Most people don’t have the cash, space or expertise to build a room-scale, multi-headset VR rig inside their home. Handling VR in bulk is primarily used in collaboration environments, such as businesses. Businesses could much more easily dedicate a VR room, have staff knowledgeable enough to set it up and achieve a constant flow of customers or co-workers to make it all worthwhile.
With more businesses embracing the opportunities created by the technology of virtual reality, the window of possibilities for their operations has expanded exponentially. Breakthroughs in VR technology have allowed big companies such as Johnson & Johnson, DHL, ExxonMobil, and Wal-Mart new ways in which to operate efficiently. This includes immersive training, practical application, customer service, marketing, finance, and more. All of which has created a high demand for virtual reality in the workplace.
Businesses are expected to play a major role in VR's continued growth. If you are considering deploying VR in your business, organization, or collaborative environment, there are a few things to consider and anticipate first.
Deploying a large number of VR headsets in one setting can be a bit of a challenge. Not only is this a technically demanding feat, but also poses potential fulfillment issues as well.
This is our guide to handling VR in bulk.
According to Oculus for Business Support, Oculus currently does not offer any bulk pricing discounts for any of their headsets.
However, Oculus for Business does provide businesses and organizations with the tools needed for a comprehensive VR business solution, including hardware and, starting in late 2019, a software subscription and on-demand support.
For hardware, Oculus offers the Oculus Quest and the Oculus Go in business editions. Seeing as both of these headsets are standalone, meaning they do not require a tethered PC connection, this proves efficient in terms of setup and cost. The business edition 128GB Oculus Quest is $999 before tax, while the business edition 64GB Oculus Go is $599 before tax.
As mentioned, these prices include the Oculus for Business enterprise-grade software subscription with your purchase. The one-year subscription will begin once the software is released in late 2019, end 12 months after activation, and automatically renew for $180/year.
Also included with the subscription is a commercial license, a consumer license, as well as a commercial warranty and a consumer warranty.
Covers use within public/commercial environments. Includes multi-user capabilities and sharing of the headsets for user-to-user.
Covers home use by one individual user. This user would remain the same at all times.
Covers all use of the headset, no matter how heavy. Whether side-loading your own bespoke app, using the device in developer mode, or altering the settings. Wear-and-tear of the straps, controllers, etc. is also covered within the warranty.
Covers reasonable use of an individual, single using apps within the Oculus store, with no amendments to the standard headset setup.
Please note, Oculus only ships to supported countries:
US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the UK.
Similar to Oculus, HTC currently does not offer any bulk pricing discounts for any of their headsets either, but they too offer a comprehensive VR business solution instead.
Please note, the HTC VIVE Focus Plus and HTC VIVE Focus are the only HTC headsets that are standalone. The HTC VIVE Pro Eye, HTC VIVE Pro, and the HTC VIVE all require a tethered PC connection. This is definitely something to consider in terms of setup and cost.
The Enterprise edition versions of the following headsets are priced as follows:
|Headset||Price (Before Tax)|
|HTC VIVE Pro Eye||$1599|
HTC VIVE Pro
HTC VIVE Focus Plus
HTC VIVE Focus
As mentioned, these prices include the Advantage subscription service. In addition to a commercial-use license agreement, Advantage also offers dedicated support and service utilities for VIVE Enterprise products. Each program offers varying degrees of protection, support, and device management. Click here to see the different options.
Please note, HTC only ships to supported countries:
US, Canada, China, Australia, Germany, the European Union, France, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Middle East, Middle East Arabic, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, and Vietnam.
A cheap alternative to buying a large amount of premium VR headsets, like those offered by companies like Oculus and HTC, is Google Cardboard.
Google Cardboard is the company's affordable answer to a VR experience: It's a no-frills viewer which users can insert their phones into. It fits screens up to six inches, and the company says it works with most eyeglasses, too.
And yes, Google Cardboard is, in fact, made of cardboard.
Since (almost) everyone owns a smartphone, this could be perfect for certain companies, startups, or organizations just getting acquainted with using VR in their operations. Google Cardboard retails for $15 from the company (or $25 for two viewers). We went to checkout, and discovered that up to 10 two-packs can be ordered at a time, so you can get your hands on up to 20 units per order.
Another cool advantage of using Google Cardboard is the option for company-branded units/more customizability. Great for marketing, creativity, and overall uniqueness.
Please note, Google Cardboard only ships to supported countries:
Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States (except Puerto Rico).
Deploying VR in Bulk
Depending on what your use for multiple headsets is, you may be traveling to-and-from with a large number of headsets at once. If so, you will need a travel case.
Check out our article for the best travel cases for the Oculus Quest, but please note that all headsets included in the article are for single units. Check out our new Business Edition Four-In-One Oculus Quest Travel & Storage Case if you are handling a large number of Quests.
Cleaning VR Equipment
If you are deploying, managing, and handling VR in bulk, you are aware that all of that equipment is not cheap. Not only that, but heavy use of VR equipment over time can easily become a hygiene concern. With the right care, maintenance, and hygiene, your equipment will last and continue to perform for as long as you need it to.
Infectious diseases can be spread by sharing VR headsets without taking proper hygienic precautions, so you'll want to make sure to reduce the risk as much as possible.
The most common infectious diseases and are usually transmitted by close contact with the saliva or nasal secretions from an infected individual are influenza, strep throat, pink eye, and meningitis. Because of the enclosed nature of HMD’s, they can become quite warm, causing the user to sweat and increase the risk of infectious disease to others using the equipment.
Here are some tips to keep your equipment sanitary, maintained, and functioning.
- Wipe the lens and foam of each headset using a microfiber cloth, the same kind you would use to clean glasses or a computer screen (the last thing you want to do is scratch the lenses). Dab the cloth into water or soapy water when necessary.
- Use non-alcoholic bacterial wipes between every 5-10 uses. The residue from alcoholic wipes can be a bit harsh on people's skin, as well as the equipment itself.
- Keep your VR headset somewhere where it won't collect dust. Use a can of compressed air to blow out any excess dust and debris buildup.
- Optional: Use disposable VR mask covers in between each use. They can be difficult and troublesome to deal with at times, but they will save some of the hassle in the long run.
- Optional: A nice little tool used to clean DSLR cameras and lenses is the Lenspen. At one end there's a small soft, cleaning tip. At the other is a retractable brush. Great for excess specs of dust.
You'll want to keep a supply of these items fulfilled, as most of these items are consumables that will need to be replenished periodically.
Got any other VR handling tips you want to share? Think we missed any? Tweet us @baserealityco !
By Brandon Kerman