Virtual reality has come a long way from being a technology set to take over the world to have become the next big thing in technology. It's been used in the military, medicine, and education but now it's making its way into the business world. With the advent of the metaverse and Facebook pushing VR hard, countless companies, institutions, and organizations have decided to invest in VR for their businesses.
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Join our webinar on May 4, 2022, to learn more about "The Truth About Virtual Reality: The Cost," and how to decide on your make-or-outsource situation effectively.
One of the questions that business heads think of is, can my business afford to set up a Virtual Reality lab?
1. Can businesses afford to set up a Virtual Reality lab?
The first question is whether your business can afford to set up a virtual reality lab and what kind of return on investment (ROI) you can expect from this investment. The cost of buying the equipment for your VR lab can vary greatly depending on what type of VR equipment you purchase and how much content you want to produce for your users. And that brings us to the next question:
2. What hardware and software are required to set up your VR lab?
The cost of buying the hardware and software for your VR lab can easily run into thousands of dollars, depending on how many people need access to the system. The price also depends on whether you want high-end or lower-end equipment. For example, Facebook's Oculus Rift costs $300 per headset, while Microsoft's HoloLens 2 costs $3,500 per unit! Bear in mind that the Oculus Rift is no longer available on the official store. Instead, Oculus is offering the Meta Quest. Similarly, the HoloLens 2 comes in 3 different editions. The basic version is what costs $ 3,500. Costs can go upward to $ 4,950 for the industrial edition, and $5,199 for the version with Trimble XR10.
While this is just the VR headset costs per developer, ideally, you would want to have half a dozen of these so that your development team can work on these and have some for your management to simultaneously check in on their progress. Let us look at the computer part of the hardware now. To begin, you'll want to determine what kind of VR setup you're going to use—head-mounted display (HMD), hand controllers, and so on—and then find out if any special equipment is required for your specific VR platform. For example, the Oculus Rift requires a dedicated graphics card with at least two gigabytes of graphics memory (and preferably four). Different HMDs work better for certain types of simulations (gaming vs. medical applications), so make sure to do your homework before buying anything!
Once you've figured out which hardware will suit your needs, it's time to look at software options. There are several popular programs available today, including Unity3d and Unreal Engine 4—both of which have their pros and cons. So, depending on which field you want to target, you will have to choose that platform. Ideally, your development team should be able to work on both or all platforms to suit your end customer needs.
3. What is the cost of creating content for your virtual reality system?
The final thing you'll need is content for your VR lab: videos and games that people can play on their VR headsets. This is where things start getting expensive; the more sophisticated the content, the pricier it can become. If you are creating the content in-house, then factor in relevant costs like 3D-enabled computers with advanced graphic cards, dual monitors, and an office setup for your art, development, and testing teams. All of this can amount to a few thousand dollars to a million-dollar budget based on your requirements. Assuming you have got the hardware part ready, now let us think of the next logical question from an operational perspective:
4. How much does it cost to create a new virtual reality experience?
It is not unusual for a professional VR experience to cost anywhere from $30,000 to upwards of $1 million. While this may seem high, there are many costs involved in creating a new virtual reality experience that you might not have thought about earlier. For example, to create the virtual reality simulation, you will need software tools that can cost more than $50,000. In addition to this, you will also need specialized hardware (such as servers), which can run upwards of $250,000 per machine. There are also many small costs involved in creating an engaging VR experience, such as haptic feedback devices (which allow you to feel objects in your virtual world) or controllers to manipulate objects with your hands. These devices can range from around $100 to a few $1000 based on their complexity. On top of all these costs, there are many indirect costs involved: employee salaries and benefits, office space rental fees if applicable, etc.
5. What is the cost of recruiting and training staff to run your VR lab?
In addition to the expensive equipment, you will also need specially trained staff to run your lab. The cost of hiring and training staff for your VR lab is often overlooked. Without a skilled professional to run your lab, there is little chance that you will be able to maximize the use of your equipment or even get it to work properly. This is why it is important to consider hiring someone who has been trained in running a VR lab. A good manager should be able to keep track of the available resources and make sure they are used in the most efficient manner possible. While the above managerial resources have to be semi-technical and semi-managerial in their professional profile, let us now consider the technical side of recruitment.
With an average salary of $80,000 for entry-level VR staff and $130,000 for more experienced professionals, the costs associated with staffing your lab can quickly add up.
One strategy is to hire personnel from within the organization rather than recruiting from outside firms. This allows you to train staff already familiar with company policies and procedures. Another option is for current employees to take classes in VR technology at a local community college. The drawback of this approach is that it can take time, which means a delay in opening the lab.
A third option is to hire an outside firm to train your staff. The benefit of this approach is that it can be done relatively quickly and eliminates the need for hiring new employees or waiting for existing ones to complete their coursework. However, it does require paying outside firms their standard fees--$3,000 per employee--for training services.
All of this adds up to a hefty price tag, but it's still very much worth it if you're planning on making money from this latest technological innovation.
6. What is the cost of not investing in virtual reality?
While we have been thinking about the costs associated with investing in virtual reality, one pertinent point to note is your competition and the opportunity cost of not investing. A situation where you choose to not invest in virtual reality, but your competition does could easily result in a significant competitive advantage for your competition.
7. Takeaway: Virtual Reality is still a business investment that needs careful consideration.
Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the most exciting and innovative technologies. It has the potential to transform how we interact with our customers, partners, and employees daily. But like any new technology, it has its challenges.
One of the biggest barriers to entry for small businesses implementing VR is cost. Many companies see VR as a luxury and not an essential part of their business strategy, but that’s just not true. The truth is that if you want your business to be successful in today’s marketplace, VR needs to be part of your business strategy.
However, if you're willing to make the initial investment, the possibilities are endless. From VR-powered interactive onboarding and training programs to new marketing opportunities, virtual reality could be the next big stage for idea sharing and problem-solving.
Closing Thoughts: To source or outsource – that is the big question!
Small players might not be able to implement a full-fledged virtual reality lab immediately and wait for the results to happen. Also, established industries might not have the time to set up a virtual lab on their own. In such circumstances, it makes sense to outsource to a trusted brand and industry leader in immersive reality, who can partner with you for all your virtual and immersive reality needs – be it creating large-scale applications or ongoing VR content for your business needs.
Join Us for Our Next Webinar
Title: The Truth About Virtual Reality: The Cost
Learn about the costs involved in setting up virtual reality for your business!
If you are planning to implement VR in your business or industry needs, learn about the costs associated with setting up your virtual reality lab. Many industries are outsourcing their virtual reality application and content needs.
Join our live webinar to learn more about how to budget for VR content for your industry and business needs. If you cannot attend, register anyway, and we will send you the recording.
Host: Doug Smith
When and Where:
1:30 p.m. EST, Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Zoom Link (sent after registration)
Goal: To help educators, business heads, and industry experts understand the costs involved in using virtual reality for your enterprise needs.
Who Should Join:
- Business & Industry Heads
- Subject Matter Experts
- Content Creators & Educators
- Administrators, and
- Those aspiring to incorporate VR in education, industry, and in business.
Highlights of the Webinar:
- Learn about the costs involved in setting up a virtual reality lab
- Learn how to budget for VR content
- Learn the opportunity cost of not investing and how to avoid it
- Learn to make a make-or-outsource decision
- Grab your opportunity for a free consultation on your virtual reality needs
Outcome: Attending this webinar can help you understand how much it costs to integrate virtual reality for your business needs.