Learning Gets A Dose Of Reality

(As Appeared in Training Magazine)

Virtual and augmented reality technology has the unmatched ability to simulate the work challenges you are training employees to handle. The question is how to decide which technologies are right for your learners, and how to roll the programs out to them.


Training employees to manage challenging work situations, in which the satisfaction or safety of employees or customers or the financial wellbeing of the company is at stake, is tough. You need to give your workforce a realistic sense of the challenges they will confront, but also need to do so in a safe environment.

Games and simulations have been used for years to accomplish this, but now with more advanced virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology, companies have an enhanced ability to mirror real-life conditions in a safe environment. For Learning and Development (L&D) professionals, the key is figuring out when it makes sense to use these high-tech solutions and how to integrate them into a larger learning program.

RICH LEARNING EXPERIENCES

Virtual reality is the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors. Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

Virtual and augmented reality technology may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but it increasingly is becoming the norm, says Harpreet Singh, Ph.D., founder of Expercoin at the Harvard Innovation Launch Lab. “As we build courseware at Expercoin and Experfy in Harvard Innovation Lab, we have Fortune 500 companies demanding richer learning experiences that leverage these emerging technologies,” he says. “The technology has equal application for a plumber who is learning to replace a water boiler and a robotics engineer building the next-generation spaceship to colonize Mars.”

Indeed, according to a recent report from Tractica, the worldwide market for enterprise virtual reality hardware and software will increase from $1 billion in 2018 to $12.6 billion annually by 2025. The market intelligence firm anticipates the top applications for enterprise virtual reality technology will include training and simulation, medical therapy, location-based entertainment, and education.

REALISTIC AND ON-DEMAND

Not only can virtual and augmented reality transport learners realistically into the situations they will have to manage, but help is provided at the moment it is needed most. Verizon currently is working on several augmented and virtual reality initiatives to enhance both classroom training and moment-of-need training for performance support, according to Senior Manager of Learning Technology Fraser Bowie, Associate Director of Learning Technology Riaz Uddin, and Director of Global Learning Technology Pete Beck. “These solutions are scheduled to launch in the next few months. Our approach is to implement solutions that provide a more robust learning experience that is effective and sustainable, not just a solution that uses the newest, coolest technology. Through augmented and virtual reality, we are able to provide our employees with a learning environment that immerses them in the learning content and/or provides just-in-time support on the job.”

For example, the first new Verizon augmented reality program uses in-store collateral materials as marker images to trigger microlearning on company-owned retail employee phones. Applying the technology this way uses the time between customer appointments to deliver learning. This increases both employee product knowledge and time on the sales floor.

The second Verizon program using this technology deploys augmented reality glasses to field technicians, providing them the ability to access the information they need hands-free and at the moment of need. “We will not only be delivering performance support, but also the ability to do video calling with an expert at our technician centers when additional help is needed,” note Bowie, Uddin, and Beck. “With each of these new programs, our goal is to not only improve product knowledge and overall performance but gauge employees’ reactions to the new training approach and its efficacy.”

Each of Verizon’s pilots have ROI associated with it, the Learning professionals say. “We already have some key elements we’re looking to measure for each of our pilots, but we also know we will uncover some new metrics after conducting the trials.” Here are some examples of what Verizon is looking to measure:

In AR in-store training, Verizon is looking at time off the sales floor and how avoiding that could increase productivity. Or perhaps just go after “free” time instead of scheduled training time. “We also expect to see an increase in product knowledge resulting in better sales,” said Bowie, Uddin, and Beck. “This solution has the lowest cost of entry, so proving a positive ROI could be easier.”

For Verizon’s AR glasses experience, the company is looking at increased productivity, perhaps getting more done in a shorter time or increasing jobs completed. “We also are looking at reducing errors and avoiding a second field deployment of our resources,” the Learning professionals say. “Being the most expensive deployment, given the cost of hardware and software, it is crucial we measure both hard and soft costs to understand the ROI.”

The VR experience is perhaps the hardest ROI to identify, Bowie, Uddin, and Beck admits. “Our goal is to create the muscle memory in our employees but hope they never need to use it. Though not cheap, the value of having employees prepared for a potentially threatening situation is well worth the investment. We will track our employee satisfaction and level of confidence in their preparedness. We are likely not going to be able to track any initial monetary value for this particular training; however, the safety of our employees is a far greater investment.”

AID LEARNING RETENTION AND IMPACT

With the ability for powerful simulations and immersion comes the chance to make learning count even more. Visa uses virtual and augmented reality in multiple ways, notes Senior Director, Visa University Shelley Henson. “First is to support our employees’ retention of key concepts taught in our signature Payments Everywhere Certification,” she says. The VR program the company uses for this purpose provides foundational knowledge about how the players in the payments industry interact. The company uses a connected virtual reality group game to reinforce these concepts. “We currently have one game developed and plan to add new games using a similar platform for other programs. We also have several other brand-related virtual and augmented reality experiences that are used to help communicate the spirit of our brand,” Henson says.

For instance, Visa sponsors the Olympics and created a Google Cardboard (https://vr.google.com/cardboard/) experience that Henson says helped to generate excitement about the Sochi Winter Olympics. “We plan to leverage these types of experiences to help new hires around the globe get a sense of our brand. We will continue to invest in these technologies when the experience will support learning and business objectives,” she says.

Henson notes the technology is deployed in a way that connects learners with each other, which also helps to make the lessons more powerful. “We optimize the technology by turning what are traditionally solo experiences (one person in a headset) into group learning experiences,” she says. “Our learning experiences always connect with other mobile devices or with the participants in the room. This allows us to draw on the pedagogical advantages of not only the virtual/ augmented reality but also of collaborative group work. As a result, experiences are richer and more meaningful, they connect our learners, and they are a ton of fun!”

Experiential learning is extremely powerful, and that’s why VR and AR training and education are so popular, believes Dave Beck, managing partner at Foundry 45, an immersive technology company that specializes in creating VR training experiences for enterprise clients. “If you think about it, do you learn more by reading a book about something or by actually doing it? For me, it’s definitely the latter,” says Beck. “Overall, experiential VR training is one of the most effective ways to learn, increasing retention by 75 to 90 percent.”

INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY AND DECREASING COST

Before you make the leap into investment and use of virtual and augmented technology, it’s important to pause and map out a plan. ADP, for example, is thinking strategically about how the technology can be used to achieve its goals. “ADP is not using augmented and virtual reality currently, but we have done research into the technology. Within the corporate learning space, we recognize that augmented and virtual reality have vast potential as methods for teaching associates new skills through embedded photos, videos, audio, and learning experiences that are tactile and fully interactive,” says Matt Pellarin, director of Learning Innovation for Enterprise Learning at ADP. “Regarding augmented reality, the technology readiness level for the training use case is one of the most mature, and as such, we are planning to invest in this technology through a work instructions proof of concept, and possibly through remote expert telepresence.”

ADP is assessing all it has to gain from the use of the technology. “Augmented and virtual reality give us the ability to manipulate functional space in a way that ultimately should result in increased productivity and a reduction in costs. In the case of a work instructions training app, we would have the ability to train associates and clients on our hardware products with just-in-time, step-by-step directions, or remotely troubleshoot hardware issues with the assistance of a real-time augmented overlay,” Pellarin says.

The company is careful to consider the return on investment it is likely to achieve. “For ADP, a large portion of our training is based on our software products, and as such, the use case for augmented and virtual reality is much less defined. We have the ability on our machines to augment the view of the learner through performance support and software overlays, so the main challenge is to leverage this technology in a broad enough capacity to generate a return on the often-steep investment,” Pellarin says.

Understanding and capitalizing on the intended use of the technology is critical to ensure authentic learning needs are met, he notes. “For example, augmented reality is most effective when a learner is required to perform a task on a physical object, whereby training is directly overlaid on an object in the learner’s physical space. Keeping considerations such as this in mind will ensure that training provides an efficient and practical way to perform and assess newly acquired skills.”

You also want to assess whether you have the in-house talent to develop a strong virtual or augmented reality program, or whether the development would need to be outsourced. Phil Cowcill, a senior e-learning specialist and contractor working with a department in the Canadian government, says he currently is exploring how he might use the technology. “I’m looking to use augmented reality within our courses to provide additional information on course content. As an example, we can’t access YouTube within our building. However, using augmented reality, we can provide additional material, including YouTube videos, on learners’ phones,” he explains, noting, however, that there are hurdles that will need to be overcome before the technology can be implemented.

“The challenge is getting the time to build and incorporate it,” he says. “Also, there is a talent issue. Right now, I’m the only one in our department who can develop or create augmented reality. To get more flexibility, we need to look at getting away from using third-party software and start developing our own native apps. That will be a while in coming.”

QUICK TIPS

  • Use virtual and augmented reality technology to provide just-in-time support to employees. They can even use it as a learning boost between customer appointments on the sales floor, for example.
  • Connect other learners to one another with an immersive game that makes the lessons you deliver a collaborative experience.
  • Enhance your learning and company brand. When employees experience virtual and/or augmented reality in your learning program, their perception of the company changes. They will see a forward-thinking company they want to spend a long career with.
  • Create detailed strategic plans. You want to be sure you know specifically how rolling out the technology to your learners will work, and what resources are required.
  • Plan how the use of the technology will be coupled with real-world activities, such as practicing a skill learned virtually by working with a physical object.
  • Determine if you have the resources in-house or whether you will have to outsource development of virtual or augmented reality programs. If outsourced, what support will the outsource partner require to help you meet your goals?

4 Keys to Developing a Successful VR Training Program

By Dave Beck, Managing Partner, Foundry 45

Virtual reality (VR) technology can completely change the way you engage and train employees across your company. While it’s not difficult to create a VR training experience, if you’ve never worked in the medium before, there are a few things you should consider to ensure your experience is both engaging AND effective. Here are four things to consider when developing a VR training program based on what we’ve learned from creating more than 150 unique VR experiences at Foundry 45:

1. Develop a business brief. Having a concise document that outlines key objectives for your training experience is essential—both for internal buy-in and to communicate budget, audience requirements, goals, and objectives to external partners. It should include the basics such as:

  1. Who are you training? Different age brackets have different needs.
  2. What are the objectives? Understanding and prioritizing your training curriculum is vital and can save you time and money.
  3. How are you integrating the VR experience with other training tools? Consider how to include your learning management system (LMS), videos, paper-based testing, etc.
  4. What are your success metrics? Have an actionable goal and identify ways in which you want to track success with this training program.

2. Consult with an expert. There are numerous technology experts who can guide you through your training journey. Make sure you find one who has experience taking complex training concepts and building them into an intuitive VR training interface.

3. What’s your budget? The costs of developing immersive experiences can be on par with developing other training initiatives, but because many companies haven’t used VR for training, additional attention often is focused on the budget. Setting financial expectations early on is important in order to match expectations and properly communicate ROI. Taking a phased approach to integrating VR into your training program also may be an option.

4. What’s your timeline? Timelines can drastically affect the budget of a VR project. Make sure you set realistic timelines for everything from the concept and planning stage through to development and implementation. Finally, launching your new VR training program across your organization will be important. Make sure to give yourself and other teams enough time to raise awareness and build excitement.

Micro-Learning & VR: A Promising Solution to a Daunting Issue


The Workforce Shift

Millennials have become the largest labor force in the United States. As the Baby Boomers begin to filter out of the workforce, a large generational transfer of training and experience must take place. Growing up in a globalized world has shortened the attention span of our new generation and poses a problem for workplace education and training. One answer to this problem lies at the intersection of VR Training and Micro-Learning.

Millennial Workforce Graph

Micro-Learning

Micro-Learning is an education strategy which focuses on individual objectives and short bursts of teaching. For example, a ten minute lecture on computers could be broken down into minute-length explanations on each piece of hardware. Microsoft found that since the year 2000 the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds. They also found that when asked “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone,” 77% of people aged 18 to 24 responded “yes.”

Micro-Learning is designed to educate a workforce which has exhibited an unprecedented low attention span and a radical preference for technology. This strategy is so efficient because it makes information digestible, allows for data tracking, and grants a level of flexibility to the trainee. 

online-education-utilizes-micro-learning

Online education often utilizes Micro-Learning

Innovations In Training

Despite the advantages of Micro-Learning, there are still problems with its implementation as a solution to workplace training. While online training may benefit those whose jobs involve interpersonal communication and technological utilization, it’s less efficient for skill-based, manual labor positions. One solution is a synthesis of Micro-Learning and Virtual Reality Training.

There are various industries which require technical training and on-site experience. So, training workers online won’t cut it, but in-class training may prove to be too costly to be practical. VR Training is a great solution. It enables on-site, experiential learning, procedural training, and Micro-Learning implementation. Prospective employees can train in any environment necessary, be it a sterile lab or a rustic workshop. Procedural tasks can be executed in VR while data is collected to deliver immediate performance feedback. More importantly, large chunks of information can be broken down into individual modules to gain all the benefits of Micro-Learning.

VR Training Industrial Micro-Learning

VR Training and Micro-Learning allow for quick procedural training in any environment

Overall, companies are changing the way they teach as a new wave of employees advances in the workforce. A generation known for a restless attention span and a serious preference for technology requires a progressive approach to employee training. The hybridization of VR training and Micro-Learning fits the bill. It is a powerful way of learning that is revolutionizing the way companies educate employees.

HTC Vive Pro Review: A Great Upgrade for Enterprise


While a bit pricey ($1400 system + $200 enterprise license), the Vive Pro is worth every penny for enterprise training and marketing applications.

We finally got a chance to put the new HTC Vive Pro through it’s paces. This is a quick review of our first impressions, primarily as it applies to using Vive Pro for VR training and event marketing.

Easier Multi-System Setup

The most exciting new Vive Pro feature is it’s ability to use more than 2 base stations for tracking. While interesting for tracking larger areas, it also allows units to be setup next to each other without interference.

Our clients often use multiple VR stations at events to accommodate larger crowds. Doing so typically requires curtains or other barriers to prevent interference (see the central column below). Since the Vive Pro now works with 4 base stations, and support for up to 16 coming, we can now put base stations in the corners of a larger area (30+ sq ft) and run more than one VR station within the tracked region.

Vive Trade Show

Dual Original Vive Trade Show Setup Requires Barrier to Provide Separation

Room for Bigger Glasses, Hair, and Heads

The majority of glass wearers can use the Vive standard with their glasses off. Otherwise, if they need their glasses during Vive usage, many people’s glasses can fit within the headset. There are some, however, whose glasses are just too fashionable to be contained by the Vive standard headset. This adds a layer of complication when trying to get people in and out of the headset efficiently.

With almost 2cm more width in the headset, the vast majority of glasses should fit into the new headset. Similarly, the headphones are on a bigger swing arm, allowing them to fit better over bigger heads and hair. While the original Vive worked well for 90% of people at events, the Vive Pro should reach close to 100%. An easily used adjustment on the bottom also means focus can be tweaked per person. The older Vive’s adjustment was simply too cumbersome and time consuming to use for everyone at an event.

Vive Pro Spacious Design

Comparison of headset space between original Vive and Vive Pro

Higher Resolution Allows for Clearer Text

Text looks more clear, and this extra clarity will enable the use of smaller visual labels. This should allow more detail and more data rich UI interfaces as compared to the original Vive. 

Vive Pro Resolution

The Vive Pro packs a punch with 615 pixels per inch

Augmented Reality Potential

While we haven’t played much with the camera, the newly added dual cameras enable the system to sense depth and turn the headset into a more serious Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality platform. We’ll write a separate blog post once we’ve had a chance to test this unit out with one of our AR applications. We are especially interested to see whether the latency is low enough to allow usage of the Vive Pro as an AR headset.

Vive Pro Lenses

New lenses on the Vive Pro allow for AR application

Improved Wiring Harness and Buttons

A minor, but very appreciated, change is the single connector coming from the headset cable to the link box instead of 3 separate plugs. The old power cable in particular had a habit of pulling out. Also, on-ear buttons make volume adjustments simpler and more intuitive.

Vive Pro Link Box

The Vive Pro’s revamped link box

Con: Price

The Vive Pro is the VR headset that consumers deserve but can’t afford. For $1400 and a $200 enterprise license, the headset is substantially more expensive than other consumer VR systems. However, for VR training and VR event activations, the Vive Pro enhancements are worth every penny.

Con: Cleanability

The foam facemask is comfortable, but a bit of a sponge for sweat and makeup that’s also hard to clean. To be fair, this is a problem with the original Vive as well. However, we have happily swapped all the foam for faux-leather replacements that are easy to wipe down between users without absorbing moisture. Until similar products are available for the Vive Pro, this will continue to be a negative for public use.

Vive Face Pad

The Pro’s face pad is plenty comfortable but difficult to clean

 Conclusion

The Vive Pro’s more flexible setup options will be game-changing for business VR applications. Its enhanced comfort and wearability will be appreciated greatly by users at trade shows, sales demos, and any other events. Overall, for those who have the capital to invest in the Vive Pro, it is well worth the higher price. The unit could prove to be even more useful as we explore its AR capabilities.

The Real Excitement Behind VR in Ready Player One

Recently, millions of people flocked to see one of their favorite books translated on the big screen. While the movie version of Ready Player One deviated from Ernest Cline’s original novel, the film definitively conveyed an optimistic vision for ultimate immersion with Virtual Reality. After watching the film, most will agree, VR has an endless list of applications in entertainment. However, those who read the original book may be more excited about the applications of VR for Training and Education.

 

VR Tut Tomb

King Tut’s Tomb in VR

“Teachers could take their students on a virtual reality field trip every day.”

In the novel, Wade Watts attends a virtual school where the possibilities are endless. Whether it be King Tut’s tomb in World History or the inside of a heart in Biology, he can learn anywhere at any time. Cline’s vision for the future of VR is actually taking place today. Virtual Reality for training and education are two growing industries with lots of promise. Like students in Ready Player One, people are beginning to recognize the appeal of learning in VR.

 

VR for Training and Education

Experiential Learning in VR

The Science Behind VR Training

A study conducted in 2002 used Virtual Reality to train medical students in the Operation Room. They found that gallbladder dissection was 29% faster for VR-trained residents. Non-VR-trained residents were nine times more likely to fail to make progress and five times more likely to injure the gallbladder or burn non-target tissue.

A similar study sought to investigate the efficiency of VR driving simulators. They concluded that VR driving simulations “offer the ability to modify driving scenarios at any time and expose drivers to dangerous situations in a methodical manner.” Overall, as VR’s learning advantages become more quantified, companies are increasing their use of VR for training and education.

 

VR Pump Training

Foundry 45’s VR Industrial Pump Training

A Rapidly Growing Industry

As of 2018, UPS, KFC, and the LAPD are all using Virtual Reality to train employees. This may be because VR for training in the industrial process space has shown 33% cost savings. Additionally, in 2015 the global training industry grew from $322 billion to $355 billion. It’s evident that virtual reality has numerous applications in training and employee education and will most likely continue to expand into that market as it saves money and time through more efficient training. Overall, as overhead costs for VR training decline, more and more companies will seek to streamline their training practices with VR.

 VR-Training-Statistic

 

Thankfully we are not stuck in the Stacks like the protagonist of Ready Player One. Instead, we are headed towards some of the optimistic effects of Virtual Reality tech. As more Fortune 500 companies adopt VR into their training process, we are well on the way to a reality with VR education and training.

VR Training Highlights From the 2018 Innovations in Training Conference

VR Training Loomed Large at this Year’s 2018 Training Conference and Expo


This years Training Conference and Expo took place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta where hundreds gathered from all over the world to see what new and innovative technology will transform the training industry in 2018. The Foundry 45 team supported the conference by sponsoring the full-day exhibition at the Congress Center and its “Innovations in Training” event, where VR Training was a large part of the agenda this year.

Similar to the Expo the day before, the full-day “Innovations in Training” field trip took guests to several large Atlanta-based corporations that are already using VR and other forms of technology in their training curriculum. We visited the corporate offices of UPS and Delta where we had the opportunity to dive into their training programs and simulation experiences. Hosted by Southface, an Atlanta-based organization focused on environmental conservation and sustainability, the conference came to a close with an educational wine tasting, dinner and more VR experiences from the Foundry 45 team.

vr training event

The Green Roof on the top of Southface’s sustainability building

One interesting business we saw at the Expo was Tobii Pro, a company specializing in Eye-Tracking technology for use in PC gaming, interface functionality, and data collection. The company’s eye tracking technology may be implemented into standard computers, third party devices, and even wearable technologies. We had the chance to check out their demonstration where they displayed a heat map drawn from eye tracking in a VR environment.

Tobii Pro shows off eye tracking with heat maps

Further into the Innovations in Training sessions, we learned about UPS and how they are leveraging the power of VR Training to educate drivers on minimizing accidents. Drivers are immersed in a training experience for 3-6 minutes at a time, as they identify potential hazards and learn the awareness skills that are crucial for the job. This replicated VR experience makes training cheaper and allows trainees to make mistakes and learn from them in a virtual environment as opposed to on the road. UPS has stated they plan on expanding towards even more immersive training for the company in the future.

In addition, we explored Delta’s advanced training methods including full flight simulators, procedural simulators, motion based simulators and more! We met with representatives of Delta to discuss how they invest their training innovation dollars, what makes for a great training simulation, and how VR Training can be used to improve results.

The Foundry 45 team testing one of Delta’s training simulators

The training conference was a wonderful way to congregate with professionals within various industries to discuss the future of VR Training. After several days of speaking with attendees from across many different industries, it is undeniable that  “learning immersion” is the focal point when it comes to corporate training and as VR technology keeps improving, it will only solidify its place as a budget-friendly method for spatial captivation and procedural employee training.

Enthralled user demoing Foundry 45 VR experiences


ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

 

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. The company creates immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for several platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses build VR tools for training, sales & marketing, and recruiting efforts. Foundry 45 also partners with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and development partner.

 

To learn more about Foundry 45, please visit www.foundry45.com.

Foundry 45 Holiday Party at CMII

Foundry 45 hosted its first annual holiday party on Tuesday, December 12th! Thanks to everyone who joined us for drinks, music, and to celebrate our office move to the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) in Downtown Atlanta. Y’all made this a truly special event!

The festivities took place on CMII’s top-level floor, a beautifully laid-out space for getting together and mingling. It also provides access to an outside patio area, and despite the cold temperature, our guests had the opportunity to enjoy the Atlanta skyline at night…including augmented reality, HoloLens enhancements.

VR Experience | Foundry 45

Our Foundry 45 team further sweetened the experience for our guests last night not only with a fully stacked bar and buffet, but also by giving people the unique opportunity to get some firsthand VR experience. We set up one of our VR training programs as well as an interactive, VR enabled snowball fighting game.

Below we’ve compiled some additional impressions from last night’s event.

Foundry 45 Holiday Party

Foundry 45 Holiday Party

Foundry 45 Holiday Party CMII

A big shoutout also to CMII and Georgia State staff who’ve been very supportive of our partnership and the planning of this very special event for us! Our entire team looks forward to an exciting and successful future at CMII!

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com.

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Find Value in VR Training your Workforce

As mentioned in the first of our VR Training blog posts a few weeks back, major brands like KFC, WalMart, and Volkswagen have already begun integrating VR into their employee training programs. While virtual reality experiences can prove extremely versatile and of course – COOL, convincing the C-level that VR is worth the investment is another story.

Sure, there’s value in offering your employees an interesting, virtual experience because of the sheer “chatter-factor” alone. That isn’t going to convince anyone that VR training is the better route, though, unless you can deliver a true reduction in costs and processes. Most training managers also need to show that there will be a recognizable increase in performance and on-boarding for new staff.

At Foundry 45, we have helped global organizations streamline their corporate training programs using mixed reality applications. In skilled trade industries such as welding, plumbing, security, and equipment repair, the value that VR training provides goes far beyond reducing travel costs due to shipping employees around the world. It can also mean that money doesn’t have to be spent on materials to practice on and it allows trainees to repeat work tasks as much as they need to, which means eliminating a lot of costly mistakes on the job site.

Foundry 45 VR Training Demonstration

Below are a few reasons how VR can complement or entirely replace your existing training program:

  1. Your trainees can learn process sequences inside a virtual environment that is true-to-scale and representative of their actual workplace which helps speed up the learning process;
  2. VR training is a cost-saving measure that reduces employee downtime, travel costs, and equipment depreciation;
  3. Management can review VR experiences and test results through automated reports that help position employees for future growth;
  4. VR training can reduce the risk of on-site training accidents, especially when learning how to operate hazardous machinery;
  5. Learning with VR is memorable and fun. Employees are more likely to retain information if organizations provide quality education while on the job site.

If some or all of these points above resonate with you, the next step would be to imagine exactly what type of VR-enabled training most suits your business needs. Integrating VR training into your program can be extremely powerful and save your organization time and money, while improving overall employee productivity by leveraging an engaging and powerful set of new tools.

Be sure to check back for our next post on VR Training in the next few weeks. Our team has years of experience working with organizations that have elevated their operations using VR and AR. From content strategy to distribution of immersive experiences, Foundry 45 provides the viewing solutions for various levels of experiences ranging from easily distributable cardboard to room-scale, interactive VR training environments.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com.

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A First Look at Georgia State’s New Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII)

Yesterday, our entire Foundry 45 team had the great pleasure of participating in the grand opening of the new CMII space at Georgia State University. This interdisciplinary facility in the heart of Downtown Atlanta will provide unique opportunities for research, for learning, and for collaborative work. We wholeheartedly support this major initiative of Georgia State University to support the rapidly growing media industry in the city of Atlanta.

In this quick post, we’d like to share a couple of cool things we saw.

 

INTERACTIVE NANOLUMENS SCREEN IN THE LOBBY:

The lobby sports a giant digital screen that can serve various functions for testing, presenting, and building digital creative content.

CMII Grand Opening NanoLumens Screen

NanoLumens screen at CMII

ROOM FOR COLLABORATION:

We really liked the openness of the second floor. It gives you a sense that this space invites collaboration.

CMII Grand Opening GSU TV Interview

Foundry 45 speaking with GSU TV

CMII Grand Opening Second Floor

Ample room for collaboration on the second floor

CMII IS A NEXT-GEN CREATIVITY LAB:

We were impressed how this building brings together advanced technology digital and audio production, virtual and augmented reality labs, and media maker and entrepreneurship facilities that support research, experimentation, and creative work.

CMII Creative Workshop

Creative workshop at CMII

ROOM 214:

This was actually one of our favorite spots today. Some very interesting work is about to start happening here. Stay tuned to find out more…

CMII Grand Opening 214

Room 214 – Excitement coming soon.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com
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Five Things We Learned at Moxie’s FutureX Live Conference

This past Thursday at the sold-out Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Foundry 45 participated in the second FutureX Live conference, organized by Moxie Marketing. This year’s conference, aptly themed “Engineered Consciousness”, brought together the brightest thought leaders in virtual reality, neuro-stimulation, and brain-machine interfaces to show where we are with current technologies, and how we might architect our technological future.

Our very own Dave Beck took to the stage as part of the Atlanta Alternate Realities Showcase, showing how Foundry 45 deploys virtual reality for brand activation. He also emphasized the important benefits of VR for corporate training.

There were a lot of great sessions at the event, and we’d like to share some of our favorite moments.

FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED AT FUTUREX LIVE:

1. Experience Simulation is Powerful

Dr. Helen Papagiannis (author of “Augmented Human: How Technology is Shaping the New Reality”) and Dr. Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn (University of Georgia) discussed the exciting applications of AR and VR for sense perception and experience simulation. “We’re not designing experiences anymore,” Dr. Papagiannis remarked, “we’re now designing memories.”

2. Alternate Reality Technologies Can Transport Us

Jonathan Strickland, video host at HowStuffWorks, added in his talk about Alternate Reality Technology: “AR can bring to us worlds that never existed and worlds that are long gone.”

3. We are Moving Beyond Conventional Storytelling

Experiential immersion also guided a panel discussion on the future of marketing. Cathy Hackl from XR Marketing beautifully summarized the future of marketing through VR in the following way: “We are moving from storytelling to story-living and story-doing.

4. The Future Must be Architected in Responsible Ways

While augmented, mixed, and virtual reality technologies offer exciting new and transformative avenues for the future of humanity, the invited speakers also stressed the importance of architecting that future in responsible ways. For example, John Rich, Vice President of Future Experiences at Moxie, remarked: “What if we like our virtual realities better than our real realities?” Or, what if augmented realities become too ubiquitous and pervasive? For example, check out Keiichi Matsuda’s provocative 2016 video, “Hyper-Reality,” which depicts a dystopian future in which augmented reality content has run amok.

5. Humans and Computers Will Continue to get Closer

In his keynote address, Dr. Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist, best-selling author, and famed futurist, talked about the exciting history and convergence of human cognition and data-driven augmentation. “In the future,” Dr. Kaku professed, “you will be able to design things with your brain. We will interface with computers mentally.”

Showcasing our latest VR training experience

Aside from a great day of panels, discussions, and presentations, Moxie’s FutureXPO featured the latest achievements in virtual and augmented reality. At the Foundry 45 exhibition booth, conference attendees had the unique opportunity to try out our latest training experience, in which users learn how to disassemble and reassemble an industrial pump within a full-scale immersive environment.

Foundry 45 VR training demonstration

Foundry 45’s Scott Driscoll gives the CBS46 News Team a VR training demonstration at FutureXPO

Overall, Moxie put together a truly wonderful conference this year, and we are happy to have been part of it!

To learn more, check out this news story on CBS46!

Top image – Foundry 45’s Dave Beck presenting at FutureX Live, Photo credit: Dan Smigrod

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com
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You want to train me how? The Power of VR for Employee Training Programs

Virtual Reality provides such a wide range of applications for businesses that it’s simply not feasible to give proper credit within a single installment. We will definitely be talking a lot more about the benefits of VR in future posts. From companies using VR to help with their “wow factor” at trade shows to colleges using immersive experiences to facilitate the recruitment of future seasons’ star athletes, VR provides a compelling brand story that is no longer beyond reach. Some of the most innovative organizations are now integrating these experiences into both marketing and training programs all over the world… and it’s only getting more and more common.

Some of the world’s largest corporations have already taken advantage of VR in order to train their employees in a variety of innovative ways. Here’s a look at a couple we found really exciting, fun, and even outright creepy!

Walmart Virtual Reality in Academies.

Walmart, for example, has plans to update their 200 training centers with state of the art VR technology to enhance training for the 150,000 employees that will go through the program each year. The company’s VR training experience helps employees to make decisions in a variety of simulated work situations including management and dealing with customers during the busy Black Friday sales events.

Volkswagen Using HTC Vive for Global Training.

German car manufacturer Volkswagen is sending a VR module across its entire global operations to train employees in car manufacturing. This VR application was designed with a multi-user focus to enable unprecedented collaboration between all branches of VW including Audi and SEAT SKODA. Users learn to develop automobiles and communicate seamlessly with employees on the other side of the planet thanks to VR.

An example of KFC’s new VR employee training platform.

Finally, KFC just announced their new VR training experience, where a calm, but creepy voice of Colonel Sanders guides workers through the chicken cooking process inside an eerily bizarre “escape room” environment that just oozes with the overall aesthetics of the popular BioShock video game series. While this virtual training experience is both fun and chilling, it’s also highly efficient: the company claims their new VR platform cuts down training time by a whooping 60%, from 25 minutes down to 10!

These are just a few examples of how some of the world’s largest corporations have already taken advantage of VR to train incoming employees. There are a lot of compelling arguments for integrating VR technology into your training programs. Plus, combine the “cool factor” with a proven uptick in employee productivity and you’ll quickly understand why the world’s leading brands are moving towards VR for their next training initiatives.

You should, too! So, get in touch with us, and let’s figure out how we can create your own customized employee training solution powered by VR.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com.

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