The last webinar of this year from the Creating Tomorrow’s World series took place on December 14, 2021. The webinar focussed on the topic of Immersive Technology, how it can help businesses capture larger markets as well as the future of these technologies in transforming the business landscape in the coming years.
The webinar was moderated by Declan McKibben, Executive Director of the ADAPT Commercialisation team that connects industry partners with researchers. The speakers of the webinar included Dr Niall Murray, Senior Lecturer at Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded investigator at the ADAPT Centre, accompanied by Geoffrey Allen, CEO Mersus Technologies – an Athlone based immersive media studio, and Caitriona Mordan, Education and Outreach Manager, and Cluster Manager at the ATIM Cluster.
The webinar began with a brief explanation of the meaning of immersive technologies and their functionalities in the ever-evolving world of business, by Dr Niall Murray. Niall mentioned the pervasiveness of immersive experiences in the world today as technology becomes increasingly intertwined with lived experiences, giving rise to a hybrid lifestyle where physical and digital realities are complexly intertwined.
While simple technologies such as mobile phones allow for a smaller degree of immersion, emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) which overlay computer-generated technology on real world objects, help create multi-modal multi-media interactivity. “Through these technologies, we move from being passive consumers of content to being active consumers and active stakeholders in the experiences, manipulating the virtual content”, Dr Murray said. This is primarily due to the enhancement of immersive tech experiences with the help of continuous sensory data (collected through wearables), environmental data (motion sensor tech), et al., which constantly lead to the improvement of the user experience. Additionally, since the application is extremely domain-agnostic, the quality of these experiences often becomes extremely critical in determining use cases.
Dr Murray’s brief overview of the introduction and functionalities of immersive technologies was followed by Geoffrey Allen’s insights into their real-world application through use-case scenarios and case studies. Geoffrey spoke about the Avatar Academy developed by Mersus Technologies, which is revolutionising learning experiences of students across various industries such as life sciences and robotics, with the help of the Oculus Quest VR technology by Meta. Their primary work involves designing these learning experiences, collecting data and analysing the data to further inform the Learning Management Systems (LMS) to increase efficiencies.
Geoffrey spoke about the critical use of analytics for ROI as Mersus has found a decrease in training time by a whopping 95% through their projects. In fact, their project for another client in robotics training, was also found to increase learning quality as well as speed, since 8-10 students were able to practically learn robotic functions at once with the help of Virtual Reality (VR) technology. Talking about the future of this technology, he said: “The last 25 years have been about the internet and the next 25 years will be about this immersive tech”. Since there are not too many players in the market, first-movers will be at an advantage.
Lastly, Catriona Mordan, Cluster Manager at ATIM, spoke from experience about the emergence of Digital Transformation as a catalyst for economic resilience and growth for companies in the manufacturing industry as well as SMEs further down the value chain. While speaking about the ATIM Cluster, she mentioned the Cluster as being an industry led, research fuelled and government funded unit that forms the social glue to identify gaps and facilitate knowledge diffusion across all stakeholders in the ecosystem.
While highlighting the urgency with which companies must welcome this transformation, she mentioned: “We no longer need to sit back and watch ‘Back to the Future’ as the tech is here now. So, it is time to ask – how can this technology be used, or which technology can be beneficial for my business?” She further urged business leaders to start conversations about how these technologies can help achieve business goals and be integrated seamlessly into their overarching strategies. For this reason, she also urged stakeholders to test such technologies before investing, a service that the ATIM Cluster provides for industry partners, once they get in touch with Cluster Managers like Caitriona.
The webinar concluded with these experts together highlighting the diverse applications of this immersive technology for each domain, while also briefly mentioning the upcoming avenues of disruption that such technology can facilitate. While hyper-personalisation and easy availability of such technologies is the future, the key takeaway from the webinar was the importance of businesses to make the most of immersive technologies in order to create memorable experiences for stakeholders as well as bring in commercial success for business.
To know more about how such technology can help your business, watch the full recording of the webinar here.
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