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The Jets, Capitals and Pistons Use This VR Tech to Train

Kelsey Davis, Manager, Digital Media, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

STRIVR (A Consumer Technology Association [CTA] member) has revolutionized the use of virtual reality (VR), showing that it can be used for more than gaming or entertainment. The company has used VR to train professional and college athletes and has now expanded into the corporate world, training employees at Walmart and more.

We recently caught up with CEO Derek Belch to learn more about what STRIVR is up to.

We last spoke with you in the fall of 2016 about how STRIVR uses VR for sports training. How has your sports technology progressed since then?

We are continuing to push the technology as far as it can given what's currently available and also what's possible within the laws of physics. In the last few months, we have released some new features to our sports teams (most notably football). 

Specifically, we're now allowing our teams to make their own "assessments" that can test players' knowledge of a given play/scenario while in VR.  When they are engaged in the simulation, we are measuring where they look, whether they get questions right or wrong, their reaction time in answering questions, etc.  Also of note with these assessments is the fact that the teams can make them on their own, without any intervention from STRIVR.  This is critical as it pertains to the scalability of VR.

Can you give us an update on the professional and college teams you are working with now?

We currently work with over 30 professional and college sports teams and organizations.  I say "organizations" because we also work with the NFL for officiating training and we are talking to the other professional leagues about a similar offering.

Your technology can also be used for employee training. Can you tell us a little about this initiative?

Yes!  As has been announced over the last few months, STRIVR is powering VR training for all 200 of Walmart's learning Academies.  This relationship started in late 2016 and has continued to grow in the last year.  In the coming one to two years, STRIVR will touch almost 250,000 Walmart associates that go through the Academy system.  This is a watershed moment for VR training, as this is perhaps the largest VR deployment in the history of the technology.

As for what Walmart is doing with their VR training - some things are proprietary, as you would expect, but we are allowed to talk about some of the training around operations in the store.  Imagine you are a store manager and you're trying to learn how to identify errors and mistakes in the store. You're not going to go into the store, along with the other 30 people in your training class, and start identifying those errors in front of paying customers.  That wouldn't be a good use of time, nor would it reflect very well on Walmart in front of its customers. 

So, STRIVR is bringing the store to the employee.  Walmart trainees can now get the decision-making, mental repetitions necessary to prepare them for their jobs, without ever stepping foot in the store.  STRIVR is also helping Walmart prepare for rarely-seen instances, such as holiday Rush (which only happens once per year and is a big deal!).

Outside of Walmart, STRIVR is working with a number of other Fortune 500 companies.  We are working with Fidelity to train call center representatives. We are working with United Rentals to enhance sales training and safety training while also saving time and money on travel costs. We are working with two major auto manufacturers on assembly-line operations.  And we are working with a handful of companies in the medical space as it pertains to nursing and trauma training.  And the list goes on.  Between sports and enterprise, we work with over 40 different customers.

What’s next for STRIVR?

Our efforts in sports continue, and will never cease.  STRIVR pioneered VR training for sports and we won't stop until we are the hands-down leader in the space.  In the enterprise space, we are working quickly to continue to onboard new customers across a number of different use cases.  We get inbounds every day, and expect to sign a dozen more customers in the next three to four months.  

The major area of emphasis for STRIVR with all of our customers is data, reporting and prescriptive analytics.  We feed data and insights to our customers every day to show them that there's real, tangible value to what they're doing. 

Learn more about the groundbreaking technology produced by CTA members.