What Role Does Voice Technology Play in Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality (VR) is still often thought about in relation to video games, rather than in a professional setting. While VR can be great for bringing games to life, it can also be helpful in the workplace.
This article looks at how VR can benefit organisations and why it needs the support of voice-based AI to really make a difference.
The demand for Virtual Reality in organisations continues to grow
The demand for VR is continuously increasing, with research showing the market is projected to grow from $6.1 billion in 2020 to $20.9 billion by 2025.
So what exactly is VR? Virtual Reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Through the use of computer technology, VR can place users inside a 3Dl experience.
Having a virtual space for people to interact with can be applied to pretty much any sector and can revolutionise the way workplaces operate. Below we highlight some of the most popular applications of VR in the workplace, specifically for Field Services.
Training and development
Training workers using VR gives them an immersive learning experience that can mimic real life settings without any of the risk. This is an extremely powerful tool for technical training or jobs that include high risk, such as Construction or Engineering, as it gives employees the chance to gain on-the-job training without worrying about making mistakes. For example, Machine Operators can master tricky equipment from a safe environment, without worrying about injury. By providing on-the-job training, workers also have access to procedures when they need them, meaning they’re more likely to retain the information given and perform better as a result.
VR tools allow Field Services operations to run far more smoothly and efficiently. One example of this is the troubleshooting process. Issues can be diagnosed in less time and help can be easily provided by more senior workers using live video. This means your staff will have access to real-time knowledge sharing, allowing help to be given even without senior technicians on site.
Health & safety
Understanding risk and navigating safely is a huge part of jobs in various sectors, such as Construction. Construction environments can often be hazardous and therefore ensuring the workforce is highly trained is essential. VR gives workers a safe space to learn essential skills, without having to be in a dangerous environment.
VR alone isn’t enough
Even though it is becoming adopted by more and more businesses, VR alone isn’t enough. Speech recognition technology is a great addition, as it allows users to interact, have hands-free experiences and be more engaging.
Often, VR tools require hand controllers for user input, however this is not practical when training for jobs where hands-free could be the norm. For example, in the Construction industry, there are often times when Engineers need to keep their hands free or there are safety issues preventing them from being able to use their hands. It seems counterproductive to train employees to do tasks using their hands, only to then be presented with hands-free devices when on the job.
Allowing voice interaction also gives a better user experience. VR models can be difficult to navigate as well as time consuming for new users. Enabling voice interaction allows employees to take control of the task at hand and ask simple questions to navigate and progress. Questions such as, ”What should I do next?” or, ”What’s my current progress?” allows for instant information to be given, saving time and headaches. Plus, it’s more natural for users by allowing them to communicate normally as they would in the workplace.
As well as enhancing user experiences, having voice-based technology can also be great for feedback and motivation. Say an employee is doing some Health & Safety training and there is a tricky or stressful situation, feedback can be given when they complete certain tasks to increase their confidence and let them know if they’re on the right track. For example, during a training simulation an Engineer is on site and a machine catches fire. If the Engineer immediately shouts, “Fire!” the voice guidance can respond with, “Are you sure that’s the safest thing to do in this situation?” This prompts the user to try again, until they pull the fire alarm, in which case the voice guidance responds with “Great job!”.
Having real-time interactions like this maximises the VR experience for the end-user by creating an additional element of engagement that VR alone cannot do.
Smart voice solutions are out there
Speech recognition technology is not yet widely used in Virtual Reality technology, mainly because the algorithms are complex and a lot of speech recognition solutions are not very accurate. Wluper is addressing this by creating technology that has the ability to make sense of compositionality and understand complex and naturally-asked questions and the different nuances in human language. This means, contrary to what many may believe, there are tools out there, such as our TrueUnderstanding API, that allows VR users to speak normally, be understood and even have a conversation.
Empower your workforce
We turn to others for support, feedback and guidance in our everyday lives so it seems silly to have Virtual Reality systems in the workplace that do not incorporate this. By adding voice-based technology, you help your employees to be more confident, trust themselves and be more proactive.