VR Education is a virtual reality (VR) software and technology group based in Waterford, Ireland. Dedicated to transforming the delivery methods of education and corporate training by utilising VR technologies, VR Education delivers a fully-immersive virtual learning experience. The group’s core focus is on the development and commercialisation of its online virtual social learning and presentation platform called ENGAGE, which provides a platform for creating, sharing and delivering proprietary and third-party VR content for educational and corporate training purposes.
In addition to the ongoing development of the ENGAGE platform, the group has also built two downloadable showcase VR experiences – the award-winning Apollo 11 VR experience and the Titanic VR experience. In March 2018, VR Education listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and on the Enterprise Securities Market, a market regulated by Euronext Dublin.
ENGAGE allows any interactive virtual environment to be created, whether it be a replication of a real-world workspace or a place in which it would be impossible, dangerous or cost prohibitive to visit in real life, such as the bottom of the ocean, the surface of Mars, a disaster zone, ancient Rome, an architectural model, an artist’s 3D painting, or even a journey into the human body.
“ENGAGE leverages the presence-inducing power of VR to enable us to learn experientially as we do in the physical world, resulting in increased retention of information and accelerated skill acquisition,” said David Whelan, CEO & Founder, Immersive VR Education. “Companies can save time and money by reducing travel and can avoid the enormous expense associated with using real-world physical assets and locations.”
Designing a human-centered platform
Whelan explained that there are a number of reasons why the company has attracted several US clients, but primarily it’s because VR Education has successfully designed a human-centered platform, that enables users to interact with each other experientially, in much the same way we would in the real world.
“Clients have stated that our down-to-earth, friendly and supportive approach is appreciated as they make pioneering steps into this new frontier of immersive technology,” said Whelan. “I’m sure it’s apparent how genuinely excited we are to work together with partners, who are providing us with amazing use cases that make our technology shine.”
For example, Shenandoah University is using ENGAGE with a partner to train intellectually-challenged clients in job interview skills. One of the clients rarely communicates vocally but when he logged into ENGAGE via an embodied avatar, he shocked everybody when he completely opened up, bringing tears to those who witnessed the transformation.
Additionally, Shenandoah University is immersing itself in the worlds of virtual and augmented technology by creating Virginia’s first bachelor’s degrees in Virtual Reality Design. Shenandoah’s majors uniquely bring a human element to virtual reality by preparing live actors to provide training for various industries using virtual reality. Student developers will build content for the simulations. Shenandoah intends to be a hub for virtual reality development and education, and these majors will allow Shenandoah graduates to lead the growing AR/VR industry and whatever its successors may be, for years and years to come.
VR Education’s Irish Advantage
When asked why he thinks Irish companies are seen as world-class technology providers, Whelan explained he believes that Irish companies benefit from strong state support, which enables them to invest in the necessary R&D to develop products and services that can compete and excel on the world stage. This support allows Irish companies to work in a collaborative environment where commercial, educational and Governmental entities work in tandem towards a common goal. The Innovation 2020 strategy on R&D, science and technology is a perfect example for this – aiming for Ireland to become a Global Innovation Leader.
“For our industry, in particular, the future is bright for the Irish workforce that will be emerging over the next few years, because currently, over 30% of all students are enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses,” said Whelan. This is an excellent foundation for the future of technology and business, and Ireland will continue to lead the way.”