Foreword by Jay Fraser, Global Head of VR for Training at HP, to our VR/AR Training Industry Sector Report

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Come see Jay Fraser speak at our VRARA Enterprise Summit at LiveWorx on June 10th

First off, thanks to the folks at the VR/AR Association for moving the industry needle and serving as the connecting file for companies across the ecosystem. Before you get cracking on this wonderful report, allow me to share some perspective on training and how VR/AR disrupts the norm.

Training Overall

There is a head scratching data point that I have been referencing lately: corporations collectively spend $350 billion on training each year. To put that in perspective, corporations spend more annually on training than the Gross Domestic Product of 83% of the countries in the world. And what are the results? Before we get there, think about the last time you experienced company training. Was it effective? Were you engaged? Did you remember anything? Answers are probably overwhelmingly no. And you aren’t alone. Most executives think that their company learning and development is ineffective and many employees do not think they are effectively trained to do their job and/or find their training useless.

So what’s the problem?

In a word, practice. To be effectively trained, employees must be afforded the opportunity to practice what they learn. Ask any athlete, first responder, or military service member how often they practice. One of my favorite quotes is from Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer Rowdy Gaines: “I swam around the world for a race that lasted 49 seconds.” I came across this quote in a book analyzing the characteristics of top performers. Practice is not easy, both physically, but also, and more importantly for the purpose of this audience, financially. Think of the economic cost of delivering effective training to a workforce: the logistics, facilities, content, instructors, and employee “downtime”. It’s tough to scale good training but training is crucial to having productive employees. Add to the mix an aging workforce, a skills gap, fleeting employees and we are bordering on a training crisis!

Why should you care?

As an employee, you should want a safe, productive work environment and well-trained, capable teammates. Safety shouldn’t be overlooked. In the US alone, 14 people per day die at work in preventable accidents. As a member of society, you should want humans to stay sharp, adaptable, and relevant, particularly with the onset of artificial intelligence and the employment implications. A recent McKinsey Global Institute Report purported that over the next decade, as many as 375 million workers may need to switch occupations.  As an executive, you need to balance two objectives: 1) taking care of employees and 2) hitting profit goals (not mutually exclusive). Better training results in more effective employees who can make better decisions and ultimately boost productivity.

What to do about it?

Innovate or die! Embrace immersive technologies. VR/AR provide a unique ability to enable deliberate practice on a mass scale. Because it’s a virtual rendered world, any scenario can be replicated and practiced over and over again with randomization injected to throw multiple scenarios at the trainee. Randomization is a key variable as it avoids “teaching to the test” and exposes trainees to an infinite number of scenarios. Think of a pilot. How many times do they get to experience an actual crisis? Hopefully, never. Yet, they are expected to be able to make split second decisions when placed in that situation.

Who is using VR/AR for training?

To quote the great Jim Collins, “the flywheel is in motion.” Companies across just about every industry are either testing, piloting, or deploying VR/AR for training; the momentum is real. Let’s focus on only a few. Retail: Walmart recently announced that it will deliver VR Training to all stores in the United States and train more than a million employees (thanks STRIVR for making this happen!). Aerospace: several major airlines are leveraging VR to familiarize its flight attendants with the aircraft and the proper protocol in getting underway. Energy: Siemens has started to implement VR to train personnel on the maintenance and operations of its large gas turbine engines within its Energy division. Technology: look no further than my own company, HP! Our learning and development organization is developing inclusion training in VR. Also, our print global services business is piloting a VR procedural trainer on one of our large printing presses. Military: at least one large country in the Middle East is deploying squad sized dismounted troop trainers and the US Army recently announced a $480M deal with Microsoft. Law enforcement: Netherlands police department is testing VR for crime scene investigation, domestic violence, and presentation skills. The list goes on and on.

It's time to reinvent training

Another favorite quote of mine from my time as a Marine Corps officer: “we don’t rise the occasion; we sink to the level of our training” – Archilochus. HP and the many companies featured in this report are committed to enabling effective training (i.e. practice) on a mass scale. Our founders Bill and Dave believed in reinventing themselves and their company. To mark HP’s 80th anniversary this year, let’s work together to reinvent training. Enjoy the report and the creative and innovative means by which companies are doing just that.

If you are interested in being featured in this report or want to receive a copy, email