Virtual Reality | B Corp | Buffalo, NY
Despite widespread advertisement and hands on marketing, Virtual Reality (VR) is struggling to generate sales among consumers. Companies like Samsung, offering VR headsets compatible with their phones, have taken advertising to the street, actually allowing potential customers to sample the product in order to combat the slow start. This strategy has paid off, as the Korean conglomerate, still reeling from their Note 7 debacle, has separated itself as the clear leader in VR for personal use with over 5 million headsets sold in 2016.
However, sales could still be better and customers have been their own worst enemy. The retailers warn how easy it is to get lost in VR and how one needs to be careful with their surroundings outside the headset. When one wears the headset they really can’t see anything or anyone around them, which can lead to personal injury and property damage. YouTube videos like Top 10 Virtual Reality Fails generate tens of thousands of views in a matter of months.
However, while personal sales work out the kinks in their product, VR is finding a new home in business. Walmart has announced plans to integrate virtual reality training at its 200 training locations. These facilities train over 150,000 employees annually. This technology benefits employees who will now have firsthand experience in dealing with high stress situations before one arises. One particular scenario to be included in VR training is a Black Friday rush.
One benefit of VR for businesses compared with consumers is the relative price. While spending a few hundred dollars on an entertainment outlet for an individual is an expensive decision, investing in training that will benefit a large number of employees is relatively inexpensive: “Business demand will be the main driver, with shipments of headsets for commercial growing 80% a year, versus 50% for headsets for consumers.”
This technology also benefits more high risk jobs like medicine. Fox Business reports surgeons and Johns Hopkins who are able to use virtual reality and augmented reality to practice procedures with no consequences before working on the actual patient.
Technological advances in business training will most likely benefit all. On the job training specific to that field will theoretically reduce turnover rate. As employee loyalty grows, the consistent value of the product or service does to, which increases customer loyalty. Virtual reality may take its users to a far off land, but its consequences, both positive and negative, may add real, long term value to business.
Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Raymond James & Associates. Information contained was received from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy is not guaranteed. Information provided is general in nature, is not a complete statement of all information necessary for making an investment decision, and is not a recommendation or a solicitation to buy or sell any security.