BT is launching Immersive Spaces, a 5G-enabled solution that simulates real-life situations to improve business learning and development.
The solution is launched in partnership with immersive learning spaces provider Immersive Interactive, and the rooms are connected to the EE mobile network. The interactive environments can be simulated within an internal or external room or mobile unit, and the rooms are set up using cameras and HD projectors to bring a fully 360-degree experience to life across the space’s walls and floor.
Each space includes a library of more than 3,000 virtual scenarios, real-life environments, games and training experiences. The spaces are also compatible with VR, AR and XR technologies to empower the user experience. Users can interact with real-life or imagined scenarios and incorporate sensory interactivity, evolving the virtual experience with lights, sounds, and smells.
Alex Foster, Director at Division X – BT’s Business Innovation team, commented: “Immersive Spaces bring together EE’s unrivalled connectivity with the very best immersive tech – combining the real and digital worlds to create new benefits for business and public sector organisations.”
This technology has the potential to be a game changer for training and development in any industry. Putting the power of immersive content into the hands of customers allows people to experience learning in a completely new way that is targeted specifically to their needs – which can significantly improve information retention and problem-solving skills.”
Immersive Spaces’ versatility intends to provide use cases across multiple industries. BT’s product announcement cited early demand for training and development use cases across education, healthcare, retail, transport, tourism, construction and sport with immersive experiences inside operating theatres, buses, warehouses, supermarkets, building sites and arenas.
BT mentioned one specific use case as training paramedics in a simulated roadside accident scene or hospital ward.
“It can also enrich remote sales experiences,” Foster added, a key selling point for many businesses, “and transport people virtually to any location, anywhere, during any point in history.”
Immersive Spaces is the first solution in the UK to enable customers to edit and create their interactive content, with the option to film, edit and live stream their own videos using a 360-degree camera.
Being fully supported by EE’s 4G and 5G network, users can live stream experiences from a real-life location into the Immersive Space. They can also download and store content over 4G or fixed fibre.
End Users Already Reaping the Rewards
There are several Immersive Spaces customers already taking advantage of the solution. These include Cadoxton Primary School in South Wales and Borders College in Galashiels, Scotland. They are leveraging the technology to create immersive classrooms.
BT cited one example of construction students at Borders College. Previously, they could not access large-scale inner-city developments to learn, but they can now learn from the construction environment using Immersive Experiences.
“Our students will be able to learn from wide-ranging developments, which is incredibly important in helping them to navigate their career opportunities and understand where their preferences lie in this diverse sector,” said David Lowe, Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Sustainability at Borders College. “As lecturers, it will give us far more agility to update our courses as new practices and techniques enter the market, which will unlock a wider and ‘green’ range of skills among students.”
Customers are provided with an end-to-end service by BT, including the building and preparing of Immersive Spaces, the 360-degree video equipment, and training and guidance on using the spaces.
Immersive Spaces are the Theme of the Week
BT wasn’t the only vendor to make significant announcements about immersive spaces this week.
Microsoft announced immersive spaces for Teams at this week’s Build, empowering users to make meetings more engaging by injecting “a sense of natural co-presence”.
Powered by Mesh, Microsoft‘s holographic virtual collaboration platform, users can now access the immersive spaces feature through a PC or VR headset. Users can connect with other participants whether they join a Teams meeting using video, as a virtual avatar or in the immersive space directly.
BT and Microsoft’s immersive spaces offerings fulfil the growing appetite for immersive collaboration solutions, whether through learning and development as illustrated by BT or through more engaging meeting spaces as exemplified by Microsoft’s product.
Extended reality hardware, virtual avatars and identities, spatial audio and haptic feedback, and real-time collaboration tools all comprise innovative technology for creating deeper and more immersive learning and collaborative experiences.