Before we close the studio for a well-deserved Christmas break and crack open the mince pies, let’s take a look back at another busy quarter, the last of 2018 (where did the year go!?)
Following on from the expansion of the art team, we continued to hire more exceptional talent into the development teams, in the form of developers Andrew, Dino and Sam, as well as Matt as designer to bring immersive UI and UX experience to the studio.
Some of the new starters got thrown in at the deep end with their first day being just after the studio move to out new premises, having to get stuck in with everyone else unpacking and rearranging desks within the new space. Don’t worry though, we haven’t moved far, just next door from the old address! Part of the reason for the move was to allow more space for the development team but also to provide a dedicated VRLab / demo room, that will allow visitors to experience the range of immersive hardware to the fullest. Get in touch to speak to us about opportunities to visit in 2019.
In December we took the chance to headline sponsor the Raconteur XR for Business report included in The Times, sensing the content and audience was perfectly matched for our approach and focus. You can download the report here: http://bit.ly/xrbiz
Right at the end of the year, we scored a double-whammy by being selected as “Immersive Company of the Year” and our Director of Immersive Technologies as “Immersive Pioneer of the Year” in the annual Virtual Perceptions – Immersive Perspectives Awards! It’s a credit to the ethos and hard work of the team towards how we approach, design and develop immersive content to be chosen.
With the summer period over, event season kicked off in full swing and we were ready to get back out on the road, with assistance from Virtual Umbrella once more. We showcased the power of VR at the Brighton & Hove County Council Summit “Look Up”. We showed that VR could be used for soft-skills too at World of Learning. Digital Construction Week had us highlighting our recent construction and onsite health, safety and well-being immersive experiences. Finally, we were invited to partake in the Realities Centre “5G Challenge” and associated Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum, where we had HTC Vive content running wirelessly over high-speed 5G networks, serving up applications from the cloud within need to pre-install them locally first.
Following on from a period of embedding and testing at one site, we rolled out the EDF Energy / NNB ‘Sentinel’ nuclear power station control room market trading simulation bridge training hardware and software applications across the fleet. This was a very unique project marrying bespoke custom hardware designed for the purpose and instructor-controlled training content and simulation of real-world systems not previously thought possible to deploy. Our favourite kind of challenge.
Through our ongoing reseller partnership with PROCAT for the Digital VR Applications, (designed for Level III NVQ apprentice assessments for electricians, plumbers and air-con & refrigeration maintenance,) we rolled out two systems to HMP Chelmsford, as part of a unique new approach to prisoner upskilling to improve future opportunities.
VR 4 Good // Impact
We’ve been busy all year working with various local organisations to improve positive reach and impact of immersive technologies within unrepresented groups or to improve equality, diversity and inclusion across the various areas of development and creation. As covered in previous quarterly updates, we’ve been working with local learning disabilities charity Stay Up Late and GigBuddies. This project culminated in our 5th and 6th venue films, at Brighton Dome and Concord2 respectively, and the Google Daydream Impact team coming over from the US to film a mini-documentary about the process and what we’ve been looking to achieve.
Another local organisation we’ve been working with, Codebar, were welcomed once more to the old studio and then to spread out with greater numbers in the new space, providing mentorships for their members as part of the drive to increase opportunities for a wider background to get into coding and software development.
We also returned to Blind Veterans UK as part of their autumn technology week for members, this time armed with the HTC Vive Pro and wireless adapter, reducing the health & safety risks for registered blind and partially sighted users by removing the cabled tether, whilst also seeing how the increased resolution of the headset improves the visual clarity.
Finally we met with the organisers of industry and education bridging charity Playing Field // IntoGames, looking at how to improve alternative pathways into the games industry away from the traditional, potentially excluding route of university degrees, for low-income and more diverse-background children and young adults who may not have considered the range of roles available.
So another busy quarter wraps up as we prepare to take that break and spend some time away from the studio with friends and family. We will be closed Monday 24th December until Wednesday 2nd January, when we return refreshed and ready for the next year!