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April 28, 2021

Future-Proof Your Investment in VR Training

Future-Proof Your Investment in VR Training

Jerome Werniuk
Director of Product @ Sketchbox


VR training is still relatively new to the world and sometimes adopting new technology can be painful. This is not one of those cases.

Organizations that have started to use VR training are already saving a lot of money.

At Sketchbox, I’ve had the chance to work with many large organizations that have launched successful VR programs. These experiences have shown me how success in VR training happens, and how failure does, too.

My findings show me that success isn’t an accident. It comes down to factors that I see repeatedly.

I’ve broken down some essential best practices for choosing a VR partner in the following checklist. Follow it to help your company future-proof its investment in VR.

Your VR Partner Checklist

Your Software Provider Offers VR Simulations That Are Compatible With Many Devices

VR hardware changes quickly. Manufacturers enter the market with new devices with regularity, and sometimes leave it unceremoniously at the same speed.

I remember when people thought that Microsoft was making a major push into VR back in 2017. It seemed so promising! Microsoft released inexpensive headsets compatible with Windows 10 through Dell, HP, Asus, Samsung, and Lenovo. At the time, people seriously believed that VR training simulations needed to be built around these Windows Mixed Reality headsets. How did that prediction turn out? Well, Microsoft only sells HTC headsets now.

Even Google hasn’t been consistent--their Daydream VR headset was discontinued. It’s clear that the VR hardware market can be unpredictable. While VR is here to stay, we can’t assume that we know where the market is going.

That’s why organizations need to choose a VR software partner that will provide simulations compatible with any type of VR headset.

The last thing you’d want is to spend money building a simulation built exclusively for a headset that might not exist in the near future.

Choosing a multi-device VR partner is especially important for global organizations. This is because, frequently, headset manufacturers don’t have global support offices, meaning they can’t support international rollouts. Global organizations will often need a salad of different headsets for different countries.

So if you work for a global organization, assume that you’ll need to use a number of different devices.

Your VR Partner Supports Standalone and Desktop-Based Headsets

Standalone VR, also known as portable VR, or wireless VR, is the future of VR. Standalone devices can be used anywhere and they’re less expensive than the alternative.

And yet, I’ve spoken to companies that have invested millions of dollars into VR training programs for desktop-based hardware only. Unfortunately, these organizations are now throwing cash at new VR simulations that are compatible with standalone headsets.

This is something you should plan for from the beginning. Standalone and desktop are very different beasts. A standalone headset only has one-tenth of the computing power that a desktop-based headset has. This, among other reasons, is why porting a simulation between these two devices can get messy fast.

I’d strongly suggest that your organization choose a VR partner that can support your VR program for existing and future environments (more on that below).

Your VR Simulation Will Be Supported Through Ongoing Updates

Unfortunately, just like your phone and computer, your VR headset will need to run regular software updates.

But not all VR partners will provide ongoing support for software changes. You should pick one that does.

After all, updates are not a luxury. From what I’ve seen across industries, an outdated VR training simulation isn’t useful. Training in old facilities or on outdated machinery in a VR simulation is just like training on the wrong machinery in real life.

One of our clients at Sketchbox, the U.S. Air Force, adjusts processes in the organization anytime there’s an issue. This means that training changes all the time. And every change requires an update to the VR training software.

I encourage you to negotiate ongoing content and software updates for a predefined price, have defined service-level agreements, and make sure that any updates will be done in a timely manner. By doing so, you won’t end up spending large, and unpredictable amounts of money to keep your training program operational.

You can also rest easy in the knowledge that your software can improve with future updates. Improvements might include longer battery life, more realistic avatars, a larger training space, and better tracking abilities.

Your VR Software Provider Offers Continuous Training Assistance

Most people haven’t used VR before. To the unprepared, it can be almost as challenging as navigating regular reality. So, you should find a VR partner who can  answer questions or solve any type of training issue.

And, in my opinion, they should be able to do it at the drop of a hat. The best VR service providers can help users as soon as a problem or question comes up.

Make sure your support plan mentions that you will not be charged incrementally for support. This will stop you from incurring unpredictable expenses. It’ll also inspire your VR partner to deliver straightforward and easy-to-use training software. If someone is being paid by the hour, they’ll be happier about wasting your time.

Keep in mind that if you work for a global organization, you’ll want to make sure your software provider can assist you around the clock.

Why Choose Sketchbox?

At Sketchbox, we listen to our customer’s needs, which is why we do all of the above. We account for software updates and module changes in our service offering. We will also make sure your operations continue smoothly as updates are made to your training simulation. Our design process even uses our own design tools for rapid prototyping, in VR, so your SMEs are not’ stuck signing off on requirements via a massive excel of PDF document.

Plus, we know that you’ll want to upgrade your VR hardware as cheaper and faster devices become available. That’s why we offer ongoing support to ensure your training simulation is compatible with future VR headsets.

To learn more about how Sketchbox can help you get the most out of VR training, click the button below.

Jerome Werniuk
Director of Product @ Sketchbox

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