Strivr is Training the Athletes and Workers of Tomorrow with Virtual Reality Technology
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Virtual reality is finally here!
After decades of unfulfilled promises made by filmmakers and science fiction writers, the ability to step inside a fully immersive virtual world is now possible. VR technology has found itself into many homes around the world and is likely to become even more popular as the levels of fidelity and immersion improve.
Once the stuff of video games and other frivolous pursuits, virtual reality technology is now finding its way into industry as companies the world over look for innovative ways to use the technology to increase efficiencies and revenue.
Into this space steps Strivr. Founded in 2014 by Derek Belch, a former graduate assistant football coach at Stanford University, Strivr aims to combine VR technology with Belch's coaching expertise to help train people in all careers and from all walks of life.
"Videos, PowerPoints, lectures, manuals," said Strivr founder and CEO, Derek Belch. "They don't present information effectively enough to drive learning, retention and behavior change, and they're boring! VR affords the end user a learn-by-doing experience that is scientifically proven to be more effective than traditional, 2D methods."
Strivr claims its virtual reality training solution can result in learning retention rates up to 75%. This is compared to an average of just 10% when learning via reading or lectures alone.
With virtual reality, staff can be trained for peak periods (such as holiday seasons) way ahead of time and employers can be confident their people are equipped with all the knowledge and experience they need when the crowds arrive. VR can also help train staff in the use of new equipment before it has even been installed. Not only is training with virtual reality more efficient and effective than other learning methods, but it is also 100% safe - perfect when training staff to use potentially dangerous machinery.
Staying true to its founder's roots, Strivr also offers virtual reality training solutions for athletes and sports teams. Being able to test different plays and maneuvers without needing to suit up or risk injury is a great way to improve teamwork and sculpt a winning team.
"The decision to leave my coaching career behind wasn't easy," adds Belch. "My mentor, Stanford's head football coach, David Shaw, convinced me to go entrepreneurial and even invested in Strivr to help get the start-up off the ground. That David believed in this idea, and in me, was all I needed to hear to take the leap."
Strivr recently announced it had secured a further $16 million in venture capital investment from GreatPoint Ventures, adding to the five million the company had previously raised.
The new investment will allow Strivr to send 17,000 Oculus Go VR headsets to thousands of Walmart stores as part of a new training partnership the retail giant has just made with the startup. Walmart joins BMW, JetBlue, Fidelity, the NFL, Tyson Foods, and others, on Strivr's increasingly impressive list of clients.
"Virtual reality has been up and down the hype cycle a few times," said Strivr investor and Signia partner, Zaw Thet. "The time when every household has some form of VR headset is coming, but as we all know, it has taken a while and may take a while longer. The beauty of Strivr is that they aren't dependent on widespread consumer adoption of VR headsets. With just 17,000 headsets, Strivr will train more than one million Walmart employees at the stores they work in."
With Strivr's technology, tens of thousands of Walmart employees will be able to tour stores, understand warehouse layouts, and train on processes and systems, all without leaving the training center and without mistakes yielding any consequences. This will help ensure the first time a new employee steps onto a Walmart shop floor, they are fully equipped to confidently deal with anything which may come their way.
Virtual reality technology certainly holds a lot of potential as a training tool. It's thanks to innovative startups like Strivr that we're now starting to see its use becoming ever more prevalent.
"This is a new era of learning, and Walmart continues to lead the way," said Belch. "The power of VR is real, and when offered as a cornerstone of learning and development, it can truly transform the way an organization trains and develops its people."
Virtual reality technology is set to be a hot topic at Future Stores Seattle 2019, being held in June, at The Sheraton, Seattle.
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