VR training in 2021: What will we expect?

Of all the industries that use immersive technologies, virtual reality (VR) in enterprise training is perhaps the most stable. The cost reduction and efficiency of using the technology is evident, with many companies across healthcare, safety, and others using it for the safety of their employees and the benefit of their finances. VR training in 2021 will likely remain strong, continuing the trends of 2020 as more and more companies adopt the approach for their own workforce.

The difference in 2021 is further competition, and new technologies that will benefit companies across the world. The industry has quite a few new companies entering the market, eyeing the opportunity to help companies and offer their own services. Competition is healthy for any industry, as it will drive up the quality of services that people can provide. But after the global pandemic, competition is becoming tougher, and we expect a small reassessment of the market as some players leave. OneBonsai is in a strong position for the year, with a suite of services and high-quality expertise to help its clients thrive.

VR training in 2021 advancements

Many advancements in VR technologies have been made over the last year. Building on the foundations of previous years, VR now provides a better experience for customers who want the absolute best quality. For example:

  1. Haptic feedback. The quality of haptic gloves and suits mean that people feel the impact of the virtual world across their body, immersing them further in the training scenario.
  2. Hand-tracking. Stepping away from controllers, hand-tracking allow people to point their fingers and interact with the world around them.
  3. Brain connectivity. By tracking the condition of the mind during sessions, companies can keep an eye on their stress levels and comfort to ensure their safety.

For more information on how these technologies can help VR, check out our previous article on the topic. We cover each of these in-depth, as well as the companies making great strides by providing these services. We anticipate further improvements through 2021.

Can VR be a substitute for real-life experiences?

While the conversation has slightly shifted over the last few years, there are still companies that are holding out from VR training in 2021 because they are unsure if it can replace real-life experiences. Yes, real-life training is one of the best ways of training a workforce; by giving them realistic scenarios for them to navigate and complete, workers will learn in the role far faster than making notes or reading textbooks. VR will however not replace real-life training in full. It will augment it, allow for efficient refresher trainings and provide opportunities to make the training sessions more efficient and impactful.

For most companies, providing real-life scenarios is either expensive, risky, or can endanger the junior workers who are just starting their roles. VR training comes in where it can provide the benefits of real-life training with the efficiency and safety that immersive technologies can provide. Location is a major barrier as well; it takes time to move employees to remote locations for a training session, and a significant amount of their time. By providing an on-site solution, companies can cut travel costs and employee time for people to interact with the hazardous scenarios.

As one example, we work with companies to help improve their fire training. Our solution provides over thirty realistic scenarios for personnel to navigate, honing their skills to teach them to properly use a fire extinguisher and help them save lives . We envision more services like these in 2021, as packaged solutions for interested companies. Such training modules can be provided off-the-shelf, with only a limited investment required from the end-client.

How much does VR training cost?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the scale and scope of the project. Like any other enterprise field, providing VR training in 2021 will depend on the requirements of the company and the sophistication of the experiences.

Typically, we can split development in two different types:

  • Fully custom development
  • Off-the-shelf solutions

A fully custom development typically takes between 3 – 8 months to complete. Such projects largely depend on the scope of the client and can range between 20 – 200k€. It is difficult to put a proper budget without understanding the scope in full. Indeed, some scope decisions can easily add 10k€ to the overall budget of the project.

On the other side, off-the-shelf solutions provide an answer to the ever-growing demand of VR training, without breaking the bank. Here, a client will only have to pay for the trainees that are trained using the VR solution. This helps the client to lower costs and provides us an option to scale the product. Our growing library of training modules provide standard trainings for fire suppression, medical training, evacuation, working at height and high voltage, to name a few. Such training modules typically start around 8k€/yr, excluding the hardware.

To provide you the best possible solution, it’s best to contact the VR training provider and outline the scope; the company will then respond with what they can offer, and a cost of their services.

Is VR still the future of corporate training?

As the advantages are clear, we envision VR training in 2021 to remain strong. With the variety of companies that have greatly benefitted from the technologies over the last few years, the steady growth of the sector will continue to strengthen companies in the future.

Many advantages have been hinted at throughout this article and will remain true throughout the new year. To list some of the advantages:

  • High retention. By simulating an environment that mimics real-life, users are much more likely to retain the knowledge that they have developed during the session.
  • Safety. Not all scenarios are possible to replicate in real-life due to costs, location, time, and hazards. VR training in 2021 will continue to assist with this.
  • Efficiency. Employees will learn faster than with most other forms of learning as training environments need not be built or cleaned up and it’s much easier to iterate between different setups.

Want to learn more about VR training and its benefits? Contact the OneBonsai team and we will be happy to help.