Collaborative virtual reality (VR), such as room-based or CAVE-type systems, has demonstrated benefits in engaging teams in the shared design exploration. Though much research explores how virtual reality may be affecting and contributing to the quality of the team discussion for making design decisions, evidence of how this technology becomes used and adopted in practical settings remains limited. Studies from other engineering and manufacture domains consistently report on practical, behavioral and organizational challenges and more often, resistance to introducing innovative technologies and processes. This study examines how technology adopters experience virtual reality, and explores the factors determining the extent of its implementation as an innovative practice. Drawing on the concept of technological frames, we examine how collaborative VR may introduce a non-trivial process change in an organization before it can potentially become an everyday practice. A large portable VR display system was set up in the central office of a large infrastructure project over a period of one year. During the latter half of a second study we did not observe the extensive uptake and use that we and the technology sponsors within the project anticipated. To understand the reasons, we use three technological frames that allows us to examine the technology adoption and organizational change: (i) nature of technology, to understand users’ view of the technology; (ii) technology strategy, to understand users’ role-based views of the motivations and incentives for technology adoption within an organization, and (iii) technology in use, to understand how intended users view the technology use on a daily basis.
Maftei, L. Nikolic, D. and Whyte, J. (2018) Challenges around integrating collaborative immersive technologies into a large infrastructure engineering practice, CIBW78, October 1-3, Chicago.