If you thought virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) were just gimmicks for people with too much time on their hands, you could be in for a surprise.
Both technologies have now progressed to a point where it is feasible to integrate them into business continuity management.
As a reminder, VR creates a virtual world for users to interact with, and is suited to training and simulations (not to mention gaming).
AR, on the other hand, overlays views of the real world with virtual elements, helping users interact better with the real world, by offering help, advice, explanations, and more, specifically targeted to what the user sees. Both VR and AR can help better deal with threats that affect business continuity.
Virtual reality allows users to “experience” catastrophic situations, without putting them in physical danger.
Examples include meltdowns in nuclear reactors, power grid failure, and earthquakes, or simply local flooding, on-site fires, or building damage. Augmented reality adds helpful graphics and information to real life situations, like a graphic showing where power lines and utility pipes lie underground, when the user looks at a floor or terrain on a site.
It also helps data scientists and risk management professionals to better visualise data, and offers the potential to help security experts “see” how hackers and criminals might use different entry points and paths to attack a facility.
The tools for virtual reality and augmented reality are now available to the mass market. There is no need to invest in fancy headsets and wearables to get started.
Facebook just released new camera tools for smartphones that add augmented reality to your screen, even though it is currently aiming at the market for entertainment rather than for work.
However, with APIs (application programming interfaces) for other developers to build applications, it may not be long before we see specialised business continuity AR applications to help BC managers keep tabs on business structures and activities, and spot potential risks before they turn into business interruptions.