The recent release of Oculus’ new standalone VR HMD, named Go, marks a watershed moment for adoption of XR technology. The consensus among journalists and reviewers maintains Go is nothing to write home about in terms of graphical quality or immersion. This is mostly due to the absence of both a high-end LED-based display and 6DoF tracking. However, this conservative build has resulted in a dramatic cost savings. Now, any consumer or enterprise can painlessly engage with virtual reality content across a wide variety of use cases for less than $300.
Oculus themselves appear confident in the Go’s ability to disrupt even their own stake in enterprise VR, as the Business edition of Go (complete with international charger and expanded commercial licenses and warranties) is already available for pre-order. Citing intuitive controls, ergonomic design, and immersive spatial audio drivers, the new bundle offers a significant value for enterprise clients. In particular, use cases where user volume is high and a lack of hardware presents a bottleneck for VR development stand to benefit.
Even against its main competitor, Samsung’s Gear VR, which ostensibly appears to present a better value, the Go is significantly more cost-effective after factoring the cost of secondary equipment (a Galaxy smartphone). Without these costs, the Gear, like it's high-end competitors, is unusable.
Training More, For Less
Meanwhile, the company continues to showcase both consumer-facing and internal use cases for their HMDs. While these are not geared specifically to showcase the benefits of one device over another, certain scenarios, particularly those in training, would benefit greatly from the increased organizational bandwidth afforded by the use of multiple headsets at once.
Verizon, for instance, touted an 8% increase in retention in training customer support representatives using proprietary VR software. Wal-Mart has deployed Oculus hardware to train over 100,000 employees to deal with unpredictable scenarios on the sales floor that are difficult to replicate in traditional training methodologies. In both cases, the ability to move more users though training in less time results in a massive, scalable improvement in overall performance.
Oculus Go does not represent a massive technological advancement for XR. Its significance is in the new niche it has carved out for itself in the market and its status as the most promising driver of virtual reality adoption ever released. The company has purposefully built a device which compromises only minimally on quality but makes VR accessible to an exponentially greater number of users than ever before. As a result, enterprises have an entirely new tier of hardware to explore in which to build and deploy content to accomplish a variety of goals and see an even greater ROI than with traditional high-end VR.
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