How can you use this knowledge in your own business?
By understanding that staff and customers alike have micro-moments of interaction all day on mobile, you can design smoother, mobile-first customer experiences. Giving audiences the ability to achieve their goals through smarter experiences is an increasingly important area of competitive advantage.
When you’re faced with evolving to meet the challenges of our increasingly digital economy, it can be difficult to create a culture open to change. Instead of taking a typically dry approach to training, consider how game mechanics can be used to inspire and tap into your team’s competitive nature. Perhaps you can set challenges in a game context to drive specific outcomes. And use the transparency of today’s communication methods to drive greater team-related understanding, contributions and innovation.
Whether it’s AR, VR or MR (mixed reality like the Microsoft HoloLens), the augmentation of our vision is about to take off. By some estimates - as early as 2020 in fact - AR/VR will be a USD150 billion global market.
Pokémon Go, while relatively simplistic in execution, has nonetheless captured global attention and created a tipping point from which there’s no return.
This nascent industry is bristling with interesting new technology and the innovations are arriving with increasing pace.
Sony is one of the first to seize the opportunity and has enhanced its PS4 console with a VR headset accessory. Having a consumer device already dedicated to fast graphics processing is a serious head start. And Sony seems intent on pushing forward quickly having just announced the PS4 Pro with support for 4K (UHD) and HDR - two high end technologies that are critical to creating believable immersive experiences.
Google with its Cardboard VR product, or Samsung with its Gear VR, rely on the power and resolution of smartphones to provide visual augmentation. Then there is the $2 billion start-up acquired by Facebook who produce the Oculus Rift.
Microsoft is taking a different tack. Sticking with its roots in business software, Microsoft has produced one of the most interesting takes on the entire sector - and targeted it directly at businesses.
The HoloLens is a "mixed reality" device, neither completely taking over the user's view like VR, nor making things change form as in AR. Instead, through a sophisticated technique of rendering scenes with CGI-like techniques in real-time, Microsoft has given us the first commercial glimpse of what a synthesised reality might look like.
The early demos were nothing short of amazing. Now with a formal announcement of the HoloLens Commercial Suite, the company is staking a claim for the business market. Coupled with the announcement that HoloLens will be able to be managed through a Mobile Device Management service such as Microsoft InTune, the strategy looks very serious indeed.
What are the real applications for business that go beyond entertainment?
Imagine a manufacturing plant that wants to alter a production line - that’s typically a multi-million dollar exercise in capital outlay and lost time. Now consider that a VR training solution focused on the new line’s processes could have the entire workforce training before the line is even altered.
Staff would get experience on the new line, readying themselves for their changing responsibilities at the same time as uncovering design flaws long before it is physically built. The result is dramatically improved processes, more engaged staff and a reduction in lost earnings from production downtime.
Pre-visualisation is another potential killer app for VR. It's commonplace for architects to be using Computer Aided Design (CAD), but another thing entirely to walk around in a virtual space and make real-time alterations with a client.
While consumer entertainment may be leading the way now, VR technologies are very quickly being adapted for commercial use. In the next 5 years, supporting and developing content for VR training may well be as commonplace as the smartphone is today.