McDonald's Is Getting Into VR And So Should You - InformationWeek

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3/4/2016
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McDonald's Is Getting Into VR And So Should You

McDonald's is experimenting with a virtual reality Happy Meal that could have real implications for VR in the enterprise.

5 Hot Virtual Reality Picks From MWC 2016
5 Hot Virtual Reality Picks From MWC 2016
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

What does the latest McDonald's latest promotional experiment, incorporating virtual reality games into its Happy Meals, have to do with your enterprise? For starters, it's a mass-market undertaking that will expose VR to millions of potential users. And that, in turn, could lead to your workforce coming in and demanding to see it applied in their office collaboration tools.

McDonald's Happy Meals are the cute little children's meal boxes that are used to serve food along with the toys your kids love (and you attempt to throw away when they aren't looking). Beginning March 5, McDonald's is experimenting in Sweden with a Happy Meal box that will fold up into a VR viewer, similar to Google Cardboard. There is a game kids can play with the makeshift VR viewer, which the company is calling Happy Goggles.

[ Where is Apple's VR? Read Apple Virtual Reality Efforts Get Boost With New Hire. ]

And you're probably wondering how, exactly, does this affect my enterprise?

Presently, VR headsets carry a high price point that makes them difficult to justify in the enterprise (unless, perhaps, you work for a videogame company). Oculus Rift, and other more expensive VR offerings, include surround sound, true depth-of-field, and amazing graphics. And most of those offerings cost between $300 and $700. That makes them pretty cost-prohibitive for an enterprise looking to try some VR experiments.

What's needed is a low point of entry to get users acclimated to VR. Eventually, this could cause a groundswell of interest that will result in workplace-specific VR tools that might aid in collaboration and communication.

Google Cardboard fits the bill nicely. Graphics are good enough for most training efforts. It is easy to deploy, and it counts on hardware that is already common in the enterprise.

The difference between Google Cardboard and McDonald's Happy Goggles is one of scale. Google has already shipped an impressive 5 million Google Cardboard viewers. Well, impressive until you consider this: Each year, McDonald's distributes 1.5 billion toys worldwide, and every one of those could potentially include a folding VR viewer. If the McDonald's Happy Meal experiment with VR goes well, the exposure to VR changes worldwide.

If you can fold tab A into slot B, you can try VR. Here's the McDonald's demo:

Of course, VR has already been big news this year. The much anticipated Oculus Rift ships this month. I had a wonderful experience with it as part of the Super Bowl 50 festivities. VR was one of the hot topics at this year's Mobile World Congress, with multiple entertainment and technology companies getting into the act.

I'm not expecting you fly to Sweden and buy a bunch of Happy Meals for your staff so they can train on VR. What I'm suggesting is that Happy Goggles, should they become more widespread, will eventually have your staff asking you why you aren't investing in VR.

When that time arrives, you will need to come up with a roadmap for deploying and securing it. There will be training software to develop. There will be collaboration tools and network bandwidth to invest in. Not to mention, if VR headsets become a collaboration tool, they'll create new endpoints to secure. You'll also have to develop best practices for using VR in office spaces designed for people who can usually see the real world. And, perhaps worst of all, you'll have a format war on your hands, as there are a plethora of early competitors in VR.

VR is about to be the next communication and collaboration tool in your office. The test starts March 5. Are you going to get out in front, or will you be eating McNuggets in a few months to see what all the fuss is about?

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
3/21/2016 | 4:44:11 PM
Re: VR and Office
We can only hope so it enables companies to tap into such a broader base of talent! Hopefully the Marissa Myer era thinking will come to close.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2016 | 5:53:10 PM
Re: VR and Office
If it makesif  our jobis  more effective and effeicient becasue of the technology.Hoever a  cultural shift needs to occur to enable telecommuting on a wide scale. Just browse job postings and see how many state "on site only".
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2016 | 8:46:19 AM
Re: VR Revolution: Would you Like Fries with That ?
Indeed, it was, Brian! :) When you come to think of all these companies that are developing and investing so much, and you see the great number of specific shows on this technology you can't deny the importance and inpact of it in the future, a quite near future if not already happening in some cases. As for what mentioned about Facebbok acquiring Oculus Rift, Mark Zuckerberg talked about it at MWC in Barcelona last month. But then again, as I said to Technorati below, I am not quite sure if VR and AR are going to do any good when/if are adopted as a way of social-networking. I'm afraid real human communication is going to suffer even more. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2016 | 7:54:51 AM
Re: VR Revolution: Would you Like Fries with That ?
Technorati, yes, I also think it's an immature way, and coward as well. It shows the true colors of people. Certain things can't be done through technology. Yes, yes. I have seen that, too. It doesn't even have to be a game. It can be just scrolling down something, or tapping on buttons contantly moving from app to app. "And now the "tech Gods" are going to give the "emotionally underdeveloped" yet another way to escape interaction with others and now add reality to it."--> I was telling Brian below what I saw yesterday at a VR and AR show in London. Your sentence well describes something that made me wonder if VR and AR are really going to do any good to social networks and human interaction. It was omething proposing to meet your family and friends in virtual settings. I haven't thought too much yet about the whole thing. I am not sure yet how it makes me feel. I thought about it as the evolution of Second Life. Yes, yes, Technorati, and I am afraid you might be right. -Susan
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/17/2016 | 7:25:55 AM
Re: VR Revolution: Would you Like Fries with That ?
Brian, I was this week at a VR and AR show in London. I can tell you that both VR and AR have left the gaming zone to moved to every other industry to be deployed in a variety of ways. I am not sure, though, if VR and AR are going to do any good to social networks, as I saw it yesterday. -Susan
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
3/16/2016 | 11:51:46 PM
Re: VR and Office

It's certainly and interesting entertainment option but I have rarely seen video used beyond the static video conference for business purposes. I will be interest in seeing how this evolves to make people more efficient in their jobs.

Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/9/2016 | 11:34:53 AM
Re: VR and Office
vnewman, 

"You mean you had to drive/walk/bike/subway/bus into an office for 8 hours a day???" <-- or a combination of those!

Ha! I don't have any children, but if you have, save this conversation somewhere. In the future, you might need it. :D 

Yes, with all the technology we have available telecommuting is the only thing that makes sense, as you say, except if the work has to be done in some sort of factory, and I would say, maybe to supervise the automation already going on in most of them. 

There is no point in communiting for several hours a day just to do what you can do from home in an office full of noise and other people eating their donuts. 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/9/2016 | 11:13:45 AM
Re: VR Revolution: Would you Like Fries with That ?
Technorati, 

Yes, I know what you mean. I am enthusiastic about the potential for business, and some other uses where VR can be useful. 

However, the thought of some people immersing themselves in a virtual reality world to the point of confusing or replacing the real world with it is not what I would like VR to be. 

For instance, quite many people today have replaced real communication, face to face communication, with all sort of things, i.e. text message, FB messenger, WhatsApp, any other messenger, email, etc. Not even phone is in the mix anmore. All these are good and useful for plenty of things. Except for some cases when you really need to see the person for discussing some important matters. 

Have you ever say Sex and The City? The episode when a guy brakes up with Carrie "on a Post-it"? After that, there is a good discussion about the way some people take o lightly things like relationships, emotions, the other's feelings, brake ups, etc. Those are things that have to be solved and discussed face to face. This is something humanity is missing. And it will not get any better, I'm afraid. 

There was a time, not long ago, when you wouldn't discuss certain things not even on the phone. You would ask the person to meet for coffee for that. 

So, if you tell me that you have seen the future and in that future people will replace personal communication with a VR communication I wouldn't be too excited about it. You know what I mean? 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/8/2016 | 8:22:34 AM
Re: VR Revolution: Would you Like Fries with That ?
Technorati, 

Yes, the real influences of change. Also, the ones who come up with lots of business ideas these days. Well, many of them.

Then they can start discussing an idea for a VR startup right at McDonald's, start a crowdfounding campaign, and in no time you have something coming up in the VR space. 

This is why well established businesses today can't waste too much time pondering if trying VR in their enterprise is a good idea or not.

Sometimes you just have to take the risk. And, if all what I have seen and heard at MWC is right, everything seems to say "go do it, and do it now." 

-Susan 
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
3/8/2016 | 8:14:19 AM
Re: VR and Office
David, 

I can volunteer to go and buy a Happy Meal in Sweden and even send you the Happy Googles. How does that sound? :) 

Since we are talking food, you need to know that now I will be thinking about donuts all day. Did you have to include donuts while thinking about collaborating in the virtual world?

If we move the donuts and Happy Meals to the meeting room, yes, VR is what's next coming to the enterprise. I have tried VR demos and there is so much potential for business. 

Not only for meetings and collaboration, but also for training. It will save lots of money to the enterprise in travel expenses. and will save time to the employees. 

There is no doubt the future of the enterprise includes investing now on VR, yes. 

-Susan 

 
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