- November 25, 2019
Recruiting Virtual Reality Engineers Hard With Apple Plans
Recruiting of engineers with virtual reality (VR) experience (or any engineers for that matter) will become exponentially more difficult with Apple’s push towards VR surpremacy.
The Apple Way of Recruiting Virtual Reality
Apple is known for their glossy marketing and slick messaging. Yet you can reduce Apple’s runaway success to a simple strategy – take something somebody else has done and make it better!
From the first iPhone to the latest AirPods, every popular product they made followed this model. Apple has almost always taken a product category from niche to mainstream in the process.
The news is Apple is planning to launch several augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality products in the next two to four years. This means we must inevitably ask a question.
Can Apple Take AR and VR Mainstream?
This is a tricky question to answer, especially for a technology such as augmented reality glasses. The iPhone and iPad emerged during the age of Web 2.0. That was a time when we were both awed by and eager for new tech.
However, we now live in a world far more skeptical of the invasiveness of our devices. Think of the flop of the Google Glass headset. It quickly fell out of favor because of the creepy privacy dynamics that accompanied people wearing a headset with a camera.
So Apple must help consumers get past those privacy objections if they want to make augmented and virtual reality a successful category. How do they do that?
What Are AR and VR Technologies Used For?
Augmented reality has limited applications as a newly emerging technology. It has thus far seen limited take-up in games such as Minecraft Earth or with expensive headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens. The latter has intriguing but limited high-end uses in fields such as design or medicine.
As the name suggests, AR is supposed to augment our reality — that is, to layer digital information on top of the existing world. That can be accomplished either by viewing things through a cell phone or tablet camera and having digital objects appear over the view. Or, and perhaps more importantly, by viewing through AR glasses that place digital information into one’s field of vision.
That last approach is the crucial one. If AR technology is going to become mainstream, users will have to be able to wear it while doing everyday tasks, such as while walking down the street.
Anticipating Apple’s Headset Plans
According to both The Information and Bloomberg, Apple’s plan is to release a larger headset in 2022 and then release a smaller one a year later. The former will be for targeted to those more technical and professional users.
While the latter will likely be more akin to Google Glass — a pair of glasses aimed at the average consumer. It will display information either in a user’s peripheral vision or directly in front of them.
What Obstacles Are In Apple’s Way?
Apple must delicately balance not only just privacy but also the extent to which the technology intrudes on one’s everyday life for recruiting augmented reality and virtual reality into the mainstream. Google Glass failed before it even really launched due to the social reaction rather than technical flaws.
This suggests Apple’s problem is only partly about engineering, not really about user experience. Instead, their marketing pitch must be that its AR tools augment reality in both a human as well as a personal way.
Past Marketing History and Precedent
Thankfully for Apple, it has some precedent here. The Apple Watch excels as a device with granular controls for notifications. It allow users to filter out a smartphone’s general noise of and focus solely on important things.
The new AirPods Pro have a feature called Transparency. This allows users to hear amplified ambient noise so as to catch announcements, talk to people and more. This small detail shows Apple is thinking about the social and physical context in which a device is used and not just solely on what a piece of tech can do.
Apple Must Alter Its Focus
With that in mind, Apple’s approach to AR and VR should focus less on augmentation and more on ambience, the peripheral information that guides or informs. A most obvious example would be directions. These may either be street directions or, as in the common demo for AR, navigating and finding things in a retail store.
Further, people are already suffering the ill effects of being overly enmeshed in technology. Perhaps detailed notifications of every text message blinking in the corner of your eye would be a mistake. Instead, Apple might have much more abstract visual clues such as glowing colors or even haptic feedback, much like that deployed by the Apple Watch.
Privacy and Other Concerns
Of course privacy will be a huge concern. Perhaps Apple will again learn from Google’s mistake and simply not include a camera in its AR headsets.
What can Apple do to make augmented and virtual reality succeed? One key thing is to think of it not in terms of adding bells and whistles, as much as exercising restraint. That means they should produce tech that is ambient in function, unintrusive and errs on the side of delivering less rather than more in its design .
Apple is wise to expect strong reactions from would-be consumers if it doesn’t take into account the world in which we live. It only took a short while for people to develop the term “Glasshole” for someone who wore the specs after Google announced its Glass product.
If Apple wants to avoid that same fate and have its AR and VR products become the next big thing, it would do well to keep that in mind. They must remember that less is often more when it comes to new tech.
Apple Virtual Reality Makes Recruiting Engineers Tougher
Apple’s past accomplishments predict that their AR and VR efforts will probably also be successful. As a result, recruiting engineers with virtual reality or augmented reality experience will be made even more difficult for companies!
That is why I created the Twelve Commandments of Recruiting to better assist with your engineering recruiting needs. As an executive recruiter with over 30 years of staffing experience, I gained many valuable recruiting insights from placing thousands of jobs candidates with hundreds of clients worldwide including Woodstream, ITW and Wrigley Company.
You Must Constantly Be Recruiting
In particular, my 8th Commandment, which is “Constantly Recruit”, can be very useful to you. Especially since many staffing departments are increasingly having difficulty recruiting quality engineers. Recruiting engineering talent will become even more progressively challenging with expanding virtual reality recruitment such as Apple’s.
As a result, follow this technical recruiting tip – constantly recruit. Don’t wait for a job opening to seek out talent. Instead, attend trade shows and industry events and build your staffing network through networking. Then when a staffing need arises, you can quickly fill it by taping into your employment database.
So again remember to constantly recruit!
These are just a few of the employment tips I have gathered over 30 years. They apply universally to a wide range of jobs, not just engineer jobs and engineering hiring. You can apply them to a myriad of jobs and employment situations where you are having recruitment issues.
My 8th Commandment recruiting tip will help improve your engineering job recruitment, especially for virtual reality jobs recruiting. It will also apply to any other staffing needs where demand outstrips talent supply.
Call me today at 312-944-4000 to discuss how we can assist with your engineering staffing efforts especially the highly competitive virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) fields. Or click here for my full contact information.