Knowing Your Hardware
Consider first the problem you are trying to solve, not what hardware to use.
We’ve had many conversations with clients that are excited about the latest technology but lead with the question of “which hardware to buy?” The most important question actually is, “What are the challenges you are trying to solve within your organization?” The hardware solution will come once you determine the type of platform(s) you will use. The “cool” effect of VR will wear off if you don't start with the challenge first, followed by the methodology behind it. For example, if you are attempting to collaborate with global team members who need to have an immersive experience which allows the sharing of new ideas, showcase new products, or meet regularly in an immersive environment, knowing the right tool is important. Collaboration spaces like ENGAGE, Arthur or Spatial are all great platforms to consider. Based on your challenges and the platform you choose, you will ultimately know which hardware solutions are best suited for your organization.
6. How Will You Implement Your Solution?
When it's time to execute your VR/AR strategy, there are several important questions to ask yourself and your internal champions: Will you use internal resources to support the effort? Will you look into a specific platform, or will you engage a consultant that has the expertise and knowledge to get it done? If the initial effort is successful, how will you scale your strategy? How will you manage the hardware needs? Thinking about the answers to all of these questions will ease the stress of your team when it comes time to implement.
We find that the internal project team often has other responsibilities within the organization and frequently get things started, but then are more challenged to scale the training within the broader organization. Having an external team, like Get Real, to guide, or even drive, this process can reduce both the responsibilities on the internal team and the stress therein.
THE VIRTUAL WATER COOLER: YOUR TRANSFORMATION TO A VIRTUAL OFFICE
While early efforts in VR focused on gaming, in recent years business and enterprise have begun to compete for center stage. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting decrease in business travel have intensified the felt need for people to connect with their colleagues and their clients. While the immediate reaction was to turn to Zoom and other video-conferencing technologies to help address that need, many are finding it exhausting, distracting, and ultimately nowhere near as productive as meeting in person.