3 Ways VR can Transform Employee Onboarding

Virtual reality is the new toy in the market for organizations looking to create a winning onboarding strategy. It doesn’t matter if you’re an SMB looking to tap into top talent or an enterprise looking to offer personalized onboarding experiences, VR is for everyone. We look at three ways VR can help transform your onboarding program.

What do a 57-storey skyscraper and the average manual onboarding process have in common? They both take 19 days to complete. Yep, that’s right – 19 days! And that’s not all - over 90% of employees decide whether they’ll stay with an organization, or leave in the first six months. Considering this, it’s not surprising that organizations are now looking at technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create rich, immersive onboarding experiences.

VR and AR are quickly breaking out of the consumer and gaming space and entering the enterprise. Over the past year, companies like SAP, KFC, Wal-Mart, and UPS have been playing with virtual reality, finding creative ways to enhance onboarding experience and improve collaboration. VR provides new employees as close an approximation to their new workplace as they can have without actually needing to be physically present . Think of meeting at your company’s headquarters in Paris, overlooking the breathtaking views of Eiffel Tower, playing a game of mini-golf while brainstorming. Hard to imagine? VR makes this a reality. Candidates can now visualize their career with the company in a 360-degree, 3D experience. Here are 3 ways VR can help transform your onboarding program:

  1. Gamification: VR takes gamification beyond points and badges to offer stunning multi-sensory experiences. While gamification is one of the most effective onboarding techniques, VR takes it up a notch with interactive gamification. Not only can you use VR enabled gamification to better showcase your organization, you can also transform the tedious, long drawn-out onboarding process to create highly engaging, personalized experiences . Imagine, if you could convert your hour-long PowerPoint presentation on company policies into a celebrity quiz show. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

  2. Functional training: Jobs that are particularly dangerous, high-stress or require using expensive machinery/tools, can benefit from virtual training modules. For instance, medical professionals can use VR to simulate specific situations to train new interns or surgeons. VR implementation isn’t just limited to these industries, it can help you onboard and train your sales team, your field service team and the like.

  3. Team Assimilation: One of the key reasons new hires quit within the first six months is often due to the disconnect between the employee and the organization – new hires who don’t feel like a part of the company because of the broken onboarding experience. Most times, team assimilation sessions do not work out the way you’d imagined. This is where VR can really help – think increased interaction between global teams and dispersed employees. With products like Oculus Rift that can pick up and translate body language and other non-verbal cues, you can let new hires experience being welcomed into the organization by the CEO, meet fellow colleagues continents away, and get a glimpse into the culture of the organization.

Apart from the benefits listed above, you can also save a ton of money on sending trainers to field offices or flying out new hires to your corporate HQ. And, depending on the industry, VR training modules can be used for years together. The decreasing cost of VR video creation, wider availability of web-based VR authoring platforms and cheaper headsets, means that everyone from an SMB to a large enterprise can integrate VR into the onboarding process . Integrating VR for Onboarding – Best practices:

  • Begin with shorter VR videos: Jumping right into a 360-degree immersive experience can be a little disorienting for some people. Begin the onboarding process with short VR videos (

  • Make it interactive: Don’t shy away from making creating active VR training simulations. Interactive features like hotspot overlays and voiceover for instructions can help you create a truly immersive experience.

  • Measuring efficacy: Remember, what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done. Collect feedback from users on their experiences. VR analytics can provide you with a heat map of where users were focusing within a scene. Like with any UX, improving the VR onboarding experience is an iterative process.

Depending on the number of employees you onboard every year, you can choose multiple distribution methods from Google Cardboard to more premium headset options. Would you try virtual reality for onboarding? Let us know in your comments below.

10 Ways Agencies Are Using VR And AR For Business

Virtual and augmented reality are two hot topics right now in marketing and business, and they're slowly making their way into the mainstream. Many people want to be a part of implementing exciting technologies like these but don't know where to start, especially in a business setting. To help better understand how agencies are putting this tech to use, we asked members of the Forbes Agency Council how their companies do so. Their best answers are below.

1. Use It For Fun

We use virtual reality on Fridays to help the office unwind. Since we're in the creative field, I feel this helps our employees realize that there are things out there so cool, you should never settle for average. If you have ever used VR, you know what I mean. We also have plans to begin working on a virtual office walkthrough so people can "visit" our office without having to actually be there. - David Kley, Web Design and Company

2. Get Trials With AR

Through the power of accessible AR, we've helped users try on new beauty looks, imagine furniture in their living room, get up close for early access sneaker views and "test drive" a car’s aesthetics without going to a dealership. - Kieley Taylor, GroupM

3. Explain Concepts

With any medium, the first thing we do is ask ourselves how it will help engagement. It’s not about ticking off a box. It’s about spending time with the strategy and figuring out what the right tactic is for the end goal, whether that’s AR, VR, a video or a face-to-face conversation. We want people to feel like no other medium could’ve explained a concept better. That’s what we strive for. - Chris Cavanaugh, Freeman

4. Enhance The Customer Experience

Technology has a “buzz” to it in experiential marketing, but it’s important not to let that drive your decisions and, instead, decide how it can enhance the experience. Both AR and VR can add tremendous value as long as it’s authentic and not forced. We encourage our clients to consider the right experience for their consumer first, and then we look at how adding tech can bring the vision to life. - Jessica Reznick, We're Magnetic

5. Build And Reinforce Teams

VR has been an instrumental tool in cultivating camaraderie within our office. We have virtual reality team-building sessions, where we set up friendly, cooperative competitions among our staff. An example of this would be having teams of two defusing a bomb through a VR simulation or navigating through a haunted house. - Chad Recchia, Awlogy

6. Marry Paper And Digital

We decided to merge print and digital by using AR on our business cards. We have eight-panel folded business cards that include short descriptions and pictures of our core products and services. Business cards are small, so it's hard to fit a lot of information on them. We included AR to marry an explainer video with each service. The AR includes floating information buttons, too. -David Kovacs, Allegra Princeton

7. Be Transported Before Traveling

Our firm represents many awesome travel and tourism brands. We were one of the first to leverage virtual reality to help potential travelers get a taste of a destination and experience it virtually before making the leap. But what we also know is that technology alone isn't enough for many shoppers; they value positive reviews recommendations from friends, media and influencers, as well. - Daryl McCullough, Citizen Relations

8. Offer Corporate Training

Professional corporate VR training offers team members a faster and more detailed solution. Provide employees with an in-depth, hands-on experience versus just theory. Such VR-powered training will help generate better overall results and a faster learning curve as employees go out into the field. - Timothy Nichols, ExactDrive, Inc

9. Create Immersive Experiences

At Trekk, we specialize in creating immersive experiences for our clients, and we often incorporated augmented and virtual reality to capture an audience’s attention and truly transport them. We particularly like to use these technologies at events to drive traffic. The key is to ensure that the interaction is meaningful and that the tech isn’t relegated to a flashy gimmick. - Sarah Mannone, Trekk

10. Give Virtual Tours

As a PR firm focused on the telecom and tech space, we work with data center operators that have been using virtual reality to provide tours of data centers. Leveraging augmented reality, they can help customers design the optimal space, position key enabling mechanics and provide tours to anyone, anywhere. - Ilissa Miller, IMiller Public Relations

Originally posted in Forbes Agency Council

Virtual Reality: Catalyzing the Future of Work

Virtual Reality: Catalyzing the Future of Work

Often associated with gaming, virtual reality has the potential to drive the future of a wide range of industries. This article outlines how virtual reality will change the face of healthcare, manufacturing, and journalism.

Future Of Work

For many, virtual reality (VR) likely conjures images of game-obsessed teenagers wearing goggles, marveling at the sensation of riding a rollercoaster or floating through space from the comfort of home. But the most significant future virtual reality applications will likely go beyond pure entertainment, dramatically changing the way people think about their work. It’s no secret that virtual reality has the potential to influence daily life. Consumer applications, such as gaming, continue to crowd headlines as companies vie to capture the public imagination and spark VR’s mainstream adoption. Since its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR in 2014, Facebook has been a particularly prominent player in the space, with some projecting that the company may spend more than $5 billion annually on virtual reality in the next few years. “Social is not only important to Facebook’s mission, but to the future of VR,” writes Gene Munster, Managing Partner of Loup Ventures. “VR will need a social aspect before there will be mass adoption of the technology.”

There are numerous virtual reality applications that have the potential to fundamentally shape a range of industries from manufacturing to journalism, healthcare and more.

Yet this emphasis on consumer-oriented, social virtual reality applications masks the potential VR technology has to make a splash in the enterprise space and steer the future of work more generally. There are numerous virtual reality applications that could fundamentally shape a range of industries, from healthcare to manufacturing, journalism, and more.

To understand what the future of virtual reality might look like, it’s instructive to first examine virtual reality’s past. Beginning with an overview of the history of virtual reality technology, this article outlines some of the most powerful virtual reality applications on the horizon – those poised to shape or upend entire industries. Connecting virtual reality’s history, and some of its original use-cases, with its current and future enterprise applications will clarify that VR’s technological potential has always extended far beyond gaming.

In a sense, enterprise applications actually mark a return to – not a departure from – virtual reality’s technological roots.

From the Pilot-Maker to the Sword of Damocles: A Brief History of Virtual Reality

The history of virtual reality begins decades before the term “virtual reality” was coined, and long before the rise of digital technology.

In 1929, Edwin Link built the Pilot-Maker, the first-ever flight simulator and arguably the first example of an artificial environment simulated by technology. Spurned by flight schools, Link first sold his invention to amusement parks. Eventually, however, Link’s flight simulator caught the attention of the Army Air Corps (precursor to the U.S. Air Force), which purchased six simulators in 1934. Within a few years, the Pilot-Maker had spread to 35 countries, and Link’s newest model would train 500,000 pilots during World War II.

Following World War II, virtual reality applications expanded into the entertainment industry. In 1955, Morton Heilig wrote an essay, “The Cinema of the Future,” in which he envisioned an immersive cinematic experience that stimulated all five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). He put his idea into practice, and in 1962 patented the Sensorama Simulator, a device that incorporated sensory experiences like wind and odors at appropriate points during a given film. The Sensorama never garnered enough financial backing for mainstream adoption, but it laid the groundwork for subsequent virtual reality iterations.

“The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter.”

Ivan Sutherland took virtual reality another step forward in 1965. As head of the Information Processing Techniques Office at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) – the Department of Defense’s primary research and development arm – Sutherland wrote a paper, titled “The Ultimate Display,” advancing a new model for physical interaction with the digital world.

“The ultimate display would, of course, be a room within which the computer can control the existence of matter,” Sutherland wrote. “A chair displayed in such a room would be good enough to sit in. Handcuffs displayed in such a room would be confining, and a bullet displayed in such a room would be fatal.”

Three years later, Sutherland developed the Sword of Damocles – the first virtual reality head-mounted display.

Much like computers of the same era, the Sword of Damocles was large, unwieldy, and not suited for popular use. As the first head-mounted display, however, it established a crucial model for future, goggle-based ways of accessing virtual reality.

Why Does the History of Virtual Reality Matter?

While an early or mid-20th century flight simulator may seem a far cry from what we now think of as virtual reality, the development of flight simulator technology was crucial to future virtual reality applications. Several engineers who would later be among the pioneers of modern virtual reality, including Morton Heilig and Ivan Sutherland, were in the Army, Army Air Corps, or broader military industrial complex and would surely have been aware of – and perhaps directly exposed to – the flight simulator. Heilig, Sutherland, and other VR pioneers developed their technologies and applications in this context.

Link created the flight simulator with a practical goal in mind. Though bought by amusement parks before the military, this early application of virtual reality technology was fundamentally geared toward enabling practitioners to perform their jobs more effectively. More specifically, the flight simulator aimed to significantly influence the future of work for pilots.

Modern virtual reality applications are developed for enterprise with a similar intent and spirit in mind.

Virtual Reality Sparks Enterprise Innovation

Current and future virtual reality applications have the potential to spark dramatic improvements in a broad range of industries and revolutionize the way practitioners work within and think about their fields.

Healthcare

From the standpoint of both potential social and financial impact, physical therapy and pain management represent two of the most significant virtual reality applications currently in use. Substantial research going back to the beginning of the century has shown virtual reality to be effective in pain mitigation, and this solution has assumed a new urgency with the U.S.’s rising opioid epidemic. A 2016 study examining virtual reality’s effect on chronic pain had participants use an application called Cool!, developed by DeepStream VR in 2014. The study found that the application reduced pain by 60 percent, and that 100 percent of the study’s 30 participants “reported a decrease in pain… between pre-session pain and during-session pain.”

“We could be on the verge of a new era of pain treatment in which medications are rarely used, and VR is a primary treatment modality.”

The author of the study, Dr. Ted Jones, a Clinical Pain Psychologist at the Behavioral Medicine Institute, believes that virtual reality may one day be a viable alternative to opioids for pain treatment.

“Past studies have shown that VR is very good at pain relief, so we need to adapt what has been done to date and develop new ways of treating pain in our opioid[-taking] pain population,” Jones said in a 2017 article published in Clinical Pain Advisor. “We could be on the verge of a new era of pain treatment in which medications are rarely used, and VR is a primary treatment modality.”

As Dr. Jones’ statement implies, virtual reality has the potential to fundamentally change the way doctors and other medical professionals think about treating pain, which could also have important ramifications for a range of other players in the medical field – the drug industry and the pharmaceutical companies currently producing billions of dollars worth of painkillers foremost among them. This application also demonstrates the power of gamification – using games or game-like applications, such as Cool!, toward productive engagement with a given service.

Manufacturing

Virtual reality is also poised to influence the future of manufacturing. A 2015 survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 72.5 percent of U.S. manufacturers saw virtual reality or augmented reality as either moderately, very, or extremely important for U.S. manufacturing global competitiveness in the next three years.

In terms of how manufacturers are actually using this technology, PwC explains further:

“[Some companies] are using [VR and AR] for remote maintenance: picture a field technician that relays a live image of a part that needs to be fixed and a remote colleague supplies relevant data, instructions or images that could serve as a virtual repair manual. Or, smartglasses that help track complicated assembly processes to ensure that all parts are assembled in the right sequence without the down-time of consulting a clipboard, manual or even tablet.” At Lockheed Martin’s Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory (CHIL), engineers and product designers use virtual reality to collaborate on building virtual prototypes. As Lockheed explains, “This allows engineers and technicians to validate, test and understand products and processes early in program development, when the cost, risk and time associated with making modifications are low.”

“VR enables Lockheed Martin to stretch the limits of what is possible, and at the moment, the possibilities for VR seem limitless.”

Virtual reality has changed a variety of jobs at Lockheed: “Technicians can practice how to assemble and install components, the shop floor can validate tooling and work platform designs, and engineers can visualize performance characteristics like thermal, stress and aerodynamics, just like they are looking at the real thing.”

In addition to these applications promoting greater cost and time efficiency, Lockheed sees virtual reality as a key tool for continuing to innovate: “Lockheed Martin sees many applications for VR beyond its current use. VR enables Lockheed Martin to stretch the limits of what is possible, and at the moment, the possibilities for VR seem limitless.”

While much has been written about the potential for machines to displace humans in manufacturing, virtual reality stands as a tool that can significantly enhance manufacturing efficiency without necessarily displacing human labor.

Journalism

In a sense, virtual reality represents a new mode of storytelling. It is unsurprising, then, that it is also poised to play an increasingly significant role in the future of journalism.

“Immersive content will change how journalists tell stories, and how people consume news.”

In a 2017 study, the Associated Press determined that “the production of 3D content will soon become commonplace in newsrooms around the world,” and that “Immersive content will change how journalists tell stories, and how people consume news.”

Widely-read journalistic outlets are already experimenting with such content. A 2017 New York Times piece, “Life on Mars,” included a series of 360 degree videos enabling readers to explore the “Mars-like conditions” in which a team of researchers lived (isolated on Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii) during a NASA-funded study. The Guardian has published a number of pieces employing virtual reality and has created a “Guardian VR app,” which readers can use to readily access virtual reality journalistic content.

As the aforementioned Associated Press study mentions, virtual reality has a number of important journalistic implications that require further thought, from changing what sorts of topics and content readers are interested in, to reducing the editorial control publications ultimately have. Still, it seems clear that virtual reality will play a role as journalists forge into the future.

Looking Toward the Future

With technological roots in the early 20th century, the concept of virtual reality is not new. Yet virtual reality applications are still in their infancy. We have only scratched the surface of what virtual reality is potentially capable of, and its most significant applications have likely not yet been developed.

Touched on only briefly in this article, augmented reality also stands to make a significant impact on the future of work. Rather than creating an immersive experience the way virtual reality applications do, augmented reality seeks to enhance physical objects with digital features or data. While some have suggested a sort of technological competition between AR and VR, implying only one will emerge dominant, it seems likely that both will play roles in guiding both the future of enterprise and entertainment.

Historically, virtual reality has always married entertainment with practical use. It’s clear that today’s virtual reality applications – and likely those going forward – will continue this trend. The gaming industry will undoubtedly benefit from the rise of VR, but it should come as little surprise to see virtual reality playing an ever-increasing role in the way businesses – and industries – work.

Originaly posted by Toptal Toptal Research

10 min read

A new birthday party option for kids ages 7 to 18 in the heart of Brooklyn

A new birthday party option for kids ages 7 to 18 in the heart of Brooklyn.

YokeyPokey Virtual Reality (VR) Club opened last summer and is now offering birthday party and corporate event packages. The arcade provides virtual reality gaming experiences, Minecraft, and 360 degree immersive experiences during the party.

The full library of games is customized for any age. Race cars, shoot down space aliens, play Minecraft in VR, create and destroy cities, paint in an immersive painting experience, and much more. Strap on the headset and enter a world like you never have experienced before.

YokeyPokey parties and events include exclusive use of the entire space, the entire library of games, the 360 degree video library, and helpful staff who will set you up for every experience, explain how everything works, and ensure you have maximum fun.

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STATEN ISLAND YANKEES PARTNER WITH YOKEYPOKEY TO OFFER MILB’S FIRST SEASON-LONG VIRTUAL REALITY SUITE EXPERIENCE

STATEN ISLAND- New to Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George for the 2018 season, the Staten Island Yankees are partnering with YokeyPokey Virtual Reality Club to provide Minor League Baseball’s first season-long virtual reality suite experience.

“Offering unique family-friendly experiences is what the Staten Island Yankees and Minor League Baseball are all about,” said Ian Fontenot, Director of Communications & Entertainment for the Staten Island Yankees. “Our team is thrilled to partner with YokeyPokey to provide a fresh and engaging element to the game day experience at Richmond County Bank Ballpark. I can personally attest to how much fun YokeyPokey’s product is.”

The virtual reality experience is available as a $500 add-on to the team’s $1000 luxury suite offering which comes with 20 tickets and a $400 food & beverage credit. YokeyPokey will provide a library of family-friendly games perfect for both children birthday parties and corporate outings alike. And for the VR rookies, a customer experience provider will be there to guide you along the way. One VR suite is available for all 38 Staten Island Yankees home games and is reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. To inquire about renting a VR suite, fans can call the Staten Island Yankees front office at 718-720-9265.

“We are excited to work with the Staten Island Yankees baseball team to bring virtual reality to the stadium,” said George Casseus, Business Development Manager for YokeyPokey Virtual Reality Club. “VR is new, fun and futuristic, and the Staten Island Yankees are really forward-thinking and innovative in creating an even more immersive sports experience. The guests are going to love this!”


YokeyPokey brings VR to everyone through private parties and events, team and corporate outings, fundraisers or just walk in to our location a block away from Barclays Center. We cater the experiences to our guests and their passions. Fighting zombies, becoming the next race car driver, traveling the world, or stepping into a painting that you created yourself are just some of the unique adventures our visitors experience through VR gaming and 360-degree videos. VR is new, fun, memorable, and makes your dreams a reality. Kids, teens and adults welcome! Visit us at www.YokeyPokey.com or at 537 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY.


The Staten Island Yankees are the Single A-Short Season Affiliate of the New York Yankees and play at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. The Staten Island Yankees are six-time New York-Penn League Champions (2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011). For more information, visit siyanks.com.

Senior Centers & Adult Day Care Visits

YokeyPokey has been working with senior centers around NYC, specifically in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens bringing Virtual Reality to seniors. The response has been nothing short of amazing.

On a monthly basis the team takes our mobile equipment and brings it to each of these centers preloaded with specific content. Mostly the content is 360 degree videos which are immersive and takes the viewers to another location. For the seniors this is mostly their first experience with Virtual Reality and one of the most technical things they have ever done.

Experiences that let seniors travel around the world without leaving their location, watch 360 videos, face their fears and play some active games that get them moving are some of the offerings that YokeyPokey brings on each of these senior visits.

Carl Estera of Sundance Day Care said "This is a great way to introduce new technologies to elders, it gets them excited to try new things. They couldn't stop talking about it"

Our equipment is mobile and easy to transport and setup on location making it ideal for offsite events. If your organization is looking for something different to do, reach out to YokeyPokey Virtual Reality and we will customize a program for your group.