The Enterprise Applications of Virtual Reality

Alex Russell, T’15, Product Manager, Google On April 15th, 2016

Topics: Entrepreneurial Tech Manufacturing Products / Services Risk Management Virtual Reality

The release of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets signal that virtual reality is finally starting to realize its long-hypothesized promise. Advances in the underlying technology, processing power, and significant funding from big name tech players (Facebook and Google being the most publicized) have enabled the new generation of headsets to hit the market this year.

With all the focus on VR, what are use cases for the enterprise? CDS Alumni Fellow, Alex Russell T’15, took a deeper look in his research project last year and identified three applications already in use by leading firms:

1. Training – Training programs in virtual environments allow the participants to explore and make mistakes in a safe and secure environment. Firms like energy company National Grid have created training programs that enable simulated training programs for employees that were previously conducted via PowerPoint presentations.
2. Manufacturing and Product Development – Virtual reality now plays a significant role in many firms’ product development process, allowing them to view designs and make changes without waiting for costly prototyping. Ford Motor Company started using virtual reality technology in 2000, but developed an Immersion Lab a decade ago that allows engineers to interact with their designs and make changes earlier in the design process. The technology enabled Ford to cut product development timeframes by over six months, saving millions of dollars per year.
3. Communications – As travel costs climb and companies consider the environmental impact of their travel, virtual reality allows for face-to-face communications across the globe without the need to travel.

Learn more about Enterprise Applications of Virtual Reality by reading the full research paper.
The Center for Digital Strategies offers an MBA Fellows program for second-year Tuck School students interested in business strategy and the impact of information technology in the extended enterprise.

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