Enterprise gets a new tool for VR training with the Pimax Crystal. Exchangeable lenses and wider field of view are some of the biggies here!
Since finding it’s way into enterprise as a solution for training and workflow, companies have seen many benefits of using virtual reality (VR) for areas such as recruiting, training, collaboration, and design. The technology also enables teams to work more collaboratively by allowing individuals to share a digital space across different geographical boundaries, and is being widely used in product design to help visualize and refine ideas, which can result in lower costs and faster time-to-market.
The adoption of VR in the enterprise, though slower than some anticipated, is mainly driven by its ability to immersive learners into a training environment where they feel like the situation is real and have real responses. Using VR, the learner is transported into scenario that feels real. Within this context, their responses are based on real reactions and real decision making. Plus, because it’s through VR, you are removing boundaries of the real-world that might come with role playing exercises such as hesitation to participate, or feeling silly during the role-playing exercise, and you will have more realistic results for improved return in data.
Delivering a VR training experience requires hardware and with companies such as Apple, Meta, HTC, Pico all providing hardware solutions for both gaming and enterprise, it’s still a market that growing. That latest company is Pimax, and we got our hands on the new Pimax Crystal, VR headset for a hands-on review specifically focused on how this headset would deliver VR training and will look at the headset from the perspective of enterprise.
Before we do that, let’s revisit some of the benefits of using VR technology with training:
Key performance indicators (KPIs) play a vital role in an organization’s pursuit of achieving their training and engagement objectives. These metrics serve as a cornerstone for both strategic and operational enhancements, offering a comprehensive and robust insight into the areas where successes are evident, as well as those where challenges may arise.
Clearly, the significance of KPIs in evaluating the effectiveness of training cannot be overstated. Any method to amplify these metrics would confer a significant advantage to any organization striving to reach their training objectives.
Virtual reality (VR) has demonstrated its immense potential as a training tool for organizations such as Walmart, VISA, and Nationwide, leading to improved employee training outcomes and enhanced engagement. Furthermore, VR can positively impact an organization’s finances by reducing the time and costs associated with employee training.
Notable findings from VR implementations include:
- Approximately 80% of users reported feeling better prepared for their roles after utilizing VR.
- An impressive 82% of users believe that VR surpasses all other forms of training they have experienced.
- At a prominent global auto manufacturer, an overwhelming 99% of trainees recommended VR training.
- The retention rates associated with VR training can reach as high as 75%, as indicated by the Masie Center’s Immersive Realities for Learning and Performance report.
Leveraging virtual reality technology to measure KPIs allows us to transform these metrics into a multisensory, immersive experience, surpassing the conventional understanding of KPIs. This approach goes beyond the confines of traditional KPIs, providing deeper insights that can yield substantial advantages in diverse areas, ranging from reducing Time-to-Fill metrics to enhancing leadership training and overall employee engagement.
Learning and Development
The data reveals that employees who incorporate VR/AR technology into their Learning and Development (L&D) experiences not only retain information more effectively within a shorter timeframe but also perform exceptionally well on their learning evaluation exams compared to those who do not utilize VR/AR-infused L&D. Furthermore, it demonstrates a significant 30% increase in training satisfaction among employees who engage in training through VR/AR technology.
VR/AR has the remarkable capability to transport employees into fully immersive digital environments, fostering empathy and enabling them to confront potentially hazardous or challenging scenarios without real-world consequences. It offers both physical and emotional feedback and empowers learners to explore various options within a personalized learning environment.
Through this innovative training approach, employees are liberated from the confines of the traditional classroom setting, where they often spend extended hours seated at a desk. Instead, they find themselves actively engaged in the L&D process in unprecedented ways.
Learners have the opportunity to interact with the virtual environment, manipulate objects, and develop muscle memory by physically engaging in the training exercises. VR/AR training provides an exceptionally immersive environment that allows employees to extract maximum value from the L&D process, enabling them to achieve feats that would be challenging or impossible to replicate in the real world.
Soft Skill Training
A more efficient approach to soft skills training can be achieved through the use of virtual reality (VR). This method can deliver superior results by enabling learners to explore a wider range of options and engage more actively. On the positive side, organizations can anticipate improved key performance indicators (KPIs), substantial gains in data utilization, and a significant boost to their return on investment (ROI).
When integrated thoughtfully, VR technology can seamlessly blend into your existing training strategy, including soft skills development, without disrupting your learning culture or alienating employees. This integration has the potential to foster organic growth within your learning management system (LMS).
In a VR soft skills training scenario, two individuals may engage in a role-play exercise.
One of the most effective techniques for honing soft skills is through role-playing. This activity empowers employees to practice handling diverse scenarios, thereby enhancing their abilities in communication, leadership, and conflict resolution. It also facilitates repetitive practice of these scenarios, leading to a better grasp of skills such as active listening, interpreting body language, and discerning tone of voice.
Pimax Crystal Review
Pimax has approached their Pimax Crystal headset as a gamers dream but with much bigger plans to for VR adoption in enterprise for training thanks to it wide-FOV (field of view) and eye-tracking technology thanks to its latest firmware update. Some things to mention is that the headset offers two modes with standalone mode and a tethered mode, which could be very appealing for enterprise training. A wider FOV (field of view) and interchangeable lenses means much improved visuals, which is crucial for workforce training.
The standout feature of the Pimax Crystal is its breathtaking display. Sporting an impressive 4K resolution per eye, this headset delivers a higher visual clarity than any other headset. From the moment you put on the headset, you’re enveloped in a world of unrivaled detail and realism, crucial for precise tasks in professional settings thanks for an impressively wide FOV. The expansive field of view further augments immersion, eliminating the tunnel vision effect often associated with other VR headsets.
Eye-Tracking for Foveated Rendering and Animated Avatars
One of the standout features of the Pimax Crystal is its eye-tracking capability, which has broader implications in enterprise use cases. Eye-tracking technology opens the door to foveated rendering, a technique that reduces the computational demands on GPUs when running high-resolution PC VR applications. In an enterprise setting, where complex simulations and data visualization are common, this feature can significantly improve performance and reduce hardware requirements.
Moreover, eye-tracking enables the creation of animated avatars that can be employed for virtual meetings and presentations. This not only adds a level of immersion but also enhances communication and collaboration within the enterprise. Imagine conducting a virtual conference with lifelike avatars that respond to participants’ gaze and gestures, making interactions more engaging and productive.
Exchangeable Lenses, Auto-IPD, and HDR
As part of its enterprise-focused strategy, Pimax has made a deliberate choice not to integrate Fresnel or pancake lenses into the Crystal VR headset. Instead, the company has opted for interchangeable, glass-coated aspherical lenses. This strategic decision is driven by the objective of significantly reducing image distortions, including the notorious God Rays, while simultaneously enhancing image clarity and expanding the field of view.
Pimax offers a diverse selection of lens options, each tailored to specific enterprise needs. The 35PPD lens set, for instance, provides an expansive field of view, encompassing a generous 140-degree diagonal perspective, while the 42PPD variant ensures exceptional image crispness. Notably, Pimax has refined the lens attachment process since the initial introduction of the Pimax Crystal. Now, each lens can be effortlessly installed individually using a magnetic holder, with the option to use screws if preferred.
Pimax’s new QLED displays within the Crystal are engineered to deliver superior contrast and deeper blacks, distinguishing it from similar headsets such as the Quest 2 or the Pimax 8K X. This exceptional visual experience is achieved through an HDR effect enabled by advanced local dimming technology, aligning with the high standards expected in enterprise applications.
Unlocking Standalone Mode for Enterprise Mobility
Standalone mode is another noteworthy addition to the Pimax Crystal’s repertoire. This feature allows users to disconnect from a PC, similar to the Meta Quest 2, Quest 3, or the Pico 4. While standalone VR has primarily been associated with consumer gaming, it holds immense potential in enterprise scenarios as well.
For businesses, the ability to operate the Pimax Crystal without a tethered PC connection means increased mobility. Employees can utilize VR applications and simulations in various locations, from the office to remote work setups. This mobility can be particularly valuable in training and education, where employees or students can access VR content without being confined to a specific physical location.
Implementing Standalone Mode in Enterprise Environments
To leverage standalone mode effectively within an enterprise, the Pimax Crystal does require specific setup and considerations. Updating the Pimax Client Windows app and firmware for the headset and controllers is essential, ensuring compatibility and access to this feature.
Once in standalone mode, the Pimax Crystal offers a user-friendly interface similar to popular VR platforms like the Quest. This familiarity makes it easier for employees to navigate and access VR content, streamlining their experience.
Standalone Tracking for Enterprise Simulations
One of the pleasant surprises with the Pimax Crystal is the accuracy of its inside-out tracking, even in standalone mode. This is particularly relevant for enterprise applications that demand precise tracking, such as training simulations and industrial use cases. The headset’s tracking capabilities rival those of established players like Meta and Pico, making it a viable option for businesses looking to implement VR solutions.
The Pimax Crystal’s eye-tracking and standalone mode features offer promising possibilities for enterprise applications. Whether it’s enhancing performance, enabling mobility, or improving tracking precision, these capabilities can cater to the unique requirements of businesses looking to integrate VR into their operations.
Performance and Graphics in Enterprise Applications
In terms of performance and graphics quality, it’s important to acknowledge that the Pimax Crystal, in standalone mode, may not match the capabilities of high-end PC-connected VR systems. However, its aspherical lenses provide superior clarity and minimize visual artifacts compared to some competing headsets, enhancing the quality of VR experiences.
For enterprise applications that prioritize visual clarity and detail over raw processing power, the Pimax Crystal in standalone mode can offer a compelling solution. Simulations, architectural visualizations, and data analytics tasks can benefit from the improved optics while not necessarily requiring the highest GPU horsepower.
Comfort and Fit
In enterprise applications, comfort during extended VR sessions is paramount. The Pimax Crystal excels in this regard. With adjustable straps, a well-padded headband, and a weight-distributed design, it minimizes strain on the user, ensuring prolonged comfort. While a fraction of users might perceive the headset as slightly heavy during extended use, its ergonomic design and thoughtful adjustments mitigate this concern effectively.
You still wouldn’t want to wear the headset for long work hours, but that’s any headset. However the Crystal is very comfortable during something like an hour long work session, or two with some added breaks.
Performance and Controller Tracking
Powered by advanced technology, the Pimax Crystal offers a seamless and responsive VR experience that’s critical for enterprise tasks. The tracking system is remarkably accurate, guaranteeing precise virtual replication of real-world actions. The included controllers are ergonomic and intuitive, enhancing overall immersion and usability.
Software and Compatibility
For enterprise applications, compatibility and software support are paramount. The Pimax Crystal accommodates a wide range of VR content, encompassing both popular titles and innovative industry-specific applications. However, occasional compatibility issues with certain programs due to the headset’s unique specifications might be encountered. While the software interface is user-friendly, further optimization and broader support for industry-specific software would be advantageous.
The Pimax Crystal features a replaceable battery located at the rear of the head strap. Included in the package is a quick-change 6000mAh battery that easily slides into the back of the head strap, serving as a counterweight. This design enhancement by Pimax promises to provide improved balance for the VR headset and could benefit companies looking to use the headset for enterprise solutions.
Additionally, Pimax aims to offer two interchangeable faceplates for the Crystal headset. The initial option, known as the “Lighthouse Cover,” which will be available at the VR headset’s launch, includes all the necessary sensors for lighthouse tracking. Meanwhile, a “Mixed Reality Cover” is planned for a post-launch release, incorporating cameras for passthrough functionality. This distinction highlights that the Crystal headset does not inherently support passthrough without the Mixed Reality Cover.
Where Does it Miss
Not a lot to mention here, however there is one thing that comes to mind right away, the Pimax Crystal is expensive at $1,600 vs something like the recently announced Meta Quest 3 for $499 and there is no passthrough technology. This wouldn’t be the type of headset you would deploy to the entire workforce or even small division. It doesn’t mean you couldn’t have them in the workforce. For example you could have VR training stations using the Pimax Crystal or key individuals using the headset.
Either way, you’d have to use the headset to deliver a very specific type of training to really embrace the headsets true potential.
A notable limitation in the Pimax Crystal is its relatively limited library of available enterprise focused titles. However, this may not be a major concern for enterprises primarily because businesses seeking to lean on VR for training, data visualization, and simulations may find that they require custom built solutions to meet their specific needs. Of course if you are in need of custom VR training solutions, FS Studio can work with you creating that.
The Pimax Crystal VR Headset offers a lot of potential for enterprise applications. Its unparalleled visual quality, comfortable design, and immersive capabilities make it an great option for professionals across various industries. While some things such as lack of passthrough, compatibility concerns and bigger price may play a role in companies considering other options for VR adoption, the overall package that Pimax delivers is nothing short of exceptional. It’s a matter of how you’ll use it in your organization.
Overall this is a very solid headset and would be the perfect headset for delivering VR training in areas where the learner was required to pay attention to the smallest details as lettering on buttons or dials. I could see industries such as aerospace, agriculture, manufacturing, and even robotics using the Pimax Crystal.
The lightweight feel helps with keeping the learner in the experience all while delivering an amazing visual and audio experience that feels very real thanks to the almost crystal clear and impressive QLED display.
If your enterprise is looking to elevate its VR capabilities with a powerful headset that offers a wide FOV, the Pimax Crystal should unquestionably be at the top of your list of headsets to consider.
To learn more about the Pimax Crystal headset or if you’d like to purchase one, you can check out their website by clicking here.