Earlier this month, the United States were sent into shock after a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso Texas. There were 22 lives lost that day, and 24 other individuals that suffered injuries, some which were life-threatening. According to the Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon, virtual realty helped save lives that day.
During an interview with Fortune, the CEO said that while he was visiting with the store associates from El Paso, that they were all grateful for the visual reality experiences that had taught them how to handle a situation like the one they saw. Although it is an experience nobody wants to have inside of virtual reality, it was something that helped when the situation presented itself. You can read what he said below regarding virtual reality.
“I’ve been to Southaven, and I went to El Paso on Tuesday [Aug. 6], and I spoke with our associates and our management team there, and heard from all of them. And I can tell you, from conversations with them, they all appreciate and recognize how much that training helped. It’s a virtual reality experience,” states McMillon. “I’ve done it myself. And there’s something about doing that through VR that helps you, in some ways, live the experience and understand the steps that you need to take in an active shooter situation.”
“Because the management team [in El Paso] acted so fast and engaged other associates and executed the plan, we all feel very confident that lives were saved and seconds were gained. So, we’re appreciative of that fact, and the decision that the leadership team had made here to make the training happen quarterly, I think helped as well.”
McMillon was also talked about customer security, in and outside of the store. When asked about how people are responding to Walmart associates being inside of the customers homes putting groceries away, this is how he rescinded.
“Yeah, our tests so far indicate that people accept it pretty easily, and probably even surprise themselves at how fast they adapt to it. But to be clear, we’ll do whatever you want us to do. We’re happy for you to come shop in the store. If you want to order it on your mobile app and pick up, that’s great. If you want to have it delivered to your doorstep, we’ll do that. The homes that have refrigerators in their garages, we’re happy to do that as well.”
“So the customer can toggle back and forth. We just try to create an experience by live-streaming the visit and by making it so easy that we provide that continuum of services, and then they’ll pick what they want. Early indications are people love saving time so much, and they love convenience so much, that there’s going to be a meaningful number of people that will adopt this new service.”
Walmart currently is using over 17,000 virtual reality headsets across 4,700 storefronts. Each of them are the Oculus Go with a training system pre-installed on them. STRIVR is the helping studio in the whole project, and they offer everything from customer service help to Black Friday preparedness. In terms of being prepared for an active shooter, Walmart is not the only big company to adopt VR for preparing. The New York City police officers have also been training with a virtual reality location-based simulator to pass tests as well. Virtual reality is training people all over the globe for situations they hope to never see. For more VR and AR news, make sure to check back at VRGear.com.