Walmart's favorite way to use virtual reality does not involve shooting at space aliens, or flying like an eagle over buildings. Instead, the company is using the technology to train workers on skills from learning how to engage with customers to taking care of the produce inside the grocery section of its stores.
The company spoke about how it's tapping into the tech during the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas, NV, wrote TechTarget, which interviewed Andy Trainor, senior director for Walmart Academies. Trainor said that VR is helping employees score up to 15 percent higher on the tests they take after attending VR-driven employee training sessions than those who went through traditional training methods.
Like most companies, Walmart has shown an interest in how VR could impact the way it runs its business. The company even filed a patent for virtual reality shopping experience back in January. One lets shoppers put on VR goggles and then walk through a virtual store while still at home. The company already has a VR app, which can be used on Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR headsets, where you can purchase a curated group of 70 items from the store.
While most people associate VR with gaming, the technology is making in grounds in less splashy settings like employee training. The cost to play with VR makes it hard for the tech to gain a huge toe-hold in the consumer market. Even with the price of some headsets starting to come down in price, like Oculus Go, the most robust VR experience still requires expensive computers and devices to be fully immersive through both sight and sound.
Companies can afford to spend that kind of outlay on a large scale, which is why VR is being adopted by the aerospace industry, in manufacturing as well as for training which consulting firm Accenture found "…can have immediate effects and be extremely cost-effective."
Walmart is looking to expand the way it uses the technology as well, by creating a simulation app that helps people understand how the Walmart stores are managed as well — and then share that experience with anyone who wants it.