Walmart Increases VR Training Program, Using Facebook's Oculus Go Headsets
If virtual reality really is to become the next level of digital connectivity, this could be where it starts.
Walmart has this week announced an expansion of its VR training program which will see the retail giant ship Oculus Go virtual reality headsets to every US branch of its stores.
Walmart says it will send four Oculus Go headsets to every Walmart supercenter, and two units to each of its smaller Neighborhood Market stores, with an eventual target of more than 17,000 Oculus headsets being available for employee training programs by the end of the year.
Walmart started experimenting with VR training a year ago, and has been impressed with the results. At this stage, Walmart is using VR training in three key areas - 'new technology', 'compliance', and 'soft skills', including empathy and customer service.
The announcement is a big deal for VR adoption, flagging the potential development of the tool - as VR is utilized in more ways, the technology becomes more commonplace and familiar, which could lead to increase adoption across more areas.
Facebook, through Oculus, would love to see increased consumer adoption of VR headsets, and while that still seems a way off, announcements like this only strengthen the case for the technology, and reinforce projections of widespread in-home adoption within the coming years.
Interestingly, we've seen a similar pattern with AR tools. Google Glass, while considered a failure in regards to bringing AR to the masses, has seen significant adoption in manufacturing, where workers use the technology to streamline their process.
That's not as big and flashy as overlaying digital objects on everyday environments, but again, it may be where we see the shift begin. As more companies find ways to make use of such technology, more workers become familiar with it, which could lead to increased adoption for more general use.
We still have a way to go to maximize the full potential of both AR and VR, but announcements like this show that Facebook, through its investment in Oculus, and development of VR social tools like Spaces, is likely on the right track.
And that will eventually lead to a whole range of new considerations for brand marketing and promotion.
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