Worksafe vr

Growing up in the eighties and nineties, I was a silent Star Trek Next Generation Trekkie. I watched the show every day, played the video games, and dreamed of one day having a holodeck that could turn imagination into a virtual or augmented reality. In the nearly thirty years since the 1994 series finale, we haven’t yet evolved to a headset/device free augmented state of interaction but we’re getting pretty close and the healthcare, defence and manufacturing industries are already seeing the benefits.

Simulation saving lives in healthcare

In 2021, the National Library of Medicine published the results on the first use of VR for simulation in the paediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU). Simulation continues to be a key component of training in the paediatric space and the intention of this project was to build on the simulation training opportunities for medical staff through the use of VR. According to the findings of the study, 2/3 of the doctors agreed or strongly agreed that the VR experience felt realistic, and all agreed that the clinical scenarios were realistic and representative of real-life situations and nearly all agreed it could be useful for education.

Simulation at seas in defence

The defence industry is experiencing similar benefits and the potential for AR/VR technologies is immense; particularly as the cost of getting it wrong in defence mechanics is exorbitant and the cost of getting it wrong with people is priceless. Simulation in the defence industry can range from an interactive repair scenario in an engine room, to defusing landmines, to addressing the mechanical needs of a water filtration system, to driving simulations across varying terrain. Recently, the Royal New Zealand Navy contracted Company-X to build a flight deck officer training simulation. For its project, Company-X will use virtual reality headsets and AI to train flight deck officers how to land helicopters safely and efficiently on a frigate. This not only enhances the learning experience but also substantially reduces the costs related to health and safety incidents in a manner that is scalable across a global military presence.

Simulation saving money in manufacturing

With money, processes and people via health and safety at risk, in the manufacturing space, VR training is moving from “discretionary spend” to “core.” In North America, Virtual Reality simulations in the automobile manufacturing space is already an industry norm. Major auto manufacturers like Ford and Hyundai are using VR tools to design new vehicles and parts and Hyundai has integrated its capability into the into its design review systems to review all steps of the design and modelling process. In the maintenance and assembly training space, Lincoln Property Company has used VR to train workers in HVAC repairs and found the training to be cost effective as it minimizes time, travel, and material costs. 2 Educational institutions are also contributing to this surge. For instance, research teams such as those from RIT's Kate Gleason College of Engineering are working on developing platforms that integrate AI with AR/VR applications, aiming to support novice trainees in acquiring critical manufacturing skills​​. Such initiatives are pivotal as they lay the groundwork for future innovation and adoption of AR/VR in training.

In the Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan, AR/VR spending is projected to skyrocket, with a compounded annual growth rate of 42.4% from 2021 to 2026, aiming to reach $16.6 billion by 2026 . Notably, training has emerged as one of the top three investment priorities, highlighting its importance in the adoption of AR/VR technologies​​.

The development and investment in AR/VR training solutions not only presents immediate benefits in terms of enhanced training experiences but also promises significant long-term savings. As these technologies become more consumer-friendly and integrated into enterprise strategies, they are poised to redefine the landscape of training within the healthcare, defence, and manufacturing industries sectors and, with advanced and scalable VR development operations like Company-X, the South Pacific is primed to be a world leader in the space.