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I can’t help but hear Eminem’s Love the Way You Lie track in my head when I hear the phrase “What happens when social media meets virtual reality?” because, just like in the track, it may not be as crazy at it seems.

Everyone knows about social media/collaboration, however virtual reality (VR) is a newer concept.  It involves the use of eyewear that virtualizes a space around us and augments our actual reality, and can even send us into a completely virtual world of experiences that can envelop our sense of sight, hearing, and touch, and smell.

While these two technologies are interesting for consumer use, the impact on society’s bottom line is realized when these technologies are combined and applied for use by businesses to run simpler.  It may sound crazy, but it’s not as crazy at it seems.

A recent partnership announcement between SAP and Vuzix demonstrates the business value of virtual and augmented reality in how businesses run and manage a warehouse (check out the demo video here) and how field technicians complete their work faster and without errors (see the video here).

FieldTechnician.jpgUsing the example of the field technician, when you combine the VR technologies from SAP and Vuzix with the social and collaboration tools, like SAP JAM, technicians will not only be able to perform the work safely and effectively, but they can also share project updates, tips for repairs, and even video or audio instructions for their colleagues through connections to social media and collaboration platforms – directly from the VR glasses. So, as field technicians learn faster and better ways to work, they can share that with colleagues immediately, helping the business as a whole operate more efficiently and reducing risk of errors and even injury!

This is just one example of many that can help us see that crazy can actually be our new normal when a tornado meets a volcano – in our case, when social media/collaboration meets virtual reality.

And, it’s our digital self that will make the social/virtual combination that much more robust.  Sensors, mobile devices, and predictive analytics can be added to ensure the safety of our workforce, achieve efficiency in our business, and uncover new opportunities for society.

It’s the Networked Economy, and it is here.

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