One of Alan’s favourite XR experiences was running into a room at the Royal York Hotel, filled with 200 people, all deathly silent and hooked into VR headsets. It may sound like a Matrix prequel, but it was actually a demo of PwC’s VR platform. Jeremy Dalton — the author of this anecdote — stops by to talk about mass VR technology.
Alan: Welcome to the XR for Business Podcast with your host, Alan Smithson. Today’s guest is Jeremy Dalton. Jeremy leads PwC’s Virtual and Augmented Reality Team, helping clients across all sectors understand, quantify and implement the benefits of virtual and augmented reality technology. As part of his mission to educate, connect, and inspire, he’s also a member of the World Economic Forum, Virtual and Augmented Reality Global Future Council, and sits on the Advisory Board of Immerse UK, a cross-sector network for businesses, research and educational organisations in the immersive technology industry. Jeremy is also an advisor for the VR/AR Association, and he’s also a mentor for our XR Ignite program. To learn more about PwC’s VR and AR endeavors, you can visit PwC.co.uk/vr.
Welcome to the show, Jeremy.
Jeremy: Hi, Alan. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Alan: It’s such an honor and a pleasure to have you on the show. We’ve been communicating for many years now and we even have a kind of a joint research folder that we’ve been adding to over the years. So it’s really great to have you on the show.
Jeremy: Definitely, I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.
Alan: [laughs] Yeah, it’s amazing. So I just want to tell a quick story. About two months ago, you came to Toronto with your PwC team and ran a partners conference, and you had an enormous number of simultaneous virtual reality experiences. So you wanna maybe just explain what that was and how that came to be?
Jeremy: Yeah, sure. So this was a particularly exciting project for us where — very, very quickly, in summary — we put 200 people into virtual reality at the same time and they all had this simultaneous experience in the same room. And I was able to collect that data in real time and understand exactly where in that experience they were and what decisions they were making in that world. So it was fantastic. It went off without a hitch, thankfully, given the number of potential technical issues that could have gone wrong. I was very happy. It all went very smoothly.
Alan: It was quite endeavour. I remember you said, “Hey, we’re doing this thing tomorrow morning. I’m in Toronto.” I cancelled my meetings the morning, I came over there. I went into the hotel — it was at the Royal York in Toronto — and I went upstairs, walked into this room and it was dead silent. And there’s 200 people — 200+ people, there was more than 200 people, for sure — and you could hear a pin drop on a carpet. And it was the strangest thing, because everybody was in VR and everybody’s looking in different directions. It was this crazy thing. And you had this branching narrative. Maybe talk to what that branching narrative was? Right after the experience, you were able to show the information. Walk us through how that came to be.
Jeremy: Yeah, sure. And I like your comment about being able to keep everyone quiet. That was actually mentioned as well by by some of the organizers of the conference, that they were amazed by this pindrop silence in the room, because obviously it’s very rare. You’ve usually got people messing around on their mobile phones. You got them talking to each other, going to get a glass of water, leaving the room, coming into the room. So I think it’s a testament to the power of virtual reality to create such a captive and focused audience.
Alan: It was incredible. You know, I think this is one of the things that people underestimate about virtual reality. Because once you’re in there, you’ve got the headphones on and you’re in a comfortable, safe place where you can get right into it, people lose themselves. They’re no longer in a conference room in a hotel in Toronto. They are in — in your case — a board room in an office talking about cybersecurity. You’ve literally transported hundreds of people into one joint experience. And I don’t think there’s been any other technology in the world that hijacks 100 percent of our entire focus.
Jeremy: Exactly. And I think that point, we call it immersion. Immersion is one of the greatest strengths and in fact, *the* main strength of virtual reality. But I feel like the word immersion is very broad and doesn’t quite pinpoint the many subsections of immersion that you get as advantages from virtual reality. And one of them is that ability to captivate an audience and to put them in a distractionless environment. And that obviously has incredible uses when it comes to training, to learning, education, and a number of other business and consumer applications.
Alan: Let’s walk through the experience itself that you guys created, because I think cybersecurity is a huge issue. And I mean, I don’t know how detailed you want to get, but this was a cybersecurity attack and you were educating the partners on what to do.
Jeremy: Exactly, exactly. So we effectively built this from the ground up over a three month period leading up to that event in Toronto. And the desire was to create an immersive experience that put people in the middle of a cybersecurity attack on their company. So we wanted to be able to to take clients to this world where their company is under attack and to help them understand what it’s like to be in such a scenario, without the danger or the cost or inconvenience of being in such a scenario itself. So that’s why we use virtual reality here to make that happen. The base content was 360 video, but a branch narrative of 360 video. So if you can imagine in this world you were asked to make a number of decisions. One of the first — or choices, rather, I’ll call them — one of the first choices is whether you want to be the CEO, the CFO, or the CISO — the chief information security officer — in this experience, and depending on which character you choose to embody, you get given a different path or experience in this cybersecurity attack. So from the CEO’s perspective, you’re looking at the strategic agenda of this attack and what it entails for the company at a high level, things like its reputation, for example.
Alan: And eventually you are pulled up in front of the press to answer–
Jeremy: Yeah, that was cool.
Alan: Yeah. To answer some very taxing questions about the cybersecurity attack. If you choose to be the CFO. You then have to make a decision as to whether you recommend making payments — Bitcoin payments — on the ransomware attack that’s taking place. And finally, if you choose to be the CISO, you get a more technical view of the attack. You’re trying to understand where has it come from, who effectively, where was ground zero in terms of the attack, who is responsible, what channel was responsible? And you’re trying to plug that up as soon as possible. And the choice you make there is whether you want to prioritize the external public facing websites or the internal customer relationship management or CRM system. And the great thing is, depending on what decision you make, you get given a different experience. And we can see all of that data in real time based on what you’re doing. I literally had a tablet in front of me in that massive hotel conference room and I was able to see exactly what was going on, what every individual person was doing in that world.
Jeremy: And that’s something that really struck me as very beneficial to facilitators of training, facilitators of conferences. This, to me, is probably one of the first times a company has ever done something like this. And that’s why I think it bears a lot of discussion around this, because you took 200 executives and you put them in the exact same experience, but with different choices. Now, one of the things that I saw afterwards is, as soon as they took off the headsets, it was interesting how you managed to make it so that they all ended within, I think, 40 seconds of each other or something.
Alan: Yeah, that’s right. So that required not only some technical know-how in terms of using this platform to kick everyone off at exactly the same time. So I’d literally be there. Everyone’s ready, no issues, no more hands raised. So I would click this button on the tablet and all 200 plus headsets would light up and start the experience. That was the first thing we had to do. And the second thing and probably more importantly, we had to build the narrative — or design the narrative — of that experience in such a way that the sum of the lengths of all the branch narratives added up to approximately the same amount. So you can imagine that was a bit tedious, but as you said, we managed it. Takes a lot of planning, but yes, we did manage it within about 30 or 40 seconds.
Jeremy: I recorded a video of this. You know, I walked into the room and it’s funny because I walked in. People are already in VR. I took some film around everybody. And then at the end, you see all these people taking it off and they’re kind of like who else is there? And then they start looking at each other and like with these kind of big eyes going, “Wow, that was amazing.” And the one thing that I thought was amazing — beyond the reactions from the people — was the fact that you had the metrics up on the screen. So not only were you able to see it on the tablet, but you then projected that information on the screen. So as you take off your headset, you can look up and see what percentage of people chose to be a CFO, CEO or CISO. And then what percentage of people chose different branching narratives from there. People are in VR, they don’t know what other people are doing. They pull it off and they can see a consensus. And I’m pretty sure we figured this out remotely as well. You could do this with employees all around the world and run them through training scenarios. I mean, it’s obviously not as easy as doing it in one room, but I think there’s definitely potential here. And I think that’s probably where you’re going in the future with us.
Alan: Absolutely. I mean, we could consider this phase one effectively. And there are lots of other options open to us in terms of how we advance this idea or concept. And yes, it could be advancing it in a geographical context. So being able to spread it out to different parts of the world. And in fact, we’ve already begun on that. We now have over 500 different headsets in PwC globally. And a number of the headsets that you saw in Toronto are now in places like Chicago, New York, London, Singapore, Melbourne, Dubai, Lagos, Nigeria, even. So we’re definitely keen to spread it all around the world and spread the education around virtual reality, because I think that’s particularly important. And education, not only in terms of the theoretical understanding of knowing that VR is advantageous in a training context because of X, Y, and Z, but actually feeling it, so knowing it from firsthand experience. And that’s incredibly important for a technology like virtual reality because it is experiential, it can never be fully understood in purely a theoretical context, which is why we’re so keen to spread the headsets globally, spread the experience globally, and therefore, spread the knowledge and understanding globally.
Alan: You mentioned 500 headsets across PwC around the world. And one of the things that I noticed and I took some photos of the aftermath, that was this experience. You had 200 and some odd people in VR. They finish the experience, they go out for coffee break. Your team collects all these VR headsets and headphones and brought them into a staging room. And there was literally a pile, four feet high by five feet wide, of VR headsets. And I mean, that’s clearly not the way we’re gonna do this in the future. How are you guys managing your device management? Is it like something like a device, like a cell phone or something? Or how are you managing device management within PwC? And what would you recommend to other companies who are looking to deploy these headsets? Because that’s a big challenge for people, it’s device management.
Jeremy: Absolutely. And yeah, you’re right. That scene was something out of a VR apocalypse scenario.
Alan: It was scary! [laughs]
Jeremy: [laughs] But unfortunately, that is the way it has to be, at least currently. There’s no real way of getting round it, if you’re trying to manage headsets on such a large scale and particularly trying to handle them remotely, you’ve got to have some sort of mobile device management — or MDM — solution in place to be able to manage, control the software on the headsets, manage the settings on them, install, uninstall content, all of this sort of stuff. It’s very difficult to centralize that physically, and very onerous. So if you imagine 300 headsets globally, if we needed to do updates on those headsets or we needed to install content, or delete content or whatever it is, perform some sort of action, the very low-fi way of doing it is to call the person up on the phone and say, “Right, step-by-step instructions. This is what you need to do.” and send them the files and get them to plug the headsets in, or have rails they’re going to move the files across. And it would be an absolute nightmare to do that on a scale, large scale.
So instead, what we’ve got is we’ve got this mobile device management software installed on every single one of those headsets, which has gone around the world. And whenever anyone has requested an update or the installation of some content, all I have to do is ask them to read me the asset tag on the side of the headset. I will then go into my MDM control panel on my web browser here in London. I’ll enter the asset number in, I’ll see it. They have to connect it to Wi-Fi. That’s one of the things they have to do. But once it’s connected to the Internet, I’ll see it pop up as online. I will then send it instructions remotely via this web panel. So, for example, we have a little macro, so to speak, around installing certain bits of content or wiping the device or changing the Bluetooth name, all of those little things. So I will send as many instructions as I need to to get the action to be performed. It will get performed remotely via Wi-Fi on their side and depending on the size of the file, if we’re installing something, it should take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour maybe to get that content installed, and away they go. There is no need for them to do anything beyond reading that asset number and connecting it to Wi-Fi. We just– we do the rest remotely via this web based control panel.
Alan: That’s incredible. Now, this control panel, is this something that you’re making available to other companies?
Jeremy: So this is not our piece of software. So this is a piece of software by a company called 42 Gears, and they have a platform called SureMDM. But that’s only one option that we’re looking at at the moment. There are many other options. VMware is looking into MDM solutions for virtual reality headsets. And then you’ve also got Oculus with their own MDM solution as well. So there’s quite a few different bits and pieces out there.
Alan: So let’s talk quickly. And I don’t want to talk too much about brands and stuff like that, but you chose not to work with the Oculus Go headset. But instead you were working with another brand, that was mainly because of this MDM mobile device management software solution. Correct?
Jeremy: So there were a few considerations that went into that decision. So in the end, it came up to, for us, the Oculus Go versus the Pico G2 Pro. And we like the fact that the Pico headset didn’t require the use of a controller, which made it far easier to do these demonstrations at scale. So if you imagine two hundred headsets in that room and having to connect two hundred controllers.
Alan: Oh, that would be insane. How would you even figure that out? You’d have to tie them– I’ve seen it before, where they tie the remote to the headset.
Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah.
Alan: But, man, the interference of having 200 Bluetooth devices. Oh my God.
Jeremy: Exactly. And that was actually a consideration in deciding whether we were going to Bluetooth the headsets, the headphones to the headsets, or not. In the end, given what you just said, that went through our minds as well. We don’t want to risk 200 Bluetooth connections, all in the same location, connecting to individual headsets, and getting that 100 percent right. So we simply went for the lo-fi solution in that case, and plugged the wiring between the headphone and each headset.
Alan: Well, it’s a good thing that Pico didn’t take the Apple approach and get rid of their headset jack.
Jeremy: [laughs] I know, right? But regardless of vendors, there are advantages and disadvantages of every single vendor. And the interesting thing is just understanding what headset works for you, depending on the exact solution, scale, company, and situation, basically, you’re trying to deploy to.
Alan: If you were to give five key things that you evaluate a headset on. You just mentioned a couple, so let’s list them out.
Jeremy: Okay. So one of them pretty obviously is specification. So firstly, specification from a power perspective, in terms of the processing power of the headset, is it good enough to run the type of content that we want to? Second of all, the type of lenses, the resolution of the screen, ultimately the visual fidelity, the field of view, all of that I would consider under visual fidelity of the experience, because obviously that has a big effect when you’re running virtual reality experiences. Then I would go also to costs because obviously that’s a major consideration, especially if you’re doing it at scale. How much is each headset going to cost, maybe at a bulk level if you’re buying lots of them at once. Then I would consider the user experience points. Now there are quite a few of these. The need to have a controller connected was one of them that we considered. The need to register an account to use the headset is another one that we considered. The ability to run an MDM solution is now extremely important consideration at scale. So that’s definitely a consideration. And one of the other considerations we had — which may or may not be relevant, depending on what your focus is — is the level of B2B focus versus B2C focus of the headset manufacturer. So for us as a company, our main concern is B2B. So we’re very keen to engage with manufacturers of headsets that concentrate on the B2B market.
Alan: So specifications, visual fidelity, cost and user experience, is there anything else?
Jeremy: Other considerations would come under supporting tools and software. So some headsets might support a type of kiosk mode as standard, and that’s quite useful depending on your context sometimes. I would consider privacy issues, particularly if you’re going to have confidential content or content that you need to have such a policy in place for compliance reasons.
Alan: Actually, that’s really important. Recently just read an article that three of the major VR collaboration platforms got hacked. So–
Alan: And it exposes the fact that while these solutions are ready for use, they’re maybe not ready for enterprise scale yet. And I think that these are some considerations that we all need to factor into what we use and what we don’t.
Jeremy: Absolutely. And that goes back to our cybersecurity concerns and one of the reasons we created this experience in the first place.
Alan: It’s all circular.
Alan: [chuckles] So let’s dive into some some numbers here. What were you guys measuring as the success key performance indicators of this experience? How did you measure success?
Jeremy: So interestingly, for this particular event in Toronto, a measure of success would be having a vast majority of users that have provided feedback that believe it was a positive educational experience vs. an indifferent or negative one. The real KPI will come in a few months time, when as we start to run this experience with clients, we get an understanding of their level of interest and engagement with the platform and whether that has added value to them in terms of understanding what it’s like to be in such a cyber security scenario. And ultimately one of PwC’s services is in cybersecurity and providing various services around that issue to companies. So we’ll see if that helps as well to augment the pipeline in sense of selling these services.
Alan: So let me ask, if you can share, what was the feedback? You probably have some data around positive versus negative. Was there any negative feedback?
Jeremy: Yeah, yeah, Yeah, there there was. And inevitably there always will be. There will always be negative feedback for any type of initiative or venture, particularly with an emerging technology like virtual reality. That is– such a technology will always come under fire when there are alternatives that consist of the status quo. So for example, you’ll always have some people saying why couldn’t we have just watched it as a video, for example. Or you will get some people who are saying the room was was too hot or too cold. Now, that may not be related to the VR experience particularly. But if you think of it as a whole from the outside, that does affect how a user feels about going through that experience. So even though it’s an external factor is what I’m saying, it does affect the ultimate outcome. So to give you some stats on it, it was very positive, was 95 percent positive.
Alan: 95 percent positive. And the other five percent said it was too hot and too cold in the room.
Jeremy: [laughs] I’m drawing out some from this batch of experiences, and I’m also drawing out some from a previous run that we did, with actually 2,800 people. So we ran a VR experience previously, it was about a year ago, year and a half ago now. This was with 2,800. Not at the same time, though. So this was only with about 100, maybe 150 at a time, max. So we took it to its limits by going to 200 this time, with our own Internet infrastructure to support that. But previously we ran it with 2,800 people and got much greater feedback. So I’m sort of feeding that in as well. And to create a framework — if anyone’s thinking about gathering feedback from a VR experience — the type of feedback you’re going to receive can be bucketed into the contents of the experience. So in other words, was the content effective? Was it impactful? Was it relevant?
The next bucket is facilitation. So you’ve got someone who’s obviously leading in terms of that session. They’re telling you how to put on the headset, what to be aware of, what to click, what to do, what to touch, what to look at, and so on. Instructions, ultimately. And if those instructions are poor, the entire experience can be damaged as a result. And then you have external factors. You have things like the temperature of the room and believe it or not, even more interesting than the temperature of the room — and this is a real piece of feedback — the floors were too squeaky.
Jeremy: So if you could imagine a hundred people in a room going through a virtual reality headset, just as you said, Alan, the room in Toronto was pindrop quiet. If you have facilitators and organisers and the AV team walking around the room dealing with whatever they’re trying to deal with during the session, if they are making a relatively loud noise on the floor or some sort of distracting noise, then that is taking you away from the immersive and impactful experience that you’ve created in this virtual reality world. So that ultimately leads to a negatively impacted experience. So even something as small as that is something to be aware of. Those three buckets are quite useful.
Alan: I think we figured out the title: “Mass VR and Squeaky Floors.“
Jeremy: [laughs] I like it, yeah. It’s good.
Alan: It’s really interesting, because the one thing that was so striking was that silence in the room. The squeaky floor thing is definitely an issue, and people breaking people’s presence is an issue. But I think that can be overcome with maybe noise canceling headphones, or something like that.
Jeremy: Potentially, yeah. But you know what? The bigger story and I just mentioned one more thing before we move on. It’s also you talked about taking people away from the world through maybe walking around or talking to each other, whatever it is. Usually those noises are not deliberate. So you have people that are trying to be quiet. They’re trying to creep across the room because they need to get to the other side. But I have seen a few people who I would describe as not mischievous or or deliberately negative, anyway. But you can see that they’re doing something that is deliberate, and could be conceived or would be considered distracting. So, for example, we all know virtual reality to a lot of people is still a novelty. So when you see your friends or your colleagues in virtual reality, enveloped in this completely different world, it messes with your head a bit, because you’ve probably never had this experience before, where you are together physically but one of you is in another world. And because of that novelty factor, you get people who get very excitable about it. They–
Alan: They want to get a picture beside them, sticking their tongue out.
Jeremy: Yes. They want to get a picture beside it. But even worse than that, you get some people who start waving their hands in front of them and saying hi to the person, and trying to get a reaction out of them. We definitely have to move on from that sort of culture, and we will, eventually. But it’s that beginning hitch.
Alan: I got to drop a story in here. We were doing a demo for groups of people, and we were doing one in a private club in Toronto. And there’s a pool table there. This guy says, “Look, I’m going to go and do this VR thing. I really want to try it, but make sure my friends don’t come near me.” I was like, “OK, no problem.”
Alan: He’s in the experience, he’s doing his thing. And he hands me his phone and says, “Take a photo of me.” I say, “Oh, OK.” So I back up, and the second I back up to take a photo of him, his friend comes over with a pool cue and just hits him right in the nards. And that was the end of that guy’s VR. He will probably never go in VR again. And so I think we need to be really cognizant one, to not do that to people, but also not to break people’s immersion. It really is jarring.
Alan: So let’s get into some numbers. Can you discuss the costs associated with us, ranges?
Jeremy: I can give you ranges, yes. But I’ll start by saying that, to anyone thinking about implementing virtual reality and deploying it in their organization, cost is a factor. But it is not something you should be too afraid of, because you can have VR projects that– you can vary the scope of VR projects and the terms of those projects in such a way that they can go from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, this particular experience to go through the ideation on it, to build it, to set it up, procure the headsets, and actually deploy it over in Toronto — so abroad for us, from our perspective — and that was in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, bear in mind, that is also including the procurement of– this was– I’ll tell you exactly how many we ordered, it was close to 300 headsets in the end. Because we were going to use them elsewhere as well. So that’s the sort of range we’re looking at for such a project. But again, that is also including the software development time, the 360 videography, building the platform, dealing with even things like the network infrastructure and procuring that as well. So, I think we did it pretty well, personally.
Alan: From what I’ve seen out there, you guys managed to do this on a real budget. Even if you said 500,000 for 300 headsets, plus the software to deliver it, plus the filming. I mean, there’s people out there charging that much just for 360 video development. So it’s pretty impressive what you guys were able to do. And that’s why I am so honoured to have you as a mentor with XR Ignite, because you bring such a practical, pragmatic approach to this technology.
Jeremy: The honour is all mine, Alan. Thank you so much.
Alan: Awesome. So let’s talk about the return on that investment. PwC invests 400,000 or 300,000, whatever it is, somewhere around there. And you’ve got these VR headsets, 200 partners that have tried it. What has progressed from there, that will create a return? So, for example, the partners that were there, how many of those partners now have requested VR in their divisions?
Jeremy: So there are five to ten, off the top of my head, that are leading cybersecurity services around the globe for PwC. And they have requested the use of these headsets in their territories, to assist with the selling of those services. And as I mentioned earlier, these start in the US and they go all across the globe, from the UK, to Central and Eastern Europe, to India, to East Asia, Singapore, Australia. So we’re really glad to see such a a widespread adoption of these headsets. And I don’t think that would have been possible if they hadn’t experienced it firsthand. So, I mean, I’m thinking one of the partners in particular said they– after experiencing it, they immediately messaged me and said, “Jeremy, we need to start deploying this to clients in one of our regions in Asia immediately, let’s get on the phone.” And I was on the phone with them the week after. And now they have a number of headsets that they’re using over there.
Alan: Yeah, I noticed that Asia actually– I don’t know if it’s the culture or because they bypassed us with PCs and went straight to mobile. But the China, Asia market for virtual reality is voracious. They love everything to do with it. And they spend an awful lot on education and training, more so than we do here. And this tool is by far and away the most powerful training tool we’ve ever created as mankind. So I can see why there’s an allure there. And then have you deployed it now in Asia?
Jeremy: Yeah. Yeah, it is running in multiple territories in Asia now, which is great.
Alan: Incredible. So, what’s next on the roadmap? You’ve done the cybersecurity thing. What would the next experience be that you guys are gonna create?
Jeremy: So in context of thinking about the future roadmap for this particular product — and even going a little bit outside it — let’s talk about the wider remit of training. The interesting thing for us is to see what platforms and what types of content match different business scenarios to add real value. So by that I mean, in my opinion, virtual reality is really good for soft skills training and for hands-on training. And when I say hands-on, I mean any form of activity that requires you to be present in a certain location because you have to use certain tools, or machinery, devices, infrastructure, whatever it is, needing to be in that location to perform those actions. That type of scenario is very powerful to use virtual reality to train for. So we’re looking at those two buckets and we’re thinking, OK, so you obviously have 360 content. And I know 360 content is potentially controversial to a lot of people. But I will exclaim my stance on this right now and say that 360 content is like Schrödinger’s Cat. It is both a virtual reality and not virtual reality, at the same time. It depends on the context. So 360 content that is being experienced in a virtual reality headset — or some form of virtual reality device — is a virtual reality experience. However, if you take that same virtual reality content and you display it on a 14-inch 2D laptop screen where you’re using the mouse to click and look around the environment, that is no longer virtual reality, despite being exactly the same content. So that’s my stance on 360 video with regards to virtual reality.
Now on the other side, we have a different type of content. We have computer generated content. Now, this offers you different advantages or disadvantages compared to 360 content. One of the advantages of computer generated content is its ability to be quite customizable. So if I wanted to take this experience and I wanted to switch up the type of conversations you’re having, if I wanted to change the type of characters you’re speaking to. That type of customization *could* be simulated using 360 video, but much more complicated, much more time consuming in terms of trying to build out every possible scenario. And at the end of the day, you’ll never be able to build out every possible scenario, without going back and revideoing in that exact same context. So we’re keen to start exploring computer generated content. Where it makes sense from the point of view of perhaps soft skills training, when it comes to hands-on training computer generated tends to be very strong, because you’re obviously looking for much greater levels of dynamism, of interactive activities. It’s no longer about just making decisions at a high level, it’s about actually performing minutiae of actions. Which computer generated content is very good for.
So in summary, we’re exploring different types of content for training in virtual reality. We are exploring different types of devices. We’re particularly keen to start seeing how much of our six degrees of freedom tethered virtual reality content can be ported to standalone headsets. So in other words, taking it from something like an HTC Vive Pro or or an Oculus Rift, to a Oculus Quest or a Pico Neo 2. So in a few months time, we’ll be reviewing our 6DOF strategy, just as we did with our 3DOF strategy for this event. And I’m quite excited to assess it, based on a lot of the criteria we spoke about before and see where we get to.
Alan: Well, I just want to unpack — for the people listening, who may not know what 6DOF and 3DOF are — 3DOF is three degrees of freedom, meaning you can look left, right, up, down, but you can’t move in the space. And six degrees of freedom, meaning you can look up, down, left, right. But you can also walk forward, you can crouch down, you can jump up. So you have that six degrees of freedom.
Jeremy: Yeah. And I’ll also add to that — because that’s a good point, I keep forgetting that not everyone might know what that means — but also to explain that further, we’re also talking about moving from 3DOF controllers to 6DOF controllers. So, again, talking about what Alan just said from a controller perspective, with some 3DOF controllers, you’re able to point them around–
Alan: It’s like a glorified laser pointer, yeah.
Jeremy: Yeah, exactly. But with 6DOF controllers, you’re actually able to move them in physical space and see them moving in the exact same way in virtual reality. So now imagine where you’ve got a 6DOF headset and 6DOF controllers, that gives you complete freedom of movement and being able to look around. And that’s the type of headset that we think is very powerful for corporate training scenarios. And we want to explore what devices and content really works well in an optimized fashion on those types of headsets. So that’s what we’ll be exploring over the next few months.
Alan: Incredible. Well, Jeremy, I want to ask you, what is one problem in the world that you want to see solved using virtual and augmented reality or XR?
Jeremy: That is a difficult question. I’m going to say– I’m going to pick something outside of business, and say that when it comes to healthcare and helping people manage traumas, helping people manage fears, helping them manage conditions like dementia, helping them get out of the house even, if they have accessibility challenges. I think this broad remit of using VR for good in a personal context, I think that will have great, great positive effects for humanity. And I think we’re only starting to see that come out now in the world. So there’s a lot of exciting things to come. And I think VR and AR can do a lot of good in the world. I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.
Alan: Well, that is a great way to end this podcast. Jeremy Dalton from PwC Global. I want to say thank you so much for being a guest. If you want to learn more about the great work that Jeremy and his team are doing, you can visit PwC.co.uk/vr. And how can people get in touch with you, Jeremy?
Jeremy: Probably best via– well, I’ll give you the options. You’ve got LinkedIn, you can get me on LinkedIn at jeremydalton.info, you put that in your web browser. Or you can catch me on Twitter, @jeremycdalton. I’m looking forward to chatting.
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