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VR becomes a valid work tool, and not just for gaming?

VR headsets have long been just for gaming. I bought the original Oculus quest and played my way through the best that VR could offer.

Finishing Asgard’s Wrath and other big name titles was fun, but left me clearly understanding where the state of the art is… or was. Just comparing them to PC titles like Red Dead 2, they are clunky, and the graphics are grainy. Note that top titles are rare, with the bulk of VR games looking and feeling like 1990’s games; there simply isn’t the install platform of users big enough to draw huge developers like Rockstar away from PlayStation, Xbox or PC yet.

Virtual Reality for work

But quietly, and in the background, Meta (who own Oculus) and Microsoft (who own the Hololens device) have been making a push into VR for work.

Hololens is in active use daily for aerospace, advanced manufacturing and some minor construction niches.

Now a new model in the Meta list has been debuted. You know this is for work because they added the instant price uplifting tag of “Pro” onto the device. Apparently $1,500 (vs. their next model down at $400) has lots of pro features. I’ve not personally tested it yet but, regardless of how good it actually is, this is one of those technologies that isn’t going away.

3D printing and additive manufacturing is the same as where desktop publishing was in the 1990s before the Apple Mac made it cool and, importantly, easy. 3D isn’t yet easy and the apps to make it are still clunky.

VR is the same. The apps are clunky and the headsets aren’t all-day-ready.

We have cross over products, like the excellent Gravity Sketch, which allows you to create 3D objects in VR, but as good as that is in the 3D design workflow, it’s still not slick… it’s still not prime time ready for the masses.

How will we get to the future with VR for work?

Just like the PC, which needed clear niches with well made apps exploiting those niches (visicalc then Excel for accountancy, or word processing via Word Perfect and MS Word), VR is still looking for can’t-live-without apps for important niches.

And as those niches were starting to be found, there was already a small subgroup of PC gamers pushing the limits of 4 colour CGI graphics cards on an XT, enjoying games like Digdug… yep, that was me many years before building an IT company.

Which is why I can see history about to repeat itself. I don’t know when it will happen, but VR will find its killer app in an important niche. When it does, the drive to push the hardware from being crappy, to usable, to decent, to great, to OMG… just like we are with PC/console graphics.

Most of Flywheel’s current customers (as of 2022) aren’t in industries that need the work-related VR tools yet. When will they? We’ll keep an eye on the market and make sure to keep you informed.

Are you thinking about your future IT needs?

If you haven’t had one of our senior architects review your 10 year plan, make sure to get in touch and schedule a planning session.

Let’s get started!