Can Perception Be Reality – Yes, Through Virtual Reality
by Fathi Al Riyami
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