Magical and Mystery Tour around Cultural Heritage. The Immersive Experience

The Magical and Mystery Tour of the City of Cuenca project aims to integrate Virtual Reality technologies and a methodological and scientific approach for the representation of cultures throughout history. This is the result of many years of work by a great team of professionals, which saw the light in web and multiprojection format in the City of Cuenca and after years of work and study, we have reconfigured and recreated in a new context, enriched and expanded with new interactive tools. This is just a first step towards a more comprehensive and up-to-date experience, which will see the light of day in 2021.

Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to participate in a large number of projects to enhance “Cultural Heritage” through the use of Virtual Reality technologies and, in a very special way, in the reconstruction of ancient spaces in past times, where the architectural recreation of them requires the perfect coordination of experts, archaeologists, artists, engineers, creatives … in short, a group of professionals with highly specialized profiles.

From the reconstruction of the cities of León in Roman or Visigoth times, Soria and Romanesque, Ronda and its natural environment around its Roman origins, Úbeda and Baeza Renaissance period or Cuenca, land of the three cultures, walking through its Islamic origins until the Christian era.

Although, one of the problems that we encountered years ago was the high cost of bringing these spectacular developments to the public in a simple and accessible way. Since, at that time, we spoke of more than 10 years ago, expensive installations were required, with equipment that needed permanent adjustments and maintenance care. What was left only for the access of some privileged or private exhibitions.

Nowadays, thanks to the evolution of immersive platforms, the accessibility of high-quality devices and autonomy, it is possible to make these projects reach the majority of the population in a very simple way, without the need to travel or simply access from home, but not only that.

The opportunity to integrate tools that allow contextualizing the experience and enriching it with augmented, georeferenced information and on a timeline, is something completely new and innovative. Transferring the visitor to a space in time, where they can experience in first person with these spaces, social and cultural contexts and better understand the what, why and for what of all that. The interrelation between space, time and geography are the key to understanding the culture and evolution of societies and the impact around them. Something that allows us to broaden the focus of what we knew up to now and that helps us to know and interpret the reason for things with greater value.

“Magical and Mystery Tour around the Cultural Heritage” , the immersive experience, has been the first step we have taken, to share these ideas and work and evaluate the result of the experiences and perceptions of visitors to a new immersive space and interactive. Where the times and the route are set by the user himself. Discover by experimenting and letting yourself be carried away by the senses.

The Magical and Mystery Tour of the City of Cuenca project aims to integrate Virtual Reality technologies and a methodological and scientific approach for the representation of cultures throughout history. This is the result of many years of work by a great team of professionals, which saw the light in web and multiprojection format in the City of Cuenca and after years of work and study, we have reconfigured and recreated in a new context, enriched and expanded with new interactive tools. This is just a first step towards a more comprehensive and up-to-date experience, which will see the light of day in 2021.

The final sample is a complete “Virtual Tour” through the culture, art, architecture, industry and society of the Muslim Civilization in Cuenca / KunKa during the period from the 10th to the 11th century, (Spain). A recent data has been revealed by the archaeologist Santiago David Domínguez, in which according to carbon 14 tests carried out on lime samples collected in the Muslim area of ​​the Cuenca castle wall and the Huécar park wall, they have revealed that the city was founded between the years 950 and 1032. Something that brings more light to the work carried out to date.

Live a virtual journey to those years, strolling through the narrow streets of this fortress, letting yourself be carried away by the imagination and the smells of a wild nature in a very special geographical context. In this virtual exhibition, you can see and feel in the first person, the evolution of the Islamic origins of the City by visiting the “Virtual Reconstruction of the Islamic City”, being able to georeferenced and locate the exact location of the ancient city by means of a project developed with “Google Earth VR Pro”. Likewise, we can observe the impact and influence of science, culture and social life of the Caliphate of Córdoba, through the work carried out through the study of the “Thousand inventions of the Muslims” and their development and dissemination in the Iberian Peninsula. Here we can observe and manipulate different elements and objects of the time recreated in 3 dimensions. And finally to be able to visit the actual physical space today, through “360º Videos Tour” around the recreated spaces. From the walls and ruins of the castle, streets and the gorges of Jucar and Huecar.

“Magical and Mystery Tour around the Cultural Heritage” of Cuenca, is a unique experience that was born with the vision of being a cultural and transmedia platform, as a multicultural support where cultural heritage, history, archeology, society and art in its many facets are accommodated.

In short, a space full of life open to imagination and the discovery of magical worlds, from Islamic to Christian times to the present day.

Crossroads of cultures that today can be explored thanks to immersive technologies from a spectacular perspective. More than ten years of work, which are now coming to light, thanks to immersive technologies, incorporating the virtual visit to the City of Kunka in Islamic times, to integration with current 360º videos, or flights through the city from Google Earth to recognize the vestiges of those ancestors who filled the city of Cuenca with magic.

I want to dedicate a special section to the musical contribution carried out by the extraordinary composer, musician and friend Chema Vilchez. We have treated the sound in a very special way, natural and recreating sensations that allow you to enjoy a total immersive experience, transferring the body and soul to a recent past full of nuances yet to be discovered.

The land of the three cultures brings magic and charm to this first phase of the project. Advanced immersive multimedia technologies in 3D are the powerful tool to create value around Cultural Heritage and a support for the promotion of sustainable and valuable Tourism.

Today, more than 3,000 visitors from around the world have registered their passage through the virtual exhibition, something that in a face-to-face way would have been completely unimaginable due to the pandemic and its impact on culture, museums and exhibitions .

And finally and not least, I want to thank the magnificent team of professionals who have collaborated throughout these years in this project, and Frame.VR and ONE Digital Consulting for their amazing contribution and technological support to the project.

Have a nice and safe day.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

I fell Like I am Learning to Fly, again…

Every morning I wake up imagining a new different day, imagining when this nightmare will end. When we will back again to look at each other’s faces, smiling without masks, feeling without fear … getting excited when walking through forest trails and nature paths, with friends and hugging around, holding hands and playing all these old songs…

So many things I can imagine but, I am really exhausted, I am tired of forcing my mind to find the way out and jump out of this new reality.

The one that we have arrived alone, where the harbors are empty and the souls are broken in oceans full of nightmares. Without being able to react to our own incompetence that sakes our faces every single day…

Without limits, we are capable of overflowing us due to our myopia and lack of solidarity with ourselves. I want to jump out of this new reality, always going down.

Dinosaurs were able to live on this planet for millions of years in the past, we are still bent on our self-destruction, what else?.

Meanwhile, I keep imagining the long mountain bike rides through the valleys, enjoying the long-awaited freedom of my soul, playing my old Gibson guitar under the moon, and the stars.

To all my “real” friends all around the world;+)

Take care and be safe.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

The New “Immersive Learning Experience” Paradigm.

Personal highlights from the “Immersive Learning Research Network 2020 Conference” #iLRN2020

Last June, I had the honor of participating in the Immersive Learning Research Network International Virtual Conference held in the VR collaboration platform VirBELA, and through live streams on iLRN’s Youtube channel.

During the 5 days Virtual Event, hundreds of speakers from all continents, conferences, panel discussions, networking meetings, poster sessions, showcases, live demos, and many other social events were organized by an amazing team of professionals and volunteers.

It is evident, that due to the #Covid and its impact worldwide, the spread of virtual events has been exponential, and with it, the opportunity to participate in global events around the world, without having to move from one place to another, suffer the terrible jet-lags and the consequent savings for the pocket. But if there is something that, especially for me, has special relevance, it is the opportunity to share experiences with experts from all over the world, which would otherwise be materially impossible. Having this wide spectrum of professionals in the same setting, event, campus, or networking activity is a unique opportunity that not everyone knows how to take advantage of and organize properly.

The organization of a global event like that is something really complex. But if this is virtual, and you have to coordinate equipment, rooms, people, and technology in real-time and at a distance … this is much more complex and is not available to everyone. This requires planning, resources, teamwork, and good technology partners. And all of this was brilliantly accomplished during Immersive Learning Research Network. So, my first words are of recognition, gratitude, and congratulations to the whole team.

Personally, it was a magnificent experience, and having the opportunity to meet great friends and colleagues was very refreshing and healthy for the mind. There is always that moment, in which you see someone, you approach to greet him … and you realize that you are an avatar, talking to another avatar … but it is you and it is him. That is really mind-blowing and fantastic at the same time. But I’m counting the days when I can really come up in person and give my friend a real hug … congratulations on that. Very good work.

Professionally and academically speaking, I found it very inspiring due to the number of conferences and presentations that I was able to attend and in which I was able to see first-hand, the real use cases of VR in academic institutions, its evolution and ongoing projects , as well as its vision and evolution for the coming years.

At this point, an article that I recently reread about “It will be 2016 the year of the definitive takeoff of VR / AR” comes to mind. And every year it seems that we keep asking ourselves the same question, without being really aware that this technology is implanted in those industries where it provides value, competitive advantages, and cost savings. But it is constantly evolving and there are multiple ways of using it and adapting to the environments of use. The truth is that there is still a long way to go and meetings like this allow us to confront experiences, opinions and evaluate the degree of progress and results of these experiences. But we will talk about this later.

My contribution was concentrated in two main activities: a presentation and the presentation of the Magical and Mistry Tour around the Cultural Heritageshowcase.

The Magical and Mystery Tour around Cultural Heritage of Cuenca, it is a unique project experience that was born with the vision of being a cultural and transmedia platform, as multicultural support where cultural heritage, history, archeology, society, and music are accommodated. In short, a space full of life and spaces for imagination and the discovery of magical worlds, from the Islamic to Christian times to the present day. Crossroads of cultures that can be traveled today thanks to immersive technologies from a unique perspective.

More than ten years of work, from the beginnings of the first Islamic reconstructions to the integration with current 360º videos, or flights around the city from Google Earth to recognize the vestiges of those ancestors who filled the city of Cuenca with magic. Advanced 3d immersive multimedia technologies are a powerful tool to create value around the Cultural Heritage. The Magical and Mystery Tour around the City of Cuenca project is aimed to integrate Virtual Reality technologies and methodological and scientific approaches for the representation of cultures across history.

And last but not least, I want to express my most sincere gratitude to Anna Xygkou for the permanent support, and the amazing intro to my session, and the amazing team with Jonathon Richter, Heather Dodds, Donna McTaggart, Tiago Peres, Mark J. Lee, and all the friends and more I met there…Lorelle Vanfoseen, Karen Alexander, Lucia Binotti, Tim Jackson, Julie Andersen Smithson, Daniel Dyboski-Bryant, Amanda Fox, Rob Theriault, and Patrick O’Shea from Versatilist Podcast…;+)

Have a nice and safe day.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

#VIRTUALREALITY platforms for #VR in #EDUCATION and #CORONAVIRUS.

Today, due to the coronavirus pandemic, a large part of the world population is confined at their homes and millions of children around the world have closed schools. A situation that forces all education community, to search for efficient and possible alternatives, in order to keep up the pace of the educational year and keep the attention of students in their educational activity.

These days there are many alternatives offering quickly and running like miraculous solutions capable of solving even the unimaginable.

But the truth is that between 17/22 of February, thanks to the initiative of Educators In VR, a group of teachers, students and volunteers from all over the world, with the sponsorship, among others of the VR/AR Association and the #Education Committee. During these days, we were able to bring together more than 150 speakers, almost 100 volunteers and several thousand attendees to the largest Virtual World Event on Education ever imagined. A six days non-stop Summit, with speakers from all continents, in a marathon week in perfect coordination. An exceptional work and developed with great professionalism and enthusiasm by a group of authentic pioneers, among whom we can give thanks for meeting and having lived that fantastic experience in first person.

2020 Educators in VR International Summit brings together educators, learners, researchers, and experts in VR, AR, and XR to share their passion for integrating immersive technology in education.

We want to thank Daniel Dyboski-Bryant, alma-matter of the Summit and Lorelle VanFossen to make it happened: “More than 150 top speakers from all over the world during more than 100 sessions in 6 days”. It was just an amazing experience as “Really Pioneers” and putting in common best practices, lessons learned and case studies in #VR / #AR in #Education.

During this event, the VR/AR Association #Education Committee in collaboration with MetaVRse and ONE Digital Consulting organized the #VRARA Panel.

Julie Andersen Smithson, and Carlos J. Ochoa Fernandez ,leaded the conversation with the contribution of Olivia Wenzel and Pat Owens. During the presentation, we talked about our mission and activities to promote and develop a professional VR in Education Global Ecosystem, working with top professionals and top companies all around the world.

The VR/AR Association is an international organization designed to foster collaboration between innovative companies and people in the VR and AR ecosystem that accelerates growth, fosters research and education, helps develop industry standards, connects member organizations and promotes the services of member companies. There are over 70 VRARA chapters, with more than 30 Industry experts Committees around the world that meet regularly in person and online.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernandez is President of VR/AR Association, Madrid and Co_Chair of Education Committee.

Now you can see the complete session here, and get the immersive perception of what is Immersive Learning in #VRSpaces.

Have a nice day.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

Education is Open 24/7/365

We are living under complex scenarios of uncertainty. The world faces so many #health & #environmental challenges, and #Immersive Technologies can be part of the solution.

We are living under complex scenarios of uncertainty. The world faces so many #health & #environmental challenges, and #Immersive Technologies can be part of the solution.

In these new times, we must remain calm and opt for consistent and sustainable solutions and proposals. Sometimes these changes are a band aid solution rather than a long-term fix global problem with short-term measures. There are no shortcuts, since from these unpredictable situations we must learn and take advantage of future scenarios of uncertainty.

Experience, knowledge and imagination must allow us to provide ecosystems of certainty and sustainability. And always in perfect harmony with all the components of the Educational Ecosystem.

During the last years, we have been involved in many “International Projects” regarding Immersive Technologies in Education. In Spain with different organizations and Teachers Associations Grupo MYU, in United Arab Emirates with the Ministry of Education, implementing #SmartEducationLabs in 6 public schools and with the European Union (Germany, Estonia, Lithuania and Spain) #Jobs4Tech program, designing and implementing curriculums and methodologies in VR/AR technologies to train the teachers from Vocational Centers and K12 all around Europe.

Recently, we were involved in Educators In VR global Summit in close cooperation with VR/AR Association Education Committee. Educators in VR made history a couple of weeks ago by holding the largest immersive virtual conference, the 2020 Educators in VR International Summit. It featured 170 speakers in over 150 events on 5 different virtual platforms over 6 days, and an estimated 6,000 people attended.

And last but not least, as Co-Chair of VRAR Association Education Committee and my company ONE Digital Consulting as sponsor of the Committee, we are working in close cooperation with all our members on: Best Practices, helping organizations to implement VR/AR at Schools and organizing “Virtual Meetings” every 2 weeks with the most relevant experts in VRAR in Education around the world.

This experience and global perspective give us the opportunity to offer to the education community our knowledge and contrasted experience to implement realistic and sustainable solutions right now.

For more info, you can contact direct to me: carlos.ochoa@onedigitalconsulting.

Have a nice day.

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

VR Day in Madrid 2019

Carlos J. Ochoa, Co_Chair VRARA Education Committee. Madrid 23.11.2019

This weekend the Madrid VRAR Association participated in the VRDayMadrid 2019, within the “Virtual Reality World Day” framework. An event organized by xRWorldMadrid, an independent VR/AR group, sponsored by Everys, GreySkull and butic The New School and supported by VR/AR Association, Samsung, Talent Garden and RealoVirtual.

As one of the world’s referenced VR/AR live events, the VRDay draws industry experts from many verticals and enthusiasts from companies and universities to explore the latest advancements, knowledge and prototypes in VR/AR technology. During the complete Saturday, more than 200 attendants, 20+ speakers, 10+ exhibitors, 5 thematic round tables, 2 workshops and 2 masterclasses and an amazing demo zone with more than 10 VRAR experiences and a live performance, 2019 was the biggest year yet (according the organization).

The VRARA was represented by the Chapter President and Co_Chair of Education, Carlos J. Ochoa and 4 of our most relevant Spanish members and executives from: Seabery, Virtualware, participating in the Industry panel, Visyon presenting the Masterclass ElCano360 and ONE digital consulting in the Education and Training panel.

We were invited to participate in the Roundtable of VR in Education, to talk about future scenarios of “Training of Educators of the Future”. An excellent panel of experts with the participation of Chelu Martin from the IE Business School, Gonzalo Mariscal from XRLab of the European University, Carlos J. Ochoa of VR/AR Association and ONE Digital Consulting and the and moderated by Marco Antonio Fernández of Butic the New School .It was a very special opportunity to contrast the state of VR / AR in Education, from different points of view: University labs, teachers and industry. This allowed us contrasting realities materialized in ongoing projects, and new challenges that are drawn on a very attractive and exciting horizon.

We had the opportunity to present the Association Ecosystem and in particular, the activities of the Education Committee, the White Paper of VR in Education and the VR/AR in Education Survey.

I want to express my gratitude to the organization and their team, for the excellent work done hanging the “Sold Out” sign for several weeks before.

“Attending VRDayMadrid was a great opportunity to showcase the strength of the VR/AR ecosystem, and the incredible talent at work, case studies and projection from our members and share experiences and opportunities with other local companies and institutions.” Carlos J. Ochoa, President of the VRAR Association Madrid Chapter.

Media news: Real o Virtual

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

Empowering the teachers of today, for the citizens of the future

Carlos J. Ochoa, Co_Chair VRARA Education Committee. Piacenza (Italy) 24.09.2019

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” A. Einstein

New technologies are an emerging industry creating employment opportunities and entrepreneurial possibilities. Virtual reality and augmented reality represent incredible areas of opportunity for future job skills. “VR” failed to live up to the wildest promises when the new VR systems launched in 2015. Nevertheless, the number of job postings for “VR and AR” have risen 93% since 2015, with 17% of that growth happening in the past year. 

According to projections set out by the European Commission, market demands for qualified information and communications technology (ICT) specialists will not be met, seeing a shortfall of up to 500,000 ICT professionals in 2020. Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions are amongst those with some of the highest market demand in the ICT sector by Marketwatch. The global market for augmented reality and virtual reality is estimated to reach USD 766 billion by 2025, registering a 73.7% CAGR during the forecast period of 2018 to 2025

New skills development for more complex jobs is a daily industry demand. Technicians and engineers need to be proficient and continue to change rapidly as tasks become more complex. They need to find the right information at the right moment. Technicians need fast access to all integrated data, to take fast, right and complex decisions.

Education is the driver to sustainability of our economy and functionality of humanity. Educating the individual is the country’s most valuable investment. It represents the foundation for progress and development. Every day we seek to learn new information and the way we take the lessons and apply to our everyday lives, is the core of how we explore we grow and we build futures for ourselves. 

If we wish to prepare a generation of citizens, entrepreneurs and leaders for the 21th. century who can face real-world problems, we must give them real-world problems to solve. Future jobs opportunities around VR/AR.

Through virtual and augmented realities, the technology allows the user to immerse themselves into a virtual experience or location and the immersive lesson is retained at a much quicker time frame with a more impactful lasting memory. VR & Learning, by the National Training Laboratory, advised retention rates for lecture style learning were at 5%, with reading rates at 10%. Meanwhile, the teaching method of VR scored a retention rate of 75%.

Understanding we are moving into a world with exponential growth, there is a necessary requirement to update our education system to support innovative technologies to understand how it will be applied to job creation and support digital support systems and processes.

The demand of the companies in the industry sector, with respect to their future workers, is that they have social skills and competencies such as leadership, motivation, perseverance, flexibility, communication, etc. Focusing on the development of skills and abilities aimed at a specific sector, in this case the Virtual Reality subsector ensures its better assimilation, greater effectiveness of training and a more complete response to what companies demand in profiles of these characteristics. For instance, in the Vocational Training includes subjects oriented to career guidance and orientation, but they lack a transversal skills development approach and these are not addressed directly in the itineraries.

The integration of transversal skills required for the sector, as well as technical competencies related to the latest trends, will comprehensively cover the labour market demands of new technologies and will ensure the best inclusion of VET students in the technological labour market of the future. The Future of Work by EAPN.EU.

It is time to take actions and introduce disruptive elements in our education system. Traditional methodologies and normalization already fail to provide rapid solution to the society needs. Velocity and acceleration are key factor for this unpredictable horizon, where education will play a key role for citizens of the future. Disruptive Innovation in Education?.

Humanity is at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is building on both VR & AR applications and solutions. The changes to the way we teach, and the curriculum needed to support innovative time is required to support the graduating generations into a workforce rapidly changing and evolving using digital applications not yet taught in our schools’ systems. Day to day operations and day-to-day systems will be using VR and AR systems to be engaged in the operations.

VR & AR for Education is mandated for the following reasons:

  • To engage our current students and future generations in the Digital Age
  • To provide education of the tools, the technology, the applications of VR & AR to be used in future jobs
  • To provide best practices for the classrooms
  • To provide engagement tools for Students, Parents & resources for Teachers & Mentors
  • To be the leader and resource of VR & AR applications that relate to extending knowledge to support the application, build or creation of the technology to use in our everyday lives

At this moment, some relevant topics need to be include in the Disruptive School Environment and new teacher’s agenda for Schools of the Future:

  • Reimagining new Smart Spaces at schools
  • Classroom as a set of devices
  • 5 Senses learning a immersive learning technologies
  • Improve the hierarchy of needs in XR in Education
  • Convergence of technologies with and integrated vision
  • Soft skills integration with IT in the “Teachers Training Program”.
  • Collaboration Platforms. Virtual environments where the educational community can share best practices and experiences in a global and multicultural environment. Videos, presentations and forums integrate education materials from different sources in different formats.

It is in this context where Carlos J. Ochoa, Co_Chair of VR/AR Association Education Committee and Co-Founder of ICICLE ( X-Reality for Learning and Performance Augmentation, collaboration with Acer Education presented “Immersive Realities in Educational 4.0 Ecosystems” in the framework of Scuola e Virtuale in Piacenza.  Scuola e Virtuale, an international event along with Liceo Melchiorre Gioia, Impara Digitale, Indire and Microsoft, to spread awareness about immersive technologies in education, where more than 1000 professionals attendants ( teachers, students, managers and experts from different industries and sectors).

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernández ©

Best Practices in VR in Education. Chapter ONE

Throughout this year, I had the opportunity to write the “White Paper” of “Best practices in VR Education” for the prestigious international VR/AR Association, in collaboration with some reference members of the Education Committee and sponsored by ONE Digital Consulting and Vuze Cameras.

Throughout this year, I had the opportunity to write the “White Paper” of “Best practices in VR Education” for the prestigious international VR/AR Association, in collaboration with some reference members of the Education Committee and sponsored by ONE Digital Consulting and Vuze Cameras.


A reference document that aims to be support for managers, teachers, students and professionals who in one way or another are within the educational ecosystem. Throughout several chapters I analyze the status and evolution of the implementation of IT in Education, current technological trends and the benefits of Virtual Reality in Education today.


This document is only a small part of the entire work, which took me more than two years of study, analysis and editing. So I am in the revision phase of a second edition, much more complete and detailed, where I enter much more in depth and detail in the chapters of creation of immersive content, ecosystems, project orientation, experiential developments, levels of sensory perception and immersion and VR/AR ecosystems adapted to the different levels of education, as well as implementation methodologies and use cases.


This new version will be published throughout the month of June / July and will be presented exclusively at the Míranos y Únete in Madrid, where hundreds of teachers will take the opportunity to evaluate and participate in different live workshops.


Meanwhile, you can download the previous version in this link.


https://www.thevrara.com/blog2/2018/11/27/the-vrar-association-publishes-best-practices-for-vr-amp-ar-in-education


Any questions to this respect, I am at your disposal at carlos.ochoa@onedigitalconsulting.eu.


Good day and good luck.


Carlos J. Ochoa Fernandez (c)

Future Jobs Opportunities around VR/AR

Versatilist with Carlos Ochoa Fernandez Podcast.

New technologies are an emerging industry creating employment opportunities and entrepreneurial possibilities. Virtual reality and augmented reality represent incredible areas of opportunity. VR failed to live up to the wildest promises when the new VR systems launched in 2015. But the number of job postings for VR and AR have risen 93% since 2015, with 17% of that growth happening in the past year.

According to projections set out by the European Commission, market demands for qualified information and communications technology (ICT) specialists will not be met, seeing a shortfall of up to 500,000 ICT professionals in 2020. Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions are amongst those with some of the highest market demand in the ICT sector.

Education is the driver to sustainability of our economy and functionality of humanity. Every day we seek to learn new information and and the way we take the lessons and apply to our every day lives, is the core of how we explore we grow and we build futures for ourselves.

Through virtual and augmented realities, the technology allows the user to immerse themselves into a virtual experience or location and the immersive lesson is retained at a much quicker time frame with a more impactful lasting memory. VR & Learning, by the National Training Laboratory, advised retention rates for lecture style learning were at 5%, with reading rates at 10%. Meanwhile, the teaching method of VR scored a retention rate of 75%.

Understanding we are moving into a world with exponential growth, there is a necessary requirement to update our education system to support innovative technologies to understand how it will be applied to job creation and support digital support systems and processes.



It is in this context where Patrick O’Shea and myself, both from ILRN (Immersive Learning Research Network) and ICICLE ( X-Reality for Learning and Performance Augmentation, IEEE IC Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering) talk about Immersive Education around Cup of Coffee.

Thanks Patrick, for this amazing conversation.

Join the podcast here

Carlos J. Ochoa Fernádez ©

Impact and ROI of VR/AR in Training II

You asked the questions, and here are the answers.

Our Training Committee held a very successful webinar on “The Impact and ROI of VR/AR in Training” on 16th January 2019.

You can watch the Webinar recording here

You can also watch the solution demos here

It proved a popular event, with over 300 people registering to watch four enlightening presentations on very different Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality training applications. During the lively question-and-answer session it became clear that the number of great questions was larger than the time available to answer them all! This post allows the presenters to respond the questions that couldn’t be answered during the webinar.

Presenter 1 : David Trainor, Sentireal

Presentation Theme

David presented the “AppUccino” software, which delivers AR experiences for special-needs trainees to learn how to be a barista and work successfully in a commercial coffee shop. AppUccino directs trainees through the process of making americano, espresso, latte and cappuccino drinks. It generates AR overlays on the physical coffee-making equipment, including the industrial coffee machine itself, the separate coffee bean grinder and the separate water heater. A short video of part of the AppUccino AR experience can be seen here. Trainee performance measurements are taken as they prepare the drink using AppUccino and these measurements are uploaded to a cloud application, which analyzes them and presents training progress information to authorized training managers. An initial pilot with AppUccino indicated that trainees retained twice the amount of information and developed their skills 50% faster using AppUccino.

Webinar Questions for David Trainor

You said it took ~9 months of definition and dev, how many people were working on your team in which roles in order to accomplish this?

We used one media/content creator and one software developer. The work was carried out over the course of 9 months, but neither the content creation nor the software development role was full-time.

How were the analyses done? Observation? Performance against criteria on task?

The analyses were done based on (i) time taken for the trainee to perform certain tasks (ii) measurements of how accurately the trainee performed certain tasks and (iii) estimates of where the trainee’s attention and focus was at specific points in the procedure.

How many users has Appuccino had? What has been the impact? In how many months after development did you achieve that impact?

We’ve just completed an initial evaluation/pilot involving 15-20 trainees within a coffee shop managed by a partner training organization. At some point in February 2019 we intend to expand this to all barista trainees within that training organization.

How long did it take to create AR content for training?

The 3D models for the AR overlays were completed in approximately 1 week. The media is actually quite simple. Strong, simple content proved to be the best way to present the required information to special needs trainees who are affected by autism, Downs Syndrome or general learning difficulties. However we needed to spend much more time – about 4 months – on the instructional design and the directions, animations and transitions within the AR scenarios.

How did you already go about gathering data on ROI prior to the development (and also launch) of the app?

The data was gathered from a pilot study at one location. This was after the app was developed but before it was publicly released.

Very exciting project! Curious why you selected that small, unique demographic to start? Unique requirements? Expect to scale up to other populations?

We picked barista training as it’s an area where there is expected to be a lack of qualified employees in the future. In the UK, where I’m from, it is estimated that there is a shortfall of 40000 trained baristas. We selected special-needs barista trainees because there is a high degree of underemployment in that group and if we can create a good intuitive solution for special-needs trainees then it should scale up well to other groups and other types of catering or hospitality training applications.

Are these analytics published somewhere?

Not yet – the small pilot study that we’ve carried out gave us some indications on the training improvements and return on investment from AppUccino but we’re starting a larger evaluation in February 2019, when more trainees start to use the app at our partner training organization. We plan to publish the detailed outputs from this larger study.

Presenter 2 : Jeff Meador, Portico

Presentation Theme

Jeff presented Portico’s Diversity and Inclusion VR Seminar, which provides learners the opportunity to practice and master their skills with inclusive language. This program was designed to complement traditional classroom learning by preparing learners with practical applications of the skills discussed during classroom sessions. With Portico’s software, learners speak directly to AI-powered digital avatars and engage in simulated conversations that put their skills to test. Learners also get real-time feedback on their performance through a virtual trainer, who uses AI to guide users towards better language choices.

Webinar Questions for Jeff Meador

How did you factor in orientation to the VR experience to overcome novelty or unfamiliarity with the technology to get straight to the experience?
We didn’t want to rely on the learner having any previous experience with VR. We give users time to look around and explore prior to beginning the scenario. This gives them a chance to understand the parameters and boundaries of the exercise. We also engage in some light chit-chat (“how’s the weather” sort of stuff) to let the learner know that they are expected to talk and that the AI is listening and will respond.

Do you need a quiet room?

A quiet room certainly helps. Current speech-to-text technology is very strong, but having a quiet place for the training is very helpful. It also helps the learner concentrate on the task at hand.

Is Portico looking at including body language (proximity to client gestures, etc.)?

Yes; we’ve done some preliminary work with this and have set some behaviors that change based on the learner’s position and/ or focal point during the training.

How is the real time interaction happening? is it a sort of multiplayer training and a mentor is interacting with you? or the AI is giving you feedback?

Everything within our scenarios is driven by AI, including the feedback. Our goal is to have these role playing experiences run without the need for actors or facilitators.

Presenter 3 : Marlo Brooke, AVATAR Partners

Marlo presented a Mixed Reality Training System for aircraft and aircraft subsystem maintenance. Primarily an Augmented Reality / Mixed Reality solution, this high-fidelity, industrial-grade maintenance training system scales from a tabletop model design, to a full-sized aircraft, allowing the maintainer to train on the job, hands free, at the point of need, without any jitter or drift. The system utilizes object tracking (as opposed to stickers or markers) to ensure highly accurate lock on target, even as the user moves around the aircraft. It also  integrates to any backend system to both retrieve and record/send information about the maintenance task. It supports collaborative tasks and remote assistance.

Webinar Questions for Marlo Brooke

How did you come up with your pricing for your offerings?

Pricing is based on the specific requirement of the customer. AVATAR Partners can develop the application in its entirety, and/or the customer can purchase SimplifyXR to build/extend all or some of the functionality. Furthermore, because we use open source products such as Unity, the customer does not need to purchase SimplifyXR to extend any AVATAR Partners built XR solutions.

Is SimplifyXR proprietary to you or is it 3rd party?

SimplifyXR is is developed by AVATAR Partners using open source development tools, and can integrate to any backend system through APIs. It is licensed and sold through AVATAR Partners and its certified resellers. SimplifyXR is not required to extend any AVATAR Partner XR applications.

Could you please clarify how 97% reduction was calculated? Does it mean that instead of 100 hours of training without glasses only 3 hours with glasses are required?

You are correct. The training task was calculated based on the current training method for that particular wire failure, which involved an experienced maintainer gathering information from 3 different source materials (ETM, Wire Illuminator, and 2D schematics) to trace and identify the wire failure. The current training method is documented as taking 4 hours on average. The AR training experience is 7 minutes in duration, which is a 97% reduction in time to train.

Marlo, you said you have offices around the country.  I didn’t hear if Portico has the same, but do either of your companies look to establish satellite offices in more remote locations? If so, what type of environments do you look for? Developed workforce, local colleges, etc?

AVATAR Partners has regional offices in Huntington Beach CA, Arlington (Crystal City) VA, Virginia Beach VA, and Patuxent River MD, with personnel working in 8 different states within the USA. AVATAR has teaming partners with offices in Atlanta GA, Orlando FL, San DIego CA, Dayton OH, and Fort Worth, TX. We are expanding based on a variety of factors including the locations of teaming partners, certified resellers, and universities both within the USA and Allied Nations.

Marlo, how did you measure those analytics?

The performance metrics were derived from test results by AVATAR Partners based on the comparison of the current methodology versus the use of XR. These tests included accuracy,  time to train, and time to complete the task. Cost savings were derived based on an assumed reduction of errors based on increased accuracy, and will vary depending on the application and cost of parts. We also discussed other studies such as the Boeing/Iowa State Study on wing assembly (Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2014).

I’m not familiar with SimplifyXR — can you describe what that is and whether that is proprietary to AVATAR?

SimplifyXR is a software product developed by AVATAR Partners that allows non-programmers to develop their own Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, and Virtual Reality experiences. It also speeds development time by tenfold by using a user-friendly interface. The product also evaluates the user’s desired XR application and notifies the user whether or not the application is well suited for XR, or if a different training media (e.g. video training) would be more effective. SimplifyXR is owned and licensed by AVATAR Partners, and is developed using open-source tools and industry standards, and also integrates to any backend system using APIs. The product is available directly through AVATAR Partners or certified resellers.

Was there a problem using AR on an object as large as an aircraft?

We overcame several challenges to make the solution commercially usable. Using the basic development tools and markers didn’t work – it caused significant drift, jitter and an inability to accurately track the object as the maintainer walked around the aircraft. AVATAR Partners was able to overcome all of these issues by developing algorithms to lock on target without any drift or jitter to the user. Our solution being hardware agnostic, we found the Microsoft Hololens and android tablet supported higher fidelity. Also, we used Mantis Vision 3D scanners to scan the aircraft, gaining an accurate 3D model so that we could use object tracking (instead of markers). This along with our programming algorithms provides the maintainer with absolute precision as they walk around the aircraft, regardless of the unit’s size (from 1:6 the model size, to full aircraft).

Presenter 4 : Carlos Ochoa, ONE digital consulting

Presentation Theme

Carlos presented XR platform for immersive training, operation and maintenance of industry plant services, eolic farms, which includes advanced reality technologies in 3d interactive environments (extended reality, 360º video and digital data integration), methodologies in a modular architecture (on/off line). Innvestion deploy an intelligent XR ecosystem with the specialized know-how to turn unstructured data into value-adding information, for specific subject when providing services such as preventive maintenance, security management or operational management. Simulation-based training, prefaced with traditional training methods on process fundamentals, is the most efficient and fastest way to train new employees and prepare them for their daily work providing huge added value and benefits.

ONE digital consulting has been working for more than 20 years in the eLearning and Training arena, and with our selected partners network in Europe, Saudi, India, Africa and Latam.

Webinar Questions for Carlos Ochoa

What hardware configurations are everyone on the panel currently using for their XR applications?

For a full INNVESTION experience, the user only needs a mobile device and VR glasses that fit the device. The training centre will need an internet connection to download different modules.

INNVESTION can be used in a single “low cost” VR environment based on Samsung Gear Mobile VR, through the most advanced VR Oculus Rift, HTC Vive configuration. The key issue of INNVESTION is data integration in one device. From reality to virtual reality or vice versa.

INNVESTION can be used in a multi window spheric environment, for multiuser training environments.

What are KPI’s?

The acronym KPI sounds for Key Performance Indicator. This is a general business term referring to any metric used in understanding how an organization is doing. While the term can be tossed around the business world ostentatiously or irrelevantly, the fundamental rationale derives from the simple concept that if you don’t know how you did in the past, you don’t know if you have improved in the future. Because every business has its own economic niche, customer acquisition models, geographic localities, production methods, etc., each business must define for themselves what makes them successful. Therefore, the “key” in KPI, should be a metric key to your enterprise. These indicators are as varied as your imagination, but a number of familiar indicators include monthly recurring revenue (MRR), cost to acquire a customer (CAC) and the term used in this webinar’s title, Return on Investment (ROI).

When you are looking to improve your ROI in your training strategy, you need to understand clearly the training savings metrics, saved commute hours, lifelong expense of your LMS solution, overall productivity and revenue increase, other factors specific to your business and training model.

In conclusion, we can see selected companies  transforming their business opportunities for the XR technology and adopt it regardless of cost and ‘clunkiness.’ Today we see leader enterprises utilizing XR for training, maintenance, engineering, and marketing purposes. These companies eventually pull everyone else in their direction as the industry caters to their operational needs and chases enterprise benefits.