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VRGather - conferencing re-imagined. Virtual offices, workshops, job shows and exhibitions through a virtual reality (VR) platform

Immersive VR conferencing, workshops and training to revolutionise the way education is delivered and defining the new business as usual.

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The world is grappling with what our new normal will be after Corona. What we do know is that this has changed how people are living, learning and working. People are realizing that being physically present is not always necessary and there are avenues to be present without leaving the comfort of your home.

There had already been a massive increase in remote working in South Africa and around the world in recent years. According to Regus.co.za, Worldwide, an average of around 52% of workers telecommute regularly – in South Africa, this figure rises to 56%. Add to that the fear of large gatherings due to Corona, which is not going to dissipate quickly. 

XRGlobal is using exciting mobile technology to enable mobile-based VR and through our VRGather platform we are converging the worlds of XRG (VR, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality) and IOT to merge the digital and physical world, giving digital objects physical characteristics including our true to life avatars and marketplace stands and enabling interactions in the same way people interact in the physical world. 

XRG's VRGather platform is a timely solution allowing remote offices, conferencing and workshops eliminating the need to travel or attend physical events while still enabling physical immersion.

In the same way, parents and students alike are learning that education does not have to be classroom-based. For the most part, education and even skills training has been stagnant for decades. Innovative approaches to improved learning has been discussed with increasing frequency and this pandemic has escalated the desire to look for alternative approaches.

VR has been described as the learning aid of the 21st Century. XRG immerses students and employees in the environment in which they are learning or working, shutting out the outside world and any distractions and enabling interaction within that world creating enhanced presence. 


What is the need are you focusing on?

With the world in lockdown and businesses unable to physically gather their employees, people’s jobs and livelihoods are threatened. Existing video technology is not sufficient to replace workshops of geographically-dispersed teams or internal and external summits some businesses rely on to operate. At the same time, students are unable to participate in classroom learning and traditional e-learning platforms are not sufficient tools for sufficient knowledge retention.

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Sharing an actual pivot your organization has already made

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

VRGather, the virtual meet-up platform can be used through web browser or mobile phone with headsets and a combination of the two. Safe, virtual, with all the bells and whistles of an in-person meet-up from panel discussions, keynote addresses, breakout sessions, one-on-one networking and even designable stands for innovation marketplace or job show exhibitions.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

To measure the effectiveness of VR training, XRG did a baseline study with USAID funded Feed the Future in Rwanda. A control group of agrodealers were provided traditional instructor-led training, these agrodealers had a 5% increase in knowledge retention. The agrodealers trained in VR saw a 45% increase, a 9 fold difference. With Corona we realized the impact we could have in empowering both small training organizations and larger businesses looking for meet up solutions for their geographically dispersed teams', to have a technology to keep business going. We saw how XRG could bridge the gap between the old business as usual model and the new version during and after this pandemic. We re-prioritized to enable businesses to continue their work and in some cases increase the effectiveness of their work on the training side, so the people working for them could retain their jobs and livelihoods. VRGather will be launched next month and there is currently a waitlist for demos.

What is the name of your business or organization?

XRGlobal is our company that is transforming training and education across Africa through VR, Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) solutions . VRGather is an XRGlobal product which is our virtual conferencing and workshop platform, developed since Covid as a requested pivot by partner businesses.

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

XRGlobal's (https://xrglobalconsulting.com/) mission is to transform how training and education are provided to students, by upending traditional tactics and immersing trainees in the environment in which they are learning, through VR, AR and MR solutions. Our team of developers, subject matter experts, and instructional systems designers create immersive experiences with multi-sensory methods to remember, enjoy, and replicate learnings. This interactive methodology has a proven track record for significantly increased knowledge retention and through continued testing and a smart data-driven approach, XRG improves with each module. Beneficiaries are individuals needing skills development training, customers are training organizations.

What is your profession?

Social entrepreneur with nearly 2 decades of experience in sustainable development in Africa mainly in healthcare, agriculture and financial inclusion

Where are you located (country)?

South Africa

Where are you located (region)?

  • Southern Africa

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Academia/Research
  • Agriculture/Farming
  • Business/Consulting
  • Customer Experience/Service
  • Education
  • Entrepreneur/Investor
  • Technology

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • Less than 1 year old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

Yes. We would love to have support and access to IDEO's large network as we believe the use case for creating a new business as usual is global not just in Southern Africa. We also are hoping to access funding partners such as Vodafone or other interested parties.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Time and capacity! We are self funding VRGather and have limited access to our developers until we can bring them on full time. We have some small barriers technology-wise that we are working through such as full use of bi-directional audio, but that is close to being sorted. We also have a challenge in terms of the lockdown and ability to deliver our cheap headsets. We have built VRGather to also enable use through the web browser but ideally want to enable the VR capabilities. We have small manufacturers of our branded headsets that construct and ship across South Africa for less than 10 USD. We have identified other companies who make cheap headsets across multiple other countries which should be able to deliver to those requiring them.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

We have been working for two months on VRGather and we have learned that the desire and need for VR conferencing, workshops and teaching is significant! We have everyone from lecturers from Oxford, SBS, University of Stellenbosch contacting us to event companies to small training businesses and large global FinTechs all waiting for demos and access to the platform. We have learned it's all about our capacity to deliver and as we are self-funding all of this, it's challenging to ramp up the development speed. We do have a pilot workshop scheduled for mid May!

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

We are checking out support initiatives but have not yet participated.

Website URL

https://www.vrgather.com/home https://xrglobalconsulting.com/

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So are we! However there are already a plethora of studies out there saying the same thing.. check this one out https://umdrightnow.umd.edu/news/people-recall-information-better-through-virtual-reality-says-new-umd-study

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