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Exploring the future of immersive training

Posted 29 Nov 2018

There is increased interest in immersive content to revolutionise training across the creative industries, manufacturing and beyond. By transporting people, immersive training can replicate dangerous scenarios, improve career skills and account for implicit biases. The Future of Training showcase will shine a light on six immersive companies creating engaging and innovative content to revolutionise the way we train. – Rebecca Gregory-Clarke – Head of Technology, Immersive (VR/AR)

Immersive technologies have been used for training in some form for nearly a century. Spawned by an urgent need to train large numbers of aviators during World War I, flight simulators were developed for commercial aviation in 1915. A device was created to measure the reaction times of pilots in correcting disturbances. In the ensuing century, other uses followed in healthcare to improve operating room performance and, more recently, in the automotive industry to cut costs whilst creating quality products.

Fast forward to today, training which uses innovative and exciting forms of emerging immersive technologies (augmented, virtual and mixed reality), is becoming increasingly more common across a variety of markets. These new immersive experiences create the opportunity to transport people into an environment or situation where they are enveloped and engaged more deeply than previously possible. It is a powerful tool that increases the retention of what is learned through memorable and meaningful learning experiences.

Corporate heavyweights have started to explore this technology; in 2017, KFC launched ‘The Hard Way – a KFC Virtual Training Escape Room’, a 25-minute virtual reality experience requiring participants to correctly prepare fried chicken to escape a darkened ranch. This year, Walmart has been using immersive training to improve employees’ capability to provide good in-store experiences. Its research has found that VR learning improves employee retention of new information by 10 to 15 percent compared to the typical combination of videos, online demos, and classroom work. [1] Similarly, Accenture is using virtual reality learning to train employees by analysing consumer-data driven insights to immerse financial services employees in real-life work and customer scenarios. [2] These companies are investing in this technology and highlighting that even with the costs of headsets for hundreds of employees, immersive training content has a measurable positive impact on employees’ performances. By doing and not merely observing at a multi-sensory level, more information is retained for longer periods of time.

There are three main circumstances where immersive training can play a significant role. Firstly, immersive is useful for replicating dangerous and complex scenarios. It is not always possible or safe to train ‘in situ’ and companies are finding that immersive is an ideal way to replicate that experience; example scenarios could include operating heavy, complicated machinery or mediating a crowd. Secondly, immersive can help companies account and manage implicit or explicit biases. It is possible to experience multiple perspectives over a scenario and, increase empathy for a group or individual that the participant previously held biases against. Finally, another emerging use for training with immersive is to improve career skills, which could include negotiation or public speaking.

The UK has been particularly innovative in creating immersive training content. Digital Catapult’s market research demonstrates that there are well over 50 companies creating immersive training content for enterprise. The demand for this content is ever-increasing and six companies will form part of Digital Catapult’s first Future of Training showcase, which will run from 29th November to 29th March 2018.

Future of training, immersive training:

We are delighted to announce Digital Catapult’s Future of Training showcase, where after a competitive selection process, we welcome six companies creating training content using either AR, VR and MR. The companies forming this showcase are all transforming training for industry and their content will be showcased in all of our labs across the UK until March 2019.

Clicks and Links specialises in immersive technology. It has been focusing on bringing the exciting potential of VR to new industries. The organisation has carried out virtual inspection work with infrastructure projects in rail and nuclear decommissioning and has developed a range of immersive training experiences.

Daden’s Trainingscapes VR is an authoring tool for immersive VR training content that lets educators create and share engaging, effective and informative training through 3D lessons and experiences. Content can be accessed through 3D, VR (such as Oculus Rift), smartphones and tablet computers.

Increase productivity and reduce errors with KIT-AR’s intelligent step-wise AR instructions that proactively react to the actions of workers.

London based Mativision has produced immersive experiences for global brands since 2012. The company is the world leader in VR-Live streaming. Its clients come from live entertainment to enterprise training and medical education, and include Facebook, Google, Samsung, FOX, MTV, Universal, Warner Bros, Vodafone, Unilever.

SmartDS believes that technology can empower and enrich peoples’ lives. By using holograms in mixed reality, it delivers safer, more effective training and visualisation tools at a lower cost for clients in sectors as diverse as engineering, health, pharmaceutical, training, insurance, education and leisure.

UNIT9 is one of the leading multidisciplinary production companies working in different interactive areas: films, games, virtual reality and digital technology. Founded in 1997, UNIT9 operates globally with offices in London, Los Angeles, New York, Florence, Berlin and Poland.




To read more on the showcase companies in full please download our showcase guide below.