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Heath Bauman, Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO), NetSmart Plus

Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Office: Where’s Dilbert when we need him the most?

No doubt you’ve seen the hilarious videos of people wearing Virtual Reality (or VR) headsets experiencing some kind of intense situation that only they can see.  Whether it’s on a virtual roller coaster, or they’re lost in Jurassic Park with a T-rex on their tails, it’s entertaining to watch their reactions to a world that is being presented to them through some kind of augmented reality or virtual environment device.  If we put the entertainment aspect of VR aside, though, we can see where this type of technology will soon revolutionize our jobs in the workplace. Imagine getting to the office in the morning, whether you work in a physical building, or out of your spare bedroom, and the first thing you do is put your VR goggles on to start your day.  Whatever your physical office looks like, it’s now transformed into a plush, high-end, CEO of Silicon Valley-type office overlooking the Grand Canyon.  The walls are covered in displays, showing your work just as you left it the day before, waiting for you continue.  Maybe you’re mining data for that report that is due tomorrow.  Maybe you’re a helpdesk technician, and each ticket is displayed as a floating cube in front you presenting different angles of data, as you talk through a solution face to face with an end user.  Or you’re an accountant, and you can visually see the Profit & Loss as you make transactional changes to the general ledger.  This type of virtual reality will no doubt give us the tools we need to become even more valuable, as we are continually asked to multitask to the nth degree. Companies are already producing products that will revolutionize the office environment.  Microsoft has been putting a ton of resources into the development of their HaloLens product.  They may look like simple “safety glasses”, but what they’re doing with them will revolutionize manufacturing, healthcare, service, and many other industries.  Expect to see more mainstream use of these products as costs come down, and more and more companies continue creating apps for them. With this new office reality, we can’t help but wonder what situations Dilbert will get himself into now!