July! Summer! We might not be flying off abroad for our holidays just yet, choosing to be sensible and aim for locales within the UK but this means half of 2021 is already crossed off the calendar. <Insert year loading progress at 50% GIF here>. Q2 is typically a busy time with many organisations wrapping up projects before the end of the financial year and their own preparations for the employee exodus of Summer, when things tend to be a little quieter, and this year has been no different. Read on to see what we and our clients and partners have been up these past three months.
Some big news for the studio was finally being able to publicly announce that our game Loco Dojo has been greenlit by the Oculus Quest Store team and we’ve been busy beavering away preparing the launch later this year, as Loco Dojo Unleashed! Much loved on PC VR and in Location-Based VR Arcades, we’re excited to be bringing the title to the standalone Oculus Quest VR headset, offering players the same madcap silly fun and games, this time with total freedom of movement. Check our socials for news of the release date, which isn’t too far away…
On a more serious note, we were accepted and fully validated under the Government Cyber Security Plus scheme. Having previously self-certified ourselves and taken many steps to improve our IT security, infrastructure and processes, it was an important step to have this manually checked by external parties to confirm our efforts are correct.
We welcomed a number of new bright minds to the team, with Stuart joining us full time as a senior developer and a number of new, continuing and old faces bringing their collective specialist expertise to projects on contract ~ hello, again, and welcome back to Marco, Lily, Ana, Anita, Alan, Paul, Ted and Zillah. We had to say goodbye, for now, to a couple of freelance developers as their projects and contracts came to an end but no doubt we will see them on Zoom, or even in person at the staff summer party, soon enough. We are recruiting for another Senior Immersive Learning Designer and Senior Developer to join the studio full time so check out the job listing for details and get in touch!
As part of our ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the studio and our portfolio of clients and projects, products and solutions, we were included in the VRARA UK Ecosystem Report 2021. We were also highlighted on the Watch List for the Top 20 Custom Learning Content Companies 2021 from Training Industry (having previously been selected as a Top 20 Experiential Learning Company 2021 in another of their lists). Finally as award season approaches, we have submitted a number of clients and their projects to the AIXR VRAwards 2021 and Learning Technology Awards 2021 respectively, but we’ll have to wait until a few months time to find out if we have been shortlisted and/or won towards the end of the year. Fingers crossed!
News outside of the studio didn’t slow down either, with another three monthly ‘Reality Check‘ newsletters going out to subscribers, crammed full of the latest news around immersive technologies. You can read the April, May and June editions but be sure to sign-up and subscribe to get the news fresh into your inbox at the start of each month. Our audience for the newsletters is growing steadily each month and the reception metrics improving, so be sure not to miss out.
For the studio external outreach team, real-world physical events are still on-hold, having been postponed or adapted to virtual online events, but we have our first face-to-face events planned for Q3 and Q4! We look forward to seeing you when we return to LPI Learning Live and Digital Construction Week, in September and November respectively.
This last quarter, we have been broadening our horizons, having been invited to partake in the Innovate UK / UKRI / KTN – South Korea Global Expert Mission. Originally planned as a physical trip to Seoul in 2020, obviously postponed by the global pandemic, it was great to meet Korean XR counterparts, universities and government heads virtually. We then attended a reverse-organised event, the Korea-UK XR Collaboration Webinar, by the South Korean government ministry of science and ICT and a smaller section of UK representatives.
Similarly abroad but also virtual, we attended and hosted panels on best practice for XR immersive labs as part of the AIXR Training and Education Advisory Group attendance of the 7th iLRN (Immersive Learning Research Network) Conference series of events, running all throughout the month of May into June. Still with AIXR, we also took part in the online panel discussion with the Enterprise XR Advisory Group, looking at the challenges and opportunities of spatial computing for organisations.
We wrapped up our inclusion in the first Creative England / Ukie Games Scale Up cohort by appearing in and attending the Creative Enterprise Showcase, featuring all the various funded programmes and studios involved with them. Cohort 2 is taking applications now and we recommend applying if you are looking to grow your games studio.
A number of our client projects came to fruition this quarter, with deployments across the scale of immersive technologies, from browser to mobile to VR headsets.
Make Real – D&I: Perspectives VR : This is now available to Oculus Quest 1 and Quest 2 consumer device owners to incorporate into their enterprise training programmes, thanks to changes to the consumer device commercial usage licence and the application being available through the Oculus App Lab Store.
BAM Nuttall – VR Site Induction : Updated VR versions for Oculus Quest and Go to add subtitles to the 360º video content plus a brand new browser-based WebXR version for desktops and tablets.
Dapper Labs – Chaparone : Design, consultancy and development support for a new mobile AR platform experience.
Lloyds Banking Group – Descape : Browser-based 3D 360º serious learning game based upon an escape room concept, requiring learners to combine knowledge about how the organisation Data teams manage customer information with logical puzzles to solve a comprehension conundrum.
Lloyds Banking Group – Introducing the Cloud : Further enhancements and additional platform support added to the previously deployed browser-based content.
Lloyds Banking Group – TEXAS : Organisation-wide flexible framework and browser-based training around internally-recognised models of communication, enabling customer-facing employees to have confidence to display the art of conversation, providing fairer outcomes for customers and the wider financial group of all teams.
Network Rail – COSS OLE : PC VR experience for familiarisation and fault finding with the Overhead Line Equipment. A brand new scenario addition for the Learning Technologies Awards 2020 ‘Best Virtual Environment and Simulations for Learning’ category gold winning experience.
Network Rail – Substations : PC VR training solution to enhance the learning experience and increase the underpinning knowledge/awareness when undertaking Access & Egress to Power Distribution locations. Distribution Level C training for Identification of hazards across 2 different substations at varying stages of dilapidation’s, different times of days and weather conditions.
NHS Blood & Transplant – Aseptic Technique : Oculus Quest VR training experience around the processes of Aseptic Technique measures, designed to improve knowledge and safe practice in the virtual cleanroom whilst reducing waste and costs associated with materials usage.
NHS Blood & Transplant – Blood Donor Screening : Oculus Quest VR/Desktop/Tablet training experience around the processes of guiding patients through the blood donation process and raising awareness of the negative consequences that can result if the screening process is conducted unsuccessfully.
NHS Blood & Transplant – Clean Room : Oculus Quest VR training experience around the processes of operating within the Clean Room, designed to train NHSBT staff how to gown correct and act in the way when working in the clean room, keeping the area and all products in it free of contamination, before they work in the real environment.
Vodafone – DriVe Safe : Major content and data tracking update for the wider launch of the serious mobile learning game across multiple territories within the organisation.
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That pretty much wraps up the review of Q2 for 2021; the studio team have been busy with a number of deliverables and deadlines and with a lack of physical events, the external teams have been busy virtually connecting with our clients and partners, lining up new and extensions to projects in, or soon-to-be in the works.
We have started beinging able to welcome clients and partners to our new studio space at Plus X Innovation Hub, Brighton more frequently, for demos, reviews and workshops. Please do get in touch if you would like to have a demo or workshop around integrating immersive technologies into your organisation, we are able to host small numbers currently.
The majority of the studio team will remain working remotely for the foreseeable future but we have put provisions in place, now we are able to, for those who wish to work from the studio or have more flexible options to do so moving forwards. With lockdown measures lifting, we have seen VR pilots commencing and enterprise VR training programmes resuming. We look forward to sharing more outcomes of these with you soon.
We’re always happy to talk to you about how immersive technologies can engage your employees and customers. If you have a learning objective in mind, or simply want to know more about emerging technologies like VR, AR, or AI, send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.