With the staff of many government agencies forced to work from home because of COVID-19, government CIOs have had to move quickly to adapt. While the initial focus has been on ensuring workers have the basic tools they need to do their jobs — fast and secure Internet, laptops and mobile devices, and access to essential online systems — as weeks turn into months, more government agencies must start exploring opportunities for better remote collaboration, communication and training. One opportunity on the horizon is expanding the use of immersive computing technologies, like augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), that create new modes for users to experience digital content through computers, mobile devices and headsets.
There are some immediate ways that government can use AR/VR, Daniel Castro writes in Government Technology, such as to improve training for workers.
AR/VR lets agencies simulate real-world situations, giving workers the opportunity to gain experience in a controlled environment. Not every city can or should follow in its footsteps, but there are a number of potential applications of AR/VR in government, and the timeline to adopt these technologies has likely been accelerated by the pandemic. Agencies should use this opportunity to begin planning for, and piloting, this new technology.