Why Oculus Quest is an Invaluable Business Tool

Oculus Quest

Oculus Quest is an Invaluable Business Tool

Oculus just released the Quest standalone VR headset, and in doing so, it forever altered the state of the VR industry. You’re about to see these devices everywhere! 

By Kevin Carbotte

Oculus just released the Quest standalone VR headset, and in doing so, it forever altered the state of the VR industry. You’re about to see these devices everywhere!

The Virtual Reality industry has been snowballing for the last four years, and this week, it hit a milestone that is set to crank the adoption rate up to lightspeed. The Oculus Quest headset is the answer to many of VR’s obstacles. This device makes VR easy to use for consumers and businesses alike.

Superior Form Factor

When the first VR devices hit the market, they offered limited 3-degrees of freedom tracking ability. You could look all around you, but you could not move forward or back within a tracked space. These devices are great for basic experiences, and we use them often for the apps that we build at Bit Space. However, these devices lack some tracking features that limit the experiences that you can have with them.

Freedom to Move

Soon after the first 3-DoF headsets hit the market, 6-DoF tracking that enabled you to move around in a virtual space emerged. Full freedom movement in a virtual environment is a magical experience, but it came at a significant cost; both financial and technical. The headsets were expensive, and you needed a powerful computer system to drive them. On top of that, you had to contend with an elaborate configuration process. Not to mention, all the cables that were involved. Suffice to say; the drawbacks scared off many potential buyers.

Those same factors have also prevented companies from adopting VR for their training and marketing processes. However, the advent of standalone headsets is changing everything. 

Standalone Solves Everything

The Oculus Quest is the first standalone VR device (read: built-in computing hardware) that offers full-scale tracking with motion controllers. The Quest features an inside-out tracking solution—aptly named Insight—that supports movement with 6-degrees of freedom. Insight tracking technology also monitors the two motion controllers to give you the freedom to grab hold of the virtual world.

Room-scale tracking—as the industry calls it—isn’t new. HTC introduced the first room-scale VR system as early as 2014. The Quest changes the game because it makes it possible to experience room-scale tracking without the hassle of cables, exterior sensors, and without the need for an external computing device like a desktop PC or smartphone.  

Unrestricted Tracking

The Oculus Quest headset isn’t just an untethered room-scale VR system. It’s more like a warehouse-scale device because the device doesn’t require a host computer, the tracking distance is limited only by the camera’s depth of view..

Simplified Setup Process

The freedom of not having cables and sensors to set up is lovely, but the big deal isn’t the Quest’s untethered nature. The real game changer is the simplicity of the setup process.

In the past, calibrating a room-scale system required many steps, which include removing the headset multiple times, and it often takes multiple attempts to get the calibration right. Calibrating an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset could take as much as 15 minutes to accomplish. The process isn’t complicated, but it’s involved enough that it becomes a deterrent for most people.

Set Up in Seconds

With the Oculus Quest, the setup process couldn’t be more straightforward. When you first put the headset on, it enables a pass-through mode on the cameras, which allows you to see the real world through the headset. In this mode, you can dictate your play area without ever lifting the visor from your eyes, and you can have it up and running in under a minute.

Set the floor position by reaching to the ground with the controller, and then trace the barrier of your play area by pointing at the edges with a motion controller. Once you accept the play space, you’ll find yourself in the virtual world.

Why does Quest Matter to Businesses?

For all the same reasons that the Quest is an excellent product for consumers, the Quest is also a fantastic solution for businesses.

The hardware is:

-Affordable
-Portable
-Easy to setup

All three of those traits are extremely important for marketing departments and training coordinators, which are the typical users of VR technology in the workplace.

Bring it Anywhere!

Oculus Quest allows you to easily take your VR experience on the road to tradeshows and other industry events. Moreover, it’s just as easy to equip a travelling training coordinator with powerful immersive technology that they can take on the road. You no longer need to tote around a high-end computer, base stations with tripods, and the headset and all its accessories. The Quest headset and two Touch controllers can be tossed in a bag and brought anywhere on a moments notice. 

The Work Has Already Begun

Here at Bit Space Development, we’re already exploring porting our existing content to the Quest platform. It makes everything easier for our clients. And we’ve already begun talking to our clients about the potential of the new Oculus Quest headset and they’re already excited about the prospects.

Trying on The Trades in Northern Manitoba

Try on the Trades in the North

Trying on the Trades in Northern Manitoba

Bit Space Development and the Manitoba Construction Sector Council recently traveled to northern Manitoba to promote work in the trades and the immersive technology used for training in that industry.

By Kevin Carbotte

In the second week of April, part of the Bit Space Development team took a trip to northern Manitoba to share our learning experiences with kids who live in communities that don’t often get access to technology that we use daily here in the office.

On an early Tuesday morning in March, four people from Bit Space and one from the Manitoba Construction Sector Council piled into a minivan with a staggering amount of technology. We brought 22 Apple iPads, 27 Pico Goblin standalone VR headsets, 2 Acer Windows Mixed Reality headsets with laptops to power them, and a whole bunch of extra equipment just in case, which included two HTC Vive setups and extra laptops.  

Honestly, it was a small miracle that everything fit with enough space left for five people in the van.

First Stop: Norway House

Day One of our trip was spent entirely in the van. Our first destination was Norway House, which is a reserve community north of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. According to Google, the drive from Winnipeg to Norway House takes 9-hours. After making the drive ourselves, we can confirm that trek took longer than a typical work day.

The following day, we made our way to the Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre in Norway House, where we took over the gymnasium for most of the day. Here we played host to several groups of kids ranging from Grade 5 through Grade 9. The Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre is a large school with nearly 1300 students, and we met roughly one-third of the students throughout the day.

The technology experience demonstration featured three stations for the kids to cycle through. The first station offered iPad tablets running our Trades Town board game that teaches kids about the different trades in Manitoba. This was a favourite station, and the kids got engaged with the game.

The second station offered the kids a chance to see what it’s like to work in the trades. We shared our Try on The Trades video series, which features 15 immersive 360-degree videos of different construction industry and manufacturing sites.

Goblins For Everyone!

With 27 Pico Goblins to go around, we were able to share the Try on The Trades experiences with every student who showed up to try. Many of these kids had never been outside of their small community, so they were fascinated with seeing sites from Winnipeg and other locations.

The Try on The Trades experiences was a big hit, but our third station with the room scale VR simulation was by far the most engaging experience. We had two Windows Mixed Reality systems running our Power Tools VR simulator. With our simulation software, the students were able to learn how to use one of eight different power tools such as two different drills, a variety of saws, a grinder, and nail gun.

Many students expressed a desire to try again. However, the time constraints of the event prevented the students from having a second turn.

Second Stop: Wabowden

One the second leg of our journey, Bit Space and MCSC rolled into a small community called Wabowden and set up shop at Mel Johnson School (the only one in town) for the day. Wabowden is a small town with very few people and to make the career fair a worthwhile endeavour, the school division bussed in kids from Grand Rapids—a community 3-hours away.

With such a small group, the second day was much easier on our team. But more importantly, the kids were able to get much more out of the experience. Instead of a select few kids getting to try one tool in our Power Tools game, everyone got to try the game, and most people attempted to use more than one tool. We even had one carpentry student who was so impressed with the simulator that he got back in line to try all eight options.

Day Three: Cranberry Portage

Following our stop at Wabowden, the five of us piled back into the van and drove to The Pas for some food and some sleep. The next stop on our tour would be at the Frontier Collegiate Institute in a town close to Flin Flon called Cranberry Portage.

The event in Cranberry Portage was a little bit bigger than the one in Wabowden, but it was still on the smaller side, which allowed the students to spend a significant amount of time with our technology. We didn’t have anyone who got to try all eight tools, but everyone interested in trying more than one had to opportunity to try another tool.

The Pico Goblins with the Try on The Trades videos weren’t as popular at this stop, but the iPad games were a big hit with the kids.

Over four days, we spend nearly 24 hours driving across Manitoba, we stopped at three schools, and we spent an hour on our feet running tech demonstrations. But the feedback that we received from the Frontier School Division made the whole trip worth our time.

The Feedback Made It All Worth While

We spoke with the organizers of the trip a week after we returned, and they told us that the teachers and the kids had nothing but great things to say about our presence. They all appreciated the chance to try our training experiences, to learn more about the trades in Manitoba, and to get a taste of what we do in the Interactive Digital Media industry. 

Are you ready to take your training to the next level?

Lets explore how we can help implement Interactive innovation in your organization.​

It’s Conference Season!

360-degree conference photo

It has been a busy couple of weeks here at Bit Space Development. In the last three weeks, we took part in three different off-site events to help promote our software and our clients. Such is the nature of conference season!

Partying with SkipTheDishes!

The 2019 Bit Space conference tour–as I’m calling it–kicked off with an event at SkipTheDishes, where we showed off our SkipTheDishes 360-degree video tour and the SkipTheDishes LevelUP VR demo. 

Partying with SkipTheDishes

The SkipTheDishes event wasn’t a promotional event for us. However, when a client asks us to help them promote the work we’ve done for them, we’re usually happy to oblige. So, the BSD Business team packed up our gear and joined SkipTheDishes at their party in late January. 

Learning About the Future of Work

Bit Space at DisruptED

Next up, BSD participated in the ICTAM DisrputED conference, which explores the future of work and education. Immersive technology was a big theme at the event, and our Virtual Reality demonstrations were a big hit. 

DisruptED featured speakers from all around North America to speak about different facets of modern education and the future of work, which is getting more and more disrupted by new technology. Many of the speakers mentioned VR in their talks, which made our booth a hot-spot on the show floor.

Bit Space demonstrated LevelUP VR at the event, which is designed to introduce kids to the mentality of watching for hazards at work. We spoke with people in various levels of education and decision makers at several local businesses. We also demonstrated some of our 360-degree content and our VRSafety training platform

DistruptED

Overall, the reaction to our wares was positive, and we got some great feedback to improve the things we build, and we got some new ideas to create new experiences. 

The third stop on our Conference tour was the Construction Safety Association of Manitoba (CSAM) safety conference, which was our biggest event so far this year. BSD has worked closely with the construction industry ever since the company was established four years ago, and we have multiple clients who attended the event.

VR Was Prominent Feature at CSAM

Bit Space CSAM Booth

Bit Space Development was all over the CSAM show floor. We had our booth where we demonstrated some of our safety training tools. We also helped run the Manitoba Construction Sector Council’s booth, where we showcased MCSC’s new Power Tools VR application, which we’ve been building since last year.

MCSC CSAM Booth

 The Power Tools VR app is meant to be a component of a training course which teaches you how to use a variety of power tools, such as drills and saws. The CSAM conference was the first time that we showed Power Tools VR to the public and the reaction we got from those who tried it was very positive. We spoke to far more people about the concept of teaching you how to use tools than the number of people who tried it. But the people who donned the headset saw the value in learning through VR. 

Bit Space at CSAM

At the MCSC booth, we also had a couple of Pico Goblin mobile headsets that were pre-loaded with the confined spaces app that we built for MCSC a year ago. 

Level Up VR

Our client, Safe Workers of Tomorrow, also had a significant presence at the CSAM conference. The company rented a large booth in one corner of the show floor, and it was allowing anyone interested in trying the game, and the company representatives couldn’t be happier with the response from the people who stopped by for a visit. 

A New Product Launch

Dan Presenting Indicator

We also launched a new product at the CSAM conference. The Construction Safety Association of Manitoba commissioned Bit Space Development for an analytics tool, which we call Indicator Dashboard. CSAM and BSD have worked together for more than a year to put Indicator together, and we debuted the tool at the end of this year’s event. 

More Events to Come

We’re just five weeks into 2019, and we already have three events complete. However, we’re just getting started with our promotional schedule for the year. Stay tuned for more details about where we’ll be and what we’ll be showcasing. 2019 should be an exciting year at Bit Space Development! 

VR Sims Are More Engaging Than Traditional Training

woman in vr

VR Sims are More Engaging than Traditional Training

Virtual reality technology is improving workplace safety and training standards because it’s more engaging that traditional training methods.

By Kevin Carbotte

Training employees in Virtual Reality is safer than training on the job site and more engaging than training in a classroom.

Virtual Reality technology is changing the way the construction industry prepares its workers for the job site. VR offers safer alternatives to on-the-job training, which leads to fewer on-the-job accidents and more efficient workers.

Construction workers deal with life-threatening hazards on the worksite on a daily basis and to navigate these dangerous conditions safely; one must be trained to spot the dangers before they cause harm.

Virtual reality simulations make it possible for new employees to learn the ropes without putting them in dangerous situations unprepared. Simulations can be helpful to familiarize new employees with safety procedures and best practices before they ever get to the job site. Trainees can learn how to use unfamiliar equipment, or they can be shown the proper procedures for a given task, all while in a safe and controlled environment.

360-Degree Video Simulations

Bit Space Development has been working with construction companies for most of its history. Our VRSafety platform enables us to create custom-tailored safety simulations to improve onboarding and safety awareness procedures. Each VRSafety simulation features unique 360-degree images of real job sites, and we can add custom pop-up images and notes to help get new employees up to speed.

Competence Assessment

Our clients report that VR simulations make it easier for employees to spot hazards because they get a better understanding of what to look for on the real job site. They also love that they can look around in all directions as if they were at the site. It gives people a better perspective of what a job site looks like in person. This is especially important when onboarding people that are fresh out of school because there’s a good chance that they’ve never been on a real-world worksite.

VR simulations can also be used to assess the competence of a new worker without risking injury to them and others, or damage to your equipment and the facility. This is especially important when dealing with potentially hazardous power tools, welding machines, and heavy equipment.

More importantly, people–especially young people–find that VR training simulations are more engaging than traditional training methods, such as videos and standard pictures. Higher engagement during training means that employees will retain more of the information for future reference. When instructional material is dry and dull, people tend to tune out. VR-based training manages to grab your attention.

Interactive VR

Bit Space Development can also create fully rendered, room-scale VR experiences (that allow you to move around and use your hands), which include interactive environments and objects. These simulations offer a deeper understanding of the work environment, and they enable users to experience real-world safety scenarios so that they can be prepared in the event they experience an incident at work.

We can tailor room-scale simulations for any use case. For example, some of our previous work includes building a welding simulator that consists of a physical prop that emulates a welding torch. We’ve also made simulations that help familiarize people with dangerous power tools, such as saws and grinders.

Make VR part of a Well-Rounded Training Regiment

Training in virtual reality has many benefits, but it’s not a be-all-end-all solution. VR Training simulation is an excellent tool for people who learn best by getting their hands-on. Some people need a tactile experience to retain information, and interactive VR simulation is the perfect tool for that type of person. Not everyone learns this way, but there are so many hands-on learners out there that it’s a good idea to offer these types of training solutions for the up and coming workforce.

New Features on Roadbuilders Safety Training

New Features on Roadbuilders Safety Training

RoadBuilders Safety Training

Roadbuilders Safety Training (RSTS) is a 16-module training course for Roadbuilders to learn and get more practice on safety training at the work site. The training app is powered in Virtual Reality that requires a VR Headset and a controller.

New Features

  • Naratives

    RSTS gameplay has been enhanced with narratives

  • Instructions Arrow

    Arrows guide learners to their next objective to keep the course on pace and on topic

About Roadbuilders Safety Training

WORKSAFELY, Manitoba Heavy Construction Association is dedicated to increasing safety in the industry. The Workplace Safety and Health Act and Regulations provide legal controls for the many hazards you will face. The heavy construction industry also has control measures in place to protect your safety.

Hazard assessment provides this assurance of safety. A hazard assessment is the identification of a safety or health hazard with communication of implemented control measures. A hazard assessment must be completed before beginning each job and at regular intervals thereafter. Your supervisor is responsible for ensuring it is done. He or she must also request input from you if you are available.

When the hazard assessment is completed, the supervisor must review it and clearly describe the control measures that ensure it is complete safely. That is why you attended a safety orientation on the first day of work and why safe work practices and safe job procedures are reviewed with you to ensure your competency.

VRSafety – The New Way To Learn

vr safety title card

VR Safety App

BSD Logo

By BSD Marketing

With the current astonishing facts and figures about serious safety issues in construction industry, Bit Space Development came up with an app idea that leverages Virtual Reality in safety training. With Virtual Reality, the training experience is immersive but very hands-on as the content is taken from the real job site, and is simulated in a 360-degree environment. By this, learners are totally placed in a real construction site that enhances their discovery, learning and safety practices.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: HTTP://VRSAFETY.NET/ 

Safety Issues

Injuries Statistics from 2014 – 2016

(related to head, eyes, hand and foot injuries)

  • Trucking – 731

  • Heavy construction – 491

  • Building construction – 2095

Of these there are 2883 that are reported to have lost time at work because of their injury. This is costing industry big bucks.

*Data was provided by SAFE Work Manitobaand WorkersCompensation Board of Manitoba

The Big Idea

Read more about Benefits of Virtual Reality in Training.

VRSafety is our customized platform for 360-degree photos and videos. They are an engaging and immersive type of media content which has gained popularity in recent months with the likes of Facebook, Google and Youtube. It allows the viewer to move around the camera without limits, giving them control of what they see.

Our VRSafety platform is special, as we can add “hotspots” in your 360-degree panoramas. These are like the links between different types of media in one panorama. This can make your content not just a normal panorama, but a port of various information that viewers can see.

Its Applications

  • Travel to job sites virtually

  • Cost effective solutions for businesses to implement awareness training

  • Adaptable for any classroom training

  • Dynamic deployment options

  • Scalable design for businesses

  • Integrated assessments

Current Features

  • Easily built using a single JSON file and a folder of pictures
  • Support for multiple VR platforms
  • Integrated SCORM compliance for web embedded simulators
  • Narration support for limited literacy
  • Integrated quizzing for assessment

Hotspots

‘Hotspots’ is an incredible feature that can enhance the interactive VR experiences. Hotspots are the spots that contain a link to a different media type. When you gaze at a hotspot in your headset, you can gaze through to next piece of content. With our VRSafety, you can add various types of media by hotspots that can enrich your VR content for training or in the classroom.

  • Image hotspot
  • Flashcard
    • Similar to image with hidden text behind for studying
  • Text hotspots
  • Audio hotspots
  • Transition
  • Video

Platforms

The VRSafety App can be applied on most of the current VR platforms, including:

  • Google Cardboard
    • iOS
    • Android
  • Google Daydream
  • Oculus Rift
  • Oculus Gear VR
  • HTC Vive
  • Microsoft VR
  • Microsoft Hololens

* We have Non-VR enabled build support for iPad and the web.