Ultimate Guide to Using VR Devices for Work
VR and AR use in enterprise and education is growing rapidly. Whether you want to train employees, prepare doctors for surgery, simulate flying for pilots, visualize projects for architects or teach anatomy in school––XR presents whole new possibilities.
Why AR and VR for Business?
VR headsets allow organizations to simulate difficult, expensive, or dangerous situations while teaching users how to deal with the real-world equivalent. They provide tools to collaborate, measure, analyze, and learn.
Accenture reports in one internal study that there was 12% higher accuracy and 17% faster completion time for vocational tasks done in VR compared to traditional learning methods.
In addition, that same report includes data from the University of Michigan claiming that surgeons make 40% fewer errors when trained and prepared in VR.
Employee VR training can increase productivity by as much as 70%, according to Oberon Technologies.
VR learners training in soft skills completed training 4X faster and felt 275% more confident to apply skills learned compared to e-learners in a study by PWC.
That same study reports VR learners were 3.75X more emotionally connected to training content than colleagues using in-classroom training.
Unfortunately, there are significant obstacles for organizations wanting to adopt XR devices.
As organizations go from pilot projects to scale, they get stuck.
Without software like ArborXR, setting up a fleet of headsets can take hundreds of hours. Updating them means shipping headsets back to the home base and plugging in cables.
Unfortunately, legacy device management systems (MDMs) aren’t much better. Most MDMs have nominal VR support at best and are very challenging to use. This means admins have no control over the devices, and users have unrestricted access to app stores and the internet.
Time-intensive and frustrating manual steps create friction. And that friction makes it nearly impossible for organizations to scale their VR and AR use-cases because everything quickly bottlenecks at the admin level.
Managing XR devices manually is too time-consuming. Admins will need a solution that scales for hundreds or thousands of devices.
Any XR headset can be manually set up and updated, allowing users to load apps and configure settings.
Manual management is a painfully time-consuming way to manage your XR devices; it doesn’t work as organizations scale from pilot programs to thousands of devices.
No one wants to download apps and sideload apps for every new app update. With devices spread out across multiple locations, this could mean shipping devices back and forth for every new update!
If organizations plan on using app stores to download VR apps, then end-users will have unrestricted access to app stores and web browsers without device management software.
Admins have no insight into what users are doing. Admins won’t be able to track app usage or user learning details.
Users can easily access app stores and web browsers instead of being productive. The only way to lock down devices is with a 3rd party device management system.
And as VR is an emerging new technology, legacy MDMs devices don’t cut it. VR and AR devices aren’t built like phones, laptops, or tablets and require new tools.
Legacy MDMs are built on decades-old technology designed for phones, tablets, and laptops, not XR devices.
Plus, organizations face challenges using legacy MDMs for AR and VR devices.
Most MDMs are not innovating at a quick enough pace to keep up with the demands of XR devices and provide nominal support at best.
Admins are quickly discovering they need a better solution.
Instead, organizations need an MDM built for VR/AR. They need an XR MDM.
What is an XR MDM?
An XR MDM is software designed to manage XR devices, content, and the in-headset experience. It allows you to monitor devices, remotely install content, and manage what users see and do in VR. All remotely.
ArborXR helps companies manage VR & AR devices at scale, remotely deploy content, and control the user experience in the headset. This enables organizations to work, learn and train effectively in XR at scale.
We’re only at the beginning of a new way to interact with the world virtually, and the possibilities are limitless.
In this article, we’re going to look at three areas of VR management that organizations need to deploy a successful fleet of XR headsets:
But first, let’s talk about where to begin.
Getting Started with a VR Pilot
While there are many components to getting started with a VR pilot program, there are three critical areas to consider early on.
- What XR headset to buy
- Hiring an app developer to create content or create content in-house
- How to manage devices (both in the pilot program and as you scale)
What XR Headset to Buy
Organizations need to think about what will make a VR program succeed in the long run.
If you plan on only using 360 video content, an affordable, lightweight 3DOF headset like the Pico G24K could be the right choice. If you need the highest fidelity and long session times, a high-end headset like the VIVE Focus 3 could be the right choice.
Need help knowing which XR headset is right for you? We have a guide for you: learn what enterprise headset you should buy. We compare the best enterprise XR headsets for you to make the right option for your organization.
Hiring an App Developer to Create Content or Create Content In-House
Content is another major conversation for organizations in the pilot phase. Some companies choose to create content in-house. That said, we find that most companies opt to work with external VR app developers to create higher-quality content that has a better user experience and is overall more effective.
App developers like Moth+Flame, Futurus, Miller Creative, and many more are leading the way and working with small businesses, Fortune 500s, and universities to create innovative training content. Working with a VR app developer that has helped guide pilot projects definitely increases your chances for success, and they typically provide more of a white-glove experience to help you not only with creating the content, but getting all the other aspects of your program up and running.
How to Manage Devices
Last, an important discussion early on is what device management solution to use. Even in the pilot phase, the right tool can make your life much easier. Instead of shipping devices back and forth or plugging in cables, you can remotely install apps and updates.
We suggest testing various device management tools early on to set you up for success as you grow your fleet. Companies often assume that their existing device management solution will work for VR, only to run into critical issues as they scale. The truth is there are many challenges facing companies that want to use their legacy MDMs for VR and AR devices.
Now let’s dig deeper into a few important topics you’ll want to consider.
- How to manage XR devices
- How to manage content
- How to manage the headset experience
#1 How to Manage XR Devices
Streamline Device Setup and Enrollment
Setting up XR devices can be a huge drain on time and resources. One of the biggest pain points we hear from customers is how frustrating and time-consuming it can be to set up new devices, enroll them in a device management system, and configure them for end users.
And these frustrations only compound as organizations scale to deployments of hundreds or thousands of devices.
VR is a new and emerging technology, so various methods exist to enroll devices into MDMs, and some are still in development.
Let’s talk about the current best practices for enrolling devices to an XR MDM:
QR code enrollment is the simplest method for enrolling VR devices into an MDM. This is where a QR code is generated via the MDM, and then admins scan the code on the VR device. The QR code links to a profile that is subsequently installed on the VR device, making it possible to control all settings and content remotely from an XR MDM web platform.
QR code enrollment works for most AR devices like the Magic Leap 2, Vuzix, and Realwear. Currently, not every VR device supports QR code enrollment. For example, the Meta Quest does not support QR code enrollment, but Pico and HTC devices both do. This is one reason why it’s important to consider device management and setup early on in VR project planning, as some devices may be easier to setup and enroll with than others.
The most common method of device enrollment right now is to use an XR MDM’s PC-based device setup app. When using an XR MDM, admins plug the device into a simplified device setup app to install device management software. With the XR MDM installation complete, admins remotely control all settings and content XR headsets from a web portal.
In addition, the device setup app allows admins to generate a device configuration package that can provision devices with Wi-Fi networks, settings, files, and apps during the initial device enrollment. While all of these settings can be remotely controlled from ArborXR’s web portal, configuring these during the initial device enrollment will save admins time and bandwidth.
ArborXR’s setup app takes less than a minute, and admins can set up multiple devices simultaneously through a USB hub. ArborXR’s device setup app also supports all XR devices so that you can enroll quickly and easily.
Are you planning a large VR deployment?
Are you planning a large VR deployment? Are you interested in streamlining your device enrollment? Reach out to us, and we will help get you started!
For large deployments of VR headsets, it is often possible to work directly with VR hardware manufacturers to install device management software and content in a more streamlined way.
For example, HTC has an option called “Batch Configuration.” It’s important to note while this is a streamlined enrollment process, it does not occur at the factory level. Instead, this involves creating a profile with HTC’s VIVE Business Device Management System to install device management and/or content more efficiently across many XR headsets with a microSD card. ArborXR worked closely with HTC to enable batch configuration to setup ArborXR on VIVE Focus 3 devices.
While many VR hardware manufacturers are innovating more streamlined ways to offer enterprise and education customers easy setup and enrollment options, our experience has shown that customized device setup is available if a company plans large VR deployments. In certain cases, manufacturers will even enroll headsets in a chosen MDM at the factory and configure it with apps and settings.
That said, each manufacturer’s options are different and are regularly changing. Get in touch with us if you need help navigating the best path for your unique use case.
Challenges with XR Devices
USB Debugging & Developer Mode
As we’ve mentioned, some devices are easier to set up and enroll than others. For example, devices like Pico or HTC currently ship out of the box with USB debugging enabled, enabling admins to install apps immediately. On the other hand, the Meta Quest has plenty of complicated steps to set up before enabling USB debugging, making setup and enrollment much more frustrating.
Developer Mode on Meta Quests
Admins must create a Meta account, go through the automated tutorial and set up steps (that they can’t skip), set up a developer account, and then place the Meta Quest in developer mode. Admins will have to perform this on every device. As a result, setting up Meta Quest devices often takes a lot longer and is more complicated than most standalone VR headsets that ship with developer mode automatically enabled.
Admins may face even more complicated enrollment steps enrolling XR devices with legacy MDMs (most are pretty painful!). Legacy MDMs have very limited VR app support and also have much more complicated steps to enroll VR devices.
In some cases, admins must run multiple terminal/command line prompts through a PC, one device at a time, for the enrollment process. Then admins must navigate complicated menus and settings, and some of the features listed may not even work for VR devices. Unfortunately, enrolling VR devices with a legacy MDM is not a good option for new VR deployments because of how frustrating and time-consuming these MDMs are to use.
That’s why we recommend using an XR MDM instead. Whether using an XR MDM device setup app, QR code enrollment or working with partner OEMs directly, admins can enroll fleets of XR devices easily and quickly.
Configure and Set Up
Enrolling devices is only part of the process. Then, admins need to figure out how to configure settings on XR devices so that when a user turns it on for the first time, they can launch apps and start working immediately.
With an XR MDM installed, admins can configure devices remotely and in batches.
To connect to an enterprise network, admins or users don’t have to put on the headset and type in VR with VR controllers, which can be a slow and frustrating experience.
Instead, admins can remotely provision Wi-Fi networks via ArborXR. ArborXR’s Wi-Fi provisioning support includes support for WPA3 enterprise networks that require certificate-based authentications.
Users turn on headsets, and the devices will connect to the Wi-Fi network you’ve configured (as long as it is within range of the network).
With an XR MDM, admins efficiently manage devices in batches from the web portal. In ArborXR, we call these “device groups.” When you add or remove an app or file to a group, it automatically updates to all devices within the group. In addition, settings can be adjusted and applied to all the devices in the group at the same time.
When managing a fleet of devices, sometimes it’s helpful to divvy up the responsibilities of different tasks. An XR MDM provides flexible tools for device management.
Within ArborXR, admins can configure multiple users on an organization’s account. We call these “user roles,” and each user has a unique login so that admins do not have to share their account information.
Admins designate each user with different levels of permission and share key functions. For instance, one user can enroll devices with the device setup app, another can manage billing, and another can control what content is on devices. Admins can also create custom user roles with specific permissions assigned to them. Learn how to manage users.
An XR MDM gives flexibility and control for admins with enterprise-grade security features and the ability to configure these settings remotely. Having this control at your fingertips will save you time as your deployment grows.
Admins will want to know who is in the headset, where devices are, and remotely erase lost or stolen devices.
Admins can get the approximate location of XR headsets with device location tracking.
Admins can ensure data is not at risk if devices are lost or stolen with a remote factory reset.
For even more security and transparency, organizations can know who uses the headset with in-VR Single Sign-On (SSO). SSO has users type in their credentials to log in to their company’s profile and use the XR device. This will prevent unauthorized users from using XR devices.
Enterprise-grade security ensures devices are protected. ArborXR is trusted by over a thousand companies worldwide and was built in partnership with dozens of Fortune 500 companies.
Now, let’s talk about managing content on XR devices.
#2 How to Manage XR Content
Plan How to Install Apps at Scale
Now that devices are enrolled, set up, and secure, it’s time to consider content.
How will admins remotely manage apps on devices? How will they install new updates without having to manually plug in devices?
Remotely installing apps from an XR MDM platform is the best way to manage XR devices at scale.
Most IT departments would like to use their existing mobile device management (MDM) software to install apps remotely. Unfortunately, legacy MDMs have nominal, surface-level support for XR devices.
Find VR App Support with the Right MDM
Legacy MDM: App Support
XR MDM: App Support
Legacy MDM App Support
Installing content with legacy MDMs requires a lot of time and oversight. Every time an app needs to install or update, admins will have to:
Download the app to their computer
Ensure the app size is less than 2GB (often it is not)
Note: most legacy MDMs have a file restriction of 2GB
Upload the app to their MDM provider
Note: only one app version can be on the platform at a time
Deploy the app remotely over Wi-Fi
Put on each VR headset to ensure the app is installed correctly
Repeat the process for every new app update
What makes this process particularly painful and time-consuming is having to repeat it with every new app update. That means every app update will require downloading, uploading, re-installing, and replacing the existing app on every single headset.
On the other hand, differential updating saves time and network bandwidth. An XR MDM with differential updating pushes only the portion of the app that is new to headsets. For example, let’s say there is an app that was originally 1GB. When an updated version comes out that is 1.2GB, only roughly 200MB pushes to the XR headset. This saves admins tons of time, bandwidth, and headaches.
With app distribution between app developers and organizations, admins wouldn’t even need to download apps to their computers and upload them to an MDM. ISVs give access, and apps show up on an admins dashboard to use. Apps are shared within the XR MDM platform, so admins can always access the newest version of apps directly.
Another frustrating aspect of the normal MDM process is that it only allows one version of an app on its platform at a time. So, if there are issues with an app, admins cannot easily roll back to a previous version.
Instead, admins will have to upload a stable version of the app back to the platform and reinstall the app to all the affected users. This can be a massive waste of time, energy, and resources.
An XR MDM like ArborXR gives unlimited version management and unlimited file size restrictions.
These are just a few examples, but there are many more. And although each point may seem minor, these limitations add up over time. As organizations scale from hundreds to thousands of devices, legacy MDMs become increasingly painful to use for XR devices.
A recent example?
Client X (who asked to remain anonymous) had 4,000 XR devices in over 30 locations. As a healthcare provider, they were excited to get XR headsets into the hands of clinicians and patients to improve patient care.
They deployed their fleet of XR headsets with a legacy MDM platform. But unfortunately, their legacy MDM had minimal app support for XR and no way to lock down the in-headset experience for users. And with all their devices already shipped, admins couldn’t effectively install content, manage devices, or control what users see and do in VR.
So what did Client X do?
Can you imagine spending all that time and money just to start over with the right tools? Can your organization afford to make the same mistake?
Organizations need an XR MDM, like ArborXR, built from the ground up for VR and AR devices to deploy content efficiently and effectively.
#3 How to Manage the Headset Experience
Possibly the biggest challenge organizations face managing XR headsets is controlling the headset experience for users. Without locking down VR headsets, end-users have unrestricted access to web browsers and app stores. It’s easy to get lost in complicated menus, settings, app stores, and browsers.
Admins need a way to confidently manage the headset experience to keep users focused and productive. When users put on a headset, admins can control what they see and do.
Control What Users Can See & Do in VR
How do you manage what users see and do in VR? How do you ensure users focus on the apps you want them to focus on instead of browsing the internet or downloading games on an app store?
That’s where kiosk mode or an enterprise VR launcher comes in.
Kiosk mode restricts the headset to a single app. So, when a user boots up a headset and puts it on, the designated kiosk app automatically launches. Users won’t be able to access any other apps, the web browser, or the app store.
A VR launcher is a customizable enterprise environment in the headset where users can launch multiple apps. Admins can fully control what apps and access users have to settings. Brand the environment with company logos and custom background environments while locking down native web browsers and app stores.
Most legacy MDMs do not offer a VR launcher, meaning users can access the web browser, app store, and system settings with no oversight.
Even many of the most well-known legacy device management platforms don’t support kiosk mode for popular XR devices. For example, according to VMware, while they are working on a launcher, they don’t currently offer kiosk mode on any XR device. Learn more about challenges using legacy MDMs.
To keep users focused on apps admins select for them, organizations need software, like ArborXR, that offers a VR launcher or kiosk mode.
Kiosk Mode in ArborXR
Kiosk mode locks the devices to one single app. This ensures that users don’t get lost in complicated menus, settings, web browsers, or app stores on XR headsets. Users can only pause or play the application admins have selected for them. Admins can also restrict or allow access to system settings (Wi-Fi, screencasting, Bluetooth, etc).
ArborXR Home overrides the default home environment of an XR headset so that users can only access what admins allow. With ArborXR Home controlling the home environment of XR devices, admins control what settings are restricted or allowed and what apps and files are available.
ArborXR Home also allows organizations to upload their own 360 Background and brand logo to give the look and feel of an organization in VR.
Remote launch of apps enables admins to select an individual or group of devices to all launch the same app at the same time. Admins can do this from the web portal. This is a great way to ensure training is accomplished or that users are working in the app that you want them to.
Learn more about remote launch of apps and rebooting devices.
Without a VR launcher or kiosk mode to lock down an XR device, VR at work or VR in education will run into problems. This kind of control over XR headsets is not available with legacy MDMs, which is why organizations need an MDM designed for XR devices.
VR is still slowly growing in the consumer space, but XR adoption is taking off in education and enterprise. Companies have found that VR is more effective for training, collaboration, design, and productivity. Schools are using it to create immersive education experiences. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry, and new VR pilot programs are starting every week. As they do, the same questions pop up over and over.
One particular area that is important to focus on in early planning is testing out XR device management options. Even in a pilot phase, it can save an incredible amount of time and set you up for future success.
For organizations starting in VR, manually managing devices may work for a few headsets. However, as soon as companies and schools start to scale usage, there are significant headaches and frustration for admins.
Unfortunately, most companies’ legacy MDMs won’t provide much help either because they only offer surface-level support for XR.
In our experience, new deployments of AR and VR devices need a device management plan from the very beginning to set up XR programs for long-term success. ArborXR gives admins the tools they need to manage XR devices, install content, and control the headset experience. All remotely.
Command Your Fleet of XR Devices with ArborXR
Confidently manage VR & AR devices at scale, remotely install content, and control what users can see and do. ArborXR is built with enterprise-level security through working closely with dozens of Fortune 500 companies. Our mission is to help people live more meaningful lives through the power of XR. Join 1,500+ companies in 90 countries using ArborXR to manage their AR and VR fleets.
Schedule a time with one of our team members to learn more about how ArborXR can help you manage your XR devices.
Subscribe to stay in the know!