Planner: Calculate the Cost of a Virtual/3D Training System

By Sean Nolan Print this article Print

Want to create a virtual campus for employee training? Cost out a virtual/3D training system for your business.

Virtual/3D applications offer more than just fun and games for your large industrial equipment manufacturing firm, which has relied on dynamic computer-aided design (CAD) tools for more than a decade. This project to implement a virtual/3D platform will quite literally add a new dimension to your wealth of CAD data, technical documentation and training programs by integrating them into an interactive, browser-based virtual world within your intranet.

The core of this system will be an application platform that gathers the data, optimizes it for virtual display and Web delivery, and helps developers structure the user interface. While much of the 3D data you'll need already exists in CAD outlines and visual training programs, you'll have to invest some heavy resources to bring that data to the next level, as well as to update your intranet's design and architecture.

Proof-of-concept will be important here, so go slowly, says Connell Gallagher, president of Dublin, Ireland-based ParallelGraphics, a provider of virtual/3D solutions for large enterprises. Spend the first six months defining the business case and its requirements, Gallagher suggests, and then prove that case by building out one area first—for example, a single virtual training program that instructs staff on how to maintain one of the complex printing presses your company produces. This will clear the way for more rapid and smooth deployment of other segments, such as online training manuals and real-time collaboration forums.

Return on investment comes in a variety of ways, from more efficient training and less downtime to better collaboration and more rapidly developed products. "There's almost a wiki idea to this," Gallagher says. "You're creating an environment that really transforms training and the technical documentation workload, and more easily allows people to collaborate and arrive at the best answer for your products."

To see the details behind this Planner and fill in your own estimates, click on the "Get the Tool" icon above and download the interactive worksheet.

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This article was originally published on 2007-03-06
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