How Can Enterprises Use Extended Reality (XR) Technology – And Why Should They?
Teaser: By taking a strategic approach, your enterprise can succeed with XR. It starts with an understanding of the benefits of early adoption and its ROI.
If your business provides ongoing training to employees, extended reality (XR) represents a natural progression in your ability to provide effective and safe education at scale. A growing number of industries are researching and investing in XR—which spans augmented reality (AR) including 360, mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR). Your organization might be among those considering the possibilities.
By taking a strategic approach, your enterprise can succeed with XR. It just takes an understanding of the benefits of early adoption and its return on investment (ROI), an understanding of available hardware options, and the right framework for selecting the right XR capabilities for your business. In this blog post, I’ll explain how to do each of those things.
Making Decisions: How Can XR Be Utilized In Your Enterprise?
Before you evaluate XR benefits, it’s important to understand the needs of your organization. Start by answering these questions:
- What is our training strategy? How do we envision this helping the organization and scaling to reach anyone who can benefit from training?
- What are our needs? What types of training do we conduct today, and what capabilities do we want to add for use over the next three years?
- What is our budget for implementing XR into our organization?
Benefits Of Early Adoption
The potential of XR training can be exciting, yet it can also prompt some leaders to pump the brakes. After all, XR is in its infancy and technology is changing rapidly. Why not wait and let the marketplace sort out which hardware systems and services win out?
There are several reasons to move forward with adoption now rather than waiting.
First, the rapid progression of technological hardware isn’t new, and it’s only going to speed up. Consider other industries and you can see what I mean. We used to listen to music on vinyl records. Then along came eight tracks, cassette tapes, CDs, and streaming music. The same is true in the world of movies. At one time, everyone went to the movie theater. Eventually, videos became widely available, first via VHS and then via DVDs and streaming services.
The decision to adopt XR in your business now means you see the long-term potential of these tools and are allocating training time and financial resources to learn and grow as technology improves.
Second, early adoption gives you a learning advantage. By partnering with an XR service provider you trust, you can get strategic guidance on how to select the right hardware, implement it, and upgrade over time. This creates a competitive advantage compared to peers in your industry who delay their training investments.
Third, early adoption provides your team with superior training sooner, enhancing safety, increasing retention of information, and equipping you to respond to your customers’ needs more effectively. Firefighters use XR to practice responding to emergencies in a safe setting. This includes activities such as simulating the use of a fire extinguisher to practicing the most effective methods of extinguishing a fire.
How To Measure The ROI Of XR
One of the benefits of XR early adoption is the ability to quickly get visibility into your ROI, such as employees’ increased retention of information delivered during training. Each XR platform provides a method of capturing insights about your employees’ training performance.
AR training modules send an email, known as a log, to trainers with information on how employees scored during assessment. This information can be given to employees or paired with the subject matter expertise of a trainer for further instruction. In addition to sharing scores, these emails can provide data points including the amount of time spent in different activities within the modules. This can provide clues to where additional training might be needed—or reinforce the importance of celebrating employees’ learning and progress.
VR hardware enables additional capabilities, such as allowing a third-party observer (like a trainer) to watch what the employee is doing in the simulation. This enables trainers to watch in real time and provide feedback to enhance training. Activities that might have required extensive travel budgets and multiple days can now be completed in a virtual setting with no expense beyond the base hardware.
These examples illustrate how XR training can provide enhanced learning opportunities while saving time and money.
Evaluate XR Hardware Options
Once you decide to invest in XR training, you can consider the available hardware options.
Today, major hardware providers include Apple, Meta, and Microsoft. Here at The Learning Network, we work with clients to implement Microsoft’s XR hardware because of the company’s ability to provide enterprise-scale training solutions. Other companies are bound to enter the market in the months and years ahead. An XR service provider can help you navigate these changes. I recommend organizations make XR investments in three-year increments. Why is this the timeframe that I would suggest? Because the technology is changing and improving that fast. Develop a strategy that’s flexible enough to accommodate exciting new innovations we haven’t begun to imagine.
Hardware can scale based on your budget, the size of your organization, and the complexity of your training needs. Employees’ smartphones are well-suited to AR training environments. Microsoft’s HoloLens provides MR training opportunities, while Meta Quest 2 and HTC Vive are common tools for VR simulations.
Increasingly, hardware will have higher-quality video (requiring more computer processing power in your organization), wireless headsets, and more. Select an enterprise solution that can adapt to changing times and technologies.
Setting Up Your XR Hardware
Working with trusted XR experts, you can develop an XR implementation strategy. The process includes selecting the right hardware, installing the hardware, and ensuring your team is trained in how to use it.
Evolution in the technology might mean you request periodic service, such as transitioning from VR headsets tethered to a computer to wireless headsets.
Your Next Step Toward XR Training
Early adoption of XR training positions your organization for safe, effective, and scalable continuing education for employees. Investing now gives you the opportunity to start small and grow with the technology, rather than not starting at all.
Together, we can help you assess your training needs, explore the available options, and embrace the potential of XR for your organization.
To get started with XR training in your enterprise, contact The Learning Network.