One of the main reasons why enterprise VR is still not widely adopted may be because businesses are not ready to invest into virtual reality yet. Why is that? Probably because they don’t see a real return on investment (ROI) for VR. Still, some early adopters and Digital Champions have taken a leap of faith, and they seem to be doing good!
Virtual reality works by immersing a user in a computer-generated tree dimensional world, and enabling them to interact with virtual objects by using controllers (or your own hands if you have hand tracking). Enterprise VR is the use of virtual reality solutions in different industry sectors, compared to consumer VR which is most often used for video games. Currently, many companies like Facebook (Oculus), and HTC are still developing high-end VR innovations for the industries, even if they only use “simple” headsets like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift.
Many advantages are brought to us by virtual reality, especially for business use. Enabling full immersion of different colleagues, even if they work remotely or from another production site, is one of the key advantages of VR in today’s world. But the push for more efficient remote work is still not enough for some companies. If in the history of VR, big industries and research facilities have adopted VR, for many others virtual reality remained a hype.
In contrast to this beautiful future, the VR market is marked by uncertainty. Expectations are high, but the sales numbers are not following, so neither is progress. There are barriers to the adoption of new technologies. The value of a new technology can be estimated by:
· The utility VR brings to us
· The number of other companies adopting it: more VR content will likely be created
The stand-alone value of a new technology is not enough to diffuse to the population (or the enterprises). You will also need the network around the new technology to be interesting enough. In other words, companies considering VR solutions are comparing the perceived cost and benefits before buying. If they estimate the ROI is not interesting enough, they won’t buy. Needless to say, the ecosystem of virtual reality has not taken off yet, and there is still a great need for actual VR content, and not just announces from the software industry. And probably more success stories.
Let’s say you do want to invest in a virtual reality solution for your business. The first benefit you’ll receive is that VR optimizes all the process of the company, from design to market. It enables you to save time and money, while bettering the quality of your production. Some use of VR can even lead up to 30% of time saved!
How do you measure the ROI of the VR solution for your business? In the one hand, you have the saved resources, that’s a certain amount of money. In the other hand you have the investments made into VR. Headsets have become more and more affordable for the last six years, but setting up a powerwall or an immersive room can be a 500K investment (and that can vary depending on your use case). Besides, in addition to the hardware, you will also need a VR software (like TechViz) to display your 3D data in your VR system. And let’s not forget that you might need additional wearable devices, if you want to add motion tracking to your system.
After this comparison investment in VR vs saved resources, there are other factors to consider. Because interactive virtual reality not only has quantitative benefits but also qualitative benefits.
Virtual reality covers many use cases, but one of the most important ones are for design and engineering. For instance, conceiving a product or making a design review in VR is one of the use cases where VR can offer you the most benefits:
· Assessing risks and design errors is way easier
· Less prototypes are needed
· Time to market is reduced
· Product and process quality is improved
· Specialized skills are refined
Not all of these benefits can be properly quantified, as many variables must be taken into account. But the benefits have been remarked in the industry. 75% of companies adopting VR can attest to operational benefits over 10% (Capgemini 2018), and up to 65% reduction in the number of design issues (Nvidia 2017).
Decreased time to market: one of our customers in the aircraft industry, Embraer, used to take 60 months to develop a new model. By introducing VR into their processes, they reduced that product development time by more than a third.
Reduction of design iterations: in full immersion in an virtual world, the users can get different perspectives of the design, hence detecting potential issues more easily. For the creation of the Penn State Ice Rink, the use of a CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) averted over $475,500 in changes after or during construction.
Quality improvements: virtual reality enables the engineers to proceed to testing in the midst of product development, and not wait for a prototype to be created. For instance, the car manufacturer Ford uses VR to identify and test different engineering alternatives, by using a mix of a CAD model of their factories and full-body tracking suit. This resulted in a 70% drop in employee injuries and a 90% reduction in ergonomic issues.
Foster innovation: VR makes it easier to push projects and ideas forward, as it is faster and cheaper to use. Because VR is easy to use, even for non-experts, it helps conveying new ideas to managers and non-technical personnel. As a matter of fact, Lockheed Martin, one of the largest virtual reality (VR) laboratories of its kind, use their Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory (CHIL) to improve collaboration between their product design and manufacturing teams with VR. The outputs are hardly quantifiable, but it enabled them to test out many configurations and products with limited costs, and refocus their production efforts on the commercially-viable results.
This article was based on The ROI of VR