Motive.io Announces New VR/AR Training Solutions

Motive.io has announced the launch of two new AR and VR products for the enterprise space: the Motive.io Scenario-based Training Platform and Performance AR. Both offer a scalable way for companies to train employees in virtual and augmented reality without requiring them to write a single line of code.

Motive.io Scenario-based Training Platform - the company’s flagship enterprise product - is a versatile teaching tool. Using Motive.io’s patented authoring software, businesses are able to create their own scenarios in either AR or VR. Individuals can participate in solo learning, or use the platform’s multi-user feature for team-based or collaborative instruction.

Unlike other training products, the scenario-based training platform operates on a variety of device types, from high-end headsets like Microsoft HoloLens or HTC Vive to common handhelds like smartphones and tablets. This variety makes the platform a first-class teaching tool for any business.

“Scenario-based training is one of the most effective ways of learning, because people learn by doing,” says Ryan Chapman, CEO of Motive.io. “Our scenario-based training platform allows companies to make unique simulations that are tailored to their business, with scenarios that adapt based on trainee interactions. Organizations can create intricate situations that meet each individual’s needs, instead of relying on an instructor to guide each employee individually. With Motive.io companies can create and scale training solutions at a much faster pace.”

Motive.io is also launching Performance AR, a customizable performance support product. AR performance support is an emerging technology that has already seen significant measurable benefits in manufacturing, maintenance and repair, field support, inspection, and training. Many employees waste valuable hours leafing through hefty instruction manuals in order to fix product breakages or learn basic company processes. Performance AR provides a step-by-step, interactive guide to manufacturing and teaching organizational procedures.

Using Performance AR, workers can scan a real-world product or location to open the interactive guide. On-screen graphics are then overlaid onto their physical equivalent, giving animated directions on how to create or mend an object, or navigate a factory floor. The software runs on all major headsets as well as mobile and tablet devices, allowing employees to use its features immediately.

According to a Harvard Business Report study performance support tools have already been shown to increase productivity by 30 to 50 percent. Despite that, there are no other off-the-shelf products like Motive.io’s Scenario-based Training Platform or Performance AR that allow businesses to create their own training content. Motive.io’s patented authoring system allows non-technical individuals to create rich experiences without writing any code. Its drag-and-drop interface means that companies can bypass hiring an expensive development team to create an interactive training program.

“We’re excited to be expanding Motive.io’s reach into the enterprise and industrial space,” Chapman says. “We’re seeing a real need for software tools that give corporate training teams the power to create detailed and immersive AR and VR experiences. Our software integrates with a company’s existing learning management system using xAPI, and collects data on training progress, which makes it really easy to use. It feels great to be helping make workplaces safer and more productive.”

About Motive.io:

Motive.io empowers businesses everywhere to take advantage of augmented and virtual reality. AR and VR are revolutionizing the way we interact with the people and machines in our workplaces. Until now, cost and technological barriers have kept the majority of businesses from realizing the significant benefits of AR/VR adoption. Motive.io’s suite of software products and patented authoring platform give companies unprecedented freedom to create their own AR and VR content internally without having to rely on a team of developers. For more information visit http://www.motive.io

Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) PolyFormVR is a Modular Smart Floor Designed to Support Location-Based VR Experiences

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Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) is developing PolyFormVR, a patent-pending modular smart floor designed to support location-based VR experiences with automated construction of physical infrastructure such as walls, windows, doors, stairs, and large props. The system operates using a simple 3-step process to create the physical infrastructure for locations–from measure to extrude to play–in as little as less than a minute.

First, the heights of objects in a target virtual world are measured. Then, the height measurements guide automatic extrusion of the target virtual world into the real world using a grid of moving vertical columns. Finally, users put on the VR equipment of their choice to experience the target virtual world with correlated visuotactile support provided by the columns. PolyFormVR is being developed as middleware in support of operators within the location-based VR military training and entertainment markets.

PolyFormVR is designed to alleviate pain points associated with custom infrastructure design, fabrication, placement, test, teardown, and storage and to accommodate rapid rotation of VR content and its supporting virtual-physical correlated infrastructure. While designed for custom infrastructure automation, PolyFormVR is ideal for algorithmically generated automation in which modular virtual worlds are randomly assembled and then extruded into the real-world, creating unlimited replay value. The smart floor size is modular and customizable and is sufficient for supporting tons of weight in users and in the placement of existing operator props. 

The idea for PolyFormVR arose from a brainstorming exercise to imagine next-gen virtual physical correlated training and simulation capabilities for NASA and US military dismounted soldier training and soon expanded to include entertainment venues. When we looked at the location-based VR industry we found great visuals and responsive tracking. What was missing was the ability to stand up and tear down virtual-physical correlated infrastructure in a manner as agile, timely, and responsive as the selecting and loading VR scenes themselves. The inspiration for its design came from the idea that a synthetic physical environment could be generated on demand, as portrayed in the video game Portal and in the Star Trek series. With PolyFormVR, CTC is making the virtual REAL.

We want feedback from location-based VR operators to help us improve the design of PolyFormVR. Please click the following link to participate in a short market survey.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/polyformvr

CTC Website here

VR and AR - How is the Sector Evolving and What is the Future

For a copy of the Survey, email info@thevrara.com

The XR Industry Survey 2018, based on a survey of 595 AR/VR professionals, reveals some interesting trends for the industry, some of them expected, others more surprising.

The patterns of investment and development in the different sectors which AR/VR are applicable – or potentially applicable – to, show the increasing applicability of this technology beyond the games and entertainment fields that saw its birth in the nineties. 38% of respondents for example believe VR growth in the enterprise sector has been ‘strong’ or ‘very strong’ for example, with an equivalent figure of 43% for AR.

At the same time however, some industries’ slowness to recognise the potential of AR/VR suggests that many still assume it has no serious role outside the games console.

The first point to take home is that the consumer sector (entertainment) and the enterprise sector (product design, training, product design and so forth) have experienced similar amounts of growth but the majority consensus is that this growth has been weaker than hoped in the consumer category.  Enterprise seems to have experienced marginally more growth than consumer; this may be because entertainment applications still depend on the purchase and use of head-sets which remain relatively expensive and unwieldy. Doubtless, this will change as the technology is refined and the time when VR images are beamed directly on to the retina is surely not far off; the basic technology having been around for over twenty years.  

Alongside unwieldy technology, price also remains an issue, with 60% of respondents considering the price of head-mounted displays (HMDs) to be impeding increased adoption of VR/AR, compared to 34% who cited size and design of HMDs.

Alongside these challenges the survey also suggests some companies have pulled out of VR game development for the moment and mobile AR apps have yet to really take off, largely due to the costs considerations mentioned above.

The flipside of this is that there seems to be the greatest scope for growth in the enterprise sector because corporations are more able to invest in the expensive hardware than individuals.  Education is the enterprise sector prioritizing AR/VR the most and the most competitive one, despite the fact that it traditionally has much less spending power than industry – of respondents who reported that they are already using XR technologies, 23% were in the education sector.

Architecture/engineering/construction come a close second at 18%. Healthcare is quite low down on the list despite the obvious AR/VR potential in diagnosis and therapy, with just 7% of those using this technology being in the healthcare sector.

These mixed messages give rise to the question, what are the main barriers to the wholesale embrace of AR/VR predicted in the nineties?

While headset design and price account for part of the problem, potential adopters are also deterred by the lack of proof of ROI (with half of respondents citing this as an issue) and the challenge of integrating the technology with existing systems and processes (32% raising concerns).

The survey also reveals an industry expectation that AR will blossom in the mainstream before VR does, in part because of the availability of open content development platforms like ARCore and ARKit which have no VR counterparts.  

Nevertheless, many industries see the benefit in the long term coming from combining both AR and VR and VR’s superior ability to create a fully immersive environment currently gives it the edge in training and educational applications.

Most survey respondents felt that AR/VR had had a somewhat or very positive effect on their business with VR just ahead in their estimation (83% compared to AR’s 69%), probably because the underlying technology is more mature.

The results of the latest survey are illuminating but also contradictory in places and it is difficult to extrapolate from it exactly what form future trends will take.  One thing is clear however. Many potential customers – both industry and consumer – still remain to be convinced of the benefits of AR/VR or are just apathetic. To generate further momentum in this nascent industry, suppliers will have to invest more in product development and marketing to win them over. On the plus side however, this should pay dividends down the line for early adopters, especially if intellectual property can be developed to create significant barriers to entry for late comers. Most end users who trial the technology quickly see the benefit and invest in it. There are a lot of potential customers out there to be won over.

Simon Portman BA, Dip Law (Bio)

Managing Associate

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Offices: Cambridge (UK)

Languages spoken: English

Email: sportman@marks-clerk.com

Telephone (Office): +44 1223 345520

Global Services and Design Leader Stantec Joins the VR/AR Association

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We’re very excited to have Stantec join the VR/AR Association as our newest Corporate member.

Albert Liu (Membership Manager) of VRARA Vancouver caught up with Aubrey Tucker, an innovative Technology Developer at Stantec to discuss VR/AR in engineering and what they’re up to.

Can you tell me more about Stantec and your role?

Stantec is a 22,000 person organization with over 400 offices around the world. We predominantly focus on engineering but we also work with all forms of design and large scale work. For example, we’re involved with skyscrapers and large transportation projects such as railways. My team is interested in emerging tech and they’re looking into business cases for adopting it. We want to improve computation design, visualization and the way people deliver work.

How long has Stantec been involved in VR/AR?

Stantec first became involved with VR/AR in 2015 through a R&D program called the Greenlight fund which supported creative and innovative ideas from our employees. There are a lot of us throughout the company that have adopted VR/AR for a broad range of use cases. Some of us were early adopters of the Hololens and create our own content for it. I was first introduced to VR/AR in 2010 with Vizard and World Viz through the Oculus SDK 1 and other older platforms.

Some of our designers use Enscape which is an AR plug-in that sits in their software design tool and provides real time rendering with typical artistry work such as BIM (Building Information Modelling). They’re focused primarily on using Enscape to design rather than creating raw content. They also use Twinmotion which is a simplified version of the Unreal Game Engine to produce architectural visualizations and VR environments.

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What made you decide to join the VRARA?

We decided to join the VRARA to network, get access to events and see what everyone in the industry is up to. We want to be a more active member in the worldwide VR/AR community. My selfish interest for joining the VRARA is to provide all the different offices around the world with a way to engage with other technology creators that are local to them. We want people from these offices to attend events, meet new people, learn and experiment with emerging immersive technology.

What are some things that we can expect from Stantec in the future?

We were shortlisted for an award for our immersive design experience for the Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) and the Fraser Health Authority. We used VR to help the staff experience the interior rooms of the hospital. The nursing team noticed the types of storage that had been specified were too small in some areas and too big in others. They told us that they wouldn’t have noticed this without using VR. Real time visualization was a game changer for the RCH because it allowed for many more considerations within the interior and exterior spaces.

Stantec is also interested in moving into simulation and looking at how long it takes people to get to places. We’re seeing a lot of startups focused on these issues. It’ll also be interesting to look at collaborations where we can work together with others in a VR environment.

Recently, we worked with Archiact, another member of the VRARA to incubate ideas with them. Scenarion launched an extension for SketchUp called Rendezvue which makes it easy to review and edit 3D models in VR. We’ll also be working with them for another project on space planning. We’re always looking for other companies to work on projects with!

How do you see VR/AR making an impact in the building design/architecture space?

Design and aesthetics are the obvious ones but VR/AR is making an impact in many different ways. There are different mediums that can explored such as true immersive walk throughs and the potential for world building in VR. Another interesting challenge is the question of interfaces and how to set up complex interfaces in a VR environment.

In AR there’s a huge opportunity in construction by bringing in health safety applications to reduce and prevent danger onsite. There is also the use of Reality Capture which passively captures 3D models in construction. We can review these models and send instructions to workers to improve work efficiency.  

Daqri and Microsoft are also breaking into these spaces with their AR headsets. Construction is an old school industry and there’s a lot of room for disruption but we’re still not quite there yet.

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How do you see the future of VR/AR integrating into designing buildings and communities in the next 3-5 years?

It’s hard to predict what will happen in the future but I believe there will be a lot of progress made in construction. It depends on how advanced the hardware becomes because once it’s built, the software and other technologies will be easy. We know what we want in construction because if that works all of the other use cases will fall in line. At the end of the day hardware is the linchpin that will dictate the future of VR/AR in construction and engineering.

Closing comments

My team and I at Stantec are very excited to be members of the VRARA. We’re looking forward to building new relationships, pushing the technology further and meeting everyone.

See Aubrey’s talk from one of VRARA Vancouver’s events earlier this year