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VR IN THE AGE OF CO-VID 19

The concept of wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset and getting the feel of walking into a conference, or an expo, or watching a product demo is becoming ever more realistic, the Corona Virus is a paradigm that will shift every aspect of our being, and the paradigm shift is nowhere perhaps more noticeable than the acceptance of XR (Extended Reality) as not only a  solution to the crisis, but also a valid solution for environmental protection in the sense of carbon footprint and travel costs at companies.

There is no question, that the COVID-19 outbreak has drastically limited the movement millions of people worldwide, VR technology and other new-age technology like this is now increasingly in demand as business continuity takes priority. Companies selling this are speeding up roll-outs, and also expanding their product lines. We have seen an increased activity and need for XR solutions, whether VR (Virtual Reality) or AR (Augmented Reality) from companies both within Germany, across the EU and abroad.

Especially for companies with worldwide manufacturing facilities, which need to constantly train their staff, but no longer have the ability to send physical trainers any more, the need to undertake quality controls or trouble shooting, the need in the last couple of months has more than doubled.

fordings INNOVATE is currently running an 360° offensive to support smaller and midsized retail companies which rely strongly on their showrooms and product berating for their business. The aim is to create customer immersion in a VR environment, allowing the user to walk around the showroom online and also be able to click on elements to get more content information, such as product videos, brochures and data sheets.

Fordings founder, Andrew Lawrence in a recent address stated the desperate need to find large scale solutions for the exhibition industry. There is high demand here to find workable solutions for thousands of people collaborating in the same instance, and numerous companies are busy finding solutions here.

Facial-reading artificial intelligence is being implemented in the recruitment business is being considered as a possible replacement to interviews. Especially in the UK AI recruitment software is being used increasingly not just as a solution for the current challenge, but also lower human bias in the decision making process. Emily Spaven an editor at the global recruitment and business platform writes “Artificial intelligence is being used in job interviews — scanning people's language, tone and facial expressions to determine the best person for the role. Consumer goods giant Unilever is just one company using this AI and facial expression technology, which rates a candidate's performance against thousands of pieces of facial and linguistic information from interviews of applicants who have gone on to do well in their roles. The firm that developed the tech claims that, as it removes human bias, it provides a more objective and reliable way of predicting how well a candidate would perform if hired.”[1]

It is not just VR or AI that is benefitting from the current situation. An increased demand in video-conferencing solutions? Has also been noted.  VR however could also offer a more suitable immersed experience in aiding in situations where precision is required, i.e. Quality checks, and due to the user immersion the attention level is respectively higher. At the same time, advanced forms of older technology like video-conferencing, webinars, email and remote access of devices are also taking off. “In these times, it is important to have visual communication rather than over phone," said Deloitte India chief talent officer SV Nathan. Companies ranging from small start-ups to multi corporate  are using tools like Skype, Gotomeeting, Amazon Chime and Zoom for the same.

 Especially in the area of vocational education, or private conversations. Companies such as Ascrion in Germany are using this to host B2B cluster platform conferences.
IBM and Cisco have provided the Region of Madrid with the access, management and support of the Cisco Webex teleworking and collaboration tool, which offers simple and intuitive functionalities for e- education.

boy at computer

The solution – already working since yesterday - connects teachers and students in real time. More than 100,000 teachers from the Madrid already have a personal account in the service to start virtual classes. All those teachers registered in EducaMadrid (in the 2019-2020 academic year) will be able to use the platform.[2]

Andrew Lawrence, CEO of fordings INNOVATE states “there is no doubt that we are facing a physical and technical paradigm shift, which will better the world during the CO-VID 19, but will also significantly create new questions when the crisis is over. Especially in the area of remote services the question will be VR vs. costs and carbon footprints” The question of downsizing office locations and having more home office options could also become a question, as we have to face the obvious.  The consequences of the current crisis will definitely have an impact on both consumer spending and the economic situation for a foreseeable time and the reliance on technology as a solution for sales and marketing for a time to come.

 

[1] Emily Spaven, Editor Linked_in, November 2019_https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/could-ai-decide-your-job-fate-4722972/

[2] Blog by Marta Martínez, IBM Spain, Portugal, Greece and Israel General Manager - https://newsroom.ibm.com/2020-03-19-IBM-and-Cisco-facilitate-remote-teaching-in-Madrid

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