Group Editor Marty Kauchak completed a wide-ranging interview with Marlo Brooke, CEO and Founder of Avatar Partners. All image credits: Avatar Partners Halldale: Marlo, thanks for taking time to speak with Halldale. Let’s start at the strategic, overarching level. Share with us your perspectives about the state of this community, in particular, at this point of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marlo Brooke (MB): Companies and employees are thinking differently about the workplace in a post-COVID economy. As a company that specializes in immersive reality and augmented reality (AR), we have seen increased interest for virtual collaborative products that remotely connect dispersed workers. We’re also seeing that companies are considering how to optimize productivity and employee satisfaction in a virtual work environment, which also has positive implications for reducing fixed overhead costs, such as facilities. With a purely office-based workforce, whether sales increase or get worse, companies are stuck with the same overhead. Technology continues to mature to enable a socially and emotionally connected virtual workforce – and other important human factors aspects that would sustain long-term virtualization. As human beings we are social creatures, with an ingrained emotional need to connect meaningfully with others. In other words, extended reality (XR) technology [...]
Varjo has expanded its reseller network in the Asia-Pacific region with Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BISim). As part of the commercial agreement, BISim will resell Varjo HMDs to its customers in Australia and New Zealand who are interested in the highest-fidelity virtual and mixed reality (VR and XR) solutions for training and simulation. BISim’s portfolio will feature both of Varjo’s human-eye resolution headsets, VR-2 and VR-2 Pro (including hand tracking), as well as the photorealistic mixed reality device XR-1 Developer Edition, which makes it possible to mix synthetic and real content. Combined with BISim’s VBS Blue image generation system and associated professional services, training system developers will now be able to create highly immersive, cost-effective solutions for demanding scenarios across land, sea, air, and space use cases. “Varjo provides the only HMDs with human-eye resolution that allow trainees to read small text and see objectives at realistic visibility ranges in virtual and mixed reality simulations. With the industry’s most advanced integration with our mixed reality HMD XR-1, VBS Blue IG is an ideal software platform to address emerging requirements for mixed reality training where a user needs to see and interact with a physical cockpit or crew stations while immersed in [...]
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by the United States Congress in March of 2020 will provide more than $2 trillion in economic relief, including support for medical education and training, equipment and distance learning. Image credit: CAE Healthcare Hospitals, colleges and universities may be eligible for immediate funding assistance under a variety of new and existing grant programs. In this rapidly evolving funding environment, CAE Healthcare is offering to help organizations identify grant funding resources that meet their training program needs for grant research, writing and selection of medical simulation technology for new and existing grant projects. CAE Healthcare is hosting a CARES Act Grant Assistance Webinar on Tuesdays and Thursdays for attendees to engage in a question and answer session. The next webinar will take place on May 21, 2020 at 11am and 2pm EST. To register, please click here.
Lenovo is the Title Sponsor of the VR/AR Association (VRARA)’s VR/AR Global Summit Online (GSO) Conference + Expo, taking place June 1-3, 2020. This event will showcase the latest in scalable enterprise Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality solutions and address the role immersive technologies play in the current world situation due to COVID-19. Lenovo will host discussions on its technology and thoughts on a post-pandemic industry. “The global pandemic is helping accelerate digital transformation as enterprises deploy technology to adjust to new operational norms. VR and AR have proven, high-value use cases, such as remote assistance and virtual training, that enable a workforce to achieve new efficiencies. Lenovo anticipates a dynamic exchange of experiences and insights with customers and industry peers to advance the adoption of extended reality technologies during the Global VR/AR Summit,” said Michael Leone, Director of Commercial AR/VR, Intelligent Devices Group, Lenovo. The Summit will feature Fortune 500s to startups and expects to host more than 10,000 attendees. The event, which will take place over three days and across three time zones, will feature over 200 speakers and exhibitors, plus a large number of networking and social events. The lineup, featuring panelists and keynote speakers, will deliver [...]
NVIDIA unveiled NVIDIA DGX A100, the third generation of its advanced AI system, delivering 5 petaflops of artificial intelligence (AI) performance and consolidating the power and capabilities of an entire data center into a single flexible platform for the first time. Image credit: NVIDIA Immediately available, DGX A100 systems have begun shipping worldwide, with the first order going to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, which will use the cluster’s AI and computing power to better understand and fight COVID-19. “NVIDIA DGX A100 is the ultimate instrument for advancing AI,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “NVIDIA DGX is the first AI system built for the end-to-end machine learning workflow — from data analytics to training to inference. And with the giant performance leap of the new DGX, machine learning engineers can stay ahead of the exponentially growing size of AI models and data.” DGX A100 systems integrate eight of the new NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs, providing 320GB of memory for training the largest AI datasets, and the latest high-speed NVIDIA Mellanox HDR 200Gbps interconnects. Multiple smaller workloads can be accelerated by partitioning the DGX A100 into as many as 56 instances [...]
ChristianaCare has received a $714,000 grant from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to support telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. ChristianaCare is one of only 17 health care providers in the U.S. and the first health system in Delaware to date to receive a grant under the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The funding is part of the recently enacted CARES Act, which appropriated $200 million to the FCC to support health care providers using telehealth during this national emergency. ChristianaCare will use the grant to support its COVID-19 Telemedicine Program. The program will expand existing telehealth capabilities by increasing broadband access to telehealth services for vulnerable and underserved residents in Delaware by providing devices and data plans. It will also offer on-site telehealth services to communities with high disease burden and challenges accessing virtual health services. Access to broadband telehealth services enables COVID-19 patients to safely remain at home in isolation instead of presenting to hospital facilities for further evaluation and care. “This transformation has accelerated exponentially during the pandemic, because at this time, the safest place for our patients is in their home,” said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, ChristianaCare president and chief executive officer. “The technology supported by [...]
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Virtualware have collaborated on workforce training that is based on Virtual Reality Immersive Rooms. GE Hitachi will provide the OEM expertise, the training content, and the process know-how, and Virtualware will provide the Enterprise VR Solution VIROO Immersive Room, along with training simulators, in different locations around the world. Image credit: Virtualware VIROO enables any organisation to launch 1:1 scale and multi-user virtual reality content by means of a tracking technology and a software platform. This platform will allow GE Hitachi to operate and manage the rooms efficiently, as well as generate and include new content to provide not only standard training solutions, but just-in-time bespoke solutions associated to complex nonstandard works as well. The first content simulator developed is aimed to train workers in fuel movement operations using a physical replica of the necessary equipment connected directly to the virtual environment. The fuel movement process is a complex and highly skilled activity that requires top-level expertise and training, as well as outstanding coordination between the different parties involved during the fuel movement process. The fuel movement simulator is part of a new generation of simulators that GE Hitachi, in alliance with Virtualware, [...]
VirTra, Inc. has released a new V-VICTA (VirTra Virtual Interactive Coursework Training Academy) training curriculum designed to help law enforcement professionals bridge the communication gap and interact more effectively, and positively, with individuals with autism. To develop the Autism Awareness simulation training program, VirTra partnered with the renowned experts at SARRC (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center). This curriculum and virtual reality scenarios include actors diagnosed with autism as well as modules covering a variety of topics, including recognition, communication strategies and best practices for law enforcement officers. An agency-wide demonstration of the scenario-based trainings will be given by the Harford County (Maryland) Sheriff’s Department in June. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with autism in the United States, and estimates suggests that 50,000 teens with autism transition into adulthood each year. The growing number of diagnoses and increasing population indicate that it is highly likely that a law enforcement officer will come into contact with someone on the autism spectrum. “I think helping police officers understand the social differences with people with autism (who they might interact with) is what’s really critical,” says Dr. Daniel Openden, president [...]
Global learning and operational technology innovator, Ocean Technologies Group, has appointed Susan Steele as Chief Human Resources Officer. Susan Steele, Chief Human Resources Officer, Ocean Technologies Group. Steele, with over 25 years’ experience in HR, is known for her pioneering use of artificial intelligence and automation to develop employees and improve operational efficiency. “The digital transformation taking place in the shipping industry as well as the industry’s increasingly complex regulatory framework create an urgency for us and for our clients,” said Ocean Technologies Group CEO, Manish Singh. “Susan’s expertise will be invaluable as we attract, develop and retain colleagues around the globe.” Prior to joining Ocean Technologies Group, Steele held HR leadership roles at Cision, IBM, WPP and Deloitte. “Throughout my career, I have been drawn to Learning and Technology innovators,” explained Steele. “Ocean Technologies Group is poised to disrupt the global shipping market by harnessing the collective learning expertise of Seagull, Videotel and MTS and the technology innovation of TeroMarine and COEX. I am excited by the opportunity to create the employee-centric environment, experiences and culture critical to accelerating competitive advantage for our clients.” Steele will be based in Ocean Technologies Group’s London office.
The U.S. federal government awarded the Software as a Service (SaaS) deployment of Blackboard Learn — Blackboard Inc.’s flagship learning management system (LMS) — FedRAMP Moderate. This authorization makes Blackboard one of the only commercial off-the-shelf SaaS providers authorized in AWS GovCloud (US) as an Educational LMS. This newest authorization follows on the heels of Blackboard Learn's FedRAMP Tailored (Li-SaaS) authorization awarded in 2018. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), a longstanding Blackboard partner, has sponsored both FedRAMP authorizations. Image credit: Blackboard Earlier this year, Blackboard also achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Government Competency status. This designation recognizes that Blackboard possesses deep domain expertise in security and compliance and works with government customers to deliver mission-critical solutions on AWS. Blackboard is the only LMS provider to receive this Government Competency. "We're thrilled to receive FedRAMP Moderate authorization and the AWS Government Competency, as both underscore our commitment to ensuring federal and non-government clients are operating in a SaaS-based online learning environment that adheres to the most rigorous safety and security requirements," said Bryna Dash, Vice President of North America Government at Blackboard. "The certifications enhance our ability to support government agencies in their effort to accelerate cloud adoption [...]