The changing face of a workplace

Disruptive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are redefining the workplace. Several jobs’ skill sets are constantly evolving, and several others’ scope has been widening.

Appearition and its team of researchers are always working towards solving tomorrow’s problems, thereby enabling others’ success. One such area of our research includes a project on drawing on immersive games experiences to develop tools for workplace support in the digital economy.

It is a collaborative research project between Appearition Pty Ltd and the Swinburne University of Technology. The project combines AR and AI informed by decades of game design, to develop a support platform for future modes of collaboration, workplace learning, and decision making.

‘Appearition is very committed to this research partnership with Swinburne University. Research and Development is one of the three main arms of our company. All our platforms and services have been developed after years of rigorous research and testing. We are also constantly working towards upgrading them to fit evolving technology and people needs,’ shares Vivek Aiyer, Founder, CEO, Appearition.

A transdisciplinary research team from Games and Interactivity, Immersive Experiences, and Data Visualisation are working with us, and the Swinburne Smart Cities Research Institute, to develop a prototype platform for supporting future workplace models in urban environments rich in IoT technologies.

The why

As technologies reshape our workplace, it will require a new understanding of work to support these changes. Ventures such as Airtasker, Uber, and Airbnb are challenging traditional workplace models. They are predicated on fast-paced real-time interactions between employees, often geographically remote from each other. Although relatively simple, the core concepts of these new business structures can be applied within enterprises and between enterprise and external clients. Network connectivity, rapid exchange of data, and mobile display technologies are some of the well-established characteristics of smart city environments in which this work takes place. New platforms are needed to support these new work models, because they require employees to share and respond to real-time data quickly and collaboratively, in an improvisational construct.

The How

Online multiplayer and location-based AR games provide a readymade platform for investigating how to achieve new interactions between employees. Multiplayer games host complex ecosystems of thousands of players with distinctive attributes and experience levels. Location-based AR games embed information within urban environments ensuring data is ready-to-hand. ‘Our project aims to develop a prototype platform to support the needs of workers in the digital economy using proven methods from these game design platforms. Collaborative task attainment, group formation, decision support, environmental information overlays, role management, inventory and setting of goals are key features that the prototype system will benefit from in drawing on game design to enable smart citizens to respond to change in the workplace,’ explains John McCormick, Lecturer in Interactive Media, Swinburne University.

Games are familiar to a large percentage of next-generation work seekers and therefore do not pose a huge cultural shift. The innovation in this project is to integrate widely understood methods for player organisation and interaction with a new approach to integrating AR and AI. These technologies are changing the nature of smart cities to work beyond data collection and IoT networks to explore how these can be made tangible and relatable to those living and working in urban environments.

AR does this through the real-time integration of data with the user’s environment and context. AI filters and connects the rich data of the IoT environments of smart cities to manage interactions between players, non-player characters, and the urban environment. While integrating AI and AR is not in itself new, our project will address how the relationships between users within a company can be supported and facilitated within this type of platform. However, these technologies can be disruptive in the workplace. Drawing upon game design methodologies this project will generate a new approach to the management of dynamic, timely information displayed fluently in the workspace.

Watch this space to know more on Appearition’s research projects. Get in touch with us to know more on using AR for your business!

Magnify World 2018

It was a lot of fun being a part of Magnify World 2018. Team Appearition put up an exclusive stall and Mark Hillebrand, our Head of Professional Services, was part of a panel discussion on Education and Training.

We had several visitors at our stall, excited to know more about the disruptive technology – Augmented Reality.

A snapshot of our two days at Magnify World:

Pics 1, 2, 3, 4: Setup

Table – check
Demo – check
Screens – check
Gadgets- check
Scenes from our setup mode

Simon and Dhaya moments before the event started

Simon demonstrating the use of AR glasses

Busy stall day! Exciting voices who experienced AR for the first time, innovators who explored the use of AR for their business

Vivek (Brendan in the background) in conversation with stall visitors


Mark Hillebrand during his panel discussion

And, that’s a wrap! Look who spoke about our work:

 

 

 

IOT: How a connected world will look like

Internet of Things (IoT) – the technology that enables devices to connect with each other, providing a seamless inter-device communication. The technology helps in data management, informed decision making, track and manage the data. IoT provides businesses with operational efficiency and workforce productivity.

 

The explosion of smart devices will add ‘a ginormous’ amount of data. For instance, a sensor on a single Boeing aircraft jet engine can generate about 20 terabytes of data per hour. So what will happen several billion devices start generating several zettabytes of data? Gartner predicts that over 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020.

 

 

About 65% of the enterprises are set to adopt IoT by 2020. This shift would mean that more than 10% of new IoT products from traditional industries will be headed by the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO).

 

By 2020, Gartner estimates internet-connected things will outnumber humans 4-to-1, creating new dynamics for marketing, sales and customer service.

So, what else can we expect in the near future?

 

Source: Gartner, Intel

Education: Then versus Now

Technology has evolved so much in the past few years that computers and have tablets have virtually replaced the traditional teaching aids.

Take a look at how it has changed in the past few years:

How VR will drive supply chain

Virtual Reality is one of the fastest growing disruptive technologies. At the cusp of industry 4.0, enterprises are keenly using such innovative tech to provide enhanced solutions. With the arrival of consumer-friendly and affordable headsets or virtual reality glasses, VR tech has gone mainstream.

Supply chain management is one of the many fields that VR is revolutionising. Excerpts from the recent Deloitte report on ‘Utilizing virtual reality to drive supply chain innovation’:

VR can improve supply chain management in four main areas:

  1. product and process design
  2. data and process visualisation
  3. employee collaboration
  4. experience-based learning

VR is of big interest to companies with complex product development process and a need to globalise their collaboration. This is mainly because VR for enterprises simplifies or enhances an existing process rather than introduce a whole process. Furthermore, hardware and software capabilities in the tech have improved greatly, leading to easier adoption.

Deloitte recommends enterprises to begin with small pilots to test and validate applications that could have immediate benefit and scalability.

For example, VR can be used to superimpose important information directly onto the windshield. Without glancing at a handheld device, drivers can see alternate routes, blocked roads and traffic snags. Information about the load can be seen without the need to stop, climb into the back of the truck, and see what’s going on. For example, a driver carrying a temperature controlled load can see if there’s an issue with the thermostat and if the temperature is approaching a predetermined danger zone.

‘As VR applications continue to expand and prices continuously decrease, the VR market alone could reach up to $48.5 billion by 2025.’

Primary potential benefits of VR

A primary value driver for organizations is VR’s interactive visualization capability. Companies are starting to leverage the technology within their design organizations to enhance CAD functionality and engineer employee engagement. The VR-enhanced designs allow for visualization capabilities previously unavailable; this allows product engineers, architects, and designers to rapidly shift through multiple designs and evaluate them on the spot. Automotive OEMs and large construction firms are partnering with design software companies and VR hardware manufacturers to create these immersive experiences.

 

 

 

Future of enterprise management

Virtual reality can drive true transformation in supply chain and operations. However, like every major change, it requires a strategic approach to begin deploying within a company. Leaders need to understand that shifting toward a completely new, virtual environment mandates a shift in culture toward innovation, openness, and collaboration.

The blog is a rewritten excerpt from Deloitte.

Images courtesy: Deloitte

 

Shaping future minds

Disruptive technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing the face of enterprises as we know it. Appearition is constantly working towards educating young minds in these technologies and making them future ready.

Appearition along with our partners Real Time Learning and Epson was a part of a day-long session to educate kids between the ages 9 and 12 and provide an overview to their parents on Extended Reality (XR) (which covers the spectrum from AR to VR) – what is it all about and how one can use it.

The event was organised by ANZ bank for the children of staff over the school holidays in support of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) workshops.

Sujanth and Brendan of Appearition provided guidance through the day, supporting hands-on learning with AR and VR.

A learning curve

Epson’s Dwayne Williams brought Moverio AR headsets to enable kids to experience AR. Several kids and their parents learnt in detail about the basics of the technology, its application and benefits.

‘Students experienced Virtual Reality and were amazed to see virtual structures outside of the gadget. We believe that when students get acquainted with these technologies, it helps provide a better understanding of potential careers when they grow up,’ says Brendan Ridge, Solutions Specialist, Appearition.

This is one of the many EdTech outreach programmes that Appearition has been championing in the recent times. We hope to inspire a lot more in the days to come.

Enterprise Reality

Appearition in association with TiE, Chennai will host an Exclusive seminar on ‘Enterprise Reality’

We have Mark Sage, Executive Director, AREA and Rod Smith, Platform Sales, Appearition talking on AR trends and Change Management.

The session will be moderated by Vivek Aiyer, Founder-CEO, Appearition.

Come, join us for an evening of discussion on AR and Change Management!

Send us an email to register for the event – info@appearition.com 

 

Digital Transformation: Who, why, when and how

Splunk Inc, global leaders in database and analytics recently conducted an all-day event called SplunkLive at the Palladium, Crown, Melbourne. Over 700 companies from three streams – namely Security, IT Operations and industry-specific attended.

Appearition is constantly working towards enabling our customers to stay ahead in their game with our robust and agile solutions. As Splunk’s innovation partner, we were part of the networking conference that explored the implementations of Splunk solutions around Application Monitoring and Security.

Digital Transformation

At the cusp of Digital Transformation, enterprises are looking to adopt technologies that enhance their functioning, without disrupting existing workflow. ‘The customer journey session was pretty insightful to know from an enterprise perspective. Such sessions provide the pulse of what customers are looking for,’ says Albert Kalaja of Appearition. ‘Time and again, such events enable us to better provide bespoke solutions to our customers.’

By 2020 the new information generated per second for every human being will approximate amount to 1.7 megabytes. In other words, over 44 zettabytes of data will exist. Database management and automation of analytics seem to be need of the hour for enterprises.

With its ability to convert complex logs to visual graphs and reports resulting simplified analysis, reporting and troubleshooting, Splunk will be one of the tools that companies should have in their armoury to function successfully in the digital era.

Student AR creators: Appearition’s workshop for school kids

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

Among multiple such drives, Brendan Ridge of our team recently conducted an exclusive workshop for school students on the basics of augmented reality and an overview to our product 8AR – the content creation tool.

Appearition, in partnership with Real Time Learning (RTL), a social enterprise in enabling students to learn by doing – ran this one-on-one workshop. RTL helps students engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and Entrepreneurship. As their industry partner, Appearition enabled these students to create their own augmented reality content. Furthermore, they got an overview of enterprise adoption of this technology.  Students get the opportunity to learn the application and scalability of the technology, explore developing their content and facilitate peer-to-peer teaching and learning.

A great learning curve

‘Through these workshops, students are enabled, empowered and engaged. It enables them to learn by doing, empowers them to be able to explore solutions in real-life and engages them with skills of future,’ says Luke Kerr, Programme Director, RTL.

‘We taught the students to shoot green-screen videos, understand how AR will enhance a process in industries; create their own AR experience (content) on Appearition’s Experience Management System (EMS). We believe that these workshops give an insight into cutting-edge technology; enables them to come up with solutions for real-life,’ says Ridge.

With industry 4.0 rewriting the skillsets of existing jobs, Appearition and EdTech champions like RTL are making kids industry ready with exposure to such technology. These collaborative industry training kindles students’ creative thinking and nurtures the roots for future entrepreneurs.

 

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