We interviewed Mattia Crespi, CEO and Founder of Qbit Technologies, Research Affiliate of the Institute For The Future, and Member of the NATO ACT Innovation Hub. Qbit Technologies Inc is an award-winning Palo Alto Start-up founded in 2013 that develops Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions for enterprises. Mattia explained us how VR solutions are being adopted by companies not only for training purposes but also for e-commerce and for conferencing, what are current blockers and how these technologies are evolving and will give birth to a 3D workspace.
What are the growing business applications of Virtual and Augmented reality?
Virtual Reality (VR) is mostly used for training purposes. Demand for e-commerce is growing: compared to a traditional online store, 3D stores allow customers to evaluate products, try them and have a social shopping experience with their friends. 3D Conferencing is another growing area of application: people can arrange a meeting or an event in online 3D collaboration environments.
Augmented Reality (AR) is frequently used for maintenance, assembly and quality controls, plus to amaze customers during events.
What are some interesting projects you have recently developed using VR technologies?
Among our clients there are large industrial companies, retailers, system integrators and also universities (mostly American).
We have driven several pilot projects that have contributed to increase the understanding of these technologies and measure their results. Recently we’ve developed an oil well simulator for the UND (University of North Dakota). We also created several VR english courses both for universities and companies. In the 3D conferencing area, we also developed a collaboration space for Ventura Spa: it consists of an online platform for meetings and virtual events that allow people to connect from different geographic areas and to meet in real-time; using virtual spaces, people can connect, share presentations and work on 3D models.
3D conferencing systems allow companies to achieve consistent costs savings.
How long does it take to develop a VR simulation and which professionals take part in the development phase?
On average it takes 3 months to develop a VR project. Typically our clients don’t know how to start developing these projects, they ask a lot of questions and we need to explain how it works: they are guided throughout an interview process so that we can define their needs (e.g. what devices are more suitable to their needs, if the experience is multi-user ecc.). Multiple professionals work on the development of a VR simulation (mainly graphics, 3D modelers, UI designers and programmers etc).
What are advantages VR technologies give to companies?
Lower costs and shorter leaning times are the main advantages. Moreover, they empower companies to measure results more accurately: since people are immersed in a digital environment, every action can be detected. Virtual reality (VR) allows companies to simulate dangerous situations that cannot be reproduces in the reality (e.g. explosions, crashes, natural disasters).
In your view, what are the main barriers to adoption to this kind of technologies?
Costs and usability are the main barriers to adoption. Technologies are still at the beginning: for instance, for AR an appropriate headset is still missing.
AR and VR are protagonists of a trend in network evolution. Network is increasingly becoming more environmental and tridimensional: immersive technologies allow to display environmental reality. We are testimonials of a trend that sees screens dying and the birth of a 3D workspace.