iQ3Connect Extends Support to AWS GovCloud to Serve Growing Government Customer Base

iQ3Connect is excited to announce it has expanded support of its extended reality (XR – includes AR / MR/ VR) platform to AWS GovCloud (US) to empower US government agencies to bring their digital assets into immersive multi-user meeting rooms and training experiences. AWS GovCloud (US) Region is an isolated Amazon Web Services environment used by US government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels, along with contractors, researchers, educational institutions, and other US customers. For more information, please visit the AWS GovCloud (US) website.

With iQ3Connect’s GovCloud support, customers now have the ability to collaborate and train via immersive experiences in a federally compliant cloud environment in the same way they are able to do it in AWS Standard Regions, on their server behind their firewall, or on a completely air gapped system. 

Key benefits of iQ3Connect for AWS GovCloud include: 

  • Deploy in Minutes: Deployment of the platform can happen in minutes with users accessing content instantly in a federally compliant cloud environment. All user and content data resides in the customer’s cloud environment to ensure unique data privacy requirements are met.
  • Flexible Administration: The platform can be hosted on a GovCloud instance managed by iQ3Connect or by your team on your native GovCloud environment.
  • Minimal IT Impact: Use your existing devices and hardware already approved by IT to access immersive content. iQ3Connect’s XR experiences are deployed as a website on a standard web-browser and are accessible on any device (laptop, phone, tablet, or AR/VR headset). No special devices are required and zero software/apps to download or manage for users.
  • Business Continuity: Integrate the iQ3Connect platform seamlessly with existing business systems such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Learning Management System (LMS), Single-Sign-On (SSO), or Outlook/email to leverage a single digital thread and source of truth.
  • Instant Updates: Users have instant access to updated training content as procedures evolve.

Looking to use your digital assets more effectively in GovCloud?
Are you interested in learning more about iQ3Connect’s 100% self-service XR platform?
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MIT London Symposium Recap – Addressing XR Scalability Challenges for Workforce Training

iQ3Connect was honored to participate in the MIT London Symposium on ‘Value, Values and Platforms for the Future’ which took place at BT’s One Braham HQ last month. This was the third in a series of events including the MIT Vienna Symposium and the Lloyds Sustainaverse Workshop focused on the impact of emerging technologies in shaping larger world issues that include sustainability, ESG, economic values, and social values. The MIT London Symposium featured industry leaders and government officials, including BT clients and stakeholders, in addition to founders and CEOs of 7 selected startups for a transatlantic innovation showcase, with the stated goal to provide actionable insights to all participants.

Many industry and government participants identified sustainable workforce training, skilled worker retention, and knowledge transfer as some of the most pressing challenges they are facing. Alongside several other emerging technologies, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) were of keen interest, and at times met with a bit of skepticism due to prior poor experiences.

One of the primary hurdles hindering progress in VR and AR (collectively XR) have been the time and cost associated with building and deploying virtual 3D training and collaboration applications, limiting the realization of business and sustainability benefits when virtualizing training operations. Consequently, these benefits have remained limited to a niche set of use cases, particularly in complex industrial contexts that often require expert users and developers for support. The opportunity to solve these problems at a larger scale requires an entirely new modality/platform for virtual training and collaboration.

iQ3Connect had the opportunity to present our approach of tackling this scalability challenge with several innovative technologies and approaches focused on making immersive 3D training and collaboration easy and accessible to regular users just like any productivity tool. These key technologies enable XR experiences to integrate seamlessly into everyday work, empowering manufacturing companies to bridge the skills gap, reduce turnover rates, and cultivate a highly skilled workforce.

Our web-based platform provides simple, global access to iQ3Connect without any need to install software or other applications, enabling anyone, at any time, from anywhere to easily join a virtual training session. Our XR collaborative workspaces can be accessed instantly from any AR, VR, PC, or mobile device, eliminating the need for end-users to have access to specific hardware. Finally, our browser-based Training and Experience Creator makes authoring XR training as easy as creating a slide deck, by providing an intuitive set of no-code tools that empower subject matter experts (or anyone else) to build virtual training modules.   

In summary, the combination of virtual training modules, device agnostic workspaces, and global deployment capabilities makes iQ3Connect a valuable tool for the manufacturing industry, enabling companies to thrive in an evolving landscape and drive success in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.

Discussions from AWE 2023 – Part 1 – Challenges with Industrial XR Deployment

In this two part blog series, we will be detailing key takeaways from AWE 2023. iQ3Connect attended AWE 2023 in Santa Clara, California where we were invited by Jin An of LG NOVA to participate in a main stage presentation on how XR and AI will transform workforce training for industry 4.0. Part 2 of our blog series will cover this presentation and topic in greater detail. At our exhibit space, we had the opportunity to meet with XR leaders from various industries ranging from aerospace to medical devices to higher education. Most faced similar challenges in trying to scale XR to support everyday work processes within their organizations. These challenges fell into 3 main categories, which we have summarized below as Part 1 of our blog series on AWE 2023:

The limitations of XR experience creation using game engines: most of the companies we met had actively developed XR experiences built on game engines using in-house developers or through outside service providers. Regardless of the approach, the cost and time needed to create such experiences prevented further adoption of XR, with many of the XR experiences taking 6+ months to create and costing over $100,000. These companies were searching for a way to more quickly and cost-effectively build and maintain XR content in-house. The speed of the CAD-to-XR pipeline was fundamental to ensuring that XR product training would be available as soon as the product went to market and for providing up-to-date XR design reviews with internal teams, customers, and partners.

Empowering subject matter experts (SMEs) to build XR training: another common thread was the search for tools that would enable SMEs to build XR training. Their current process of PowerPoint training over web conferences wasn’t providing the level of engagement or knowledge retention that was required for trainee success. Existing XR authoring solutions were too complex and time intensive, SMEs needed to create XR training almost as quickly as they could create a slide deck.

Removing barriers to XR deployment and end-user accessibility: the final theme in our discussions focused on the barriers faced by these organizations when trying to scale existing XR experiences. Initial XR PoCs were able to operate outside the production environment and its corresponding IT restrictions and requirements. Once past the PoC phase though, IT and security hurdles severely inhibited deployment of these experiences to the intended audience. Moreover, as the wider audience generally had a more diverse set of XR devices (or in many instances only had PCs or tablets) compared to the PoC users, device incompatibility plagued large scale rollouts, often resulting in complete abandonment of the project.

The organizations we met came to AWE 2023 to find XR solutions that could address these challenges. They were drawn to iQ3Connect’s booth by our web-based platform focused on industrial XR. Our subsequent discussions focused on how iQ3Connect could address such challenges, a brief summary of which is provided below.

iQ3Connect’s web-based XR Training and Collaboration Platform enables teams to collaborate with CAD models in an XR environment (the CAD-to-XR pipeline) in a matter of minutes, while our Training and Experience Creator enables no-code creation of XR training modules so that SMEs can build XR training as easily as they can create a slide deck. Lastly, we remove deployment and accessibility barriers by enabling organizations to deliver XR experiences in a web browser and integrate into existing business tools such as SSO, PLM, or LMS. Users can access these XR experiences on any VR, AR, PC, or mobile device.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our AWE 2023 blog series where we will be discussing our partnership with LG NOVA and our joint presentation on how XR will transform workforce training for Industry 4.0.

Jin An of LG NOVA and the iQ3Connect team at AWE2023

VR for Facilities Integration: Cable Routing and Rack Configuration

iQ3Connect recently partnered with a large facilities management company to solve a time consuming and costly challenge in facility integration: cable routing and cable rack configuration. The complexity of the facilities and the the numerous vendors involved, not only in the construction of the facility itself but also in the provision of the equipment for the facility, consistently leads to changes and/or confusion in the facility plan, from equipment placement to bulkhead/floor penetration sizing, to cable type and cable containment sizing. These constant changes mean that the final cable routing and rack configuration can’t be completed until near the end of the project and require extensive collaboration and field inspections to successfully deliver on time.

Creating a digital copy of the as-built facility through LiDAR scanning provided new opportunities for improving the design process. Scans of critical areas could be completed within hours, with the 3D scan data made available to the engineering team shortly after. However, having just the digital models and data did not allow them to fully realize the improvements to the design process. To do so required a method to visualize the data while designing or updating the cable routing and rack configuration in real-time and in collaboration with other stakeholders.

LiDAR scan of large processing facility. Image and scan data courtesy of MADTECH.

iQ3Connect provided an immediate solution. Our web-based VR/AR collaboration platform enabled our partner to visualize the 3D scan data, simultaneously configure cable racks (CAD models) in real-time, and collaborate with their team and other project stakeholders in an immersive, virtual workspace using only a web browser. While the engineering team had access to VR headsets and could explore the 3D data in a fully immersive environment, other stakeholders could still participate using their PCs or mobile devices and benefit from the real-time collaboration.

Cable racks built in real-time in the iQ3Connect immersive virtual workspace

This new design process was able to reduce the overall time to make decisions on cable routing and rack configuration. Additionally, through our collaboration with our partner, we identified further time-saving opportunities that could be achieved by providing for more accurate and quick alignment of cable racks in the iQ3Connect immersive workspace.

In our latest release, we have built on our capability to seamlessly combine LiDAR scans and CAD data by adding a new feature that enables precise and rapid alignment of CAD objects in the immersive workspace. This will enable teams to more quickly build and modify cable rack configurations on the fly and make adjustments to them as the as-built data changes.

Work of the Future: Collaboration Beyond the Flat Screen

On April 29th, 2021, I had the opportunity to speak about the Work of the Future at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In this blog post, I have summarized my talk “Collaboration Beyond the Flat Screen”, which focused on how virtual reality and augmented reality (collectively referred to as “XR”) will change the nature of remote work and training in enterprises and in the educational world. Before diving into the content, I would like to thank the MIT Industry Liaison Program and the MIT Startup Exchange for inviting me to speak at this event.

COVID upended work processes and work culture as we knew them. This pandemic has accelerated the urgency for digital transformation as business critical travel and face-to-face meetings have ground to a halt. Collaboration tools such as web conferencing have done a remarkable job in filling much of the gaps due to travel disruptions, but they are severely limited in filling the gaps for remote work and remote training when 3D data is involved. Flat (2D) screen sharing cannot replace physical interactions with the world around us. so how can we leverage upcoming technologies like XR to fill the gaps of inherently physical work and training? How can enterprises restore in-person productivity and efficiency without being in-person? And how can we do this in a sustainable way?

At iQ3Connect we are building a new-age, web-based collaboration and training platform capable of virtualizing much of the work, training, and learning that can’t be effectively virtualized by web conferencing or traditional e-learning methods. Our platform is a web-based solution empowering individuals, teams, and enterprises to create, deploy, collaborate, and learn with immersive and interactive 3D content on any VR, AR, PC, or mobile device. We are pushing collaboration beyond the flat screen, while still allowing for flat screen participation. In this way, we make iQ3Connect easy for anyone to use, regardless of which hardware they have, and thus easy for IT to deploy enterprise-wide. Let’s review some key examples of how iQ3Connect is being used to overcome the workplace challenges we all continue to face today and in the foreseeable future.

In this first example we see cross functional teams from different global locations working together in iQ3Connect in the same virtual workspace. The image is deceptively simple, but this is an engineering accurate, 1-to-1 scale digital twin of a production system with 10,000+ components. Each orange band shows the position of a participant. Anyone in this virtual workspace can independently move around, mark up issues, access and pull apart any component in the digital model. Participants can collaborate synchronously or asynchronously if they are working at different times. They are no longer bound by physical prototypes, time, and geographic barriers.

In this second example, we see iQ3Connect being used as a digital classroom for delivering instructor-led product training. As COVID has impacted training and education in physical classrooms, new technologies are needed to replicate the physical training and instruction. With iQ3Connect, subject matter experts, trainers and students are able to curate training and learning experiences without programming knowledge. In addition to instructor-led training, iQ3Connect training modules are being embedded in Learning Management Systems and MooC learning platforms like EdX for enterprise-wide, school-wide, and world-wide distribution. With iQ3Connect these organizations are less dependent on face-to-face learning, and can continue to leverage this technology to reduce travel costs even after travel restrictions have been lifted.

In this third example, iQ3Conenct is being used for live remote support. A technician at a remote site is wearing a Microsoft Hololens and can invite an expert from the home office to remotely assist in order to solve a technical issue. With live remote support, organizations can more readily address issues in the field without having to send in entire teams, and field technicians can easily rely on experts from anywhere in the world.

At iQ3Connect, we are already powering the Work of the Future.


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