Martyn Hannah, writer and consultant to the gambling and casino industry, says virtual reality will change the way businesses recruit and train staff
The virtual reality (VR) revolution is well underway, with devices such as Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View now readily available for consumers and businesses to purchase. It is still early days for the technology, with mass adoption months if not years away. But the opportunities presented by being able to immerse a person in a virtual environment are already being understood and the scale and scope of the technology explored.
So far, the focus has been on using VR as an entertainment tool – game developers are creating virtual worlds for players to explore, Facebook debuted its first VR app back in March, while Sky News recently launched a 360-degree VR video tool. But the power and flexibility of virtual reality means its uses can be extended way beyond entertainment to communication, education, consummation and business. It can also be used to help recruit and train staff.
In a recent post on the 888casino.com blog, the online casino operator discussed how VR will change the day to day running of casinos around the world. In particular, they looked at how it will impact the way croupiers are hired and trained, and the ways it will streamline the process.
The gaming industry employs over 100,000 staff in the UK alone, many of whom require specialist training.
One of the key things the 888casino.com post touched on was training; currently croupiers attend academies to learn the rules of the games, how to run tables, collect bets, ensure the integrity of the games and so on. Courses usually run for eight weeks, and while the result is a highly-trained and competent dealer, they do throw up some issues regarding location, logistics, and fully preparing croupiers for life on a real casino floor.
VR has the power to change all of that.
The technology will allow casino operators to trainer croupiers remotely. All they will require is a headset, a computer or smartphone and an internet connection. They will download a training app to their chosen device, pop on their headset, and begin training immediately. They won’t have to drive tens or hundreds of miles to training facilities, and can start immediately without having to wait for a course to become available, which can take weeks or even months.
In terms of how croupiers are trained, the technology transports them to a real-world gaming environment. As soon as they don the googles they find themselves at a real table, where the cards and chips are real, and engaging with real players. It brings the training program to life, replicating the atmosphere on a casino floor.
The training app, designed and built by the casino in conjunction with an application developer, will teach trainees the rules of the game, when and how the cards should be dealt and how to ensure the game is being run fairly and transparently. Some of the simulated games may feature a player that is trying to cheat the house, or a damaged deck of cards – things that may happen only on a handful of occasions in the real world and are hard to replicate in a staged training environment.
It allows croupiers to be exposed to a whole host of situations and scenarios and practice how to deal with them. But unlike traditional training programs, VR transports trainee dealers to a real-world casino environment that is fast-paced, exciting and lively, as opposed to a sombre, inauthentic practice exercise.
From a cost perspective, VR can help casino operators – and other businesses – reduce the amount they spend on training. As VR adoption rises, the price of hardware will tumble, and especially if companies and corporations buy headsets on bulk. The device and training application can then be used over and over again to train hundreds of staff, instead of having to fork out for individual courses and schemes.
VR also enables businesses to train hundreds of staff at the same time. The technology can be used to create highly accurate models and situations that can be accessed by a theoretically limitless number of people simultaneously. A training course may only have twenty places, but when it comes to VR headsets hooked up to an application, the technology can cater to as many trainees as a business needs to put its way at any given time.
The quality of training will be far superior with VR. The technology ensures staff learn in a real-world environment from the get go, and know what to expect when they hit the ground running. VR also enhances the training experience, and is more fun and engaging than traditional methods. It is highly interactive, and can incorporate peer review, professional feedback and ongoing assessment during the training period.
Of course, it is not just the gambling industry that will benefit from VR when it comes to recruitment and training. The military, emergency services, doctors, architects, engineers, train drivers, athletes, real estate; the list of sectors and services where virtual reality can be applied to HR goes on and on. And as the technology is developed further, and is better understood, even more businesses will be able to get in on the action.
The virtual reality revolution is now very much underway and it won’t be long before it completely changes the game for recruitment and HR. VR bridges the gap between the digital and real worlds’ a powerful combination that recruiters, HR professionals and businesses should be doing all they can to leverage and take advantage of.