The current pandemic situation has forced the subjects of the entire economic system to rethink work in many new ways and in no time. Even if the companies all reacted rather quickly to the changes imposed by the workers’ health protection measures, this does not mean that they managed to do it in the best way.
In almost all cases of readjustment of working conditions, the digitization of processes is involved at different depth levels.
Depending on the nature of the activity carried out, some companies had only to have their employees work from home, while for others, especially those of the industry, more structured changes were needed.
Industrial companies base their activity on the production of goods, therefore the factory is the beating heart of their processes. To guarantee production continuity to the factories, it was necessary to introduce very strict rules in protection of the health of workers, providing them with personal protective equipment, reviewing the mode and duration of shifts, sanitizing the work areas with a certain frequency and monitoring the temperature of the workers at the entrance.
Factories, by their nature, being places with a high social interaction, are very exposed to contagion and therefore must manage a series of risks that concern not only production, but also other processes including logistics, administration and in general staff. The contingencies due to the measures required to deal with Covid-19 have imposed a limitation of business travel, forcing companies to search for alternative ways of managing operations.
Below is a list of some of the industrial processes impacted by the health emergency, with an indication of how Augmented Reality can support certain activities, and some considerations on what will await us once the emergency ends.
- It has now become a practice, not only in companies, but also in some public bodies and commercial activities, to measure the temperature at the entrance. High temperature is one of the possible symptoms of Covid-19 positive and verifying that it does not exceed a certain threshold is fundamental in environments with many people. In this case, using computer vision solutions that leverage cameras or Smartglasses equipped with thermal imaging cameras, could speed up operations and streamline the queues at the entrance, without the need to point a laser at people.
- One of the reasons that determine the greatest movement of personnel in the field concerns the management of maintenance. Even during the health emergency, it is essential for companies in certain sectors to ensure continuity and therefore they cannot afford to keep production or parts of it steady. In order to limit the movements of specialized maintenance personnel, it is possible to provide workers with practical tools that through the use of Augmented Reality help them to identify and solve problems, at least for those of small and medium size.
- Some industrial activities resort, in certain cases by law, to inspections of work areas or equipment, in order to carry out checks, measurements and other controls. During the pandemic, it was particularly critical in certain sectors to ensure inspection activities, in order not to endanger the health of inspectors. To this end, advanced computer vision systems, equipped on board of drones or other equipment, could guarantee the correct conduct of inspections without compromising human health.
- Both during the Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the emergency, the factories have reviewed the relationship between people and the work environment in a very profound way, making a number of choices aimed at limiting the density of people in the space, aimed at providing protection tools and aimed at informing workers about risks. Augmented Reality has already proven to be a very effective tool in the field of risk management in the workplace, thanks to its ability to allow an “augmented” visualization of the surrounding space, associated with rules and actions to be carried out to manage risks .
Except for the temperature control at the factory entrance, it can be said that all the other use cases in which Augmented Reality can support workers to contain risks by helping them to reduce travel and contacts with colleagues, are intended to prove useful even in a post-pandemic phase. Several of these scenarios are already reality in many industrial contexts, although often only for experimental purposes.
The emergency we are experiencing has only increased the awareness that digitization in industry is no longer just an option, but has in fact become the main road to rethinking processes.
Iron Man VR Hits #2 In Weekly UK Physical Games Chart
Marvel’s Iron Man VR seems to be off to a flying start in the UK’s physical games chart.
The weekly chart, tracked by GFK and UKIE, places the PSVR exclusive in the second spot for its first week on the market. The chart only tracks physical sales of games in the UK, so it doesn’t include copies of the title sold on the PlayStation Store, but does put it in league with games appearing on other platforms.
Iron Man VR Sales Take Off
For example, Iron Man VR sold more copies than Animal Crossing: New Horizons last week, and beat out usual chart-toppers like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and FIFA 20. The only game it’s behind is Sony’s other recent big launch, The Last Of Us Part 2.
It’s a somewhat surprising achievement given that Iron Man VR is limited to a much smaller install base than other consoles. PSVR has sold over 5 million units worldwide, whereas PS4 has topped 110 million in recent months. Bear in mind that Sony did sell an Iron Man VR bundle with a pair of PlayStation Move controllers, too, which surely helped it along that path.
We’ll be eager to see how the game ends up performing in the monthly PlayStation Store charts, too. We haven’t seen June’s charts yet, but Iron Man VR launched on July 3rd, so don’t expect it to make an impact until the July list is published in early August. In May’s chart, newcomer The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners finally toppled Beat Saber from a long reign at the top.
Meet: Modest Tree
Modest Tree is the Canada-headquartered provider of immersive training and sales engagement solutions
At 35 employees and a growing international presence, Laura Bohnert, director of public relations and marketing, says Modest Tree is leading the industry in innovative development while establishing itself as a thought leader exploring the impacts of immersive tech.
VRWT: What is the background of Modest Tree?
Laura Bohnert: Modest Tree all started with an idea to build software for new innovations that could move the technology industry forward. In 2011, our chief executive officer, Sam Sannandeji, realised that the innovations shaping gaming technologies could be applied to resolve a significant gap in enterprise training.
Soon after establishing Modest Tree, the company was awarded its first contract, which involved developing immersive training for the Canadian Air Force. The success of that project opened the door to the market potential of an idea that hasn’t stopped growing and expanding since its formation.
And Modest Tree hasn’t stopped growing, either. By 2015, the company had released its first product, and later the same year signed an important contract with Jazz Aviation LP.
By 2016, Modest Tree had become the software platform of choice for the Canadian Department of National Defence.
In 2018, we became a Microsoft Mixed Reality Partner, and later the same year, MAN Energy Solutions selected Modest Tree to develop the first VR training solution of its kind in the marine sector for the MAN engines onboard the Royal Canadian Navy’s new Arctic and offshore patrol ships, under construction at Halifax Shipyard.
In 2019, we signed a partnership with FlightPath, and RENK joined the picture as a minority shareholder, making Modest Tree an official member of the Volkswagen Group of companies.
VRWT: What are your solutions and what problems do they solve?
Laura Bohnert: Modest Tree provides software to enable companies with complex physical products to provide immersive training and sales engagement solutions.
The manufacturers we work with, including those in defence, healthcare, and automotive, have complex products that require detailed operational and training scenarios.
By completing training in a 3D virtual environment, learners are able to experience and practice their training as if it was the real thing. This enables them to ‘practice-by-doing’ in software that can be delivered as remote training from anywhere in the world.
Our clients are typically seeking to ensure that they can scale their remote training and provide immersive 3D solutions (desktop/AR/VR) that makes the learner actively experience and engage with the task.
Being able to remotely train employees and end clients, and to connect and collaborate with clients remotely, in an interactive 3D virtual environment proved critical during the recent pandemic, and seeing this increased need for remote collaboration further contributed to Modest Tree’s product development.
In the past few months, Modest Tree has developed and released two new products: Leaf, an end-to-end encrypted communications platform to enable secure data sharing and collaboration within an organisation; and Distantly, our brand-new remote event hosting platform, which consolidates the virtual tradeshow and event phenomenon into one seamless experience, allowing organisations to present, showcase 3D interactive products in a virtual exhibition booth, and connect with other organisations in engaging and easy-to-facilitate meetings.
VRWT: How receptive are your clients to immersive tech? Have they embraced your solutions, or is education required to demonstrate benefits?
Laura Bohnert: Immersive technology is becoming more widespread, but it is still relatively new for enterprise training. And as with all new things, education is required to help those who are unfamiliar understand how best to leverage the technologies and put them into practice for meaningful solutions in their business.
Of course, the challenge is that new technology doesn’t always have as extensive a research base to draw on, and the nature of innovative, bleeding-edge technology is that it adapts and changes so quickly that, by the time substantial research can be generated, it is often already outdated.
It puts Modest Tree into an interesting position. We get to lead the industry in innovative development while also establishing ourselves as thought leaders who are exploring the impacts of immersive tech at the same time that we are responding to industry needs to ignite further innovations and adaptations that will develop the technology even further.
VRWT: What do you offer to help your clients get the most out of your solutions?
Laura Bohnert: At Modest Tree, the benefits our clients can obtain from our products is paramount, and that’s why we collaborate so closely with each of our clients to provide customised solutions that fulfill their objectives and requirements.
This doesn’t just happen during initial engagement, though. We take all of our clients’ feedback into consideration to adapt our products to meet their needs on an ongoing basis.
We know the only way our products will stay relevant is if they adapt and change with our clients’ changing needs, and with the ongoing changes of technology.
Our clients are an integral part of allowing our solutions to fulfill their highest potential, and that helps our clients get more out of their engagement with our products and services, too.
VRWT: What do you have in store for 2020?
Laura Bohnert: It’s going to be an exciting year for Modest Tree. Our plans include continuing our international expansion.
In terms of our products, we’ll be continuing to add new and exciting features to Xplorer for clients to create 3D training and sales engagement on their products.
We’ll be expanding the capabilities of Leaf, and we’ll be busy with the development of our newest product, Distantly, which we just unveiled at the beginning of July.
We also have something big on the horizon that we aren’t quite ready to disclose just yet—so you’ll have to stay tuned for our next big unveiling.
VRWT: How can interested parties get in touch?
Laura Bohnert: Contact us through the contact page on our website, www.modesttree.com, or send an email to email@example.com. You can also give Xplorer a try for free by downloading the Modest3D Xplorer app from your app store, or by registering at www.app.modest3d.com.
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Main image: Laura Bohnert, director of public relations and marketing at Modest Tree
HP Reverb G2 Pre-Orders Start Listing In Europe, UK & New Zealand
HP Reverb G2 pre-orders are now rolling out to territories outside of the US.
Links for where to pre-order should either already be going live or coming soon to the UK, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway and New Zealand. You can access the headset’s Steam page for a link that will direct you to the relevant pre-order for your country, including the US.
HP Reverb G2 Pre-Orders Hit Europe And Beyond
However not all the HP Reverb G2 pre-orders seem to be working right now. The link for the UK, for example, takes you to a technology retailer named System Active, but the actual page for pre-orders doesn’t appear to be live yet. Other pages in countries like Germany are up and running, though, where the headset is listed for €583.90. In the US the device retails for $599. HP says pre-orders for other countries will be coming soon (poor Canada and Australia haven’t got any love yet).
The Reverb G2 was announced around the launch of Half-Life: Alyx earlier this year. HP partnered with both Microsoft and Valve on the kit, implementing the former’s Windows Mixed Reality inside-out tracking and the latter’s premium comfort and audio features. These features, paired with a 4K display, manual IPD adjustment and redesigned motion controllers make Reverb G2 a promising prospect for the enthusiast PC VR market. At $599, it’s $200 more expensive than Facebook’s Oculus Rift S (and the Oculus Quest, which can play PC VR using the USB-C cable that comes in the box), but $400 cheaper than Valve’s own Index headset.
The headset is due to ship this fall, though we don’t have an exact date for launch just yet. Expect it to run apps on SteamVR and Microsoft’s lesser-known Windows Mixed Reality platform.
Will you be laying down an HP Reverb G2 pre-order in your territory or are you still waiting? Let us know in the comments below!
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