VR Education launches Engage virtual training platform
Firm also signs partnerships with Nokia, Shenandoah University
David Whelan, CEO and Sandra Whelan, COO, of VR education. Photograph: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic
Technology company VR Education has launched its virtual learning and corporate training platform Engage.
The Waterford-based firm is targeting education and corporate training markets, with Engage Education and Engage Enterprise, and has signed partnerships with Nokia and Shenandoah University. Content developed through VR Education’s partnership with the BBC, the University of Bristol, the University of Oxford and the University of New Haven is already available on the new platform.
The company raised £6 million through its IPO earlier this year, intending on investing some of the proceeds in Engage’s development. The platform has been in development since 2015, and is intended to tap into the trend for massive open online courses (MOOCs) while overcoming some of the limitations, bringing face to face education to different environments and geographical locations.
Engage allows users to create lessons and presentations with others from around the world.
“Specifically, the group believes that there is a significant opportunity for widespread adoption of VR in the education and corporate training space and believes that the Engage platform is well suited to overcome certain current challenges and limitations,” the company said in a statement.
Those limitations include space restrictions in classes at physical locations, the limited interaction between students and teachers offered by traditional online education methods, low completion rates of online courses, geographical locations of students and teacher, and the rising costs of education.
The platform will have some free content, but will also offer subscription and revenue sharing models for educators and corporate users.
Chief executive David Whelan said it was a “transformational moment” for the company, and is the result of “many years of hard work, cutting edge research and innovation”.
“Although significant revenues are not expected to be generated from the Engage platform until general adoption of VR and AR increases over the next two to three years, I am nonetheless delighted that both Nokia and Shenandoah University have signed commercial agreements. Being aligned to global leaders like these institutions demonstrates the potential and need for the platform,” he said.
“People today all over the world say let’s Skype when talking about online communications and meetings. In the future we want people to say let’s Engage and enter VR to communicate in a more natural way.”
The training platform is now available for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality devices. The mobile version of Engage will be available early next year for the Oculus Go, Vive Focus and selected Google DayDream devices.