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Virtual and Augmented Reality for Professional Training

In past posts, we have already explored how virtual reality and augmented reality have been used successfully in diverse ways. Some examples include video games that offer more exciting experiences, and online services that allow you to take a look at how certain objects, like furniture, might fit into your space before you buy them.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have also been used in business contexts with multiple purposes. One example comes from real estate, a sector which takes advantage of this technology to offer virtual tours from the comfort of your mobile phone or computer. In the automobile industry, this technology helps evaluate design decisions for new vehicles without having to physically build a prototype.

Besides these fascinating functions, this technology also lends itself to decreasing the time and cost associated with onboarding new personnel, training factory employees, and even educating students. It makes it possible to create a computer-generated environment in which the user can to interact with diverse objects, and virtual scenarios. This helps them acquire the competencies necessary for the job by putting their acquired knowledge to use. The virtual experience is a simulacrum for real experience that does not implicate high expenses, or the resources that traditional training programs require.

In fact, you can develop as many environments as you need. The great potential comes from being able to explore any number of potential scenarios without having to physically be in a particular place, and without having to actually live through a specific situation.

Virtual and augmented reality training and capacitation programs are currently being used in industrial and military contexts, where users can gain experience in dealing with high-risk scenarios without being in real danger. This allows them to discover and get to know their psychological and physical reactions, investigate them and learn to control them when they are confronted with a high-risk situation in real life.

In an academic environment, this technology makes it possible for students to comprehend concepts, processes, and even historical events by living them in a “realistic” way. This makes is easier for them to recognize patterns, and gain realistic experiences. Knowledge is acquired by giving students the opportunity to be an active participant in the kinds of scenarios that are important or relevant to their field.

VideoAugmented reality could change traditional education

In the area of biomedical sciences, this technology is being used to train paramedics, nurses, and doctors in emergency situations. These virtual experiences increase their ability to give diagnoses, time their reactions, and make better decisions in real-life situations thanks to simulated experiences. Clearly, it is easier, quicker and safer to acquire this knowledge in virtual scenarios. Surgeons can visualize, and even manipulate, structures and organs in virtual scenarios, giving them surgical experience that strengthens their dexterity and precision when operating in real life.

 Video: Virtual reality in the operating room to train a future surgeon 

Specifically, for professionals in the area of clinical psychology, it is possible to use this technology for treating patients dealing with various expressions of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Mood Disorders (like Depression), phobias, addictions, and the list goes on. It has also been used to treat pain, as well as social disorders, and communications skills.

In the case of police corps, the use of virtual and augmented reality training makes it possible for training officers to practice their reactions in high-risk situations. This includes training responsible use of fire arms, developing negotiation skills, managing with rescue missions, and dealing with dangerous criminals. In general, they can develop their capacity to react adequately to any given situation, learning to manage stress, fear and impulse-control without compromising their physical integrity like in traditional training methods of the past. Once this kind of training is complete, the officers are much more efficient on the ground.

Video: School of Police Officers Through Virtual Reality

All of these options are only examples of the uses of Virtual and Augmented Reality in the areas of skills training and development. The range of possibilities is rather endless when it comes to other fields, This is why the potential of this technology so exciting.

Besides the advantage of providing safe scenarios for training, and the possibility to learn in different places and situations without moving your geographical position, one of the main attractions of this technology is its ability to offer personalized training. Depending on the participant, different priorities can be established, the speed through which training units are completed can vary, as can criteria for “passing” levels, etc. This leads to significant cost reduction. One system can be used indefinitely to train as many people as possible, as often as necessary.

What about you? What kind of training or education does your team need? Do you have ideas about how your business can benefit from using virtual and augmented reality for training purposes?

In Pixzelle Studio, we are dedicated to continuous training and development, which is why we are very enthusiastic to learn about your idea. We would be glad to assess your needs, and support the development of solutions that will work for you. Follow the link.

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How do I know what my app needs? Part 2

PHASE 2: DEVELOP THE APP

At this pointyou know what you want, and we can get on to actually making it happen!

Thanks to your document describing and defining everything your app needs, the system should be ready to go. However, your development team may need to approach you to clarify doubts or get more specific about a particular aspect. It is always possible to forget certain details. Likewise, some aspects may need to be adjusted as the development process carries on.

Please keep in mind: just because you have closed the “deal”, does not mean you will see immediate results. Depending on the scope, developing an app takes a lot of time. So, let some time go by and relax. It is possible you won’t see any tangible signs of your app until the third or fourth week. At this point, you can evaluate whether it is coming along as you expected. At the beginning phases, it is all a blueprint of the final result. Think of a finished app like a finished house. What you see is the end result, and not how or when they wired the electricity, installed the plumbing etc.

At this stage, we take care of everything that has to do with design, programming, implementation, creating backgrounds, and launching internal trials.

PHASE 3: SYSTEM TRIALS

Your product is complete. Great, right!? And you can’t wait to release it to the public. Wait!Before you do that, it is extremely important to conduct some trials. Never launch a system to the public before doing the corresponding tests and trials.

Every company will do their best to deliver a system that works and delivers the pre-defined scope of work. But no system is infallible. It is very likely that something went wrong along the way. It could be that there is an aspect that wasn’t contemplated, or the circumstances of your business have changed since development began. In this case, we highly recommend that you put together a testing-team to put the app through rigorous and realistic trials before launching it.

We, for instance, offer a 3-month guarantee once we have delivered your finished app. However, this does not mean that we know something is going to go wrong and that we are going to fix it after handing it in, or that we did not leave enough time to finish. Simply put, it means that our experience has taught us to anticipate errors: we are human, and the client might change their mind, or we might make mistakes along the way.

PHASE 4: USER FEEDBACK

Once you have conducted all the necessary trials, and your app has been live for a few weeks or months, it is good practice to listen to your end users.

Surely, your original idea has fixed the problem it set out to solve, but... What happens if this can be done in a simpler way? Or, how about if a certain screen lacks information, or some data is not necessary, or if a certain sequence of commands could be different?

These are the kinds of things your end users are going to notice and tell you about. And this does not mean that your App is not good. It is simply natural that you did not contemplate everything, or had not imagined certain thing being issues for your users. Ultimately, listening to your users, and reacting to their experience of the app is the best thing you can do to keep it fresh and relevant in the future.

Never stop listening to your users, and always try to respond to their questions and concerns about the app. After all, they are the ones using your app, and they will know what it is missing, or how it can improve.

PHASE 5: APP MONITORING

Your app has been developed, and it works! Now what? Now comes the maintenance, or further development of features that did not fit in to the first launch. Perhaps there are some changes to be made once you have done some listening.

Remember that our world is changing rapidly. Each year, and every couple of months, there are new releases and changes, new operating systems, new devices, new hardware, etc. No one knows for sure how these developments might affect your app. This is why we recommend you give your app constant maintenance. This will benefit you and your users. They will be thankful every time you improve, and add new features to your app.

We hope that these steps have given you a clear idea of how to develop your app as a complete system that can offer you and your business a great future.

Pixzelle Studio is happy to help you make your project dreams come true. Have you defined your idea for an app for us to look through it? Send it to us, and get a quote here

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How do I know what my app needs? Part 1

As you may remember from a few months ago on this blog [link], you know that having an app is an essential element of building your company’s presence and reaching your customers directly. But, how do you know what your app really needs? What information do you need to take your idea for an app and make it a reality?

It is a little bit more complex than it seems because it requires a lot of time and compromise. No worries, today I am going to take your through the five phases of the creation process. You will see, when you are working with experts like us, everything is pretty easy. It makes it clear and simple for you, your investors, and the stakeholders involved in making your app a reality.

PHASE 1: DEFINITION

First of all, you need to define your idea. Thus,the most important questions to answer are: What is your app for? How will it help you and your customers?

It is important to describe your ideas, and write down all the relevant information – really anything that comes up – in a document dedicated exclusively to the project. This will make it easier for the team to understand what you need when it comes time to develop your app. Be as specific as possible. Include all your ideas.

We recommend you consider the following aspects:

- Document version: It is amazing how many times an idea can change. It is best to keep track of all the elements and changes in one document, so that whoever has to read it has the latest and most recent version of the project.

- Introduction: Start your document with a small summary of what you need your app to do.Your key questions: What do I need? Why? What for?

- Background: Describe the problems that this app should help solve. Key question: How will this app offer a solution to a need?

- Objective: It is very important to define what you expect to accomplish with your app, and how precisely it will solve your problem (background). Key question: How will this help/benefit the company/the customer?

- Scope: Don’t forget to define the scope of this app. Key questions: How far does this app have to go? What are the development phases? Which features does it need to have now? Which can be developed later?

- Describe the features: A feature is a section of the app, or part of the system that fulfills a specific task, and delivers a particular result. This is why it is important to define each function of the app in detail. Your key question: Which tasks will my app carry out?

- Technological requirements: It is essential to define the technological requirements in order to develop your app. Key questions: Will you use exclusive hardware? Who is the target audience? Who will analyze the results? Evidently, it is very important to cover all the necessary parts (mobile app, web admin, backend, hosting), and specify the external systems you would like to use, such as online payment systems, mobile notifications, SMS integration, maps integration, etc.

- Design requirements: Please definewho will take care of the design and graphic elements of your app. Many people do not know that it is very important to determine how your app should look. Designers are not “magicians”. They can perform wonders with the right set of instructions and a clearly defined vision. Remember:"You do not get a second chance to make a good first impression." Your design and image are very important to your potential clients. Do not doubt allotting a part of your budget to this important aspect of your app. Experts, like us, can recommend a design scheme or designer so your app makes that excellent first impression your users expect.

- Budget: It is very important to define the maximum budget you can assign to the creation of your app. Quite often, the budget is not enough for everything your app needs from the beginning. But, don’t worry! You can always divide the process into phases, or even versions. You can release a first version of your app, and then continue developing it, or adding features once you have a higher budget. If you have no idea what it costs to develop an app, you can lean on your development team for a realistic estimate, and make your current budget clear so they can base their estimate around it.

- Business rules: Please consider all the different rules and/or standards that should apply to the different features.

- Risks: Finally, define whether there are any risks in creating your app in order to anticipate them, address them, and avoid them!

All of the above is the first part of a complex process that helps us discover and define what we need for our app. In our next post, we will discuss the remaining phases in the development cycle of an app.

If you have any questions or you want to get a quote of an App, we can help you.

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