Can you learn customer service skills through virtual reality?
If you ask Best Western, the answer is yes. The hotel chain has worked with a University of Central Florida program called TeachLivE to train roughly 15,000 front-desk staff members—and Best Western reports a 32 percent improvement in customer satisfaction.
That's just one of countless applications for virtual reality and augmented reality, a sector that experts predict is about to take off.
In a February 2017 report, the market research firm iGate Research forecast that virtual reality would become a $40 billion market by 2020, while Goldman Sachs expects that figure to double again in just five years, to $80 billion by 2025.
“The way we see virtual reality is like the internet back in 1995,” says Jason Cooper, director of multimedia for Durham, N.C.-based Horizon Productions. “It is this transformative technology that’s going to change so many industries, but it’s still in its infancy."
While video gaming applications have taken the lead when it comes to VR applications, the range of possibilities is just being tapped—whether it's walking inside a simulated jet engine to learn how it works or taking homebuyers on virtual property tours. Now, it's just a question of which industries will buy into VR—and which regions of the country are poised to take the lead. Though Florida and California are known for their strength in VR, many cities are making a play.
As Brian Moyer, president and CEO of the Nashville Technology Council puts it, "The virtual sky’s the limit."
From the East Coast...
to the Midwest
and the Western U.S.