Coverage of the present generation of VR has been focused mostly on its applications in gaming, with the leading console makers rushing to find a way to harness the latest technology. VR has come on in leaps and bounds since the fitful efforts of the 1990s, and it seems as though the tech is here to stay this time.
One reason that VR is being taken more seriously this time around is that it’s not focused purely around entertainment options. One particular field in which VR is experiencing exciting new successes is in the field of employment and training. With so much focus these days on innovation in training for job skills, it makes sense that the newest technology would be attractive to companies and learning institutions looking to train the workforce of the future.
The following examples show how VR could make a difference to these areas:
Perhaps the most important field of work in the world, medicine is an example of a vocation where the stakes are too high to do much learning on the job. The traditional way for surgeons, for example, to learn their craft, is by using cadavers in a classroom, but this has obvious drawbacks and limits the number of new surgeons who can train at once.
Recent advancements in VR have made it possible for highly realistic simulations of operations to be carried out, and for training to be delivered across a much wider group of students. VR is thus helping to ensure that hospitals can keep up with the increasing demand for skilled surgeons in the future.
Anyone who has seen an aircraft simulator will recognize the standard concept of the environment: a realistic cockpit with dials and joysticks is usually set in front of two or four large screens designed to act as “windows”. The trouble with this setup is that such machines are expensive, hard to transport, and not particularly versatile.
Knowing the limitations of flight training simulators, the beneficial link-up between virtual reality and aviation becomes clear. VR makes the delivery of pilot training more dynamic, more affordable, and — thanks to the ability to represent a range of landing destinations more faithfully than the old screen “windows” — a far more realistic experience is guaranteed for the pilots of tomorrow.
Delivery couriers are among the businesses which gain the greatest criticism from consumers. However, UPS are aiming to change the public perception of delivery driving by training all new drivers via VR.
This method of training will simulate the experience of following a delivery route through busy city streets, making drop offs and pick-ups, and working within a time limit. This should bring about an end to the days of drivers falling behind schedule due to the unfamiliarity of driving a large delivery vehicle in unfamiliar locations. There is also hope that the resulting extra time that drivers have due to VR-enabled practice sessions will allow for better customer service in the future.
In short, from life-saving operations to simple deliveries, VR is set to make a big difference to the workforce of tomorrow.