CST was commissioned to develop an interactive solution that facilitated information to enhance visitors and new joiners with the rolls and functionality of Oman Broadband’s network and services within Oman
CST was commissioned to develop an interactive solution that facilitated information to enhance visitors and new joiners with the rolls and functionality of Oman Broadband’s network and services within Oman
CST provided an innovative solution to OGC for OGWA exhibition by producing a virtual reality mobile app and using Google cardboard that was branded as OGS. Users had the ability to view, interact with 3D models design and engage with the virtual environments.
by Fathi AlRiyami
Engaging the recipient with data analysis outcomes and allowing them to visualize it in different forms can be one of the best ways to get a message across. 3D data virtualization (a means of data visualization) is a process that quickly draws attention to data patterns and interpretations in a way that is not possible by looking at written stats and reports.
It is not surprising with technology advancement that data can be visualized in ways that it was not possible few years back. Methods of data virtualization is advancing at a rapid pace with much advanced means of visualizing tools such as wearable devices such as Oculus Rift (OR) or Samsung Gear VR that provides the ability of visualizing big data. Many researchers look to visualization to support findings of large data-sets.
“Effective data visualization is a key part of the discovery process in the era of “big data”. It is the bridge between the quantitative content of the data and human intuition, and thus an essential component of the scientific path from data into knowledge and understanding” (Donalek, 2014).
Integrating interactive data virtualization that is based on 3D presentations provides researchers and data analysis experts with advanced tools that enables them to visualize, simulate different results and share multiple results, findings and experiences with others within the organization’s intranet or on the Internet.
While data virtualization can enhance knowledge and understanding, a balance of blended technologies augments the experiences and understanding. “Thus, a scientist can “walk” into their data, while interacting and collaborating with their colleagues in the same virtual space,” writes Alex Cioc (2014), who is working at Caltech on new data visualization techniques.
Virtual reality (a form of 3D virtualization) has been shown to increase awareness and the intensity of interactivity. It is vital for data visualization to have a constant and well-planned process that produces accurate results and experiences. A well-developed environment consists of a commensurate design that provides informative and engaging experiences. Virtual reality (VR) can be used to provide simulations in a regulated, safe and flexible platforms that can be used to evaluate data, share experiences and provide training.
One of the biggest challenges of big data is obtaining information in a way that the human mind can comprehend. Imagine having the ability to step into your data, the idea is to facilitate the process of visualizing data in a more compassionate way that in return helps humans make better sense and judgment of information and its usability. “Adapters of interactive visualization achieve faster decision making, greater data access, and stronger user engagement, in addition to desirable results in several other metrics” (Krensky, 2014)).
The medical industry are also benefiting from VR. VR use includes data visualization for treatment and data gathering are then used for surgery, rehabilitation and therapy, by the means of blending treatments with immersive virtual reality systems for pain management, behavioral therapy, psychological therapy, physical rehabilitation, motor skills and training. It also involves the use of single and multi-user data visualization for exploration and analysis of data.
As methods of conducting data visualization continue to intensify in a much more disruptive fashion, organizations, data analysis specialist and scientists are able to adapt to these changes, and provide better results that in return benefits the organization. “Good data visualization practices help not just to solve issues but also to pose new questions, encouraging the discovery and research process to go beyond common tasks to explore new patterns and trends that can potentially boost business efficiency” (García, 2014).
Some training may be required on how to use newer visualizing devices. It is true that ease of use of innovative devices is important especially for a first time user. The only concern here is that the first time user may not to want to abandon the new experience.
Donalek, et.al. (2014). Immersive and Collaborative Data Visualization Using Virtual Reality Platforms. 2014 IEEE Conference on Big Data.
Cioc, A. in Wheatley, M. (2014) Virtual Reality Brings Big Data Visualization to Life. Silicon Angle Website, http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/05/29/virtual-reality-brings-big-data-visualization-to-life/
Krensky, P. (2014) Aberdeen Group website http://www.aberdeen.com/research/8847/rr-interactive-data-visualization/content.aspx
García, J. (2014). Data Visualization: When Data Speaks Business. Product Analysis Report IBM Cognos Business Intelligence.
The 4th Annual ICT Forum “Leadership in the Digital Age” took place on April 5th 2015. The forum was informative and the topics followed the “Disruption by Design” theme that was set by Shatha Al Maskriy, the DG of Protiviti. A CEO panel provided their perspectives to a group of almost 250 business leaders. The following is an overview of virtual reality that was discussed by Fathi Al Riyami, CEO of Cosmic Surrounding Technology.
It is estimated by 2020 over 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, equaling more than six devices for every living human on earth. These devices include 3D printers, virtual humans and many other technologies that are currently being developed.
Having the ability to enable clients, customers, executives, employees and business partners to fully visualize and understand a concept, design, or process can be a challenge. Fortunately, with recent advances in innovative technologies and creative capacities, we are able to more accurately and precisely share our visions with others. More specifically, given developments in 3D modeling, simulation design and visualization hardware, we can now instill the desired perceptions, virtual realities, that closely match our intended visions. This ability presents us with a wide assortment of potential and opportunities in areas such as training, design and product development that were previously not possible. The key to success with these implementations is to be well-versed in developing strategies, executing methodologies and tapping subject matter expertise.
Virtual Reality (VR) is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted by an individual or a group. Individuals who utilize Virtual Reality become part of what is known as virtual world or 3D interactive immersive environments and within these environment users have the ability to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions spontaneously.
With a combination of several technologies such as virtual reality, wearable devices such as Oculus Rift (OR), Samsung Gear VR are new virtual reality headset that lets users step inside their favorite environments and virtual worlds. The OR uses custom tracking technology to provide ultra-low latency 360° head tracking, allowing you to seamlessly look around the virtual world just as you would in real life. Every subtle movement of your head is tracked in real time creating a natural and intuitive experience and with 3D model designs we are able to provide live 3D data visualization, interactive creation, etc.
We have identified four industries or areas of focus during this presentation to showcase the relationship between highly advanced technologies such as VR and how these technologies provide rich return on human investment, productivity, collaboration locally or internationally and enhancing organizations exposure while providing customers with the opportunity of better products or service knowledge and understanding. These industries and areas are corporate training, HSE, road safety and tourism.
When it comes to corporate training, may it be enhancing negotiation skills, product knowledge, managing projects or logistics it is possible to create virtual reality environments that would accommodate the corporate training as the environments can be designed to provide trainees with scenarios that would require their input and based on their input the situation within the scenario would change while the trainee experiences these changes and can almost feel the results due to being fully immersed in the virtual reality environment using the OR. Some of the inputs can be done by using OR and eye-focused detection that allows the trainee to select his or her preferred response thus enabling the trainee with the ability to engage with objects.
Training scenarios that are well planned and designed using Interactive 3D modeling can be of great benefit to an organization that is keen to enhance its employees training and talent development. In addition, simulation provides greater opportunity to practice as at time it is impossible for staff members to do so due to many factors such as corporate prestige and its reputation.
Experience, repetition and interaction are important processes in practical training. Virtual reality training provides this in a controlled and programmable environment. The application of virtual reality with a live trainer yields particularly high motivation from students and allows for technical tasks to be carried out under guidance in a safe and engaging environment.
It is important to have the ability of providing ongoing training in HSE and many other sectors as well. Virtual reality is able to provide experiences that are far superior to other methods. It is important to have a proper training in place, most organizations and industry currently in Oman require HSE. With Virtual reality and OR along with a well-designed training module provides knowledge and memorable experiences that trainers can share their wealth of knowledge and trainees can experience scenarios that typically might be risky or costly. Thus this provides the trainees with the ability of engaging and reacting to scenes or scenarios that are simulated of the real life HSE issues and having real life outcomes and results without endangering humans or risks.
Users conducting HSE Training, can tour training scenarios and identify areas of risks factors such as for example walking in a unsafe storage where the trainee must identify the danger area or situation within the environments such as unsafe storage of heavy items due to being stored to high, unsafe steps or wet floors. The virtual reality simulated environments can be developed to enhance factory, oil industries, ports that require logistics, and shipping companies and many other industries that require updated and ongoing training. These training can be for exploration purposes, coil tubing or transport of cargo and other products. While virtual reality plays an important role, it is important to have a proper instructional design that would correlate with HSE training purposes.
It is possible to have a cost effective experiences that have an effective results on road safety by simulating scenarios and exposing drivers to experiences associated with bad driving behavior. This can be enhanced with the use of Oculus Rift and readymade gaming consuls, such as the steering wheel, accelerator, breaks and a gear shifter. These elements combined together provide a realistic driving experience. These driving experiences can be expanded to school programs, online and on social media teaching and learning. With such setup it is possible to adjust the desired learning experiences and emphasize on skills such as good driving behaviors, defensive driving, and enhance the understanding of bad driving behavior without the actual risk and danger of bad driving.
Tourism has become a lucrative trillion dollar international industry. In many countries tourism now represents a significant share of gross domestic product (GDP) and makes up 6-8% of the world’s employment. The trickle-down effect of tourism-related businesses, employment opportunities and markets is broad. With the global increase in the frequency of vacations, competition between regions and nations to capture a market share is on the rise, with many competitors are beginning to heavily leverage information and communication technology (ICT) strategies to their advantage.
Most of these ICT efforts related to tourism consist of standard websites and web-based services that provide text information and images. However, to be a market leader it is vital to create a destination image that has a competitive edge. Research has shown that to do this with ICTs, the solutions must be capable of catching the potential visitor’s thoughts, feelings, motivations and impulses. This requires an online experience that is engaging, interactive, empowering and memorable.
Using advanced web-based experiences, simulations and strategies can give a destination the competitive edge in being a top choice. Properly planned, these solutions can be used for:
• Bringing attention to a diversity of tourist services such as cultural heritage, contemporary culture, protected natural sites, health and well-being tourism, education, food, history, sports, religion, rural tourism, and maritime tourism.
• Attracting more consumers, thus supporting the hotels, restaurants, retailers, product producers, and other goods and services providers
• Hosting virtual publicity events, exhibits, trade shows, and conventions
• Creating a compelling destination image
• Presenting information in multiple languages
• Improving communication
• Enhancing employment and entrepreneurial opportunities
As the leader of a virtual organization or virtual team, attention to communication between co-located and geographically separated individuals requires a heightened level of importance and skill. In a recent study performed on leaders of virtual organizations, the participants’ continual return to the communication topic throughout the interview process highlighted communication as one of the most essential and influential components of their leadership. The data analysis revealed two differentiated areas of communication – internal and external.
This blog post examines aspects related to internal communication, which were categorized as being general internal communication, headquarter employee communication, and at-a-distance employee communication. Almost all study responses involved at-a-distance and electronic forms of communication through emails, phone calls, online meetings, learning management systems, and instant and text messaging. The leaders involved in the study said communicating through these various media presented challenges in terms of ensuring that they were done correctly, clearly, and effectively. If these criteria were met, the leaders indicated that contemporary methods of electronic communications were seen to be advantageous over previous in-person ones. The participant also cited face-to-face conversations as well, typically when employees were within short walking distance of each other such as in and adjacent office or cubicle.
The means of and approaches to virtual communication in an organization is different than traditional ones. In a traditional setting, general internal communications are often done according to a daily schedule, are commonly unidirectional, and are often asynchronously viewed, heard, and given response. The majority of the participants felt communication that occurs in a virtual organization is more immediate, dynamic, frequent, and closer to real-time than in a traditional physical setting. The leaders were able to leverage at-a-distance electronic communication in a manner that promoted the overall importance of communication, the need for clarity of communication, the unique uses of communication, and the value that communication has to the school team and community. The media used for internal communication were varied and depended upon the geographic relationship of those who were in contact and the purpose of the communication.
Most leaders alluded to the fact that there is a heightened sense of importance placed on communication within a virtual organization due to the geographic distances between staff. One profound comment that sums up the feeling of many was, “Communication, communication, communication. I don’t think we can communicate enough.”
The leaders reported communicating with co-located staff in a variety of ways that were purpose specific. There were standing times set for face-to-face meetings with all headquarters staff, with these typically happening on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Many of the leaders supplemented these meetings with the use of online meeting systems to connect with those staff who were unable to attend in-person.
The participants also used various means to communicate with those staff that they were more dependent upon and had to speak with more frequently. Each relationship developed a favored form of virtual communication. Being dependent upon proximity, time, and purpose, the common avenues of interaction would involve walking to an office to talk, calling someone by phone, sending an email, using an online meeting system, or using instant messaging. Even in a common physical setting, the sense from the leaders was that the availability of these at-a-distance electronic communication often allowed more responsive and frequent communication and a greater openness than they experienced with in-person discussions.
Virtual communication with these employees involved some sort of electronic medium, most commonly email, instant messaging, and content sharing via intranet. When compared to a single location organization, there were more frequent and more random communications with employees, both individually and as teams. Some leaders noted that at-a-distance communication increased the amount of communication between employees, thus creating a greater sense of support and team effort.
Many study participants described communication strategies as being based on the importance of the messages and types of information. The leaders wanted to manage communication in a manner that reduced the burden on employees to keep up with the volume of communications. Messaging systems were used for quick input from an individual, content management systems typically served as a repository for both reference materials and current information. Emails were often used as a means for personal and team communication or specific requests.
Reflection Point – “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” ~ Tony Robbins
The current global academic arena is being shaped and led by innovation and online courses, MOOCS, certifications and degrees. Learners, whether young adults who are full-time learners or working adults fitting courses into their busy schedules, are demanding and benefiting from on-demand access to online education. Developing a robust OTL program enables higher education institutions to be competitive, to meet learner demands for online content and collaborative learning, and to address SME and industry needs for employees to have a working knowledge of online learning and operations.
Program stakeholders need to realize that a new OTL initiative will take a few years to gain momentum, but once that occurs, rapid growth and development will follow. The following is a summary of the necessary considerations for strategically planning and developing a successful OTL program. Not all items must be implemented in association with the faculty development, but they will be to occur early in the deployment of OTL.
To ensure success, the technical, administrative and instructional foundations for an OTL program should be strategically planned to be sustainable and scalable. Common technical aspects include servers and database capacities, load analyses, student information systems, a learning management system, end-user devices, and bandwidth. Administrative backing in areas such as providing financial resources and staff, policy, advising, online library access, and learning object repositories.
Multiple areas of support will be needed. This will involve help desk support for students, professional development and training for faculty, and technical support and maintenance for systems. Very often with a start-up program, support is provided by faculty, teaching assistants and user communities, but this should be supplemented and eventually replaced by institutional support facilities.
Online learners prefer and need responsive and individualized services. This includes not only the learning management system and faculty, but also areas such as advising, registration and tutoring. Effective and frequent communication is a premium in OTL, and thus the learning environment should sustain high levels of communication, social interaction, and collaboration. Student surveys and needs assessments should be performed on a regular basis.
At the core of a successful OTL program are the faculty. They should be involved in the program building process from the very beginning. Input surveys identifying faculty needs, learning needs, and technological needs should be implemented. Marketing of the OTL program should begin early, showing the benefits and advantage of how OTL can enhance instruction and the academy. It is also vital to host faculty forums, create faculty focus groups, form communities of practice, and identify faculty champions. A grassroots faculty advancement of OTL is likely to have a much higher degree of buy-in and success than a program that is a top-down initiative. With that said, administrators should acknowledge that OTL can be more time consuming for the faculty than in-person courses.
It’s essential that both students and faculty feel that the quality of OTL is on par with face-to-face learning. If done well, OTL can exceed traditional classroom outcomes. This can lead to better enrollment, retention and graduation rates.
A well-planned and supported OTL program can increase financial, infrastructure and human resource effectiveness, thus reducing overall costs.
Reflection Point – “The challenge is not simply to incorporate learning technologies into current institutional approaches, but rather to change our fundamental views about effective teaching and learning and to use technology to do so.” ~Donald Hanna
For the Oman Ministry of Tourism, CST developed a custom 3D virtual reality simulation of the popular Wadi Ban Khalid national recreation area for marketing and educational purposes. The Oculus Rift is a consumer-targeted virtual reality head-mounted display system that connects to a laptop or personal computer. It’s expected to be released in final version near the end of 2014.
by Mark Sivy, Ed.D.
Mobile learning is infiltrating many corporate training efforts as the new strategy to innovate talent development and to facilitate the goals of modern corporate universities. Among those who are familiar with adult learning theory, the use of this latest approach to enhancing employee and leader skills and knowledge is well suited to addressing Malcolm Knowles’ Five Assumptions of Adult Learners.
Malcolm Knowles (1913-1997) was an educator and researcher who popularized andragogy, which is the art and science of adult learning. In his work, Knowles’ (1984) developed his assumptions that described that adult learner as someone who:
• Is independent and wants to direct his or her learning.
• Owns unique life experiences that serve as a basis and resource for learning.
• Has learning needs that are associated with his or her personal and professional roles.
• Is focused on solving problems or challenges and expects the immediate application of learning outcomes.
• Has an intrinsic motivation to learn.
By providing individuals with on-demand access to knowledge and skills development, mobile learning readily tackles the adult learning needs expressed in these assumptions.
An agreed upon definition for mobile learning is as elusive as those for many other contemporary terms such as e-learning, virtual learning, and web-based learning. For purposes of orientation to mobile learning, we built upon the 2008 Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) description of educational technology. So mobile learning can be comprehensively explained as “the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance through various contexts and interactions by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological and educational processes and resources.” From this rudimentary definition, one can see that mobile learning incorporates complex relationships between multiple factors.
Some keywords in this definition are:
• Study – having knowledge of learning theory and research that are associated with the use of educational technologies.
• Various Contexts and Interactions – these can provide abundant learning opportunities, but also present many of the unknowns, barriers and issues that can arise.
• Ethical Practice – increasing the likelihood of attaining intended learning outcomes by being responsible, maintaining a respect for of learner abilities and progress, applying appropriate methodologies, and using principled intentionality when innovating.
• Appropriate Technological and Educational Processes and Resources – even with a valid need guiding the selection of technology and instructional methodology, the combined implementation can sometimes result in instructional complications and learning issues if the overall strategies are not well-planned.
Mobile learning is playing an increasingly important role in the corporate learning process by providing the means for convenient learning using a broad range of mobile devices (e.g. laptops, tablets, and smartphones) at a time and location of the learner’s choice. When offering learning opportunities for adults, mobile learning provides such advantages as access to on-demand content, self-directed learning, and the individualized incorporation of new knowledge with existing experience. These experiences can be facilitated by personalized learning and flipped training.
21st Century Learning ideals are facilitated by mobile learning. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has been at the forefront of providing a basis for the remodeling and modernization of instruction, learning and curriculum. Regardless of whether learners are K-12, higher education, or adults, the Partnership’s renowned publication, P21 Framework Definitions document, provides a list of skills that mobile learning can leverage and enhance. These include innovation, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, digital literacy, working in diverse teams, productivity, leadership and managing one’s own learning.
Instructional needs, the ability to facilitate intended learning, and learner access to mobile devices should guide the implementation of mobile learning strategies. Properly trained IT staff are needed for the installation, maintenance, and administration of backend systems. Talent development is necessary to prepare instructors to produce learning through positive and engaging experiences. Finally, mobile learners need understandable guidelines and readily available support.
Reflection Point: “I absolutely think we need to give people access to material where and when they need it. It’s imperative to have a mobile learning strategy and that’s even more important with emerging generations. But I’ll add that when I talk to my peers who are in global companies, nobody has one.” ~ Karl-Heinz Oehler
Association for Educational Communications and Technology (2008). Definition. In A. Januszewski and M. Molenda (Eds.), Educational Technology: A definition with commentary. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Knowles M. S. (1984) Andragogy in action: applying modern principles of adult education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 1984.
By Mark Sivy, Ed.D.
According to the GSV Advisors 2012 Education Sector Factbook, e-learning is expected to grow at an average rate of 23% during the years of 2013-2017, with the global market size being anticipated to go from $90.9 B to $255.5 B. Based upon Watson, Murin, Vashaw, Gemin, and Rapp’s annual high school e-learning course enrollments, the 2012-2013 numbers represented an over 131% increase in enrollments when compared to the 2008-2009 school year. In 2010, Mincberg projected that it is possible by 2020 for 50% of all high school classes to be delivered online. Additionally given current trends, it can be estimated that by 2019, half of all college classes will be e-Learning based.
By using e-learning, corporations are realizing that they can save over 50% on the cost of creating and delivering a traditional course, not to mention that they can make it readily available to a large number of employees when and where they need it. In the Docebo E-Learning Market Trends & Forecast 2014-2016 Report, it was found that the both small and large companies were accepting e-learning as an efficient and cost effective means to quickly educate a geographically distributed workforce. WorldWideLearn points out several other factors that are leading the continuing growth of corporate e-learning, with some of the most notable being the development and delivery of consistent high quality content, the rapid development of employee skills, and modular learning.
Why is e-learning so very alive and doing well? Many factors have been found that are contributing to its popularity and reach. Some of these are:
– Mobility created by the expansion of wireless access and the growth in mobile device (e.g., tablets and smartphones) sales.
– Personalized learning and adaptive learning that address the diversity of learner backgrounds and needs.
– Gamification, which motivates learners and improves the level of interaction with the content.
– Pervasive learning occurring through a variety of informal, social, and formal modalities, which better match learner needs and interests.
– Popularity of cloud-based technologies and software-as-a-service (SaaS)
There may be some misconceptions or opinions out there due to “bad” experiences that may lead some people to believe that e-learning is on the decline or is ineffective. Some common reasons for this are:
– E-learning adoption being driven by the desire to have a technology rather than by having actual learning needs that are addressed with technology after thorough analysis and planning. A classic case is the rush by many schools to implement one-on-one (1:1) laptop or tablet initiatives before the learning needs, benefits, and support requirements have been identified, explored, and vetted.
– Failure to create an ongoing budget for scalability, maintenance, and upgrading of both software and hardware. Often, money is only allotted for the initial costs and setup or too little recurring funding is set aside.
– Inadequate stakeholder notification or buy-in.
– Lack of instructional design that is appropriate to the e-learning method that is being used. An example of this is uploading presentations and other content from a traditional course into on that is online.
– Absence of or insufficient training, professional development, and user support.
In most of these cases where there negative thoughts have resulted about e-learning, these could have been avoided by clearly identifying learning needs, thoroughly researching project requirements and options, involving stakeholders in the process, applying strategic vision and planning, and ensuring sufficient funds.
Reflection Point 1 – “E-Learning doesn’t just happen! It requires careful planning and implementation.” – Anonymous
Reflection Point 2 – “Teachers need to integrate technology seamlessly into the curriculum instead of viewing it as an add-on, an afterthought, or an event.” – Heidi-Hayes Jacobs
Mincberg, C. (2010). Is online learning a solution in search of a problem? Retrieved from the Litmos website: http://www.litmos.com/mobile-learning/what-will-disrupt-literacy-learninginstruction-as-we-know-it/.
Watson, J., Murin, A., Vashaw, L., Gemin, B., & Rapp, C. (2013). Keeping pace with K-12 online & blended learning: An annual review of policy and practice. Retrieved from Evergreen Education Group’s Keeping Pace website: http://kpk12.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/EEG_KP2013-lr.pdf.