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Time for MIXED Reality

Future Talent Training is pleased to announce that we are now developing a number of Smart Glasses applications for specific use within the learning and development market including apprenticeships, commercial training and hazardous environments.

In partnership with several clients across the UK we are building innovative, cost saving solutions for the Engineering, Manufacturing, Construction and Hazardous Industry sectors.

To learn more please contact us

The Story So Far...

For some time now I have seen increasing evidence that a hugely significant and market changing event was about to change the way we all perceive Learning and Development. I'm not just talking about a new technology but a 'step change' revolution in learning.

First we thought it may be e-learning, then micro learning, then personal learning journeys. Virtual reality and 3D came and went, then came back again but never really made the impact that was publicised.

The culmination of various small but significant digital transformations which have entered the L&D market during the last 4-5 years has now created the right environment for a seismic change in way we perceive, develop, deliver and measure personal learning.

The Covid-19 pandemic has effectively forced the market to pivot towards technology already in place such as video conferencing, e-learning and other digital training methodology however the most important implication of this is the new 'market readiness' to accept innovative, digital technology as an enabler and not just a nice to have additional resource.

There have been two huge blockers to a seismic change not occurring until now.

The technology sector itself has not helped in terms of getting new products into the market and established. Their lack of real market insight, over marketed features and benefits and inappropriate pricing strategy are but a few reasons why. This has led, in recent years, to the spectacular failure of some major launches.

The second is what I call Market Ostrasization - my made up word :-) - We all know there are big things happening out there right now. We all know that we must take time to understand and embrace the 4th industrial revolution but something is holing many of us back. Whether it be the fear of change, cost, time/resources or something else, now is the time to fully embrace the power of collaborative innovation.

Until very recently, Big Data, VR/AR, ML and AI have been in the 'very interesting but do I really need this?' box. It's not correct to say things are changing. Things have CHANGED.

The L&D sector have a hugely important role to play within the successful resurgence of the UK economy and it also covers the entire, literal 'life cycle' of our human capital from birth to retirement and beyond. What we are now witnessing, is mass adoption of next stage technological transformation. The speed of change and momentum which this will create is immeasurable. For our future talent, businesses, industry and country to remain successful, productive and competitive we must grab this opportunity with both hands.

So why Mixed or Assisted Reality? and why Now?

Lets firstly take a look at the two main areas of this technology. 2D applications and 3D applications.

2D Applications:

This is where pre programmed augmented or assisted information, training, data or live instruction can be fed directly into the line of sight of the user via a head set such as Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens. The applications of this technology within the training sector have been evident for years however restrictions around development costs have prevented real innovation except within high value, technology rich areas such as leading edge surgery and high end manufacturing. Until recently, the apprentice mechanical engineer or construction manager could never have dreamed of using AR technology. This dream is now a reality.

For those of you who are interested in reading my 'Deep Dive' article on how Future Talent Training are developing AR solutions please contact me here.

With the rapid acceleration of big data analysis, machine learning and AI, the process of creating relatively low cost, highly quality AR applications for trainnig purposes is now possible.

The beauty of this technology is that it ticks all the boxes in terms of learning effectiveness.

Speed of learning

Micro Learning

Intuitive Learning

80/20/10 Rule


Remote Learning

On Demand

Cost Effective

Smart Learning

Let's look at a couple practical examples of what AR could now be used within a training and development context.

Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician (MOET) Apprenticeship

This standard has four core knowledge principals, one of which is:

'maintenance and operational practices, processes and procedures covering a range of plant and equipment'

Complimenting and assisting the assessor/skills coach, AR gives the learner a unique opportunity to practice their understanding of this new knowledge within a safe, practical application in the workplace using remote instruction, guidance and direct (realtime) video and audio assistance. This is clearly useful within a post pandemic learning environment where some form of social distancing will remain in place for years ahead. The other bonus of this application is that one skills coach can provide live guidance for several learners at one time via multiple connection AR/VC.

Company Specific, QR Code - On Demand, Real Time Training

Where an employee has had, for example, logistics operations training but remains relatively inexperienced/aware of their companies process and procedures. Working within a medium hazardous environment and un supervised becomes far less resource heavy with an AR application.

As the employee assesses a task the AR headset picks up a QR code with one simple tap on the side of the headset. Instant detailed instruction then becomes visible within their line of sight, specific to the task at hand. Also other functionalities such as 'voice recognition' and 'gesture director' can be integrated into the AR application giving a number of potential success criteria for the employee instantly improving performance and safety.

3D Applications:

The market for 3D augmented reality is massive, consumer focused and remains in its infancy. Global players such Microsoft HoloLens and Apple are all racing to market right now with their new generation product offerings. In essence this is where we see true augmentation to the reality in front of us.

These products offer visual experiences which autonomously pick up your surroundings/location when wearing the headset. The data is then used to give three dimensional images, data, sounds, video and audio giving 'useful' guidance, increasing gaming experience or adding value to your real life visual picture.

There are however huge technology, integration and security issues to combat as Google found to its cost a few years ago when its initial product launch aimed at the consumer market failed to get off the starting blocks due to security concerns. It transpired that its integrated video recording mechanism could be used for stealth filming of secure/private environments such as typing in a pin code in a retail store or cash machine.

For now, this technology will remain a little way off in terms of widespread trainnig application, but watch this space, technology advancements in this area along with societies attitudes to 3D AR are changing fast.

Future Talent Training is developing a number of Smart Glasses applications for specific use within the learning and development market including apprenticeships, commercial training and hazardous environments.

To learn more please contact us

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