Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are quickly becoming more than just a novelty for today’s business leaders. Critical tools for everything from training to collaboration, these headsets are changing the way we interact on a daily basis. Since the pandemic hit, VR has become even more valuable.
Access to the right VR headset has emerged as a potentially crucial tool for ongoing team productivity and performance. As a result, the VR headset market size is expected to reach a value of at least $84.09 billion by 2028.
The question is, if you want to take advantage of the benefits VR has to offer, how do you go about comparing your headset options? What should you be looking at to ensure you make the right purchasing decisions?
Let’s find out.
Step 1: Tethered or Untethered?
One of the first thing you’ll need to decide when choosing a virtual reality headset is whether you’re going to be linked to a computer system by a wire, or not.
Tethered headsets are VR headsets with a consistent connection cable linking you to a console or PC. The cable means the console can transmit VR signals and huge amounts of data to the headset.
Untethered headsets are “standalone” products which require no connection cable to ensure a VR experience. Instead, these headsets rely heavily on your Wi-Fi connectivity to transmit and receive content. Because they’re wireless, these headsets make it easier for you to immerse yourself in the VR situation, with fewer cables to trip over or hold you back.
While Untethered headsets give you freedom of movement, they’re also limited in the sheer power they can offer. Tethered headsets, alternatively, are usually able to handle more graphically intensive apps and systems, so you can create a more comprehensive experience for your teams.
Step 2: Know Your Use Case
What exactly are you hoping teams can do with your headsets? Do you want everyone to sit in a meeting room-style environment and collaborate with their colleagues wherever they are?
If so, a tethered headset with a connection to a proprietary meeting room solution might be the best option. You could even create your own dedicated app just for secure meetings.
On the other hand, if your VR headsets are going to be a method of training your employees how to deal with complex field scenarios, you’re going to need your staff to have a lot more movement.
You may need to look into additional sensors for tracking movement so your teams can interact with virtual content. You’ll also need to think about how much space you have for your staff to move around.
Thinking carefully about how you want to use your headsets will help you to make better decisions about the kind of technology most-suited to your team.
Step 3: Look at Immersion
Immersion in virtual reality relies on a number of factors, from the quality of the virtual images to the extent to which your team members can interact with the virtual assets in an app.
We’ll come back to the importance of getting the visuals right in a moment. However, outside of things like screen resolution, you should also think about how your VR headset is going to make an experience as realistic as possible for your team.
Look at the audio included with the headset. Does the system use unique audio delivery methods to ensure your employees get a spatial “surround-sound” experience? If someone feels like noises are coming from where they’re actually supposed to be in a virtual space, this will make the environment feel more authentic.
It’s also worth considering things like “tracking”. For instance, will you be using sensors and motion tracking components with your headsets, to ensure team members can actively interact with objects in the app.
Can you use haptic feedback tools to make the experience more realistic? Maybe your VR headsets could also offer eye and facial tracking, to help improve the resolution of an image for your team where they need it most or convey facial expressions in meetings.
Step 4: Prioritise Good Visuals
The exact quality of the visuals you can get from a VR headset will usually depend heavily on your budget. However, it’s worth noting that a high-quality image will always make your virtual experiences feel more authentic and realistic. The better the “resolution per eye”, the more likely your staff members are to feel like they’re actually interacting with a new world.
High-quality virtual reality headsets should ensure they’re delivering the best possible visuals at all times. This will include not only offering high-resolution screens but using technology to ensure the right processing power is dedicated to the correct actions.
For instance, eye-tracking technology can allow your headset to determine where your employee needs to see the highest number of pixels at any moment, optimizing processing speed.
The quality of the visuals in your virtual reality headsets will also be dependent on the adjustability of the headset too. If you can enable your employee to adjust the position of the screens in their headset according to their needs, this should allow for better focus.
Step 5: Consider Comfort
Finally, as fantastic as today’s VR headsets are, they’re not always as comfortable as they should be. While high levels of comfort might not matter too much when you’re investing in headsets for short-term and irregular use, the same doesn’t apply for VR-intensive work. If you’re going to be relying on your VR headsets for countless collaboration and focus-work sessions, they need to be comfy.
Look for VR headsets made with the best, lightweight material and the most comfortable padding options, to ensure your employees can use the headset whenever they need it. Investing in tools with plenty of adjustment options is usually a good idea too.
Where possible, asking your staff members to try on and rate the comfort of different headsets might be a useful step if you’re going to be investing heavily in VR devices.