Snobal and industry partner JB Hunter take out Platinium & Gold Awards at global LearnX Live! 2020 Awards

The Award recognises those leading the way in the future of learning.

We know it’s the ‘end of the week’ (not midweek) but we just had to share our news.

Snobal and industry partner JB Hunter yesterday took out the LearnX Live! Virtual Summit & Awards Show Platinium Award for "Best Virtual Reality (VR) Hard Skills Training Project" and a Gold Award for "Best use of Technology in Learning" for our work on development of innovative virtual reality training.

Sponsored by Totara and Androgogic, LearnX Live! 2020 Virtual Summit and Awards Show, recognises those leading the way in the future of learning, covering everything from learning technology to e-learning design.

The international awards recognises multiple fields within learning, development and talent management across the corporate, education and public-service sectors worldwide.

Current and past award recipients include a ‘who’s who’ of global and Australian brands including: AFL, Alfred Health, ANZ, Cotton On Group, BUPA, Coles, FortyWinks, McDonalds, Sydney Water, Volkswagen, Westpac, PepsiCo, Specsavers, NBN and Monash University.


In case you missed it

In the early hours of yesterday Facebook Connect happened. The annual event is positioned as the “biggest AR/VR conversation of the year” and articulates Facebook’s focus and vision for Facebook Reality Labs as well as their work in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) for the coming year.

Our key takeaways:

Facebook partners with eyewear manufacturer, EssilorLuxottica for next generation of smart glasses

Mark Zuckerberg spoke about Facebook’s vision to develop “normal size” glasses that you can “wear all day” or even not “have to carry your phone around at all”.

We are especially proud of our collaboration with Facebook, which projects an iconic brand like Ray-Ban into an increasingly digital and social future.
- Rocco Basilico, Chief Wearables Officer at Luxottica

Zuckerberg then went onto share details on ‘Project Aria’, which is about building Faceboook’s first consumer AR glasses.

There was acknowledgement that there is no product details to share at the moment just news that Facebook and eyewear EssilorLuxottica (owner of Ray Ban brand) have formed a “multi-year partnership” with glasses scheduled to released “next year”.

“VR is going to change work”

Zuckerberg also set Facebook’s vision for VR and the company’s focus in the space for the year ahead.

The Quest headset was conveyed as the best “VR gaming platform”.

Zuckerberg spoke about their new wireless headset, Quest 2 conveying it as the headset that “is going to be the “form factor to introduce people to VR” and with a vision of making it available to “as many people as possible”. Part of making the hardware more available is a price reduction from the original Quest.

Zuckerberg also touched on “how VR is going to change work” that current virtual collaboration tools allowed “no shared sense of space” as everything looks “flat”.

Other news catching our attention

Apparently some bosses are determined to people into the “physical office”

A Wired article this week shares how companies like financial technology, media, and data company Bloomberg are offering incentives such as a daily allowance, in Bloomberg’s case reportedly $75 (£55) to cover out-of-pocket transportation costs when commuting. The aim? To get employees back into the ‘physical’ office. This leads us to ask what role will ‘virtual offices’ and immersive collaborative workspace solutions like Snobal Spaces play in all this?

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Reimagining CPR training using virtual reality (and why its got us excited)

Recent research shows CPR training rates have not changed over the past few decades in Australia & that new initiatives are needed. We looked at how VR could add value.

Welcome to Snobal Midweek. This is where we share our update of what we're hearing, sharing and thinking about this week. As always if you find Snobal Midweek of value, please comment, forward or share.

Why CPR training using VR?


Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. If not treated properly and quickly, it can cause sudden death within 10 minutes. Each year in Australia aprox 25,000 people have a cardiac arrest out of hospital and as few as 5% survive to leave hospital and go home.  

In 2017 Australian researchers did a retrospective analysis of a national cross-sectional survey using data from the Heart Foundation of Australia’s ‘HeartWatch’ Survey. The analysis looked at Australia’s awareness of cardiac arrest and rates of CPR training and found worrying results.

While 56% of respondents reported previous CPR training, only 22% were currently trained (within 1 year) and that lack of CPR training was the most common reason why respondents would not provide CPR to a stranger.

In short as the analysis reports:

There is a need to improve the community’s understanding of cardiac arrest, and to increase awareness and training in CPR. CPR training rates have not changed over the past decades—new initiatives are needed.

The technical challenge in Virtual CPR and why it got us excited


Speaking of new initatives in CPR, Virtual CPR is a training solution developed by registered training organisation, JB Hunter Technology and powered by Snobal.

The training combines virtual learning, followed by a practical assessment session in the virtual environment.

So what excites us about Virtual CPR?

Aside from the fact of using a newer technology (VR) to increase awareness and training levels of CPR, what initially excited our development team about Virtual CPR was the technical challenge presented and innovation possible.

We knew we wanted to provide immediate feedback to learners in a CPR environment if they were doing chest compressions correctly.

Were they doing the chest compressions at the correct pace and with the correct depth?

In the chest compression component of the CPR assessment, the learner needs to align a physical mannequin (which will be supplied) with the virtual manniquin and commence chest compressions.

Using the VR hand controllers the system will measure the depth and rate of the learner chest compressions and display this information in the virtual environment.

If chest compressions are too fast or too slow the learner will get immediate feedback so they can adjust the pace and depth of their compressions accordingly.

The value of this feedback to a learner is obvious.

In a classroom based environment a level of trainer subjectivity can be involved as it maybe difficult for a trainer to assess exactly if a learner is doing compessions at the correct depth for example. But with Virtual CPR this ‘standization’ of training becomes achievable.

Added to that the other benefits of Virtual CPR is convenience. Virtual CPR can be undertaken be a worker in their remote working location. All they need is a wifi connection. The results from their CPR assessment will be relayed over the cloud to the dashboard on Snobal Cloud giving insight on learners.

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In case you missed it

Snobal and Pico Interactive partnership set sights on helping grow global VR for business ecosystem


This week Snobal and Pico Interactive announced their partnership to increase accessibility for VR enterprise content creators and expand business solution offerings.With operations in the United States, Europe, China and Japan, Pico develops VR solutions.


Other news catching our attention

Elon Musk brain implant startup, Neuralink demos tech & what this might mean for VR/AR

Neuralink gaves progress on its first major update in more than a year with a live demonstration of its working Neuralink device inserted in a pigs head. It raises important questions not leaast about the ethical implication of technological innovation in this instance brain computer interface (BCI).

Just because you can does it mean you should?

In a webinar produced by The Australian Society for Computers & Law, Dr Michelle Sharpe (Victorian Barrister) and Dr Allan McCay, a Sydney University Law School lecturer with particular interest in behavioural genetics, neuroscience, neurotechnology explore this complicated issue and the ethics around brain technology interfaces.

BCI becomes all the more interesting when it converges with AR/VR. This is where users’ brain activity enables real-time control of connected devices including VR/AR content and headsets.  

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Educational innovation decades in the making

Universities will need to look to digital innovation and new forms of student experience capable of attracting domestic and international mkt share. Immersive learning can play a role here.

Welcome to Snobal Midweek. This is where we share our update of what we're hearing, sharing and thinking about this week. As always if you find Snobal Midweek of value, please comment, forward or share.

Education transformation looks to new forms of student experience and engagement

Education is in the midst of a turbulent transformation globally. COVID-19 has forced more than 1 billion students out of the traditional face to face “industrialisation era format” of delivery to an online delivery.

As this US focussed podcast with Connie Chan, general partner at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) explores with education there is so much potential for further innovation.

At its core, online is a mode of delivery for education that has tremendous potential to reach people that couldn’t be reached with in-person education models.

In Australia, universities are grappling with the downturn in international student revenue in 2020 due to COVID19. Recent University Of Melbourne research modelled the impact and reilence of universities with the loss of international student fees. It included an outline of seven strategies universities needed to undertake including investing in digital education,

universities will need to continue investing in digital education and new forms of student experience capable of attracting and retaining both domestic and international market share in a post-COVID-19 era.

And muscling in for a greater share of the educational pie are tech giants like Google.

Portrayed as a “digital jobs program to help America’s economic recovery” Google recently announced its "Google Career Certificates" courses. The courses are conveyed as helping participants get qualifications in “high-paying, high-growth job fields” without needing to attend university.

College degrees are out of reach for many Americans, and you shouldn’t need a college diploma to have economic security. We need new, accessible job-training solutions—from enhanced vocational programs to online education—to help America recover and rebuild.

All of this reflects the World Economic Forum call for education to have a rethink as COVID19 is causing a widening gap in education.

“The old model of our education system where everyone sits in a classroom is not going to work in the new normal."

Which brings us to a world where newer technologies such as virtual reality become part and parcel of a blended learning program in our schools, collegies, universities not to mention workplaces.

It is not hard to envision a very near future where every student gets a wireless VR headset as part of their enrollment at school or university much like they have a laptop or notebook.

The student simply turns on the headset, connects to a wifi network and can easily access the shared immersive learning experiences specified for their year level or studies across diverse subject or content areas.

Assessments on soft skills or technical skills that need to be acquired can be practised over and over in a safe virtual environment. All student interactions in the virtual environment can be tracked and reported back providing the student with enhanced insight on proficiency and understanding.

Students can also access immersive collaborative meeting experiences and spaces for seminars, workshops, plenary sessions and meetings.

As Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of Engineering and Professor, McMaster University (Canada) recently wrote in a Conversation article there are five ways education can be reimagined in response to COVID19 including “create virtual content for the future and “engage students through virtual experiences”.

Oculus for Business users will soon require a Facebook account

Facebook last week announced that starting in October 2020, everyone using an Oculus virtual reality device (eg Quest) for the first time will need to log in with a Facebook account. There will be a period of grace for anyone with separate Oculus and Facebook accounts which will end January 2023.

The news raises questions for VR business content creators, educational bodies and government authorities using Oculus products around their desire to connect their business profile to their personal social profile when using the Oculus for Business virtual reality deployment platform.

The news has met with resistance from existing business product users and led last week to colourful social activity and articles on tech media.

Talk to us

Vodafone set out to discover which businesses are best prepared for the future. This is what they found.


Late last year Vodafone looked at how COVID19 has affected the emerging challenges they identified, and what this means for the future of work.

Surveying 1,813 businesses in November and 800 in May in follow up research they found “future ready businesses” (FRB) had six key characteristic in common. And the six characteristic are not all what you might expect.

As outlined in this Forbes article business models are evolving in the wake of COVID19 and it is in the direction of digital.

"Businesses that have thrived through the pandemic may not solely be operating in a digital business model, but what all successful business have in common is a strong digital culture…moving forward, we need to face that the future will be more digitally-focused than ever before, and businesses need to start thinking about how to create and implement a digital business model.”

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Sliding doors: As physical doors close digital ones open

Globally we all know the current health and economic crisis has changed how we live and work. Businesses are wondering how to provide their existing services in a virtual environment while at the same time focussing on what the impact will be on their business in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Many organisations are looking to rapidly accelerate the use of digital technologies knowing this may mean cannibalising existing bread and butter business.

And all of this is not going away any time soon. As Wired reports we best get used to a “long lingering epdemic that is only just getting started”.


What we’re hearing


As a company with virtual in our DNA below are the top three things we’re hearing from our conversations with businesses spanning education, healthcare, telecommunications, urban development and training in Australia, Singapore, the US and Europe.

01.Jumped 10 yrs: - “Because of COVID” has become a powerful stimulant to commence acceleration of an organisations VR/AR roadmap and use. It is a phrase we hear frequently.

Because of COVID our staff can’t do the essential training they need to do. We need a solution.

Because of COVID we can’t provide our executive education content face to face. We need a solution.

Because of COVID we can’t get our customers into our display home and showroom. We need a solution.

Because of COVID we need to find a way to quickly and easily collaborate on design with our customers. We need a solution.


Many businesses who had commenced their digital transformation journeys now find themselves having to turbo speed their development while also looking at way to easily scale these VR/AR solutions across diverse geographic locations.

As McKinsey & Co reports in just the last 90 days we have “jumped ten years”.

And according to research by Twilio, COVID-19 has sped up digital transformation for Australian business “by an average of six years”. Surveying 2500 enterprise decision-makers Twilio reported that 97% claimed COVID-19 has “accelerated their digital transformation” and 79% had increased their budget for doing so.

The report also found that previous inhibitors to innovation have been broken down since the onset of the pandemic. Barriers such as lack of clear strategy, executive approval and reluctance to replace legacy software are now less of an issue for more than one-third of respondents.

02.Extraordinary partnerships - we’re seeing businesses and educational bodies rethinking who they partner with. They are looking, at what McKinsey & Co call the cultivation of “extraordinary partnerships” and they’re doing this at speed.

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Future focussed business are looking to how their teams work, collaborate and communicate with each other and their customers.

Their seeking richer, measured and virtual ways of doing existing business. They’re looking with razor focus at partnerships with technology companies that can leverage and that can best position them in this new market.

03. Long game vs short game: There is no playbook or MBA module for business leaders on handling a crisis like COVID-19. Some business leaders are falling back on their existing way of working and thinking about the future. Some are adapting a ‘shelter in place’ mindset.

But many are not. They are focussed on the near game and the long game seeking to ensure continuity and growth at the other end.

CEOs working urgently to balance dozens of critical priorities each day are starting to focus on two leading questions: “How can we ride out the crisis to emerge stronger than others in our industry?” and “How can the organization learn through this experience to win in a new world?” [ Source; Bain & Company, Covid-19: Protect, Recover and Retool, 2020].

What do you think? What are you hearing and experiencing in the market?

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What’s catching our attention

Montenegro to invest 25.5 mln euro in VR innovation centre - Montenegro's government plans to establish a virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) ​innovation centre. This is part of a series of measures to support the country's economic recovery following COVID-19. Is this something other governments could learn from?

Deloitte’s new report looks at the future of virtual production and content creation stating that as the pandemic introduces further complications, “virtual production capabilities may become a competitive advantage for content creators.” What role will VR content play here?

Reconstructing journalistic scenes in 3D. Check out The New York Times embedding 3D scans of physical environments into a web browser. What might the impact of this be for museums and art galleries?

5G Revolution: Unlocking the Digital Age - the start of a new era? And what will the impact be on cloud VR/AR?

What is the truth about 5G?
How COVID19 was the perfect environment for 5G conspiracy theories to spread.

Pandemic reveals opportunities for 5G connectivity 5G cellular technology is starting to take shape but the pandemic has shown it is still missing a few stitches.

Preparing for 2030 and what the future potentially holds.

Thanks for reading if you’ve any question on any of the above or would like to know more about our deployment platform, Snobal Cloud or our XR solutions reach out.

Why global companies and government organisations are choosing Snobal's enterprise VR deployment platform over Oculus for Business

Ed.17

This week investment company, Square Peg Capital partner Paul Basset (founder of Seek) outlined why Australia needs to invest more in home grown technology companies rather than boosting overseas technology giants.

In the article Basset referred to the need for Australia to produce “our fair share of global winners”.

He highlighted example Australian home grown tech successes such as Airwallex (a Square Peg Capital portfolio company) and education startup A Cloud Guru.

We’d like to highlight another Australian tech success story not mentioned.

Snobal.

Here’s why.

Facebook’s enterprise platform for VR deployment
(
Oculus for Business )

Facebook is one of the most prominent global players in virtual reality.

To date Facebook has invested over $US2 + billion so far on virtual reality. It started off with the company acquiring Occulus in 2012 for US$2.3 billion.

Initially the focus for the company was consumer focussed VR. It’s logical as consumers were and still are Facebook’s key target market / product. But adoption of consumer VR has been slower taking off than expected. Facebook turned to enterprise with the launch of Oculus for Business.

Oculus for Business was described as:

an enterprise solution designed to streamline and expand virtual reality in the workplace. Launching this fall, the expanded Oculus for Business will add Oculus Quest to the hardware lineup and provide a suite of tools designed to help companies reshape the way they do business through the power of VR.

Snobal’s enterprise platform for VR deployment
(Snobal Cloud)

Meanwhile, back in Australia Snobal has focussed on business and what the future of work looks like using VR and AR since founding in 2014.

Our focus from day one has always been on making it easy for business to use VR and AR.

Learn more

Today our enterprise platform for VR deployment is used by global companies and government organisations in Europe, North America and Asia.

We knew from over 5 yrs of working with business on their VR requirements, that organisations want four key things out of an enterprise platform for VR deployment:

  1. Control over data.

  2. Control over users.

  3. Control over privacy.

  4. Control over the headset and hardware used.

The result?

Snobal Cloud.

Snobal Cloud is the world’s first proprietary enterprise grade platform to enable the ease of delivery, analysis and managment of virtual reality and augmented reality (XR) experiences.

A comparison…

Let’s compare Snobal Cloud and Facebook’s Oculus for Business enterprise platform based on some key features and functionality currently available:

Note on:

—Worldwide geographical availability and support
: Oculus for Business is for the following locations only at time of writing: The US, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the UK. If you are not in one of the countries listed above (eg Singapore), Oculus for Business is currently not able to support business at the present time.

— Available for external content providers: Oculus for Business content providers must join the Oculus Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) Program. The goal of the ISV program is “to accelerate customer adoption of VR solutions built for Oculus enterprise products”. Read more.
— Data sovereignty: The infrastructure for Snobal Cloud Australian clients is hosted in Amazon AWS in Sydney.
Oculus for Business is built on Facebook Workplace. Business will need to assess privacy and risk requirements around having their data stored on Facebook servers.

Visit our website for a detailed comparison table here.

Building our future

But back to all things Australian ‘new companies’ and building our future.

At the launch of the report from Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by Victoria's startup agency LaunchVic, Basset echoed the reports findings that startups have the potential to play a major role in Victoria’s (and Australia’s) post-COVID-19 economic return.

In order for Australia to maintain the prosperity we have had for generations we need to produce our fair share of global winners…it is important for Australia to make investments and start businesses that are looking towards the future so that when things like this happen the growth is coming here and not going to overseas global businesses.

His comments reflect those of Dr Pradeep Philip Partner, Head of Deloitte Access Economics mentioned in the report that COVID-19 has seen a rapid transition of our physical world to a virtual world and is a key part of Australia’s future economy.

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Snobal is a technology company that has created a world leading enterprise solution for VR deployment.

We’re a technology company that is Australian but we work with global companies and government organisations across the world.

We know we are punching well above our weight in the VR and AR development and landscape.

Like the report outlines and Ed Husic MP, Federal Member for Chifley outlined this morning on social, “If there was ever a sector that could help restart the economy it’s Australia’s tech sector.

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