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Advancements in technology may enable stand-alone VR headsets to reduce dependence on dedicated computers for support, but many companies and institutions are finding creative uses for the visualization process in its present state. The equipment requirements do not hinder the use of VR by some business leaders, and their acceptance of its potential may encourage others to implement the technology for a range of purposes.
Starting with Potentially Life-saving Applications
Forbes cites a campaign by law enforcement that helps officers envision potential encounters that may face them on the job. The simulator that lets officers virtually experience routine or extraordinary situations requires five screens to depict a 300-degree view of an impending situation.
Aircraft designers use VR in the design of prototypes in less time than traditional development practices require. The savings that result from eliminating the need to build a working prototype can amount to millions of dollars in labor, time and materials. Inc. magazine reports that Boeing uses the technology for its ability to create prototypes. It allows designers to address maintenance and engineering elements as well as comfort issues for passengers. The ability to see the interior of an aircraft and to rotate or zoom the image provides dramatic results.
Surgeons at Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital use VR to prepare for saving the lives of infants who have experienced seizures or anaphylactic shock. VR technology teaches them how to handle emergencies in operations on infants when things go wrong. The safe learning environment allows them to reset the scene and take a different approach without creating any risk. Through VR, doctors have access to expertise by specialists around the world. Engage Me points to the first presentation of an operation to a worldwide audience.
Lawyers at LamberGoodnow, attorneys based out of Phoenix, are using virtual reality in order to help replicate/simulate the scene of the accident. This is being used to help sway the opinion of the jury, and better educate them on how an accident occurred.
Bankers at Delancey Street, a Los Angeles hard money lender, is doing 3-D views of the real estate properties.
Choosing VR for Educational Purposes
As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart sets an example of the power of VR to train employees. The company has tried it out in 31 of its 200 training academies that provide two weeks of learning experiences for new employees or those taking on a new role, according to Business Insider. Each employee uses a headset that links to a video screen showing the classroom, allowing an evaluation experience for students and instructors.
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) employees learn how to go into a virtual kitchen and learn the company’s method of frying chicken. Fortune reports that the lesson takes 10 minutes to step employees through the process that requires 25 in real time. Viewers become attentive observers of the procedure that starts with inspecting the raw product and ends with putting it into KFC’s virtual pressure fryer.
Maintenance trainees at General Electric’s nuclear power plant in France can see how its components work together. The physical models that they relied on previously limited an understanding of the interactivity of the parts. More than 400 employees of the nuclear plant and an electric utility who received the VR training have a more nearly complete picture of how the machines inside the plant link together. The presentation puts them inside the virtual power plant.
Preventing Accidents with a Virtual Reality Experience
ExxonMobil’s philosophy of using technology to simulate oil field conditions provides a “3D immersive environment” that improves traditional training methods. The presentation connects plant operators with activities in the field to experience the same environment. The training by ExxonMobil simulates situations that can occur so that workers can learn to respond promptly to control potentially dangerous conditions. The program uses scenarios that include routine operations as well as abnormal ones and covers critical procedures that affect operational integrity. Employees observe emergency response practices and upset situations repeatedly until the proper reaction becomes routine.
Engaging Automotive Companies in VR
Volkswagon provides a platform that allows its suppliers of computer hardware and software to communicate, and any employee can upload project information into the system. VW confirms its reliance on the system by establishing a proprietary Digital Reality Hub that employees can access through VR headsets. The company plans to use the system across its car brands.
BMW plans to cut development costs for research and development by as much as from $1 billion to $6 billion, an expense that the company typically spends to create a new vehicle. The same technology that gamers use can allow engineers to collaborate on the components that designers incorporate into a finished product. To enhance the experience for its employees, BMW has created a room that simulates the interior of a car with the noise and sounds that a driver hears on the road. The company invests in the technology as a more efficient expense than building full-scale models that take time and provide less useful knowledge for designers and engineers.