Australia’s Budget 2020 was handed down last night and seeks to stimulate confidence and looks to business in particular infrastructure development and manufacturing to stimulate recovery. While technology (and tech businesses) may not have been named as the leading actor in Australia’s economic recovery story, it is (and will continue to) take up a considerable amt of ‘screen time’ as reflected in a recent research report from consulting firm AlphaBeta.

According to AlphaBeta, Australian businesses have implemented as much new technology in one year as they did in the previous 10yrs. The report found that without technology uptake and use around remote collaboration and communication, 3.2 million Australians employed would otherwise have been unable to continue working during COVID19. The research which was commissioned by Microsoft looked at how technology strengthened Australian business during COVID19.

This reflects research findings by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, which found that the majority of business leaders say “the quality of remote work has been at least as good as the work done in the physical workplace”.

While the AlphaBeta research did not specifically mention the role of newer technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality (XR) in this Australian business continuity role we would like to share our perspective from working with some of the worlds leading companies in the US, EU and Singapore providing mission critical solutions leveraging VR/AR across collaboration, communication and training.

Education programs are increasingly leveraging VR:

For example in the US researchers and educators at UW–Madison and Southern Methodist University are already using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to help students improve mathematical acumen through movement, spatial reasoning, and imaginative thinking. With the challenges of face to face interaction in the face of COVID19, not to mention travel restrictions limiting movement it’s not difficult to see the value VR offers here.

Work place learning and training are increasingly happening via VR:

Look no further than required training such as Virtual CPR training. When a company needs to provide health and safety training and due to diverse remote working locations and travel restrictions can’t do face to face training then the value proposition from applying VR in training becomes obvious. Particularily when you marry this with the convenience offered (training can be undertaken from a workers remote working location) and the ability to track and capture all learner interactions in the virtual learning and assessment environment.

Customer & sales meetings are increasingly happening using VR:

Undertaking a sales or project management meeting with a customer via video conferencing is tiring. [BTW if you want to read more about why you’re experiencing that Zoom fatigure check out this interesting HBR article].

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We are increasingly seeing major companies turn to virtual collaborative workspaces to conduct customer presentations and meetings. If you’re presenting a new built environment design or perhaps selling large equipment or even are an organisation providing education programs you can now deliver content immersively in a rich multiplayer environment, instead of holding a 2D Zoom meeting.

Finally, VR Headsets for employees will increasingly happen:

It is only a matter of time before all major Australian employers will be supplying employees with wireless headsets as part of their employee (work from home) package much like a new employee gets a laptop. Using the headset employees will be able to access their company immersive collaborative workspace for workshops, team meetings, to undertake workplace learning and training and to provide customer presentations.

In case you missed it

HP unveilds its ‘user-centric’ VR headset

Recently HP launched the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition VR system and software development kit. The company aims to use biometric sensors to create “more human centered VR experiences” but report they will ensure a “highly secure pipeline for protecting end-user privacy”. The system includes a heart rate sensor and facial tracking camera system with a plan for release mid 2021. Read.

Learn more

Other news catching our attention (and ears)

Is it time for Huang’s Law to overtake Moores Law

If you’re into podcasts here’s one you might find of interest – WSJ Tech News Briefing. Moore’s Law hold that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every 18mths. Tech columnist Christopher Mims argues Moores Law is outdated (due to physics) and a new law has arisen, which he’s calling ‘Huang’s Law’. The law is named for Jensen Huang, C.E.O. and cofounder of Nvidia. Listen.

NVIDIA and the age of fake you?

Speaking of Nvidia, a key player in visual computing, this week the company outlined its vision for the “age of AI,” at the GPU Technology Conference. Announcements touched on healthcare, robotics and videoconferencing. Regarding video conferencing the company revealed the NVIDIA Maxine, a cloud-native video streaming AI SDK which reportedly makes it possible to re-animate faces for meetings all while decreasing bandwidth. Watch.

Humans (and businesses?) as works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished

And we came across this oldie but a goodie which seems timely to finish this weeks post on as we talk all things business continuinty and recovery. It’s from Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert at his March 2014 TedX talk. As Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness shares, humans lifelong pursuit of happiness shows most of us have it wrong in trying to imagine our personal futures. Humans are “works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our life is change.” Watch.

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This article first appeared in Snobal Midweek.
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7 Oct 2020