How will technology shape learning?

A look at the trends and impact of digital transformation and possibilities of AR in education and training

Technology has become an imperative part of education in the past decade. The introduction of immersive technologies meant interactive classes and unparalleled experience in learning. A study conducted by Justin Tosco, a master’s student at Saint Catherine University, shows that students prefer lessons that use technology.

The study found that there was 16% accuracy in short answers and increase engagement for students taught with the aid of technology.

We are currently living in a fully-digital world with average adults spending over 5-7 hours a day on the internet. And Generation Z – a popular name for today’s school-going kids, have grown along with this digital boom. This makes them quite familiar with the use of technology in everyday activities.

Research by Geer and Sweeney (2012) showed that the use of a variety of media applications to explain concepts increased the understanding and supported greater collaboration between students.

AR provides an efficient way to represent a model that needs visualization. This immersive technology provides seamless interaction between the real and virtual world. Furthermore, it facilitates field visits within four walls, thereby increasing visual retention.

Some key benefits of adopting technology in education:

  1. Improves knowledge retention (taps the potential of visual memory)

    Students learn multiple subjects at school and need to remember them all. Technology like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality bring content to life. Studies suggest that visual memory appeals to mind within 0.01 second! Students learn as they see, thereby sub-consciously retaining knowledge.

  2. Induces interest in students (provides the wide platform for students to self-exploration)

Generally, teaching is believed to be the mode of acquiring knowledge or learning. Immersive technologies facilitate self-learning, in a fun and engaging manner. Subjects like History, which are narrative and quite visual, can be easily learned through these.

  1. Facilitates holistic learning (caters to visual, auditory and speech sensory)

As a study rightly says, use of technology involves real-world problems, current informational resources, simulations of concepts, and communication with professionals in the field. In addition, learning using technology is believed to complement the traditional forms of teaching and learning. This promotes the visual, auditory and speech senses simultaneously.

  1. Reduce classroom disruption (aids students with limited attention span, engages a big class)

Learning and paying attention to new concepts are challenging for children with autism, down syndrome, etc. AR and VR have proven to improve their attention span, aid in expressing their self and improves their interactive behaviour. Furthermore, these technologies act as students’ centre of attraction, thereby reducing any possible distraction.

  1. Improves mastery of abstract subjects (theorems, certain chemical compounds, food chain)

Learning about obtuse triangle or explanation of food chain through mere theory makes a student’s life difficult. These are abstract concepts and are understood better when demonstrated. Augmented Reality and other similar technologies bring such abstract subjects to life with their overlay and video demonstration capacities.

  1. Visualisation of theoretical concepts (Eg: air pressure, Archimedes principle, types of clouds)

Learning by viewing animated objects leads to better understanding and simplifies what is taught. Immersive technology such as Virtual Reality can enable students to feel or experience some theoretical concepts like air pressure, or the working of Archimedes principle.

  1. Simplification of complex subjects (table of elements – their qualities, geometric formulae)

We have discussed on technologies ability to simplify learning. Let us understand this further:

The introduction of powerpoint slides or projectors meant students had a visual aid to break-down important points while being taught. Whereas, some of these technologies weren’t accessible always and by all students. With high levels of mobile penetration to Gen-Z, today’s technology like 3D learning, AR, VR, MR and AI are all accessible at the touch of a button on a mobile.

These technologies enable re-visiting and learning a concept at an individual time and pace. They further act as a personal tutor for students, walking them through every step.

  1. Objectification of content (providing a direction to what is being taught)

History and Civics are two subjects with relatively easy concepts to understand but can be quite monotonous if learnt theoretically. Use of technology in such subjects enable objectification of content and provides a skeletal frame to what is taught. For instance, when learning about legislature or an assembly, students can play-out scenarios of a majority, coalition or stages in creating a law. These are effective methods of teaching and enables them to grasp concepts better.

Advantages of AR in Education

  • Supports seamless interaction between real and virtual environments and allows the use of a tangible interface metaphor for object manipulation
  • Provide instructors with a way to strengthen students’ understanding in the classroom by augmenting physical props with virtual annotations and illustrations
  • Creates a learning experience that is linked to the formal classroom, so that student(s) can learn outside of class hours and outside of school limits
  • Enables the visualization of interactions among amino acids and protein building processes as static 2D/3D images and 3D dynamic images (animations)

(Source: University Teknologi Malaysia Research)

Applications in medical training

AR and VR are widely being used to train medical students in a number of ways. VR can be leveraged in training medical students and residents on procedures for a more truly immersive experience before engaging with real patients.

For patients, these technologies can speed education about conditions or treatment plans.

Use of virtual cadavers in anatomy training is one specific example, which can be extended to practice sessions with an AR-enhanced smartphone.

(Excerpts from Deloitte Digital Trends report)

The University of Twente, Netherlands is developing an economical smartphone technology based on the usage of Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) and Augmented Reality (AR). This technology enables medical personnel to reconstruct 3D body sections quickly, by directing the smartphone to the area of interest.

Subject wise application:

SubjectPurpose of the technologyFeatures used

Chemistry

Provides an efficient way to represent and interact with moleculesAR exhibits

Chemical engineering

Using a glass tabletop laden with coffee mugs and popsicle sticks, students rearranged the objects in a recent teaching exercise to simulate reactions in a real-life, sprawling chemical plant.Projector, AR table-top, QR coding

Mathematics

Aides teaching geometry, shapes, area etcAR and MR

Geography

Facilitates virtual tours; enables visualising different flora and fauna. To a certain level, immersive aspect lets students experience air pressure or view how a water cycle is complete.AR, VR and MR

History

To gather information and enhance the experience of visitors to cultural organisations (museums and archaeological sites)Mobile AR educational games

Biology

To teach participants that habitats are connected like links in a chain (food chain)
Facilitates students to view micro-organisms and their characteristics without the help of microscope (to an extent)
AR

Physics

To overlay graphics on top of the physical props to visualize these forces (speed, velocity, acceleration, pressure, friction, energy changes) invisible to the human eyeAugmented video, video conferencing, tracked physical props (e.g. toy cars)

Architecture

Enables 3D visualisation and walk-throughs of cites;

helps assess structural worthiness, measure area and volume;

aides error correction in draft plans easily with its layered approach
from lighting to flooring to foundations – it will also let designers test out environments before actually building them

AR, VR and MR

Astronomy

To show augmented views of the celestial bodies and support learning using spatial visual guides and views from a terrestrial observerAR and VR

Medicine

Enables complete learning of body parts from the external skin to internal organs;
facilitates in learning more on surgical points;
virtual cadavers help students overcome the fear of surgery;

virtual reality provides medical and dental students a safe and controlled environment to practice surgeries and procedures, allowing them to make mistakes without having any impact on an actual patient, and prepare for any unexpected situations.

AR for body over-lay

Holo-lens assisted surgery in VR

MR

Journalism

Will aid in separating verified and unverified news information;
news aggregators will also help identify a breaking news through social media and other related uploads before the first official news is out.
AI

 

The way forward:

Technologies such as AR, VR, MR, AI etc are fast changing the face of learning and education. Integration of these technologies benefits teachers along with students. With the aid of technology like AR, visualisation of subject matter improves. Teachers can impart knowledge and facilitate learning in a simple way.

Use of technology in learning should be focussed on student centred learning. As observed earlier, these have vast use in almost every field of work. These technologies have become the new basic skillset to work around just like emails and mobile apps.

Businesses are adopting AR and VR to enhance processes. They have proved to save time, cut costs and increase efficiency.

As disruptive technologies grow, thousands of jobs will be created, and several others’ skill sets will widen. Introduction to these technology concepts from school will better prepare students for a digital world ahead.

 

With excerpts from 1, 2, 3

Frontier Technologies – saving lives

Immersive technology in healthcare

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) – the immersive technologies are healthcare’s fastest growing med-tech that are saving lives. From their early research to pilot(s) and beyond, they have become mainstream currently.

A look at some of the flag-ship medical research and methodology in place:

 

 

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Images courtesy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Designing for a difference – Part 2

Deepa Umesh, Head of Delivery, Appearition India, talks on how design makes a difference in Branding, Digital Transformation and more:

– How to achieve branding using design?

Consistency is the key to branding. We drive the end user to build a perception of our brand through design. If there is a disconnect in a medium or between digital and physical communication or design, the ability to identify our brand is lost.

A repeated systematic approach will provide the solution to business branding. It is a journey not a process that is definitive.

Imagination + Creativity + Empathy + Innovation results in Value creation.

Along with these components, conducting a SWOT analysis will help in market segmentation and identifying targets. It gives an outline to a pragmatic and holistic approach.

Semiotics – the study of symbols opens more avenues in terms of design as these are based on language and culture. Human Psychology + Semiotics lead to solution building – a spot where design plays a pivotal role.

In recent years, symbols have replaced text. Symbols indicate, designate, and process the visuals. This results in creating a likeness, providing an analogy and acts as a metaphor for the objects that symbol represent.

A culmination of the above-mentioned aspect(s) leads to clarity, consistency and credibility of branding.

Thus, Branding is automatically achieved when we focus on the solution as opposed to the problem.

– Digital Transformation: What will be the role of a design in this next big thing?

As we know, design facilitates that oneness in tone and thinking. To me, being able to change what we do and how we do forms the crux of digital transformation. Design plays the crucial role in being able to set the tone, track and deliver it.

Design is constantly evolving with time and technology-your task is to take puzzle pieces and make the final picture without knowing how it should look. The key isn’t gathering a lot of pieces, it’s gathering all the right pieces.

Mapping and analysing, an activity reliant on design, is the underlying factor that lets you take stock of the direction you’re moving toward. Furthermore, demographics and psychographics play a key role in deciding how we go about designing change.

People might think design to be as simple as creating fancy logos with Photoshop or any other software you can get your hands on but what they don’t realize is all the back-end work that goes into the final product which conveys the innate depth of a company’s mission and vision.

– According to you, what are the factors to consider when balancing content and design to deliver the best product? 

Content dictates the design form. We are amid multitudes of communication channels such Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest etc. Each of these mediums have developed a form of presentation and content for itself. So much so that when we colloquially say, ‘write a tweet’, people understand that it is within 280 characters. Thus, social media has given a whole new meaning to the term ‘in a nut shell.’ And design wise, 1080 x 1080 has become the new informal standard for pictures on Facebook and Twitter whereas WhatsApp and Snapchat are a whole new ball game.

Freedom and the kind of work we do decides what we design or how we design. A newspaper design depends on the content, an advertisement can be designed to be bold and bright. In the same scenario, content will be in-depth in a newspaper and very minimal for an ad. The best of both worlds can be achieved when we know the end product we are working towards delivering.

Also, they work in tangent to one another and cannot function independently.

To be able to deliver quality content, we need to accurately plan out how we convey what we convey – should the design be bold and represent our company culture or should it play second fiddle to text which will drive the background design.

As long as we are clear on this aspect, we can always deliver the best of both worlds. Like I said, content and design are very much interdependent.

Augmented Reality – A snapshot of the market

Augmented Reality for Enterprises

Augmented Reality has been changing the face of enterprise sector. From enhancing work efficiency to improving skills, AR does it all. Take a look at some game-changing numbers:

 

Designing for a difference

Deepa Umesh, Head of Delivery, Appearition India, talks on how design makes a difference in Branding, Digital Transformation and more:

– Design: why it is a key element to present anything

Design crisps down and presents what we want to convey aesthetically. It communicates ideas that inspire, inform, or captivates consumers. A brand or an advertisement is just another name till you design a logo and a tagline to go with it. From selling products to services, designs, their colours, shapes are what defines and differentiates one from the other. Brand recall happens because of design.

Design outlines 3As – Appeal, Address, Associate.

It attracts (appeal) the attention and gives an introduction about a Brand and thereby creating the FIRST IMPRESSION.

Furthermore, it promotes (addresses) the 5 P’s Product, Price, Place Promotion and Packaging.

Association means positioning and differentiating through a unique value proposition. (Who we are, who are our target audience, and how we can cater to their requirements)

How has design evolved over the past few years?

The fundamentals have always been the same. These days, however, designers are going bold, experimenting with spacing and usage of images, shapes etc. Amongst this metamorphosis, balance has been the constant. Technically, typography, especially negative space typography (space behind the text) is being greatly used, a disruption of basic design principle. Learning to unlearn helps designers greatly because design evolves constantly.

In today’s world, design must appeal in a specific time frame. People consume everything on the move and hence dynamic data design is essential. Design should reach them quickly and efficiently and this can be achieved when we understand human psychology.

Earlier, few brands and few products were there. Now, with the advent of huge retailers and the saturation of the market with innumerable brands and products, bold, bright and minimal designs win.

Not just many brands, but also many social media channels through which ads are being posted.

However, in the enterprise space, corporates prefer black and white to keep it subtle. These two colours reflect any other colour thrown at them. Google’s logo design and layout is one of my personal favourites. They thwarted the idea of more the merrier in terms of design.

Interactive design in terms of UI (User interface) and UX (User experience) seems to be the current. This is due to a largely mobile-first mindset of consumers.  Bright colors plus a 3D composition is an absolute winning combo these days. Custom hand-drawn illustrations are always on the wave of popularity.

– (Generally) what are some key challenges that design can convert into an opportunity?

In my view, creative people provide the skeletal framework – which leads to actual solutions. For instance, designs provide that clarity of thought during a brain-storming session, provides a demo or outline of what is expected.

Innovation creates an opportunity – Brings out customer centric solutions. Ideation unfolds the hidden opportunities. When initiating change management, alteration in design is usually a breakthrough in visual appeal. It sets the new tone.

Design also facilitates in making a roadmap. Numbers, plans of action, goals, activities, time – you name it, design is the one key factor that helps you visualise and provide a sense of direction. This design has evolved over years to PPTs, brochures, goal setting apps or data analytics.

– Visual retention: How people perceive pictures

Studies suggest that people process a visual scene within 0.01 seconds! That is how powerful the visual medium is. This is essentially why people say design speaks volumes. Everything from colour, to the font, to accompanying design or layout, sets a tone to what we try to say.

For instance, red is generally perceived as flashy. So, it is usually used in abundance for emergency response related work or sale – two places where it is necessary to be catchy.

Whereas, blue, white and black for text is considered to be very professional for enterprise communication.

Design drives the tone of the content, and the end user drives the idea of design. It is a small, sort-of vicious circle.

Follow this space for Part-2 of the interview.

Rising with the realities

Vivek Aiyer, Founder and CEO of Appearition spoke to one of India’s leading newspaper The Hindu, on Immersive Technology and what it takes to be an AR-VR creator:

How do you get in on the action in this futuristic industry of AR and VR?

The augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market is expected to reach $162 billion by 2020 from a mere $6.1 billion in 2016, predicts IDC. Although these immersive technologies have been around for a while, it is only recently that the enterprises and industries have adapted these in their processes.

Globally, it is one of the fastest growing computing platforms. This means, thousands of jobs will be created, and several other skill sets will widen.

What it takes

“An AR-VR content creator should have an innate sense of curiosity and the ability to convey through a visual medium,” says Vivek Aiyer, Founder and CEO of Appearition, a global AR-VR based company. These technologies are a medium for problem-solving and process enhancement. More than software and hardware, these technologies are human- based and hence understanding the audience is very important.

A content developer of AR/VR would be extending from other disciplines, 2D illustration and animation and 3D modelling and animation. Gamification and content development for games plays a huge role in picking up skills. One can either be a gaming content developer or enterprise AR-VR developer. Content developers would be expected to align their skills within the tools a company has selected to use as the AR/VR engine, that is, most often Unity (C# / JS) or Unreal (C++ / Blueprint), native (JAVA / JS / XCode). They should be proficient in the use of the tools that deliver 2D content, such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate, Animatron, Moho (Anime Studio) and so on.

Artists using 3D modelling software to build objects must be well-versed in rigging, the process of creating a skeleton for a 3D model so that it can move. There are various tools in 3D creation and animation which an AR/VR content developer should be able to use, such as Maya, 3DS Max, Blender, Motion Builder, Arnold, and so on.

Creators should aim at developing a vertical scrolling-based storytelling, the basis of VR content creation. India has a great advantage in the content space.

In terms of the digital assets, the only difference between AR and VR assets is how the app developer implements them at the time of rendering.

Profiles that suit

Any normal design degree, with good coding skills and strong written and oral skills will form the core of an AR-VR creator. “It is important to develop a core base of knowledge on the mentioned skills which can then be applied across the immersive technology.” Creating a compelling content is the need of the hour in this space. The industry not only requires programmers, but also content creators. For instance, IIT-M teaches its Applied Mechanics students the basics of Haptics through several subjects like psychophysics or bio-mechanics. In the near future, there is a possibility of a dedicated degree in this space.”

Building a portfolio

“As a student, it is important to build a wide knowledge base. Get into the habit of reading journals and technical documents, stay abreast with the latest technology news,” says Aiyer. Technology in this space is ever evolving; hence; it is important to keep oneself updated, skill-wise.

He says, “Build a portfolio by trying to come up with solutions for problems. AR and VR in the enterprise space is all about providing a utility-based solution and not a fun work element.” It is important that students think on contextual data.

From June, Appearition will conduct workshops on basics of immersive technology for school students. Interested students and schools can register at info@appearition.com

Frontier technologies – Future beckons

Mouli Ganguly, Member, Board of Advisors, talks on Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation, Frontier Technologies and more:

  1. What are some technologies that you think will play a huge role in Digital Transformation and why?

All of them play a role in terms of Digital Transformation. So, let us take an industrial example. Dump trucks used in mining have huge tyres. Their worth is about a million odd dollars and some of their tyres cost up to $100k. Now it is important to see the level of productivity an application can deliver. The benefits are already clear & compelling.

Every modern piece of truck has got transponders all over the place. That kicks in the IoT element. This enables us to track what it is doing by tracking the signals received. With AI and insights, what we can do with the data coming through is, collect and put them in a place. We can decide here is what I want to get the data or do something about it.

With AR, VR and MR, you render the whole application to how the user can best use it, with data and insights. For example, you could present the same information that you’re collecting via transponders to the truck drivers in a manner where he can see the whole environment around him. You can set it up, such that language is not a barrier. In India, for instance, truck drivers driving cross-country speak different languages. Irrespective of whatever language one speaks, they can all see an image, interpret & take decisions. Every driver knows what a boulder is. Or what are the factors that may damage the dumpster or damage the tyres or something else. Whilst sitting inside the dumpster, they may not be able to view everything through naked eye.

“Seeing the information presented through Virtual or Augmented reality enables him to make better decisions.”

Another way to grasp all this up – you see a control room can observe the movements of a dumpster. They receive the information from transponders and visualise the data and interpret the implications that arise from it. They can then come up with solutions like specific risk issues or actions that need to be taken. A team from the customer & Appearition has to plan this out.

In terms of Blockchain, it makes sure that a certain event, transaction or data, is stamped as authentic. It is not widely used yet. There are restrictions on its usage or application. But for transactions of high value, this technology not only gives you an experience but also makes the transaction very safe and auditable. It also facilitates to build a record as to who did what at exactly when. This can also act as an audit trail for any purpose required. It is a foul-proof way to keep track of things. The transaction can be financial or otherwise.

So that is how all the technologies can play a role in Digital Transformation. Often a combination of these technologies that answers / solves a business problem.

  1. What will be the road-map of early adapters vs cautious players?

Typically, early adapters are an organisation’s visionary. They are in the very senior position. Also, in a generational sense, say between gen X, gen Y or the middle aged people, there are several technology gaps. Kids born after 2000 basically grew up with screens. Just like millennials grew up with the PCs. Every time a new technology is introduced, you think of things in a very different way. For example, in my generation of baby boomers, , people would write text for a power point presentation. Whereas, these days, a presentation is far more experiential.

In an organisational context, the gap is often at thinking through the process change or adaption for an idea.  If the plan is not backed by experience or relevant subject matter expertise, it will fall through.

As an early adapter, the visionaries come up with ideas. The cautious players are the ones who go through the practical things. So, they go through factors like business use case, defining what will change, how will it work, the change management and integration part of it, how to get data out of organisational system that exists, make sure that the data is accurate, quality is good.

Early adapters are analytical thinkers/dreamers. Cautious people on the other hand, achieve dreamers’ dreams. This kcan take a very long time. Now, where an organisation is driven by a visionary, often, you get things moving simply because he has got an idea that he wants to make it happen. And he (CEO/COO) will tell somebody typically that, ‘look I just want to make it happen. Work as a team and make it happen’.

Facebook phenomenon

For an early adapter enterprise, if you get the vision right, you get a first mover advantage over others. For instance, the Facebook phenomenon. They have created an entirely new business. Whereas sometimes, early adapters who did not plan well have gone bust. Because, they have placed some bets that have gone awfully wrong. And this has sort of impacted their existing business, customers and whole the lot. Cautious players tend to be thoughtful followers. They let others experiment and use those learnings in their business. They try to keep their profitability high and ensure quality, risk management & repeatability, so thatcustomer engagement does not take a hit.

  1. In this process, how can an enterprise build its internal and external stakeholders’ digital IQ?

There are whole lot of methodologies. In my view really simple. The agenda very much is a COO/CFO/CIO/CMO/CPO idea. The CEO says this is what we need to do. The CMO then says, this is how we want to market it. This is the experience we want to provide. The CPO Says here is the culture or context in which I want my people to operate. Those are the three elements – the customers, the culture, the strategic direction and somewhere in between there is an elephant in the room, the digital space. Compliance, security, all those kinds of things. All this has to hang together be funded effectively and provide return to the investors, That is why you need a special type of CFO for the digital businesses. That is very important in terms of creating the digital IQ.

You drive the innovation, which is the business agenda. Secondly, you need to be agile. Agility is where you can own up to your mistakes quickly when needed and at a low cost.  The whole team, not just some champions  must work together on an agile manner. We need collaboration within the organisation and with the suppliers & customers. Within the compliance ecosystem the regulatory authority, and any number of agencies are there, because the laws haven’t caught up in Digital yet. And the next comes the partners. Because no one organisation can do everything by themselves. It is very, very important for the partners to work together. Again, look at what Appearition is doing. They work with a whole lot of partners to deliver what must be delivered. And, at another level, the IQ is built through great culture of innovation and risk taking.

The first question you ask is why are you doing it? What is the innovation? Why am I doing it? What difference will it make? And the ability to execute, in my mind is the other side of the equation. The CIO, the guy whom implements the technology. The CFO, the guy who checks out the money, burning millions of dollars, putting things at risk. Those kinds of functions become responsible of every action. So, the whole thing is a question of balance.

The ability to execute the vision is possibly the biggest challenge of the Exec team.

  1. What will the role of data analytics be in this revolution?

If you take the first thing that comes out in the digital world, it is data. There is so much data in every aspect of our life, every moment. We are being absolutely bombarded with data. Our memory spans have reduced. In today’s mindset, I don’t think people have the patience to read a booklet. This data is compressed and made consumable through AI and Analytics. This is turned into information. But then, to turn it into information, you need to know, what information you were after. You need to take the data in a certain way. From information, comes knowledge. Then you personalise it. Then you look at the information and say, I’ve read the report, what I’ve learnt out of the report is this, this and that. And then, beyond that comes very, very content specific, decisions.

For instance, if you are an insurance company and you want to know the information on who are the people who do not have an insurance and are most likely to become my customers? And if there are certain attributes that you identify, you may decide whether it is important or not and do something with it.

2/2 of his exclusive interview. Click here to read the first part.

Industry 4.0 – Time to reassess business plans

Mouli Ganguly, Member, Board of Advisors, talks on Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation and more:

  1. How has market reacted to digital transformation so far? What are some factors that seem to aid it/ factors that act as a barrier?

Introduction of computers in the 80s and internet in the 90s were digital transformations (DT). These transformations speed up existing process in their own way.

Currently, with Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data etc, we are heading to the third wave in digital change. With this change, content reach has become faster and more specific to the user’s individual & specific context.

There is a question of what is the hype and what is the reality? The hype is often an expectation that Everything will turn digital from day one. But the reality is it takes a long, long time.

Digital disruption is when the whole user experience changes. When you look at the current technologies like AR-VR, you are in an immersive environment. Second thing that changes in a business is convenience. It gets faster and better. Take for instance YouTube, people are not wholly dependent on it for video services. We have now got other video streaming options. From being costly and time consuming to produce a video, now they’ve become so simple.  Within a span of five years, existing technologies have changed so much.

In the residential space, AR-VR is already there. If you look at smartphones or movies, almost every movie has a VR effect in it. Whereas in the enterprise phase, it is happening far more slowly due to change management issues. There are whole lot of processes, policies, rules that play out. These multi-factor influences act as barriers, at times.

Take a look at this scenario:

On a personal level, if you see a 3-D glass that you fancy, you just go ahead and buy it and try it and see. But in the enterprise phase, we cannot change what we do on a day-to-day basis, immediately. It is a gradual process to adapt changes and involves formal change management. Enterprises don’t have individual decisions like personal buyer choices. A new technology adaption must act in a certain business standard. In an enterprise space, one person cannot just act on it or start using something. There are other people involved. This is a huge barrier in adapting or initiating digital transformation.

  1. If you were to chart a blue-print for an enterprise’s digital transformation, what actions would it typically involve?

Adapting new technologies to businesses happen if there is a clear benefit. Unlike personal choices, a business cannot adapt a technology or a process without a defined benefit. There should be a strategy or a growth plan that cites the benefits.

Benefits can be divided into three: Either the customer or staff experience the product or service delivers is much superior leading to increased loyalty and willingness to adopt from them. Since organisations measure customer satisfaction, this is an inclusive environment.

Next one on the list is Product or process improvement. Take for instance claims processing in an Insurance company. It is quite difficult organising in person, especially if the person has availed trauma insurance. In digital world, you can have number of different tools from virtual assistance to people working in collaborative environments to remote diagnostics with tele-medicine, all of these improves the overall process.

Enterprises must include the market & customer in its product development. It is easier to create a digital product. One can quickly create a product and launch it and test it as a POC (proof of concept), before scaling up or canning it altogether.  Therefore, the whole product cycle in the market is faster than before. Through failure, you learn, Fail fast and fail without incurring a high cost or brand damage and you will innovate with successful offerings.

Finally comes the cost reduction factor. Basically, several things drive digital adaption. You grow the experience, generate customers, grow staff loyalty and therefore get more market opportunities. You get market opportunities to get new products by reducing the cycle time to market, your process has changed, you change the format quickly. And as your cost reduces, you become more productive. This sort of drives some of the opportunity.

Now, what is the big risk that you face while doing so?

Benefits, use cases & training/change management needs are not clear. For instance, when we say I’ll improve the claims processing experience in an insurance company, one needs to clearly articulate what is the use case. What is the customer roadmap of journey? How the customer uses the new digitised transformational services that you provide. Then one has to map it all the way. At each point you have to state what is different. How or where will I be delivering this serviceand  how will the business be using it. It is not a technology or process issue. Business must very clearly define the benefits they will get.

Now, how do you do it?

Firstly, create a simple proof of concept. And these concepts have been around for a long time, but very, very quickly you spin something up, like Appearition is doing at the moment, we can create an experience for the customer to show them the actual benefits very quickly.

The next thing that comes is change management. You have to say, if we are going to do things differently, digital is to be applied on a day to day basis, how do you make sure that when either our customers or suppliers or staff use it, how’d they be trained, accept it and use it. And most importantly, everybody in the eco-system, i.e. the staff, customers, suppliers should be able to deal with the change. This change management leads to a fully functional prototype. Proof of concepts at a very low price, say 30-50k dollars, roughly, you show them how it is done, from there we move to a fully functional prototype. From the prototype, we get a use case development.

In our design we use tools like machine learning, artificial intelligence, data from Internet of things and analytics to continually improve the experience.

The last one, which must be designed in terms of the blueprint, is integration. Every organisation has a whole lot of legacies. Because, nobody is working in vacuum. The new systems have to interwork with the legacy in most cases. This becomes a difficult, costly & cumbersome process.

3. What are some of the opportunities and risks that enterprises will face whilst adapting it?

Whatever digital services one provides, one must draw the data from those existing legacies. One of the elements to add to the risk is realisation. Because, sometimes, some firms do not have a clear strategy on how they want to go digital. They just dump and start an initiative without a strategy. So, if you get an application up and running, it will look very nice and appealing to whoever designed it and they will think this will change the world. But if there is no change management to support it, the customers, the staff are not wedded to it. It hasn’t been well thought through.

 

Follow this space for Part-2 of this interview.

Why AR will be the next big thing?

Augmented and Virtual Reality Education – The future of classrooms

In our last series on AR-VR in Education, we touched on the basics of these technologies in education, how teachers’ roles can be shaped to make them better educators and how students can benefit from immersive technology.

Augmented and Virtual Reality are no longer in their stages of infancy. They are widely being used across multiple verticals.

A Lenovo research found that almost 50% of teachers estimate VR will be commonplace in schools in the next five years.

(Image Courtesy: thinkmobiles.com)

AR and VR in education boosts learning from a multi-fold perspective:

  1. increases student engagement
  2. increases knowledge retention
  3. facilitates holistic learning
  4. reduce classroom disruption
  5. encourages collaborative and individual learning
  6. enables teachers to better prepare lessons
  7. creates an immersive environment
  8. easily explain abstract content

AR-VR apps used at classrooms:

  • Wynn Middle School, USA has successfully tested the uses of AR for cross-curricular projects where students created AR posters to demonstrate physical activity using the ACES method (answer, cite, explain, summarize) for written responses. This student centric activity has made learning more engaging and fun say teachers.
  • Dubai British School, UAE has been using VR to facilitate virtual tours to aid students in learning. For instance, travel to Africa to explore the African desert is near to impossible to arrange. Or viewing the Mars orbit line in a Geography class. VR has been bridging this gap in imagination and enables students visualise them, thereby enabling comprehensive learning.
  • Magic Mirror pilot – A group of anatomy specialists tested an interactive and personalised AR system to facilitate learning in medical school. This system behaves as a “magic mirror” which allows personalized in‐situ visualization of anatomy on the user’s body. Furthermore, the app displays medical images, and 3D models of organs that the user can interact with. The results showed 91.7% approval for the capability of AR technology to display organs in 3D, and 86.1% approval for the educational value of the technology.
  • University of Rochester, USA simulated reactions in a chemical plant using an AR table-top developed in-house. They are using AR to create new types of STEM undergraduate labs that were not possible earlier. Students used coffee mugs and popsicle sticks to simulate reactions in real-life, sprawling chemical plant.
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA They have been using head mounted AR glasses and large 3-D video displays to simulate realistic body parts for med school students. Sensing huge potential in this space, the university is building a state-of-the-art dedicated 3-D simulation centre which is expected to have the world’s first five-sided laser cave.

Studies suggest students can absorb a visual scene within 0.01 seconds! Moving towards a fully digital world, AR and VR act as the window to this visual sense. Students get a first experience and wholly understand a concept. This method of teaching promotes visual learning beyond just kinder-garden.

Immersive technologies are set to change to completely revamp future ways of learning and teaching by bringing the world inside the four-walls.

Six applications of AR in Manufacturing

Manufacturing, generally, is a highly skilled and elaborate process. This leaves very little room for trial, testing and error rectification. Augmented Reality has proven to eliminate these three across various manufacturing processes.

A look at some process enhancements in this field:

Assembly

This process involves putting together several hundred or thousands of components as per a sequence. Assembling spans across products small or big. From smartphone assembly to aircraft, mis-arranging a small piece would result in an error. AR enables visualising of these parts to the smallest range. Boeing currently uses an AR app to facilitate assembly has had over 90% perfection in operation enhancement using it.

Maintenance

Apart from assembly, AR can be used to aid in the maintenance of machinery and equipment. Mitsubishi Electric has been developing maintenance-support technology using augmented reality based on a 3D model that enables users to confirm the order of inspection on an AR display and then enter inspection results with their voice.

AR/VR can reduce workflow time on inspection & maintenance and assist in detecting errors. Since 2011, Airbus has been using AR technology to improve efficiency in its quality control. Using its Supply Augmented Reality Tool (SART), Airbus employees can use visual overlay images on real systems to identify the faulty parts for repair. These kind of AR activities save time in creating an incident report and follow ups by enabling on-the spot solution.

(Image courtesy of Vital Enterprises)

Training

90% of what’s transmitted to the brain is visual memory. This basic function enables AR to provide the unprecedented edge over traditional paper and print training manuals. Also, this facilitates self-training for trainees as opposed to vocational physical induction. At a Boeing training, trainees using AR completed the work 35% faster than the trainees using traditional 2-D blue prints.

Quality Assurance

Metrology in general, and quality assurance (QA) more specifically, offers numerous potential applications for AR. SlashGear reported on a pilot program running at a Porsche assembly plant in Leipzig, Germany. A demonstration by the company showed Porsche technicians using augmented reality as a tool in the quality assurance process.

The basic idea is that quality professionals can take photos of parts or assemblies on vehicles under inspection, and then compare those images to ones provided by the company’s suppliers via an augmented reality overlay. Features that are out of specification can be highlighted by the overlay, enabling the Porsche technicians to identify the issue quickly and intuitively.

Airbus has been using a “Mixed Reality Application,” or MiRA, to integrate digital mock-ups into production environments, giving assembly workers access to complete 3D models of the aircraft under production. MiRA reduced the time required to inspect the 60,000 – 80,000 brackets in the A380 fuselage from 3 weeks to 3 days.

Logistics

Often, it takes time to locate the right aisle/stack whilst arranging or onboarding goods. In 2015, Logistics firm DHL tested an AR program to manage stacking at a Netherlands inventory. The pilot proved that AR ‘vision picking’ resulted in 25% increase in efficiency. The staff worked with AR glasses to assist the picking task. They reported faster and error free task completion using this.

(Photo Courtesy: DHL)

Customer Support

Xerox is using AR to connect remote technical experts directly with customers. This has increased by 76% the rate at which technical problems are resolved by customers without any on-site help, cutting travel costs for Xerox and minimizing downtime for customers. They witnessed customer satisfaction rates rise to 95%.

 

(With excerpts and photos from engineereing.com)

 

“Brand managers need to think differently when it comes to AR”

Vivek Aiyer, Founder, CEO of Appearition, shares his viewpoints on the application of augmented reality (AR) solutions in the OOH space in an exclusive interview with Outdoor Asia’s Rajiv Raghunath.

Edited excerpts:

Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are not new to the Indian market. Yet, it has taken a long while for these technologies and applications to find a larger, ready market in India. What steps are needed to evangelise AR/ VR technologies & apps in the Indian market, more so in the OOH advertising space?

It is quite interesting to see the advent of these technologies. Both AR and VR are not new technologies, having been around for more than a few decades. Yet there remains a lack of awareness among the wider consumer audience.

The fact of the matter is that AR has been in our lives for years – used most commonly in weather reports on the news and in live sports broadcasts. AR is quite literally the augmentation (or improvement) of reality – altered with an overlay of information on a pre-existing line of sight. The difference in today’s experience is that handheld devices have replaced televisions – but the application of the basic technology has remained consistent.

In comparison, VR  is where the consumer of the technology is fully immersed in the virtual world. Common experiences include experience capsules at science museums, but due to cost implications, has been used more in a commercial sense for medical or training purposes. Once again, handheld devices have made the experience more accessible – but application of the concept remains the same.

Beyond the evolution of hardware, campaigns have too often been utilised as one-off flash-in-the-pan attempts to display brands “innovatively” – whereas at Appearition we believe that AR is a media channel, more than just a solution. A media channel, just like print, radio, television, web and mobile, before it. Just as a brand would identify a core messaging and then develop creatives and iterations for television or print – and more recently digital, concepts need to be developed to funnel through this medium – enhancing the consumer experience but staying completely aligned to core messaging.

As a media channel, the right utilisation of these technologies enable the overlay of contextual information that enables decision making including purchase decisions – a key goal of any brand managers. In a nation as broad as India this enables the application of custom language communication depending on an automatic identification of the user’s location or pre-defined preferences. In the OOH space this enables experiences triggered by the once creative – but absolutely customised to the user being exposed to the experience – be they Punjabi,  Bengali, Marathi or Tamil. This is quite powerful as a method of customised engagement.

How effective are VR/AR applications in OOH advertising in the more developed markets? Have you handled any such project in those markets?

JCDecaux recently finished a campaign where they had integrated an AR application with Batman and Superman. The opportunity was for passers-by to “evolve” into their favourite superhero. The novelty factor was very high and it certainly had a very positive response. Tesco also had a highly successful campaign where consumers could “do their shopping” whilst waiting for their bus; the AR experience was triggered off by the media board on the bus stop.

Our approach to AR is to be more of an integrated solution. We haven’t been involved in outdoor specific advertising in that context. We have however been involved in several projects where outdoor based navigation that triggers off AR experience.This was used to promote tourism. Furthermore, we have been involved in arts and theatre productions, open days, etc. The point to consider is that a brand needs to have specific content for its AR channel just as it would for the other audio-visual channels. There needs to be an overall degree of consistency in how this content is being presented and the shift needs to be in the eyes of the brand manager to move away from thinking of this area as a novelty technology solution and start to incorporate it into planning as a new communication channel. There would have been a similar shift at the introduction of each new media – initially an exciting new innovation, but eventually just another medium as part of a multi-platform approach.

Are AR/VR applications more attuned to indoor advertising media, such as airport media, mall media, etc? Is there scope for their application on traditional billboards and the like?

Absolutely. Let’s consider a sample scenario – assume a brand wishes to launch a soft drink in a nationwide campaign. The brand manager would have content and campaigns ready for the traditional channels – print, web, mall media, etc. If we take the approach mentioned earlier where we see AR as just another media channel – it provides a novel fashion to present the launch campaign. However, it also offers the opportunity to merge other media through an integrated approach.

An AR app can be configured such that based on the temperature of the city that the consumer is in while using the app, it could initiate push message featuring specific discounts or promotions. Essentially the consumer experience when triggering off the billboard may be vastly different based on whether it is a 30-degree day or 20-degree day. Secondly the same AR app could attract on-premise customers where they take the app into a store in order to redeem vouchers  (vouchers redeemed off packing of the product), and last but not least, integration of location based e-commerce component.

This is the power of an integrated AR solution; it can spread across all traditional media channels and can bring them to life. The key to success here is not to treat them as once-off campaign, but have them all tightly linked.

Source:  Outdoor Asia | November 2016

Follow this space for part-2 of the interview.

Best Augmented Travel Apps to use On The Go

Augmented reality technology has already proven immensely successful in the realm of gaming and entertainment. It’s also made forays into industries such as defence and the military. But it doesn’t stop there. AR is making some interesting inroads into the industries of transportation and tourism through more augmented travel apps.

Related post: What is Augmented Reality?

AR apps for public transport

One such example is illustrated by a new breed of AR-based apps for public transportation. These apps take pertinent information such as train schedules, delays, stop information and so on and overlay it on real world images. For example, fire up an app, point your phone at a train map in New York City, and immediately your display comes to life with information about train schedules, turnstile date and even how many people are in the subway.

 

 

 

 

 

This is exactly how an iOS augmented travel app called Tunnel Vision works. Pulling data from the Metropolitan Transport Authority, the app draws over your camera feed, giving the user real time information. It also provides complementary information such as rent prices or median incomes of various neighbourhoods, giving the user a unique depth of information. Quite a refreshing change from gazing at a static train map for a few minutes.

Related post: How AR is changing the way we travel?

AR apps to overcome the language barriers

Similarly, if you find yourself travelling in Switzerland, download the Departures Switzerland app. This one doesn’t even require a map. Just point your phone in the direction of the nearest station or stop and a digital destination board overlays your image. It sure beats asking for directions, especially if you don’t speak the language. Already, the updated Google Translate app now features augmented reality capabilities. Imagine pairing that with a public transport/tourism app. You could confidently navigate the intricate train networks of Tokyo or Moscow without fear of complexity or language barriers.

Related post: Augmented Reality Transport Improving Daily Life?

Virtual tours

Furthermore, existing AR apps that allow you to take virtual tours of your intended hotel or explore local attractions. That would be amazing transportation-cum-tourism app. Augmented travel apps have helped tourists navigate train lines, to assisting cyclists in urban traffic and improving logistics transportation optimization. However, augmented reality has significant room to develop in this industry and will do so over the coming years.

Image source:

(x) (x) (x)

Immersive Technologies – Museum visits made interesting

We have seen that use of immersive technologies enhances productivity, aids emergency response situations, makes education interactive and simplifies shopping. Augmented Reality and museum visits – sounds like chalk and cheese isn’t it? Well, it no longer is.
Several museums across the globe have successfully incorporated Augmented and Virtual Reality in their channels.

Museums have been using AR-VR to their advantage to bring exhibits and artefacts to life. Let’s look at how this has changed museum visits:

Promotes easy learning

The ‘Story of Forest’ art, in Singapore museum, had about 69 giant murals, housed in the museum’s glass rotunda. Visitors use an app and hunt for flora and fauna within the drawings. After hunting various drawings, the photos are added to a collection. Visitors can use this collection to know more information on the plant or animal variety. These kind of fun exercises and over-lay learning helps them understand on an animal’s dietary plans, species and other general information.

Brings display to life

Smithsonian Natural Museum of History, Washington D C, utilised Augmented Reality innovatively. They launched an app called ‘Skins and Bones’, which brought animals to life using AR technology’s super-imposed pictures. Users can scan and point the app at an animal bone in display and view it in flesh and movement. These kinds of activities enable visualisation of extinct animals or artefacts.
Virtual Museum visits

Furthermore, the app also provided an immersive experience to users who were unable to visit the museum. They provided enthusiasts with ‘trigger images’ (See picture below) that they can aim at and experience the same picture from home comfort.

Image Courtesy

Hologram – Immersive walk-throughs

The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA, brought former astronauts to life and enabled an immersive experience with them. Interactive pieces located throughout the building allow early astronauts and NASA legends to tell their stories.

Image Courtesy

Hologram – Immersive walk-throughs

The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA, brought former astronauts to life and enabled an immersive experience with them. Interactive pieces located throughout the building allow early astronauts and NASA legends to tell their stories.

Image Courtesy

Interactive Learning

England’s Historic cities app serves as one-stop-AR interactive view of over 12 cities from Durham to Salisbury. This app is an example of learning while viewing. Users can know more on each city by clicking on the Augmented information on display.

Image Courtesy

This is blog is a re-written excerpt from Smithsonian.com

AR-VR in Retail: More than just a tool for marketing

Highlights of the Retail Trends Vol 2 of Deloitte

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have proved their ability to enhance processes across industry verticals. They’ve proven to reduce errors, prevent mistakes and increase productivity. However, perception of these technologies in the retail space has always been a marketing tool.

Let’s look at the multiple use-case(s) that they have:

Pre-plan shopping trips

AR-VR can provide complete fore-hand information on a product – which will motivate people pressed for time to complete the long-due shopping. Often, shoppers race against time and retailers are against inverse staff to consumer ratio. AR-VR can solve this issue, two-in-one. This increases the buyer conversion rate.

Information Delivery

Target the right customer with right information. AR-VR helps retailers send personalised and targeted ads, product and offer information while shopping. This will ensure filtering unnecessary spam ads and enable customer to take notice of quintessential information.

In-store engagement

In a multi-product store or a mall, AR and VR can be used to assist customer navigation; collect information on customer preference (through a poll/game). These apps take self-help counter help to the next level.

Product customisation

Customers will be able to try multiple colours, shapes without having to physically try each product. Also, the visuals offer options to mix and match styles.

Experiential campaigns

True potent of what a retailer is trying to sell is often seen only when the actual product is delivered. AR-VR helps bridge this gap is visualisation and actual product by giving a realistic experience of the product before delivery.

Low-cost visualisation of high-cost assets

High-cost assets often carry a high cost sales cycle because of customers’ hesitation in purchasing something they can’t properly visualise. Using VR, models of high-cost assets can be developed at a much lower cost, increasing accessibility.

Lo-fi testing: Testing multiple scenarios in virtual spaces to iterate on solutions and identify the best customer solution to mitigate implementation risk.

These use-cases bust the myth that AR/VR is not just a gaming tool.

Deloitte says: the most successful adopters of VR and AR will be retailers which use the technology to enhance their relationship with customers, rather than replace it.

Excerpt from the Deloitte Vol 2 Virtual and augmented reality – a guide for Australian retailers