Last year, a Vancouver startup went through the Chevron Technology Ventures Catalyst program, which is designed to accelerate the development of breakthrough technologies and solutions that can potentially shape the future of the energy industry.
Founded in 2008 as an immersive gaming studio, today Motive.io aims to revolutionize how companies train employees—within the energy sector and beyond—by providing realistic and interactive simulations that allow learners to practice skills in a safe and controlled environment.
The BC firm believes that virtual reality-based training procedures can benefit a wide array of workers, whether they are training for hands-on work or cultivating soft skills.
A big name that is in the process of adopting this modern approach to corporate training is Colorado’s Ent Credit Union.
Managing US$10 billion in assets, Ent has a sizeable workforce (well over 1,000), and is looking to train its teams more effectively and more efficiently.
“We’re really trying to . . . use modern technology because the people we hire use modern technology in their day to day lives,” Lori Benton, vice president of learning and cultural enrichment at Ent Credit Union, informed American Banker.
Benton says VR has benefits over traditional training methods, especially at it pertains to handling risk.
“The really cool piece about VR is that they get to play and . . . figure out where their mistakes were without it being high risk,” Benton said.
“Allow your employees to practice difficult conversations and interactions in a risk-free environment,” Motive.io states online. “Using true conversational AI allows trainees to speak naturally and see the consequences of their chosen words play out in real time.”
The low-risk technology is also thoroughly tailored. Vancouver’s Aequilibrium—which utilizes Motive’s software—deployed consultants to gather data on skills and software scenarios specific to financial institutions.
Scenarios are then played out in virtual reality using the cross-platform Unity game engine, while Microsoft’s Azure AI platform plays a role in the development of conversational assets, according to American Banker.
Marnie Gerkhardt, director of learning innovation at Ent, believes that augmented and mixed reality training modules can deliver a more consistent experience to onboarding employees than traditional training, which may vary widely based on who is conducting the training.
“Depending on who facilitates the training, you can get a varied experience,” she told AB. “With the virtual reality tool, it’s a fairly consistent experience—so it can build that consistency with the responses and the behaviours within our teams.”
Other financial institutions leveraging virtual reality to train employees include Bank of America and, in Canada, TD Bank Group.
Motive.io’s simulation training has also assisted other organizations and groups, including University of British Columbia medical students completing their residencies at B.C. Women’s Hospital.