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207 Explore the Business Reality of Virtual Reality

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET
Monday, November 7

Tracks: Practices

The concept of using virtual reality (VR) for learning has been around for over 10 years. But in practice, very few have cracked the nut on how to leverage VR successfully in training. Building the business case for a VR solution in any organization can be fraught with challenges.

In this session we will unpack the opportunities VR can bring to learning with a case study from Daikin Applied Americas, a division of the global leader in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). The industrial HVAC market produces large rooftop and chiller products that are technically complex, requiring highly specialized education in scientific principles and experiential training. Yet the sheer scale of these solutions makes them difficult to share with customers: products can be 10 feet high, 15 feet wide and weigh 800 tons. VR makes concepts easier to understand by visualizing the invisible, playing with scale and perspective. VR offers the power of immersion: Poke your head inside a chiller and watch its inner workings from any angle. Making our products readily accessible to our sales organization is key to their ability to sell these six-and-seven-figure investments. Introducing VR into the sales channel has been a game-changer in our sales and learning success. Leveraging multi-player VR solutions allows us to bring our product to the engineer or customer with ease.

We will explain how aligning a VR solution with business goals and leveraged across multiple business functions is crucial to leadership buy-in. Ultimately, the goal of our project was to create a VR solution to showcase a key Daikin Applied product for our marketing, sales, and training audiences. We also wanted to establish VR as a common learning modality for exploring products, demonstrating complex concepts, learning how our designs work, and supporting the sales process. We will put on VR headsets on stage and demo on the big screen how reps and customers interact seamlessly with each other as they visualize competitive differentiators with “x-ray” vision inside the chiller.

In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Onboard your organization to VR as a tool, first, then showcase it as a learning modality
  • Develop robust VR solutions that can be utilized for several company processes including sales presentations, sales support, talent recruiting, and learning
  • Show executive leadership and the organization as a whole the value of VR
  • Understand how robust VR solutions can be categorized as capital expenditures and funded as such in your organization

Brian Dewhirst

Sr. Manager, Learning Technology

Daikin Applied Americas

As a leader in learning technology, Brian Dewhirst brings over 10 years of experience in new technology selection and implementation, system administration, and process improvement. His goal is to be at the intersection of business and technology using systems and tools to drive business value. Brian has a breadth of experience supporting all types of learning including virtual reality, ERP implementations, merchandising, sourcing, finance, and safety. Brian has held multiple roles in IT and change management. Brian holds an MBA and MA in international management from Hamline University, and a business communications degree from NDSU. Brian joined Daikin Applied Americas in 2019.

Anders Gronstedt


The Gronstedt Group

Anders Gronstedt, PhD, is president of The Gronstedt Group, which is instrumental in helping global companies like Walmart, Pfizer, Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Daikin improve performance with their custom-developed multi-player VR simulations and learning games. He is a frequent industry speaker and writer with articles appearing in the Harvard Business Review.

Laura Masica

Sr. Director, Daikin Learning

Daikin Applied Americas

Laura Masica brings over 20 years of experience in adult learning focusing on both technical and behavioral education. Her goal is to drive business value through education. She has a passion around leveraging technology to reinforce learning. Laura has experience supporting all types of learning including leadership, manufacturing, safety, food safety, finance, human resources, change management, diversity, and inclusion. She also has a background in human resources and finance, and has held multiple roles in each. Laura holds a masters of education degree from the University of Minnesota and a business/accounting degree from the College of St. Catherine. She joined Daikin Applied Americas in 2018.