Beyond the POC: How to Scale XR at your Company
January 28 2020
You’ve successfully completed your first XR proof of concept (POC). You found a use case relevant to your company, decided on the metrics you wanted to measure, found the best solution given your specific constraints, and implemented that solution as best you could. You realize that XR is no longer the experimental technology whose benefits still have to be proven. But now comes the real test. How can you scale XR at your company?
This article will focus on the four most important points that you need to consider for scaling XR. Each of these points comes from Circuit Stream’s experience teaching XR to hundreds of developers and helping big enterprises roll out XR to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of employees over a wide variety of use cases.
For each of these points, we will spend a few paragraphs talking about the questions you need to keep in mind if you want to scale XR independently, and a paragraph on how the Circuit Stream Platform is created in such a way that it solves each of the points. Let’s go.
How will you give your employees access to your XR projects? That’s the question at the heart of XR distribution. This, in itself, can be split into two more questions. Firstly, how will you give your employees access to physical VR or AR devices? Secondly, how will you give them access to the latest versions of your XR apps?
The first question has no clear-cut answer. It will depend on your use case, your budget, and a wide variety of other variables. For example, if you want to use XR to train your employees to stay compliant with government regulations, shipping a few cheaper Oculus Quests to locations around the world might do the trick. If, however, you’re using XR to train a limited number of employees with highly specialized skills, you might consider building a dedicated room with the more immersive Valve Index devices.
While your XR POC will have answered a few of these questions, it’s worth considering them again. Your circumstances might have changed now that you want to deploy a particular XR solution to many more employees.
Once you understand how you’ll give your employees access to XR devices, you need to consider how you’ll give them access to the latest versions of the XR apps you’ve built for your use cases. This should be done in the most streamlined way possible, as you cannot scale XR if there’s too much friction. So sending a .exe file over email will not do.
The Circuit Stream Platform serves as the central hub for all your XR apps. Users can log on and have immediate access to the specific apps they need and your XR developers can upload the latest version of your apps. It’s a frictionless way for everyone to access the XR apps they need, wherever they are and whichever device they use.
What will you measure and how will you measure it? Once you’ve answered the questions around distribution, these are the next important questions to consider. Again, your POC will have answered these questions in part, but you’ll want to think about them again with scale in mind.
It’s easy (tempting, even) to get lost in the many things that you can measure. At this point in your XR journey, it’s best to focus on a few metrics that you consider the most important for your use case and your company. Do not overcomplicate it.
Additionally, try and tie a dollar value to your metrics. What’s the dollar value of shaving a few hours off of onboarding an employee with XR? What’s the dollar value of no longer needing physical assets and resources to train employees? Dollar values will make it significantly easier to further justify scaling XR across the business.
The chart below demonstrates analytics collected through the Circuit Stream Platform, tying the number of repetitions that the operator completes in VR to their proficiency in the real-world.
The next graph, also collected from the Circuit Stream Platform, demonstrates the difference in the number of training days it takes for operators to be qualified on the job, comparing regular training to VR training.
Measuring the effectiveness of XR is a tricky business if you don’t have a platform that automates much of it. The Circuit Stream Platform keeps track of the metrics you’ve defined, whether that’s the number of times someone pressed the wrong button, how fast they completed certain tasks, or anything else. All these metrics are easily accessible in the platform and give you the opportunity to draw important lessons from a lot of data.
How will you learn from what you measure? After all, it’s one thing to have metrics that prove the effectiveness of XR, but another thing to use those metrics to learn and improve the XR experience for your employees.
The difficulty here is that you don’t know what you don’t know. At the beginning of your XR journey, the apps you develop, what you measure, the way you scale, etc… will inevitably be imperfect. That’s okay. You’ll never have perfect information; you need to start somewhere. What’s important, however, is how you improve from there.
After a certain period of time, it’s worth reevaluating your metrics and giving some thought to the other things you could measure. What are you missing? Listen to your employees. How can you improve the XR experience? What are some of the inconveniences you want to get rid of? Think broadly and experiment.
The Circuit Stream Platform makes it easy to introduce new metrics after you’ve done such an evaluation. On top of that, developers can create separate instances of the same XR app to A/B test which instance is more effective at measuring a specific something. All without introducing unnecessary friction to the end user. It allows you to be more effective and get more out of the money you’ve invested in XR.
XR should not live in a vacuum; it should be integrated with the rest of your company. For example, wouldn’t it be useful if you could integrate your library of 3D assets with your XR apps? That way developers and designers wouldn’t need to spend time recreating these assets for XR. If you’re looking to scale XR, you’ll need to consider how easily your XR solution can integrate with the other systems in your company.
The Circuit Stream Platform integrates with your LRS, LMS, and HCM platforms. Additionally, the platform and its SDK has the ability to standardize your data. This is particularly interesting if you have different departments (or even third parties) that use similar data in different ways.
Naming conventions are a typical example of where things can quickly get confusing. While “look at”, “gaze”, and “observe” might all mean the same thing, they’re different database entries that won’t automatically be merged unless you standardize such data.
But this kind of similar but different data should never be an insurmountable obstacle. The Circuit Stream Platform makes it easy to integrate XR into your company’s existing tech stack.
You’ve successfully completed your XR POC and you want to scale XR at your company. To do so, you’ll need to consider distribution, analytics, feedback, and integration. The questions we mentioned in this article will help guide you on this journey.
Whether you're just about to implement your first AR/VR business solutions or you're already looking to scale, check out our INVISTA case study. You'll read a practical use case on how to implement, measure, and scale XR solutions.