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TECHNOLOGY

Enhancing Immersive Learning with VR Technology

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Enhancing Immersive Learning with VR Technology

Immersive learning with virtual reality (VR) has become increasingly popular over the past several years.

VR is vital in the digital transformation process, industry 4.0 and e-learning. Oftentimes innovation directors and chief information officers look to enhance training programs and VR has the ability to teach employees practical skills in a safe environment by simulating real-world situations. Employees can learn crucial safety protocols, hard skills, and other lessons through full immersion rather than reading a handbook or video. 

Some of the benefits of using VR-based Immersive Learning are improved knowledge retentionbetter performance, and full engagement

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Credit: PWC for Live Training decision matrix framework

With Immersive Learning on the rise, it is important to understand this new way of training and see how your chief information officers and organization as a whole can benefit from it long-term. 

What Is Immersive Learning?

Immersive Learning uses VR technology to train employees through simulated real-life scenarios. It is based on cognitive and behavioural science and enhances employee proficiencies through immersion. 

The Immersive Learning approach uses VR alongside data science, spatial design, and advanced learning theory. Neuroscience research has found that the brain reacts to VR experiences the same as real-world scenarios, meaning how employees perform in the virtual setting is closely related to how they will perform in the real work environment. 

By using VR, you can immerse employees into simulated work situations that may happen in the real world. It uses the best practices proven to enhance behavioural learning. This will improve the trainee’s preparedness, knowledge, confidence, retention, and engagement in the long run. 

Using Virtual & Augmented Reality Technology

VR as a tool for Immersive Learning creates a safe training environment while keeping employees engaged as they develop practical experience. VR is the headset that users wear, and the experience is typically enhanced with realistic environments built to mimic real-world interaction and design. These virtual albeit realistic environments allow for users to explore as if they were in the real world but also push the user down a set pathway for a learning outcome. This kind of process training is nothing new, but the platform and medium being used now have changed considerably.

Immersive Learning with VR/AR technology creates a very realistic environment and allows users to feel like they are engaging in real life. However, VR provides a safe learning environment where users can learn from their mistakes and receive feedback, among other benefits. 

Example of a VR Learning Scenario recently published for Electrical Engineering training:

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Benefits of Using VR/AR Technology with Immersive Learning

Immersive Learning makes learning easier and better than in the past. Instead of using handbooks or lengthy videos, users can quickly improve their practical skills and prepare for different contexts. 

Here are some of the other benefits of Immersive Learning with VR/AR technology. 

Improved Engagement

VR can improve learner engagement even more than real-life instruction because it fully immerses the trainee into various situations. Since there are no distractions in the virtual environment and no way to check phones or other devices, employees can pay attention to important safety protocols and lessons they will need to know on the job. 

This kind of focus and attention is crucial for new employees as they learn safety protocols. Since the brain treats VR experiences like reality, having trainees practice in simulated scenarios can enhance their performance overall when they face similar situations in real life. 

Users can also develop an emotional connection since VR and AR create a very realistic environment for employees to train in. The skills they build feel more practical since they are learning them in various highly realistic situations. This keeps trainees engaged and highly involved in their learning process. 

Not only can they see virtual scenarios, but they can also have meaningful interactions with objects in those environments. It requires trainees to make decisions that have real consequences in the safety of virtual and augmented reality. 

Increased Motivation

During training, employees may not feel very motivated to learn a series of steps or safety protocols from a video. Since they do not see the need now, the theoretical lessons may not stick until it is too late. 

VR/AR technology makes employees much more motivated to learn when they face realistic situations. It tests their knowledge and forces them to retain information so they can use it in real time. 

When trainees practice in a realistic virtual environment, their brain treats simulated situations like real life. Being put to the test with fewer distractions increases a trainee’s motivation to learn and knowledge retention.  

Simulated Risk in a Safe Environment

When it comes to potentially dangerous situations like unloading trucks, working with heavy machinery, active shooters, or natural disasters, VR can provide a safe space for employees to practice how to handle those situations. 

One of the great benefits is that VR allows employees to learn from their mistakes and try again. Trainees receive immediate feedback as well because their choices directly affect their virtual experience. 

It allows employees to learn by repeating the same dangerous situations repeatedly, which is typically impossible to simulate in the real world without putting others at real risk. Instead, employees can learn at their own pace until they feel confident and prepared. 

Measured Data & Performance

Companies can now measure the performance of their employees and the organization as a whole by accessing data from VR training. When trainees use the Immersive Learning technology, the headset captures their actions and provides insight into the cumulative collected data. Employers can see how well trainees did and how well they seemed to know the material. 

The data from VR training comes in five different types: 

  • Usage: Duration, frequency of training, and completion

  • Performance: The ability to answer correctly and complete tasks efficiently

  • Attention and engagement: How attentive learners are, which indicate performance on the job

  • Sentiment: Participant feedback

  • Predictive analytics: Immersive and real-life data combined to create a learning-based model and personalized approach 

Conclusion

Immersive Learning revolutionizes training like never before. It allows users to practice, make mistakes, and learn important information without allowing any distractions. As a result, it increases their focus and motivation when faced with realistic situations and the ability to make mistakes and try again. 

It also allows employers to see how well their employees perform by analyzing the data. The measurable data can also tell how well an employee may perform when faced with challenging situations. 

With the proper tools and understanding, this dynamic learning strategy provides incredible potential for future workplace education. 


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TECHNOLOGY

Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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TECHNOLOGY

HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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TECHNOLOGY

Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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