360 Immersive discusses Virtual Reality training and the industry trends and status in 2017


David Cleverdon: Hello. This is David and Jennifer from 360 Immersive. Today we have the pleasure of discussing the status of VR training. Now, we got into virtual reality training about two and a half years ago. Where we are today and where have we come from. Jennifer, can you tell us a little bit about VR training and the status?

Jennifer Lastra: So, we have come a very, very long way. It all started with football – as anybody who knows our story – so, coming from football along to working with law enforcement personnel, nurses, and medical staff. It’s been a broad range of experiences that we’ve created and relationships that we formed. Even some of the trade shows that we’ve gone to, people come up and say, “Oh, we could use virtual reality training for forensics education.” And things were like, “Wow, that’s a great idea.” So, we’ve – just more and more organizations come up with even more and more ideas of how the technology can be used outside of just basic training. Recruiting has been big for us as well as you know. And so, I think the potential continues to grow.

David Cleverdon: So, we’ve demoed for probably hundreds if not thousands of people and what is the overall take away from their level of interest – when they put that goggle on and they experience virtual reality – or what’s commonly called VR – for the first time, what’s their response?

Jennifer Lastra: Yeah. So, if it’s a training supervisor training – somebody in charge of training for their organization, they just instantly get it. Most – other people within the organization – so, other decision makers or even the students themselves. They get really excited about the technology. Virtual reality is going to be around for a very, very long time no matter what happens. And as the other technologies begin to grow in augmented reality etc., virtual reality’s always going to have its place in the learning process. And so, when we start talking about integrating experiences and to e-learning platforms. I mean that’s probably the most interest that I’ve seen in over the last probably three of four months are learning institutions that have e-learning platforms that are looking for something fresh and something new to share with their students. And so, yeah. Just overall a lot of excitement, a lot of energy – people want to start to experiment with it, which is great for us, right? People don’t obviously go right towards training when they think of the different applications for virtual reality. They’re gaming entertainment and those types of things. So, to see the momentum beginning to pick up for training is a really good indicator that we’re on the right path.

David Cleverdon: So, in general, there are two main categories of VR training. One is what we in the industry call a live experience, we’re actually capturing real video in 360 and you’re doing something with that. And the other one, of course is CGI or computer-generated imagery that allows you to create worlds that perhaps you can’t create such as a HAZMAT spill – you can flip a tanker truck where in real life we wouldn’t want to do that. Can you speak a little bit about that – the interest in live experience, but also the interest in simulations that people can – like you say – drop right into a learning platform and they’re off and running.

Jennifer Lastra: Yeah. So, we started off really focusing on live 360 experiences because the feedback that we were getting is that organizations want their own people, in their own uniforms, following their specific processes, policies, and procedures. But then what we realized is there’s a huge market for – when you talk about some of the benefits of virtual reality technology – it’s the ability for situation awareness. And so, when you think about all of the different scenarios that you can create using computer generated simulations and really at an affordable level. You can create this scenes and experiences where it would be possibly too dangerous or just not cost effective to recreate using live 360 technology.

So, the computer-generated simulation is much more affordable, much more scalable, especially when you’re focusing on situation awareness and putting somebody into a scene. And instead of having – telling them what it is that they need to do, letting them explore, and it’s that experiential learning process that is getting a lot of intention. And that virtual reality really supports.

David Cleverdon: So, budgets are always a concern when you’re talking to governmental agencies when you’re talking about –

Jennifer Lastra: Yeah.

David Cleverdon: Training institutions. And live experiences can be extremely affordable, but most people think of computer simulations as expensive. And yet, 360 Immersive has actually developed a process that those experiences can be outputted at a fairly affordable rate. Can you speak a little bit about that desire to put something out there that people can integrate and afford?

Jennifer Lastra: Yeah. So, right now it’s all about experimentation. And that adoption curve that we’re waiting for the technology – again one of the biggest challenges is content – with the technology and getting it to advance through the adoption curve. So, when you’re looking at organizations, or the organizations that have been reaching out to us, and that we’ve been looking to partner with and kind of collaborate with. They’re interested in – I lost my train of thought.

David Cleverdon: Let me help you. So, what they’re interested is an affordable solution that allows them to integrate situational awareness into their e-learning platforms. And actually, CGI based or computer based simulation allows that. And it’s not to say that you couldn’t integrate live experiences – absolutely you can. It’s not an either or, it’s whatever method and technology fit the application that’s needed.

Jennifer Lastra: Yeah, absolutely. I would agree with that.

David Cleverdon: So, we have – speaking of that, we’ve actually formed over the last two and a half years some real solid collaborations and partnerships with some organizations that are forward thinking. That when you talk about virtual reality, you’re talking about VR or even AR. Even augmented reality. Can you speak a little bit about building those collaborations and those partnerships that are going to drive this industry forward?

Jennifer Lastra: Right. So, where we come into play with all of this is these organizations are looking for a competitive advantage. They’re looking for something that is going to get their trainers excited about, get their students excited about, and all of the buzz is about virtual reality, and what the technology can do. How can it enhance the learning experience? How can it enhance engagement retention? All of those things that you look for in a training, and learning, and education process. And so, we have a lot of opportunities to collaborate with these organizations, but they need somebody who understands the technology to walk them down that process.

And that’s something two and a half years into it that we really do fully understand. We understand how to create the apps that ultimately will distribute any of the content that we created – that we create or help others create themselves. We understand how to integrate – not to replace their learning experiences or current curriculum, but to enhance their current curriculum. Giving students a way to experience something well beyond what they traditionally have access to which are table top displays, and a lot of PowerPoint, and traditional video that may have been shot upwards to 10 maybe 12 years ago.

So, we’re able to take real scenarios, and things that are happening recently, and being able to recreate those experiences. So that people can first hand put themselves into those situations and how do they react? How do they perform under stress and potentially under duress? And those are the types of things that – not only students want to see – it’s also the instructors and using it as a tool to make sure that you’ve got the right people, and the right jobs, doing the right things.

David Cleverdon: So, finally before we wrap up here. We get so excited about the technology, that sometimes we don’t talk about ourselves as a company. And we actually have a great vision and mission –

Jennifer Lastra: Yeah.

David Cleverdon: Statement.

Jennifer Lastra: We do.

David Cleverdon: Can you talk a little bit about that vision – what our vision is as a company and where we’re going to go –

Jennifer Lastra: Yeah.

David Cleverdon: And that mission that we’ve assigned our self?

Jennifer Lastra: It’s really simple. We want to eliminate fatalities and do everything we can to prevent nonfatal injuries from occurring. Whether it’s in public services, and our emergency response personnel, or in workplace safety. So, we see a huge potential for this technology to accomplish that. And the way we do it is by getting around organizations that want something. They want an enhanced tool for their personnel and educating them about the technology. Demonstrating how the technology can be applied across pretty much any organization where safety is a primary factor in their biggest – supporting their biggest asset which is their people.

And then, basically, collaborating together to create a training curriculum that supports their overall mission for their people in their organization. So, it’s very simple. Educate, demonstrate, and collaborate. So, yeah.

David Cleverdon: Awesome.

Jennifer Lastra: Yeah.

David Cleverdon: So, if you’re interested in virtual reality or VR training, if you’re law enforcement, fire, security, EMS, medical, or workplace safety – we’re absolutely the folks that you can talk to about projects that you may want to integrate in your training curriculum. For now – excuse me – we’d like to thank you and look forward to more live casts in the future.