Wal-Mart plans to use virtual reality – including Oculus Rift headsets and a collection of VR training content — to train the approximately 150,000 employees that go through the company’s Wal-Mart Academy each year, according to TechCrunch.
- Wal-Mart will use VR training experiences from startup STRIVR Labs to help employees prepare to handle a variety of situations in several areas, including management and customer service. The retail giant has been testing the technology at 30 of its training centers since January. The company now wants to roll the program out to all 200 of the academies by the end of the year, according to the report.
- The training experiences, which are meant to supplement traditional instruction, will be 360-degree video-based and will include scenarios where trainees are asked to make decisions after encountering various situations. Classroom participants and instructors will be able to follow along on a video screen.
VR technology has improved dramatically over the years, and as a result more businesses are using it for a wide range of training and educational experiences. Now that Wal-Mart has joined in, it’s likely to encourage even more businesses to get onboard with VR.
In the enterprise, VR can do things like allow workers to see and interact with data, which could help businesses improve productivity. By using the new approach to employee training, Wal-Mart is working to reduce training costs while upping retention of key concepts.
The appetite for virtual technology is also increasing. VR headset device shipments for both the enterprise and consumer markets is expected to reach 99.4 million units worldwide in 2021, up dramatically from the 10.1 million units shipped in 2016, according to International Data Corporation.