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On A Fact-Finding Mission With ‘The Understander’

Analyst Benjamin Gross has been working at Foundry 45 for almost a year now. His position is informally called “The Understander” as it is his role to look through project documents from our clients and understand how everything works. In today’s Who’s Who @ F45, learn an interesting fact he now knows from working here!

Foundry 45’s Brooklyn Sheets Shares Super Experience And Super Powers

Brooklyn Sheets is one of our new Junior Unity developers. She graduated from SCAD and has been working for Foundry 45 since January of this year. Her background is in Game and Interactive Media Design, and she worked with VR and AR in college which then led her to pursue a career with us. Check out her Who’s Who @ F45 to learn more about Brooklyn!

Foundry 45’s Ejaz Merchant Keeps You Bug Free

Ejaz Merchant has worn many different hats throughout his past year and a half here at Foundry 45. Currently, he is a QA developer. He ensures the training experiences we create for our client partners are bug free and ready for implementation. An interesting fact about Ejaz is that he originally went to school for hospitality and account management but had a career change that led him to us!

Key Measurements to Determine VR Training Success

Companies are increasingly turning to virtual reality (VR) training to equip employees with the skill sets needed to be effective in their respective roles. That’s because VR training provides organizations with multiple benefits like increased employee productivity, retention, and engagement.

Yet proving the efficacy of VR training is still a top concern for learning and development (L&D) professionals. After all, it will likely be a factor in shaping the department’s budget in the upcoming year.

So, how can L&D professionals leverage VR training and tout its effectiveness to the C-Suite? It’s all about keeping an eye on key measurements.

Measuring VR Training Success

While the advantages of VR training may seem obvious, the objectives of your program must be tied to organizational goals to show the value. Otherwise, it will cause internal stakeholders to question its ability to deliver ROI.

Since VR can be integrated with learning management systems (LMS), it’s easy to show its impact and value because VR generates multiple data points. The key is to use the information collected to create a narrative that the C-suite will understand by aligning the data to business goals. 

To help L&D professionals do this, we modified Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Model to make the following four levels more relevant to VR training:

  • Engagement: How engaging and relevant was the training program for the trainee
  • Comprehension: How well did the trainee retain and comprehend the training materials
  • Speed to Competency: How well was the trainee able to quickly apply the information learned
  • Outcome: How does trainee results contribute to the organization’s bottom line

Let’s take a look at this framework in action.

Engagement

Measuring employee engagement is a vital component for determining VR training success since there is a direct correlation between engagement and retention. If trainees are properly engaged, meaning that the content is both interesting and relevant, then they are more likely to retain the information.

Due to its immersive nature, employees are naturally more engaged with VR than with passive forms of training such as videos or workbooks. VR training leverages gamification to make learning new concepts fun and easier to understand.

When trying to quantify the success of your VR training program’s engagement, use a post-training survey to collect responses. Ask employees questions like:

  • How easy was it to use?
  • How helpful were the VR training materials?
  • How impactful was VR training?

Comprehension

One of the biggest challenges of any training program is determining if trainees are actually learning. VR training makes it easier to measure learning because it generates data that shows how engaged the user is with VR training by documenting:

  • Training frequency and completion
  • Interactions in the training module itself (movement, clicks, and focus)
  • Proficiency in performing tasks in the simulated environment

L&D professionals can also include comprehension exams in the learning modules that require trainees to pass with satisfactory scores before moving on to the next section. If a large percentage of trainees score low on that specific module, tweaks can be made to that particular area without having to create a new training program.

Speed to Competency

The goal of any training program is to get employees up to speed quickly and efficiently with the new skills they need to do the job. To measure speed to competency, it’s important to look at what the organization is trying to achieve and how VR training will help the organization achieve that goal.

For manufacturers, the goal may be to reduce the number of man-made errors on the line. For an airline, it might be decreasing the time it takes to turn a plane around. The objective in determining speed to competency with VR training is to see how fast the employee can master the skill and get back on the job and how it translates positively to the bottom line. 

Metrics to measure can include:

  • Duration: How long did it take to master the new skill?
  • Retention: Retesting after a period of time to gauge retention. 
  • Proficiency: Has employee performance improved?

Outcome

There are many benefits to VR training, but what the C-suite is looking for is how the training program helped improve the bottom line. When determining how successful VR training is, it’s essential to focus on bottom-line metrics that speak to what the organization is trying to achieve, such as:

  • Productivity: Did productivity grow as a result of less downtime for both employees and equipment?
  • Savings: Was there a reduction in training-related travel and expenses?
  • Efficiency: Have work-related accidents been reduced?
  • Retention: Are employees staying longer with the company?

Leveraging the data at each stage of VR training is a surefire way to demonstrate its value to internal stakeholders. 

To learn how one company was able to leverage VR training to deliver real bottom-line results check out our case study

Foundry 45’s Brian O’Neal is Recreating Fabricated Worlds

Introducing the “Who’s Who @F45!” A spotlight on the employees that power the various aspects of the company. Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian O’Neal:

Brian is one of the lead developers here at Foundry 45. Unlike some of our other devs, he doesn’t have a traditional development background. Instead, a focus in mechanical engineering led Brian to working in the aerospace industry simulating spacecraft. After that, Brian transferred his skills to the video game industry, and eventually discovered a passion for Virtual Reality (VR) development when he joined Foundry 45.

In the video above, Brian explains that his previous skills translate very well towards VR. His aerospace engineering days had him “calculating the behavior of the world,” explains Brian. He’s been able to transfer those skills through working with VR; recreating the behavior of a fabricated world for others to learn and develop their skills. It’s no surprise that Brian’s favorite part of the development process is analyzing complex training procedures and implementing them in a virtual environment.

Foundry 45 at 5: VR Training Comes of Age

Foundry 45 is officially five! 

We are truly grateful to be able to celebrate this moment. While a lot has changed over the past years, we realize that at our core we are still the same inspired, driven, and purposeful organization that we started out to be.

Over the past five years, we have immersed more than 10,000 employees into an experiential  world for a hands-on adventure, which allows them to practice and apply new skills and problem-solving techniques in a safe, cost-effective, and real-time environment. 

As a company, our team has more than tripled in size in just the past two years alone, all while working with more than a dozen different Fortune 100 companies. We truly value and celebrate the impact our team has had on the learning and retention programs for a wide range of industries and their employees.  

Looking back, it has been amazing to see not only how we have grown but how the VR training industry itself has matured as well. 

While the concept of a pair of goggles being the portal to a fictional world can be traced back to 1930s sci-fi, the term Virtual Reality wasn’t even coined until 1987. Yet, even throughout the 90s and 00s, Virtual Reality was seen as more of a gaming gimmick than a viable piece of technology that can transform our lives. 

When Foundry 45 entered the scene in 2015, we did so with the desire to utilize VR as a way to make a difference within organizations, and still today, “purpose” remains one of our core attributes

Early on, we found that just getting the word out to explain what VR training actually was and did proved to be an uphill battle. Organizations were unsure how to utilize it, what technology was needed, and how to integrate it into their already established learning and development programs. It seemed difficult and expensive. We had to prove that it wasn’t. 

As organizations began to understand the benefits of VR training, such as up to a 50% greater retention rate than traditional training methods, the next hurdle was to help them make the business case for utilizing it in their programs. 

Yes, there is a cool factor and there’s something to be said for having a “cutting-edge” training program, but without the ROI to back it up, all the rest is futile. By measuring from recruitment through training and retention, as well as accounting for hard costs such as travel and physical environment needs, VR training quickly proved itself as a viable solution with a real ROI for enterprises. 

Today, with more organizations than ever recognizing the need for VR training, understanding how to roll it out at scale has become one of their primary concerns. As a result, we often step in to help guide organizations to efficiently and effectively integrate VR beyond a single department or single training instance. 

Additionally, our partnerships have also allowed us to see how VR can truly be used for the greater good. We are so proud that through all the changes we have seen over the past five years, our team has stayed focused not only on how VR can impact our clients, but also impact others in our communities and around the globe. 

The past five years have been an exciting ride for both Foundry 45 and the industry as a whole. As we look ahead to the next five and beyond, we can’t wait to see what is in store for us, our clients, and our industry. Thank you all for being part of this journey with us. 

Foundry 45’s Newest Partner

ATLANTA—It’s a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day at Foundry 45! Dana Xavier Dojnik, an immersive technology leader with 20+ years of experience, has been named partner at Foundry 45, the VR Training and Business Leaders.

Before joining Foundry 45, Dana spent the first 15 years of her career in advertising and consulting in New York for iconic brands like Lockheed Martin, Ford Motor Company, Liz Claiborne, and Starwood. Upon moving to Atlanta in 2006, she joined 22squared as VP of Interactive Operations and then moved over to BBDO Atlanta to build out their digital team working on campaigns for REI, American Cancer Society, Georgia Pacific and AT&T. Dana also spearheaded all of the photography, video, and innovation for six years at IHG before coming aboard as the first female partner at Foundry 45.

Dana is a nationally accomplished keynote speaker/moderator who’s talks have occurred at SXSW, Social Fresh, WorldIADay and PRSA. She is a member of the Invest Atlanta’s Creative Industries Advisory Board and will have her directorial debut this year releasing her first 360 degree film, Growing New Roots for DIG, Development In Gardening at FutureXLive in April. Nationally, she is a six-time century cyclist with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and locally was on the founding board that created the Grant Park Farmers Market.

“Immersive technologies like VR and AR are paving the way to the future for us all. The opportunity that lies ahead for Foundry 45 in this space is incredible, and I am deeply honored to join forces with the founding partners” Dojnik said. “By focusing on innovation in the training space and collaborative partnerships within key industries, we will continue the strong growth we have seen over the past few years.” Dojnik also adds, “As the Mom of both a daughter and a son, I am proud to show them that ‘Moms’ can be both successful at home and in their professional careers. It takes a lot of hard work, honest communication and a great amount of support.”

“Foundry 45 is excited to welcome Dana Xavier Dojnik as a partner. She offers a unique combination of technical acumen and creative skill that greatly strengthens our ability to provide innovative VR/AR solutions to our clients. Dana also has a deep connection to Atlanta and a passion for giving back to the community. She’s a huge asset to our team,” shares Dave Beck, Managing Partner.

Dojnik’s appointment as a partner at Foundry 45 is part of their strategic plan, aimed at elevating females in the technology and leadership space. This hire, along with the recent additions of  two top female VR developers (Evie Rain and Linda Zhang), aligns with Foundry 45’s focus on innovation, creativity and immersive technology as part of metro Atlanta’s vital growth of the regional economy.

Foundry 4 Going On 5

Birthdays are some of the most special days in our lives, and there are endless ways to celebrate them. In Jamaica, you may be covered in flour by your friends and family. Hungarians celebrate by tugging the birthday person’s earlobes, and Nigerian birthday feasts might include an entire roasted cow.

Foundry 45 turned four this month, and that calls for a grand celebration! With so many new faces, new places, and new training experiences in the VR and AR markets last year, I wanted to give everyone some highlights.

No matter how you measure it, we had a very successful year. But we’re not resting on our laurels! Year 5 is already here, and with it comes the promise of a growing enterprise VR market.

That’s why we’re so excited about this new year. Overall, VR training and education isn’t the future anymore. It’s here now, and as it grows, we are ready to grow right alongside it. Keep a lookout for Foundry 45’s innovations in the coming year!

-Dave Beck
Managing Partner
Foundry 45

Press Release – New Office


ATLANTA, January 15, 2017 – Atlanta-based virtual reality agency Foundry 45 recently announced it will be moving to Atlanta’s new technology hub for creative media, film and immersive technologies. The company has set up shop on the 2nd floor of Georgia State University’s Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII), which is located in the heart of Downtown Atlanta right next to Woodruff Park.

Georgia State’s goal is to foster a collaborative environment where local businesses can tap into the new talent entering the creative media markets. The facilities offer partners cutting edge spaces to build, develop, and hone their creative skills. Foundry 45 is one of the first businesses to sign with CMII. Going forward, they will be joined by other innovative companies engaged in the audio, video, film and extended realities spaces.

“CMII is an ideal partner for digital media and creative industry enterprises working with the latest tools and technology,” states Elizabeth Strickler, Director of Media Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CMII) at Georgia State University. “The institute offers training in emerging technologies such as 360-degree filmmaking, virtual and augmented reality, gaming concepts, esports, and motion capture. We’re thrilled to have Foundry 45 as one of our in-house creative ventures in residence as they will enrich our efforts of building a national model for media entrepreneurship and collaborating with partners to better serve our diverse student body.”

Due to widespread awareness of virtual and augmented reality technologies in 2017, Foundry 45 along with a number of partners in the Atlanta community have experienced an increase of VR-enabled, room-scale corporate training and marketing projects. Outgrowing its space in Grant Park, the CMII facility in downtown Atlanta provides the team a unique and exciting space for future growth, collaboration and a direct path to new talent.    

“We have been looking to expand our office beyond Grant Park for some time now and when we found out what Georgia State was doing, we had to jump in,” states Dave Beck, Managing Partner of Foundry 45. “The facility is amazing. From the huge NanoLumens screen when you first walk into the lobby, to the motion & volumetric capture studio, to the dedicated room-scale virtual reality rooms, it’s the perfect space to collaborate, develop, and show off our VR work. The large co-working space also allows us to scale up our workforce as we grow.”

ABOUT CMII (Creative Media Industries Institute)

The Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) has three core missions. First, the institute organizes advanced technology media and arts training so Georgia State students are prepared to start careers in the entertainment and information industries. Second, CMII is building a model to nurture media entrepreneurs. Third, the focus is on industry collaboration – especially concentrated on the film and TV production, music industries and game design sectors – to generate research and economic development.

These three missions connect to the new CMII media content creation center and each is the focus of one of its three floors. CMII faculty members have deep and broad experience in the creative industries and they share their knowledge and industry connections with students. Formal partnerships to accomplish CMII goals are set in motion with regional media companies and educational partners, including the Georgia Film Academy.

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.