Innovation Spotlight

Virtual Reality Tools and Relocation Challenges

Virtual reality is making the move from a novel idea to a more mature tool that can transform how people interact with their environments. 

Analysts at VR industry research firm Greenlight Insights predicted VR revenues would reach more than $7 billion by the end of 2017 and total close to $75 billion by 2021, signifying aggressive year-over-year growth. For companies that operate globally, VR technology can effectively link together people and experiences from Dallas to Cape Town. Practical applications for VR can also be found within the workforce mobility sector.

Mobility-related companies can leverage virtual consultations to conduct “in-person” sessions with a client and host a virtual tour of their home and its contents, which is matched with their new location. These virtual consultations can simplify the process and reduce some of the stressors and uncertainties that come with long-range relocations.

Practical Applications  

Virtual home consultations are shaping the relocation process by effectively eliminating geographic borders and providing potential relocation clients with an immersive view of their new environments. They provide a layer of context that cannot be duplicated through traditional video or photo-based viewing experiences.

A video walkthrough of the client’s home can uncover items that will need to be relocated and/or pieces of furniture or other personal belongings that should be stored during the duration of the assignment. Virtual platforms can be linked to a secure viewing portal to protect the security of the client. There are virtual tools that can record environments and then upload them later, allowing them to be used in areas with little or no Wi-Fi coverage.

Meetings with the client that are conducted as virtual consultations provide the mobility firm with personalized information about the client that can be used to present ideally matched housing options. Concerns from the client can be addressed in real time: For example, is there parking in a garage or on the street? Does the apartment building offer an elevator, or will the client need to climb three flights of stairs every day? Exploring such questions within the context of a virtual consultation allows the mobility firm to present much more accurate contextual answers. The company can also review the virtual consultation themselves to uncover potential problems or issues for the client, so they can proactively make adjustments early in the relocation process.

Additional benefits of the virtual consultations approach for managing relocations include:

  • Capital costs can be reduced because relocating employees might not need multiple—or any—in-person visits to their new location.
  • Scheduling of the consultation can be done outside of traditional work hours.
  • By engaging in a virtual consultation, clients are able to receive a visual receipt of what was discussed and agreed upon for shipping.
  • The use of virtual consultations reduces the impact on the environment, as the consultants are not on the road, which contributes to fewer carbon emissions and less traffic congestion.

Mobility companies operate in a competitive and truly global landscape. Their clients expect staff members to be relocated as seamlessly as possible. By providing a virtual-based experience, workforce mobility firms can resolve many of the nagging questions posed by long-range relocating staff. Instead of hopping on multiple 12-hour flights over the course of a month, the client can utilize virtual-based experiences to satisfy personal questions such as “Will my kitchen table fit?” and quickly become comfortable with their new surroundings.

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