113 episodes

Meet the leaders who are changing the face of virtual and augmented reality

XR for Business Alan Smithson from MetaVRse

    • Technology

Meet the leaders who are changing the face of virtual and augmented reality

    Leveraging 5G Networks to bring VR to South Korea, with Korea Telecom’s Joonmo Park

    Leveraging 5G Networks to bring VR to South Korea, with Korea Telecom’s Joonmo Park

    For most of the world, a cross-country, gapless 5G network is still the realm of futurists. One exception is South Korea, where a 5G network is quickly proliferating. Korea Telecom’s Joonmo Park discusses how his company is using the network to evangelize VR.

    Alan: Hey, everyone. Alan Smithson here. Today, we're speaking with Joonmo Park, new media business development manager at Korea Telecom, the largest telecommunications company in South Korea. We're going to be talking about 5G, virtual reality and transportation. All that coming up next, on the XR for Business podcast.

    Joonmo, welcome to the show, my friend.

    Joonmo: Thank you. Thanks for having me, Alan. And I'm really happy to be here.

    Alan: It's an absolute honor to have you on the show. I was really impressed with some of the work that I've been seeing come out of Korea. And I was very impressed to find out that it was the work of you and your team, that have put these things together. So maybe just talk about the projects that you've been working on at KT Tel.

    Joonmo: Okay. Our company -- KT -- is the largest telecommunications company in South Korea, with more than 30 years of experience in mobile telephone service, and broadcasting, and Internet. And I've been with the company for over three years across a variety of different functions, including business strategy, B2C business, and B2B business. But about one and half years ago, as a company, we decided to establish a dedicated team that's purely focused on what's new and what's next. So we focused on the emerging consumer landscape and the emerging technology landscape, and make sure that the KT brand continues to be relevant not only today, but five or ten years from now. So we are focusing on looking at new business models and emerging technologies, then tying those to our strategy businesses. So we wanted to make sure that any new innovation that we bring into the society has a lasting impact. But more importantly, a monetary impact that is actually moving the needle. So to introduce a little bit about South Korean XR market, South Korea's telecom operators are really striving to create the right range of immersive mixed reality content to leverage their 5G network and attract more customers. And there are three local carriers, including SK Telecom, and Korea Telecom, and LG Uplus. And they rolled out their 5G network in the nation in April 2019, and together are drawing more than three million subscribers in the first seven months of the launch.

    Alan: Sorry, three million subscribers to the new 5G network?

    Joonmo: Yes, right.

    Alan: So do these people have 5G devices? Is there a lot of 5G devices available?

    Joonmo: Yes, right. Because as the launch of Galaxy S10 with 5G, and that many people bought that device and using 5G network right now.

    Alan: That's incredible. So how many would you estimate are using the 5G network with 5G devices?

    Joonmo: I think until the end of the 2020, more than the five million people will use it.

    Alan: Wow, that's way far ahead of North America. In Canada, we have zero 5G deployment. We only have it in research parks and research areas.

    Joonmo: Well, you need to think about that. South Korea is a very small country with very many numbers of populations. So it is really easy for companies to make the decision to build new 5G infrastructures, because even though they build small 5G networks, many people would use that. So many tech companies feel that building a 5G networks is attracting more money than just using 4G network.

    Alan: So how is 5G -- or just the ability to h

    • 30 min
    Anchoring AR Content, with Simply Augmented’s Boaz Ashkenazy

    Anchoring AR Content, with Simply Augmented’s Boaz Ashkenazy

    Seeing is believing, but in the age of 3D product views through AR technology, seeing is also conceptualizing. Simply Augmented CEO Boaz Ashkenazy comes on the show to explain how AR-enabled 3D viewing will revolutionize everything from how we shop, to how we work.

    Alan: Hey everyone, Alan Smithson here. Today we're speaking with Boaz Ashkenazy from SimplyAugmented. We're going to be talking about how 3D is revolutionizing furniture views and products on the web. All that coming up on the XR for Business podcast.

    Boaz, welcome to the show, my friend.

    Boaz: Hey, thank you very much. It's good to be here.

    Alan: Oh, it's my absolute pleasure. I love the work you guys are doing. Let's get right into it. What is it that SimplyAugmented does, and how is it benefiting your customers now?

    Boaz: Well, we have a 3D platform that benefits customers both in the sales and marketing teams, and one of our products is called Simply3D. It allows for sales and marketing teams to easily share augmented reality. We found a lot of challenges around sharing augmented reality online and Simply3D.io is a vehicle for helping folks share. And we also create product and room configurators that exist online that allow people to experience environments and products really easily with augmented reality integration.

    Alan: So I got a chance to try one of the samples. I got to configure a-- it was like a quiet room or almost like a study room for open office furniture. So you go in, you close the door, and make yourself a phone call or whatever, but I got to configure it on the web. I hit a button, and it was in my living room here, this giant pod. And I was like, "Oh wow. This pod is huge in real life." So it was a great understanding of how big these things are, and I think that's truly the power of this technology. Maybe you can speak to some of the specific clients that you've worked with. What are they seeing, results wise?

    Boaz: You know what's interesting about what you said is a lot of folks have trouble visualizing products at scale, especially with the bigger the product, the harder it is to visualize. I am an architect by training. And I spent years designing spaces, and a lot of times people are surprised about what those designs end up looking like, because it's hard to understand objects at scale. And the pods that you mentioned, they're called Nook pods. And they're large rooms within a room, basically. You can have a quiet room inside an open office, which is pretty typical these days. For two people for four people, for one person. And to see it online and configure it is one thing, but to see it in the environment and walk into is another.

    One of the things that we recognized was there was two things that people really wanted to do. They wanted to quickly customize any of their products -- We're used to doing it with cars and vehicles, customize your products with colors, with options -- but then immediately be able to drop that in your environment and walk around it, look underneath it, walk inside it. And that's really what our configurator does.

    One of the challenges that a lot of folks face in the XR space is how do you spin up augmented reality with so many possible variations? That's the hard part about building these configurators. There's so many options, that you would never be able to create the augmented reality content beforehand. You wouldn't be able to predict it. And so what we've done is we've allowed for on-demand, real time augmented reality, depending on the choices that you make.

    Alan: So once I've configured it -- and I don't know, I didn't actually think about this until now -- but once I've configured -- let's say -- the Nook and I drop it

    • 23 min
    Getting Miners Used to Gigantic Tires in VR, with Sheridan College’s Nick Ullrich

    Getting Miners Used to Gigantic Tires in VR, with Sheridan College’s Nick Ullrich

    Surface miners, like the ones safety instructor Nick Ullrich teaches, get to play with some pretty big toys, like loading trucks with tires three times taller than the average person. But tires that big come with some pretty big blind spots, and Nick is using VR to get them used to those blind spots before putting them behind those gigantic wheels.

    Alan: Welcome to the XR for Business Podcast, with your host, Alan Smithson. We all know safety comes first, and today, we're speaking with Nick Ullrich, a safety instructor from Gillette College, who's focused on using VR to train mining employees to become safer and better operators. Coming up next on the XR for Business podcast.

    Nick, welcome to the show.

    Nick: Yes, Alan, thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.

    Alan: Oh, it's my absolute pleasure. I read an article about how you're using VR to train mining employees. How did you get into this? Tell us a little bit about your background.

    Nick: Ok. Yeah, so the first project that we've done is a blind spot recognition, using virtual reality 360 photography as well. And it's to help miners -- when they're on the mine side -- understand the blind spots of heavy equipment. So we started with that because MSHA -- the Mine Safety and Health Administration -- has an initiative out there about powered haulage. And that's kind of where the idea came from. We see fatalities every year in the mining world. So I wanted to give everybody an understanding of what the blind spots for the heavy equipment that they're working around are on, and give them an idea of that. And virtual reality gave us an opportunity to do that without actually having to have all the equipment here at the college. So it works out great to give them a vision of what they would see if they were in that equipment.

    Alan: That's pretty cool. So you're talking about those big, huge dump trucks with the giant wheels and loaders and all these type of things?

    Nick: Yeah, absolutely. We have-- in the program that we have now, we have 10 pieces of equipment, it includes the 400 ton haul trucks, which is the largest haul trucks in the world. Those tires are approximately 15 feet high.

    Alan: Whoa.

    Nick: Yeah, next to them, you will go about to the middle of the tire.

    Alan: That's incredible. So you've got these trucks. Now, did you create them as 3D models and then climb inside of it? Or is this taken from like a 360 video type of thing?

    Nick: So we do a couple different things with it. We do have 3D models of all the pieces of equipment. So like I said, we have about ten pieces of equipment right now, and we just have 3D models of those, where people can walk around them virtually and see how big they are, put them to actual size or as close as I could get to actual size, by my recollection of them. They can get into them -- for the most part -- and just kind of see it in a virtual spot. And then we did go out to all the different mine sites and take 360 photography of each of those pieces of equipment. And we did it a really cool way. We set up a scene, so we had a whole lot of different things around the piece of equipment. So let's just say a haul trip, we have several different people and smaller vehicles, like light duty vehicles, such as just your normal pickup or van. We had those all set up in a special way, where you couldn't see them from the cab, so they were *in* the blind spots of that equipment. We took that 360 photo from the cab of that piece of equipment, so we can show everybody what the cab looks like and what they could see outside of it, knowing that they couldn't see any of the things in the blind s

    • 18 min
    Using AR to Keep the Temporary Lights On, with Aggreko’s Walter Davis

    Using AR to Keep the Temporary Lights On, with Aggreko’s Walter Davis

    Aggreko’s in the business of temporary power - you need an outdoor installation set up for electricity? They’re who to call. But that means that the less time to train, the better. Walter Davis explains how AR is helping trim some time off a new employee’s intake.

    Alan: Hey, everybody, welcome to
    the XR for Business podcast with your host, Alan Smithson. Today,
    we're speaking with Walter Davis, head of talent and learning
    technology at Aggreko. We'll be learning about how they're using XR
    to train technicians and speed up their time to competency, for new
    and existing employees. All that and more on the XR for Business

    Walter, welcome to the show.

    Walter: Thanks, Alan. Glad to be

    Alan: Really excited. Why don't
    you start by telling us your role at Aggreko and how you started
    working in XR in this role?

    I think first thing to do might help to
    paint a picture of maybe what Aggreko does, which will help in then
    showing how we're applying augmented reality to our services. So,
    Aggreko is the largest provider of temporary power and cooling
    solutions. We work in over 100 countries and we power things like
    Super Bowl here in the US, which many of you might know, or the
    Olympics that are coming up in Japan. That's another project we're
    doing. We also work everywhere, from remote parts of Africa, to
    powering up a data center that needs some backup power. So we're sort
    of everywhere in the background, if you would. Just ensuring that
    major events and operations run smoothly. And with that, obviously,
    we need to ensure that we are providing an expert service and
    minimize any potential downtime. We need to have expert staff to
    support that.

    Alan: So basically, if the
    lights stay on, you guys are there.

    Walter: Exactly. That's a great
    way of putting it. We make it a point to ensure that we have a highly
    reliable service.

    Alan: So I was reading, Aggreko
    specializes in seven key areas, oil and gas, manufacturing, mining,
    petrochemicals, construction. And then events, the live events thing
    almost seems like an add-on to this, but it seems to fit perfectly.

    Walter: It does, yeah. So events
    are really what we're known for, right? I mean, that's where we will
    pop up on occasion. Actually, I could say that we are actually in
    one-- we're in a recent country music video in the background,
    because we are powering the stage that they recorded the music video
    at. But yeah, like I said, keeping the lights on, making sure that
    entertainment can happen, events can happen, and everybody has a
    comfortable experience.

    Alan: So how does VR/AR/XR
    relate to temporary power?

    Walter: With the nature of our
    business -- as we operate in over 100 countries -- we operate very
    broadly but very agilely. And one of the challenges that we tend to
    sometimes have is ensuring that we can bring new hires and products
    together really in that introductory period of time, when someone is
    just joining the organization. We don't always necessarily have every
    type of fleet available for them to familiarize themselves with and
    educate themselves on, to start developing those competencies. And
    where we're seeing AR in particular, is in allowing those individuals
    to gain that knowledge really right when they join the organization.
    They're able to go through an immersive experience in full scale, so
    as if the product was right in front of them. Going-- both
    familiarizing themselves with the key components and aspects of the
    product, but also going through a key service procedures th

    • 21 min
    Shaping the Digital World with Our Hands, with Clay AIR’s Varag Gharibjanian

    Shaping the Digital World with Our Hands, with Clay AIR’s Varag Gharibjanian

    We’re used to navigating our computing with keyboards, mice, and maybe track pads — analog input. But those inputs work for desktop computers; they’re clunky for XR interfaces. That’s why we need gesture controls ASAP, according to today’s guest, Clay AIR’s Varag Gharibjanian.

    Alan: Hey, everyone, Alan
    Smithson here. Today we're speaking with Varag Gharibjanian, the
    chief revenue officer at Clay AIR, a software company shaping the
    future of how we interact with the digital world, using natural
    gesture recognition. We're going to find out how Clay will bring our
    real hands into the virtual world. Coming up next, on the XR for
    Business podcast.

    Varag, welcome to the show, my friend.

    Varag: Hey, Alan. Glad to be

    Alan: It's my absolute pleasure
    to have you on the show. I know you guys are working on some cutting
    edge stuff, so why don't I not ruin it, and just let you tell us what
    is Clay AIR?

    Varag: So Clay is a software
    company, we're specializing in hand tracking and gesture recognition,
    mostly in the AR and VR space. And we're also tackling a couple other
    industries, automotive. And our third product category we call Clay
    Control, which is kind of all the devices that can use gesture
    interaction at a distance.

    Alan: Are you doing this from
    single cameras, or is this from infrared cameras, or a combination of

    Varag: Yes, so Clay's-- we're
    hardware agnostic. So it'll work across all those types you just
    said. It could be one camera, two cameras, or more. And all different
    types, so we'll work on RGB cameras that you'll find on everyday
    smartphones, to what you might find embedded in AR and VR devices, to
    monochrome ones, time-of-flight ones, and so we're pure software and
    we've worked across a lot of those different types and have
    compatibility with most of them now, which gives us a lot of
    flexibility and it's really useful.

    Alan: So I'm going to be able to
    look at watches on my wrist in AR, right? Like I'm going to be able
    hold my hand up and see what the newest, latest, greatest watch is?

    Varag: It's actually pretty cool
    that you say that, because that is one of the use cases that comes in
    often inbound to us, as companies -- it hasn't happened yet -- but
    those companies definitely brainstorming around how you track the
    hands even with just a smartphone, like overlaying something.

    Alan: We actually did it. We did
    a project just using Google's hand tracking library. We managed to
    make the watch sit on the wrist, but it was kind of glitchy. It would
    sit weird. And yeah, it was-- it was not great, but we made it work,
    it just wasn't sellable.

    Varag: Yeah.

    Alan: So this is really a
    foundational software. And I know you guys are working with some of
    the larger manufacturers. You want to talk about that -- or can you
    talk about that -- and then what that might look like?

    Varag: Yeah, I can speak a
    little bit about that. So we feel -- like you said -- this is
    software that really needs to be optimized for the hardware that it's
    working on. The deeper it is in the stack, the better performance
    you'll get, and the better synergies you'll get with all the other
    technologies that are working on these devices. So that's why when I
    joined the company, really, I made the focus to get as deep into the
    stack as possible. We looked at the market that time a couple of
    years ago to look at who is really central to defining the reference
    stack. What's going to most AR and VR devices? And to me, Qualcomm
    made the most sense. So we spent a lot of time working with them. As
    you know -- and some of our listeners might know -- they really do
    define a l

    • 27 min
    Pivoting Game Dev Skills into XR Utility for Enterprise, with Extality’s Arash Keshmirian

    Pivoting Game Dev Skills into XR Utility for Enterprise, with Extality’s Arash Keshmirian

    Today’s guest got his start in the world of game development. But soon, Arash Keshmirian saw the writing on the wall that XR’s current usefulness was better-suited to the worlds of industry, retail, and journalism. Arash and Alan discuss how he made that transition.

    Alan: Hey, everyone, it's Alan Smithson here, the host of the XR for Business podcast. Today we have Arash Keshmirian, co-founder of Extality. His personal goal is to create powerful content that delivers results. We're going to dig into using Magic Leap and Hololens and mixed reality headsets as a tool for business. So all that and more, coming up next on the XR for Business podcast.

    Arash, welcome to the show, my friend.

    Arash: Thank you for having me.
    Great to be here.

    Alan: It's my absolute pleasure.
    You guys have done some pretty cool stuff. I was on your website
    playing with a shoe. What is Extality?

    Arash: Were a lot of things to
    many people. So we built Extality out of a long, 10 year experience
    in the games industry, building mobile games. Did a lot of games,
    including Zombie Gunship, which ended up being this kind of worldwide
    sensation of shooting zombies from an airplane. That company --
    Limbic -- we ended up doing a lot of XR stuff. And kind of around
    2016, 17, 18 we built a game for ARKit, called Zombie Gunship
    Revenant. And that ended up being a huge hit across the app store.
    Apple featured it a whole bunch of times. It was one of the 2017
    games of the year. And it spread ARKit to a lot of people, trying new
    things on their new iPhones. And we later did a project called Zombie
    Guns Raptor with Oculus and Oculus Go, Gear VR. But really kind of
    around that time -- 2017 -- we started to feel like it was getting
    way too crowded in the games business, and we were starting to look
    around and try to figure out what we could do with our experience in
    high-performance graphics and making cool experiences, immersive
    experiences. I started talking to a guy named Ryan Peterson, who's
    the founder of a CEO called Finger Food out in Vancouver. And he was
    telling me about all these exciting opportunities in AR and VR for
    enterprises. He was talking about how they'd saved millions and
    millions of dollars for a truck company that was looking to move
    their design to virtual reality from using clay models. And this got
    our head scratching, we were like, "You know, maybe there's an
    opportunity to use all of our games experience, to help big companies
    and do more than just give people an entertaining hour on their
    phones." So we founded a new company called Extality. And we set
    out to essentially discover companies that really wanted to explore
    XR, be it on their phones, on headsets, iPods -- every type of XR --
    and leverage our background in doing just really hard graphics
    problems, building scalable global servers and connectivity, all
    those hard things that you learn how to do making games, we quickly
    realized that we're super, super applicable to building enterprise
    solutions as well.

    Alan: Actually, I know Ryan very
    well from Finger Food, really great guy. And they've done some
    amazing work in the space. What are some of the highlights that
    you've done for enterprise? And first of all, I just want to say that
    having a flying zombie shooter game? Pretty awesome.

    Arash: [chuckles] Thank you.

    Alan: The fact you guys had a
    hit with ARKit is pretty amazing, because there's not too much out
    there leveraging the power of ARKit yet.

    Arash: Yeah. I mean, if you want
    to talk about games for just a second, it's an interesting thing. I
    mean, it gives people a totally different experience using their
    phone as the controller and running around the room. We have all
    these videos during our user tests

    • 31 min

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