Virtual Reality Prepares Federal Employees for Workforce Realities

With a focus on automation and digitization in government, there is a perceived fear that, just like the science fiction films and books warned, robots will take over our jobs (and potentially later, the world). The reality is that while some manual jobs will be "taken over" by machines, there is still a huge need for people to train and double check those technologies. In automating rote functions, we are letting machines do what they do best - quickly capture and compute data -- and freeing humans to do what they do best - make sense of the machine's outputs.

Government agencies are committed to training employees to reskill them into higher value jobs that allow them to not only keep their job, but elevate their skills and place in the organization. It is not surprising that technology will also play a big role in that training.

Virtual Reality (VR) training is not new to government. The Defense Department has been using it for years to create a realistic environment for training soldiers on expensive combat equipment and preparing them for new terrains and environments. Civilian agencies have begun using VR and Augmented Reality (AR) to better connect with citizens, making interacting with government services feel like playing a video game. Taking the lessons learned from Fortune 500 companies, the government can now extend their use of VR to general workforce training. Continue reading

So, You’ve Got an App for That. Now What?

A mobile app launches in the App Store, but no one downloads it. Does it make an impact? Unlike the philosophical exercise of the "if a tree falls in the forest" question, this similarly worded one has a definite answer -- if no one is using your mobile app, the work and resources you've put into it are wasted.

The ubiquity of mobile devices, the comfort with apps, and the options for no-code development all have made apps a real option for all types and sizes of events. With app adoption, event organizers can reduce paper, create more interactivity with the audience, and gather data on their experience before, during, and after the event. Today, we want to focus on making sure people are using event apps so that these benefits can be realized. Continue reading

We’re Virtually There: Virtual Reality Gets Real for Government

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies are becoming more mainstream in consumer life as well as in the business of government. While the military has long used virtual reality simulations for training, the Pokemon Go! phenomenon brought AR to the masses and opened the door for the use of virtual worlds in many more situations.

First, some quick differentiators-

  • Virtual Reality - A user is completely immersed in a simulated world. Usually achieved by wearing a headset or entering a simulation chamber. Virtual reality experiences tend to be solitary endeavors.
  • Augmented Reality - A user can move around in the real world while interacting with the virtual world via a device, typically a smart phone.

Government organizations are using both AR and VR in a variety of ways to improve workforce productivity as well as citizen service. The American Museum of Natural History is enhancing the experience visitors can have with dinosaur exhibits with the "Dinosaurs Among Us" app that is similar to Pokémon Go. For government teams, virtual reality glasses are being used to replicate physical spaces so that someone at the office can see exactly what someone in the field is seeing. Continue reading