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Published on September 30th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise


How VR Can Help Enterprises with Training

Emergent Insight:
Hiring and firing employees can be very difficult and sometimes unpredictable. At VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi speaks with the virtual reality solution developer, Talespin, about a program that allows employees to experience the firing of a senior employee named Barry. It’s one thing to train someone how to go through the steps of letting a co-worker go but it’s another level to actually play out the scenario and feel the emotion and tension. VR not only simulates surroundings but also the real-world feelings of a situation allowing the user to learn empathy, negotiation and other soft skills.

Original Article:
Image source: Talespin

Virtual reality training company Talespin caught a lot of attention for a VR demo that taught employees how to sensitively fire an older employee named Barry. It was received with mixed emotions.

Some thought it was teaching employees how to do something inherently cruel. Others thought it brought sensitivity to an emotionally difficult task. But Kyle Jackson, CEO of Talespin, said it was a very small part of what the company can help enterprises do with VR training.

I interviewed Jackson at Oculus Connect 6, Facebook’s VR event in San Jose, California, last week. We talked in a section of the exhibit area dedicated to Oculus for Business, which is one of the markets where VR is getting traction.

Talespin is combining VR training simulations with artificial intelligence to create a virtual human platform that can be adapted for a wide variety of training. Over time, as VR hardware tracking gets better, such virtual humans will be able to gauge your engagement, emotions, and reactions — and then adapt to them. At OC 6, Talespin showed a simulation where Farmers Insurance teaches claims adjuster trainees how to look for water damage.

Kyle Jackson, CEO of Talespin

Above: Kyle Jackson, CEO of Talespin, at OC6.Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

VentureBeat: Where are you based?

Kyle Jackson: We’re in Los Angeles primarily. We have four offices. Los Angeles and the Netherlands are our two primary offices, and then we do our mixed reality stuff in Seattle, and our backend team is in Ottawa.

VentureBeat: When did you get started?

Jackson: We started the company in 2015. The first two years were focused on entering the enterprise space, anywhere they wanted to start. We were going and listening to everyone, whether it was a marketing use case, a training use case, a data visualization use case. We built more than 75 experiences in the first two years. That gave us the conviction to look at the verticals we’re looking at and build the platform we’ve been building ever since. Farmer’s was one of the first big customers we started working with.

Today we’ve bucketed the platform back into three big types of learning. We focus on object-based learning, which is the parts of things, if you think about it simply — the parts of a home, the parts of a car. Then process-based learning, which is what we’ve been doing a lot of with the insurance industry. And then interpersonal conversational skills. You probably saw the “firing Barry in VR” press that got out in front of us in the last month or so. That came out of a number of enterprise clients pushing us toward interpersonal skills and giving people a safe place to try that stuff.

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