Haven’t heard the term “VRaaS” yet? Just wait. If you're into SaaS, get your goggles on and sit tight. Virtual reality software as a service looks set to spearhead the future of the cloud.
Walmart, Lockheed Martin and Verizon are already using virtual reality services. Other design, marketing, training and collaboration use cases are emerging too. Early adoption hurdles like clunky hardware are in the rear-view. Inside the ecosystem, a critical mass of active users and developers is building. VR is coming to the enterprise – and business leaders must be ready.
Early iterations of VR were expensive and cumbersome. Usage was a novelty, focused on gaming and entertainment. But the tide is shifting. For example, Techcrunch reports exponential growth for the AR market, suggesting expansion from an active installed base of 900 million users to over 2.5 billion users and $60 billion revenue by 2024.
Tractica also projects that enterprise spending on VR/AR will be roughly 35% greater than consumer spending on VR/AR entertainment by this year.
VR Vision Group notes that today, up to 60% of enterprises are applying VR in some way. They cite Toyota’s VR training for hazard identification and Exxon Mobile’s virtual training garages for pipeline workers as some of the latest enterprise adopters.
Start of Enterprise VRaaS
These market size and growth estimates don’t connect with some execs. The numbers feel abstract. Mapping these billions of users and dollars to their businesses isn’t intuitive. But this should resonate: VR subscription services, or "VRaaS" looks eerily similar to the early days of SaaS.
Tech companies aren’t just manufacturing VR headsets, they are investing in infrastructure to support VR use in the enterprise. These advances aren’t sexy, and they don’t make headlines. But they'll unlock enterprise adoption.
Facebook’s new Oculus for Business updates center on infrastructure for business administrators, developers and end users. Its software suite includes device setup and management tools, enterprise-grade service and support, and a new UX for business use. Facebook is also working with IT vendors to integrate VR into existing workflows.
Walmart, Ford, Verizon and more getting VRaaS ready
More recently, enterprise VR training company Strivr partnered with Walmart to roll out 17,000 Oculus Go headsets to 4,700 stores and 1 million employees. The company offers one of the world’s largest VR training programs, including running associates through Black Friday simulations.
Because VR simulates realistic, but safe, environments its use in enterprise training is growing. According to one study, VR-based training programs reduce training time by 40% and improve employee performance by 70%, compared with traditional computer and in-person learning.
Verizon also reports using Oculus to train 22,000 employees across the US.
Employees at Ford Motors are piloting a VR software to design new vehicles. Inside a VR design program, one manager created a rendering sketch in 40 hours. This takes months using traditional design methods like 2D sketches and CAD software. He describes the innovative approach as “prototypical of how we might operate in the future.”
Others are taking on tools like Slack and Zoom with immersive, VR collaboration. Immersed, a telepresence app, offers a VR workspace targeting remote workers. It features a variety of virtual environments and rooms for up to 8 employees to meet, share screens and draw on whiteboards. Teams interact like they’re in the same room, without the cost of getting together. Immersed’s promo video shows how workers can boost productivity with multi-monitor support and document manipulation too.
VRaaS challenges look a lot like your SaaS ones
Declining costs, self-service options and well equipped mobile devices point to VR uptake. Perhaps this sounds familiar? It should. Similar breakthroughs in personal computing and licensing paved the way for SaaS growth last decade.
And despite SaaS’s ubiquity in the enterprise, companies still struggle to manage it. Finance and IT leaders redirect headcount and dollars to grapple with shadow IT, license mis-management, and contract compliance.
Leaders should expect similar challenges as VRaaS goes mainstream.
Processes need implementing to control costs, manage assets, and maintain data and license compliance. Cleanshelf’s discovery and optimization platform can take the guesswork out of software management – no matter the department or subscription type.
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Our SOC 2-compliant solution connects to all financial, HR, and Single Sign-On systems, and uses AI technology to identify subscription services, locate user licenses and provide spending insights.
Employee training, remote working, design and sales demos are a few of the myriad VR use cases surfacing. Eager digital natives and a tech-savvy workforce will find others too. And when they do, don’t expect IT and Finance to get looped in.
Cleanshelf is the leading enterprise SaaS management platform focused on tracking, controlling, and benchmarking SaaS applications. Their SOC 2-compliant and AI-powered technology helps companies save up to 30% on their SaaS spending by automatically identifying unmanaged contracts, duplicate licenses, and wasted cloud software subscriptions. Based in San Francisco, Cleanshelf provides an enterprise-grade solution to over a hundred clients, including Hilton, Looker, and CoStar Group.