Digital Skills for a New World

The emerging health scenario continues to be a concern and is beginning to impact education-related decisions in a big way. Things are not going to be the same for sure! Work from home has also come to mean learning at home. This is a new way ahead. 

From a technology standpoint, the following will become even more important

  • Digital safety and security 
  • Cloud-first service infrastructure that enables people and companies to reconnect with customers in new ways
  • Realtime3D or Interactive 3D will bring about a rapid transformation in how we experience things

Digital Safety and Security

“We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months. From remote teamwork and learning to sales and customer service, to critical cloud infrastructure and security” – Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. Now the need for enhancing our digital safety practices becomes even more critical.  It is true both for us and our families plus companies and their teams. It means putting in place best practices for digital safety. This will mean specialised services and trained professionals in cyber security who guide and support companies.

Cloud First Services

If the office or educational institution is closed or is going to operate in a mixed-mode, then the technology model has to adapt to offer business or learning applications wherever the user may be. If a business professional cannot fly to meet clients or if a student needs to learn skills that were taught in only classroom mode, it is an opportunity to rethink our approach. The cloud helps build a new experience for the business. They can build business applications like product catalogues that can be connected to their customer management systems, maybe drop or ship a music instrument to a student who wants to learn and this is in turn connected via the cloud to the learning management system of the educational institution. You will soon see a rapid change in every aspect of our lives. The cloud will drive this. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud solutions, internet of things are not merely buzzwords but an essential aspect of the new businesses of the future

I am going to write more on these points in greater detail, but this is really about the point we are going to discuss now. 

Realtime, Interactive and 3D

The emerging digital future is not just going to be video conferences and discussions. This is simply the first tentative step where we have taken to a different way of interactions. We are going to experience learning, entertainment, culture, health and work in a fundamentally different way. This world did not emerge overnight but just like everything else the need has gotten accelerated and you will see a lot more work taking place now. Now people are paying more attention to this work and willing it to succeed. 

The popular game, Fortnite, has recently played host to musicians who held concerts or launched a song in the game experience. Recently it was Travis Scott’s song experience, before that it was Marshmello’s concert. The coverage seems to talk about a fairly impressive number of people experiencing the event. The game is planning an event where 350 Million people are expected to participate. Compare that with the biggest stadium in the world! 

At a personal level, the striking aspect of the recent NASA expedition was that I watched it live with a group of professionals in a video call. The live coverage from launch to the astronaut capsule reaching low earth orbit provided an insight on how future launches and missions are going to be available for us to see. There were real-time 3D dashboards but also reasonably stable uplink and downlink of video which was being discussed in our video meeting. I wonder how people experienced this and what the future of space exploration and collaboration is going to be in the future.

Apple has been a consistent advocate of the AR experience, but it is likely to launch a sort of an integrated mixed reality device for the eyes. Perhaps as a precursor to this and continuing their AR-related work, the company introduced a range of iPad Pros that have Lidar capability built into their platform and camera. This will significantly enhance the AR experience at the very least. HoloLens, by Microsoft, on the other hand, is enterprise-focused and has been extensively detailed features and experiences in customer service, training, their linkage in the Dynamics 365 platform, Microsoft Graph and more specifically Teams. In the current situation, Hololens and other mixed reality devices indeed open up new ways of collaborating, learning and new service experiences.

The state of flux in platform standards is now beginning to settle down. The era of design and develop once and deploy more than once is just around the corner. Technology companies are working towards development environments that allow for faster development of AR/VR and Mixed Reality experiences. ‘A real- time engine is the software needed to power these immersive experiences and where lighting, materials, physics, artificial intelligence (AI), user interaction, audio, animation, VFX, cinematics, and more can be added. The result is not a simple image or video, but a 3D world that you can explore and interact with. As you move around, your view of the world changes and you get to see different things— as though you’ve stepped inside a film.’ This description is from Unreal Engine. Unity , AWS Sumerian, Azure Mixed Reality are some of the other platforms to build a new world of experiences.

I have been exploring these engines and some others while trying to map platforms, engines and use cases like volumetric capture, photogrammetry and more. Some of the use cases are in the following  sectors; it  is clear that Realtime 3D is going to make more of an impact 

•      Games, E-entertainment

•      Architecture, Engineering, Construction

•      Automotive and Transportation

•      Broadcast and Live events

•      Films, Animation, Cinematics

•      Training and Simulation

•      Pharma, Retail

Finally, the companies that decided to defer investments in these platforms last year will likely need to accelerate the roll-out of these contactless experiences now.

Photo by Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash