“I saw your experience a few days ago, and I just have to ask you...is that little girl OK?”
The woman who came up to us after our SXSW panel on our Accenture piece, AvenueS, was genuinely concerned. She has seen the piece a few days earlier when we demoed it as part of the Innovation Awards finalist showcase, and she confessed she hadn’t stopped thinking about it. We were happy to tell her that the little girl was in fact an actress, she was fine, had lovely parents and was by all accounts well cared for. And while her response is a credit to the writing, directing, and acting in the piece, it’s also a testament to the power of virtual reality to make situations memorable and deeply affecting.
We thought about this again when, in the wake of the horrible shootings in El Paso, the CEO of Wal-Mart said that he believed the store’s VR training had helped save lives. There are lots of stats about the efficacy of VR training -- that it has a 75% increase in learning quality and retention when compared to traditional training methods; that it can reduce training time by 40%; and that it results in 70% performance improvement -- but this is probably the starkest example of how it can actually prevent the loss of life. And sure, it might cost a little more than some other training methods, but how does that stack up when you consider that it might mean one more person goes home to their family at the end of the day?
Great VR pieces can also help employees be prepared for challenging and unusual situations. Cortney’s nephew has Down’s Syndrome and is non-verbal, so when we saw this story about an airline refusing to accommodate a non-verbal autistic man who was seated away from family members, we were instantly heartbroken for the family -- and thought about how VR could be used to help airline employees deal with situations like this one with more empathy and kindness. This might not be something airline employees face every day and are trained for, and VR is a scalable way to help prepare them for these types of situations. Again, weigh the costs of creating a VR piece against the bad press, lawsuits, settlements, and crisis communications, not to mention basic human decency, and it makes a lot of sense.
If anything in these paragraphs above has spoken to you, please drop us a line. We’d love to help you build something that has an impact and makes a change.
WHAT WE’RE UP TO NEXT
The excellent folks at the training agency Curious Lion are hosting a webinar on VR and training, and we’re honored to be the expert panelists. The webinar takes place on September 12 at noon EST and a link to sign up is here.
Cortney will be speaking at the VR Tech Summit on September 9 in NYC and XRS Week October 16-18 in San Francisco. And we are still encouraging folks to call their reps and ask them to support HR 4103, the VR TECHS Act, to help establish guidelines and best practices to train federal employees in VR. We are also working on an event around this bill in NYC and should have more to announce soon.
The 2019 Virtual Reality Technologies Enabling Coaching and Honing Skills (VR TECHS) in Government Act (H.R. 4103), introduced by Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., would create a federal advisory committee headed by the General Services Administration to develop ways to use virtual reality products for federal employees’ professional development. The committee would be tasked with establishing best practices for using virtual, augmented and mixed reality technology to train employees and to share those with agencies.
Full article here.
The Friends With Holograms team will be in Boston August 5th and 6th and would love to meet with and demo for some great folks. Drop us a line if you’d like to connect.
As other pieces on this site outline, the near future of retail is certainly going to be exciting. But even in the present, there are simple technical innovations that can change not only the retail experience but the lives of some of our most marginalized and vulnerable populations — not as sexy as robots gliding around to bring you a perfectly coordinated ensemble, but powerful nonetheless.
Read the full piece here
Last week, we spent two days at the R Lab Well event, where MaryKate Mahoney, the head of VR for healthcare at HP, presented the stat in the subject line. In fact, it seems like every other week we're sharing some excellent data about the benefits of training in VR, and it's only a matter of time before everyone catches up and start producing VR training content.
But maybe your organization is a little behind the curve. Your boss, or your boss's boss, still thinks videos that no one watches are just fine for employee training. Well, fear not -- our workshops are the absolute perfect first step to engaging with us and arming your team with all the knowledge and data they need to sell in the concept of VR training. We'd love to help you get up to speed so that your company doesn't get left behind.
Cortney also presented a session about user design and VR at the event, and in honor of Rick Owens winning the CFDA award for best menswear designer, dressed like him for the occasion.
VR TRAINING AND RETAIL
We were very excited to contribute a piece to an amazing new Medium blog called the Near Future of Retail. Helmed by two of our absolute favorites, Tony Parisi and Neil Redding, the site is a fascinating deep dive into how we'll shop in the next several years. We wrote about using VR for job screening in customer service roles, and how that can help marginalized communities find their way back into the job market. We're actively looking for a partner to help us build this vision -- if that's you, let us know.
WHAT WE'RE UP TO NEXT
On Tuesday, we're shooting an amazing new project, with more details to come in due time. This weekend, Cortney will be judging the XR Brain Jam at XR for Change; she'll also being speaking there next Monday and AvenueS, our project with Accenture, will be demoed throughout the event.
If you are interested in booking a member of our team to speak at an event, please feel free to drop us a line. And as always, we're looking for great partners to work with us to create amazing immersive experiences. We've already worked with Accenture, Verizon, Coke, the Air Force, DDI, and Unity -- let's add your name to the list next.