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Technology & Entrepreneurship

USAA Among Companies Embracing Augmented, Virtual Reality Technologies

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Paul Flahive | Texas Public Radio
A USAA employee demonstrates how Microsoft's HoloLens headsets can be used to train employees.

A survey last month from the Harvard Business Review showed two-thirds of executives asked said augmented reality and virtual reality were important to their companies’ strategic goals in the next 18 months.

Respondents said it was more difficult to implement AR and VR, but 87 percent also said they were piloting something or exploring ways to use the technology now.

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Credit Courtesy Harvard Business Review

"It's one of several new waves of interacting that two or three years from now will really be more of the mainstream," said Chris Cox, chief digital officer at San Antonio-based financial services company USAA.

Because USAA members are often active military, they’re highly mobile, Cox said, and USAA has no branches, so it is often innovating its model. It rolled out the first mobile check deposit in its app a decade ago. Cox said the company is currently piloting several ways of using AR and VR internally. Cox anticipates USAA releasing multiple uses for AR and VR over the next 18 months.

"We're always looking for ways to allow our members to interact with us in a way that is richer and more interactive experience," he said.

The company is looking at several use cases for its employees benefit as well.

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Credit Courtesy Harvard Business Review

In its report, “Mixed Reality: A New Dimension of Work,” HBR documented how Mercedes-Benz rolled out a failed attempt in 2014 to use augmented reality headsets to train service technicians. Now with more mature product lines for headsets, the company is using some headsets for training and plans on deploying the practice to its 6,000 dealers.

 
Paul Flahive can be reached at paul@tpr.org or on Twitter @paulflahive