As we've previously discussed, virtual reality (VR) is coming to the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. A recent piece in Forbes outlined emerging VR startups aimed at business-to-business (B2B) markets, making special note of its use in construction. In addition, Slate reports that $1.2 billion was invested in virtual and augmented reality startups in the first quarter of 2016 alone.
Like the iPad and the smartphone, AEC will benefit from the transfer of amazing consumer technology into our B2B industry. VR in particular is poised for exponential growth for one simple reason: focus. If a user is wearing a headset and in a VR environment, they are literally immersed in their work. They aren't looking at their smartphone; they aren't distracted by email; they aren't filling out a TPS report. The VR user is exclusively focused on the task at hand.
Focus is a huge workplace issue and has become the subject of more than one recent study. Business Know-How lists what it perceives to be the top ten office distractions, several of which are beyond our immediate control. Small Business Trends agrees that one of the top distractions we face in the work environment is colleagues stopping by to chat. Imagine how difficult that would be with an HTC Vive or Occulus Rift strapped to your head. Never-ending emails, smartphones, and general office noise also make the list, all of which would be pushed to mute when in a virtual reality environment.
VR will continue to become more technically advanced, with better hardware, better tools, and more sophisticated uses. But the single most important reason AEC and other B2B users will use VR is simply because it'll improve productivity by making us more focused.