The New Reality Isn’t Real

Growing Capabilities of Virtual Reality Technology 

This week I was greeted in my cubicle area with two cameras and a weird looking headset.  Our engineering department had acquired a new virtual reality system, and they had begun testing its functionality. Within a few minutes someone was strapped in and “testing” in a virtual reality game that came with the new system package.

Then it was my turn.  As I put on the headset I was taken back. I’ve never been a fan of heights and this game had me on top of a castle balancing and hanging on for dear life. This was a little too real for me.  For a few minutes I wandered around this virtual environment, picked up virtual weaponry and defended the castle from invaders.  I was hooked!

Immediately my thoughts went to how we could and soon would be integrating this technology in the workplace. For our engineers and designers or planning team, we can walk through a 3D model of a plant without ever stepping foot onsite. We can train new electricians on hazardous equipment in a safer environment. We can train staff on the proper use of power tools and shop equipment. The technology will allow us to ensure our employees are safe and well trained before we put them on a customer site or in a potentially hazardous location.

There is much talk about integrating VR technology in the work place today, practically in every industry. This is simply the tip of the iceberg. For us, I predict our drawing deliverables won’t be deliverables at all in the future, but rather a model in a cloud somewhere that the customer can access anytime. Real time feedback on the design and layout of the design will be instantly communicated between onsite and offsite personnel.  New employees will get “hands on” training all in a virtual environment. It will be fun ride to see how this technology changes and morphs the landscape of businesses and service offerings. Hang on tight!

By Andrew Roelfs