Deliverable 3 - Training Proposal on Retraining Using Augmented/Virtual Realty

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What is the effect of augmented and virtual reality technology on customer experience?

Businesses look for ways to enhance customer and employee experience. Augmented and virtual reality can be used to improve customer and employee experiences.

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that adds layers to the current view on a screen by superimposing images, icons, texts, or numbers. Augmented reality is typically accomplished with the use of software or applications that run on smart phones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers. Augmented reality often does not require additional equipment.

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that creates a completely different view of the environment. This technology requires specialized equipment that the individual wears usually over their eyes or head. The technology is an additional purchase beyond the current technology the business has on hand.

AR and VR Business Uses

· Training

· Touring

· Communicating

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology used to enhance a customer's view of the real-world through computer-generated images. Augmented reality often does not require additional equipment and is typically accomplished with the use of software or applications that run on smartphones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers.

AR Example: Watchbox

As an example, a company called Watchbox has an app that will allow you to see how one of their watches looks on your arm (Calder, 2018). Watchbox hopes that returns of watches will be reduced by this app's use. Additionally, augmented related is used by companies like Wayfair and IKEA to allow you to see how furniture will look in your room (White, 2018).

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that creates a completely different view of an environment. This technology requires specialized equipment that the individual wears over their eyes or head. The technology is an additional purchase beyond the current technology the business has on hand.

VR and Walmart

Walmart, one of the largest retailers in the US, is using VR technology for testing and training of managers as well as their response to customer incidents and conflict (Tuchscherer, 2019). Walmart puts the managers in the situations where customers are angry or fighting to gauge their response and teach the proper way to confront these situations.

AR and VR

These uses demonstrate that AR and VR can be used before, during, and after decision making by a customer or employee. The technology of AR and VR is forecasted to have the most impact on the training of people, such as employees and customers, over any other technology currently in use. The reason for this forecast is clear- experience. AR and VR allow the individual to experience situations, products, etc. without the commitment of purchase or fear of making the wrong decision.

Businesses often train employees and customers before, during, and after a new technology or process is adopted. AR and VR are predicted to have more impact on training than any other technology. The reason for this forecast is clear – experience. AR and VR allow the individual to experience something virtually and actively rather than simply reading about it passively.

The value of the experience with AR and VR in training is based on knowledge and safety. First, AR and VR allow doctors to learn new equipment before using the equipment on real patients. The doctors gain real knowledge from their experience while protecting patient safety. Patients are not subjected to being guinea pigs for new technology training. The training with VR and AR can occur before the new equipment is implemented or any time after for refresher courses.

Business can also find AR and VR provides training in situational experiences difficult to replicate. Situational experience is difficult to gain without spending time on the job. Many employees do not know how to react to situations that involve conflict, violence, or extreme emotions. For a business, waiting and hoping employees react correctly to a situation when or if it comes is dangerous. The risk is great for a business to wait and let real experience be the teacher. VR and AR can provide those situational experiences to better prepare employees before an incident occurs.

Businesses want to allow customers to experience their product. Customers often need to experience the product in order to convert from interested to buying. Providing samples and free trials is expensive. With AR and VR, businesses can allow customers to experience a new paint color on their walls or new furniture in their room. Travel agents can use AR or VR to allow a customer to experience the beauty of another country or other vacation destination. A real estate developer can use AR or VR to give clients a tour of a new building or housing development. The AR or VR technology can provide the experience without the physical construction of a model.

Businesses now operate across states and even globally with remote employees in multiple time zones. Communication can be difficult when it is always mediated by technology. The experience is very isolating for employees. AR and VR can be used to put all the participants in a virtual room together, so they have the experience of sitting around a conference table or walking a factory floor together. This benefits participants as they are no longer isolated, and the meetings are more productive. The AR and VR technology allow people in business to experience the facial expressions and body language missing from many digital communications today. These non-verbal cues are very important in meetings and are often more revealing than words. Predictions are that as this technology continues to drop in price, businesses will move from simple web conferences to using AR or VR to enhance the digital experience, prevent miscommunication, and change the experience for a disbursed workforce.

VR equipment creates a different experience by constructing a new environment. AR creates a different experience by adding layers to the real environment. Both technologies improve the employee or customer experience and create virtual presence when physical presence isn’t possible or practical. The uses in business will continue to expand as the technology becomes more advanced and more affordable.

In summary

AR and VR can:

· create an experience for users by altering the perceived environment

· change the training experience

· improve the virtual tour experience

· mediate communication experience

· Apply across business departments and needs

References

· White, M.C. (2018). Before you buy that couch, an app will put it in your living room. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/16/business/media/furniture-advertising-virtual-reality.html

· Calder, E. (2018). Watchbox adds augmented reality feature in effort to reduce returns from ecommerce customers. Retrieved from https://usa.watchpro.com/watchbox-adds-augmented-reality-feature-effort-reduce-returns-ecommerce-customers/

· Tuchscherer, R. (2019). Walmart uses virtual reality to test new store managers. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/07/08/walmart-uses-virtual-reality-hire-new-managers/1635311001/