Google Maps With Augmented Reality

Google showed off new features for Google Maps at I/O today, including an augmented reality Street View mode to help you follow directions in real time, along with personalized recommendations to help you discover places in your neighborhood.

The new AR features combine Google’s existing Street View and Maps data with a live feed from your phone’s camera to overlay walking directions on top of the real world and help you figure out which way you need to go. It’s a lot like the promises Google had made with the original version of Google Glass, except without the need for wearing an additional AR headset.

In addition to directions, the new AR mode can help identify nearby places, too, and Google is even testing adding a helpful augmented reality animal guide to lead you along the way. It’s not entirely clear yet whether or not this is a tech demo or a product that will end up on our devices in the near future, but it certainly seems like the natural place for Google’s machine vision tech to go.

Maps is also getting a new tab called “For You” that will feature recommendations specifically tailored to you. Google is using a new “match number” system, which will generate a personal score on how much it thinks you’ll like the recommendation based on your past likes and reviews, as well as your saved food preferences. (So, for example, Maps will know that you like ramen, but dislike pizza, and can factor that into its recommendations.)

Google is also adding more social features to Maps, making it possible to share multiple places to friends with a single action, and vote on them together in real time to decide where to go without having to leave the app.

The new social and recommendations features for Maps are set to come to both Android and iOS later this summer, with no release date announced yet for the augmented reality directions.

Soure: Chaim Gartenberg

Corporate Learning Is More Important Than Ever” An Interview with Josh Bersin

In today’s “always-on” workplace, companies should not be afraid to invest in new tools and platforms that deliver the learning people want and aspire for, saysJosh Bersin, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and founder and editor-in- chief of Bersin. “Artificial intelligence, chatbots, video, and virtual and augmented reality will significantly change learning in the years ahead.”

Bersin is the leading provider of research and advisory services focused on corporate learning. More than 60% of the Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For are Bersin members, and more than a million human resources professionals read Bersin research every month.

In this interview, Josh Bersin talks about the transformations that are taking place in the learning & development segment and analyzes the trends and challenges that will shape the future of corporate learning.

What changes have you observed in L&D in the past 10 years?

Ten years ago we were building page-turning e-learning programs and they barely ran on mobile devices. The content was really a “repurpose” of instructor-led training and much of the content development was based on the ADDIE model. We developed the concept of “blended learning” (which is now called “flipped learning”) so people could study online and then attend a class in person. And we had very traditional learning management systems, which arranged content into courses, programs, and curricula.

As social media entered our lives, of course all this changed. Employees and consumers now want bite-sized instructional content (now called “micro-learning”), they want content that is very easy to find, and they want a user experience that feels more like a search engine or a TV set, not a course catalog. We have been trying to build this infrastructure for the last five years, and now in 2018 it’s finally possible. Consumer libraries and many others have accelerated this shift.

According to a survey by Deloitte Consulting LLP, from 2016 to 2017, business and HR leaders’ concern with learning and career development skyrocketed, up by almost 40%. To what do you attribute this growth?

There are two huge drivers of learning today. First, the economy is booming, so companies are hiring, training, and reskilling their people faster than ever. Second, the rate of change in technology, tools, and business practices is breathtaking.

The digital revolution, growth in AI and new algorithms, growth in the use of software, and all the automation at work has forced us all to go “back to school.”

So employees and leaders are very focused on reskilling our people (at all levels) and the appetite for modern, easy to consume learning is enormous.

Photo Josh Bersin, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Founder and editor-in-chief of Bersin

Josh Bersin, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Founder and editor-in-chief of Bersin

How do you foster and build a learning culture within the company? What are the main issues for a company to become a high impact learning organization?

In all the research we’ve done (and we’ve done a lot), we always conclude that no matter how good or weak your learning technology is, it’s culture that matters. When a company has a “culture of learning” – people take time to reflect, they have time to learn, they talk about mistakes in a positive way – people can learn.

While technology-enabled learning is important, it’s not as important as giving people mentors, sponsors, and experts to learn from – and giving them the time, rewards, and environment to learn at work.

Companies that embrace a learning culture can adapt, reorganize, move into new product areas, and grow in a much more sustainable way – and our research proves this.

„While technology-enabled learning is important, it’s not as important as giving people mentors, sponsors, and experts to learn from – and giving them the time, rewards, and environment to learn at work. “ Josh Bersin

What is the key to creating a successful L&D program that really impacts the company results?

I’ve written two books on corporate training and it’s not a simple process. The first step is to really diagnose the problem you’re trying to solve. Is your “sales training” program designed to help people sell? Upsell? Increase new sales? Or increase close rates? The clearer and more prescriptive you are in problem definition the easier it is to really identify the learning objectives and the learning gaps.

Second the designer must use what is now called “design thinking” (we used to call it performance consulting) to understand the learners’ work environment, existing skills, educational background, and managerial environment. A training program alone won’t solve a problem if it doesn’t reinforce and support the entire work environment.

This also means understanding what type of learning experience will really “grab” the employees and get them to pay attention.

And this also involves interviewing people in the role, to see what gaps exist.

Third, the designer must build a set of small, easy to absorb, highly interactive learning experiences, content, and interactivities that drive a learning outcome. This is the instructional design stage, and the designer should be up to date on the latest technologies and approaches. Right now micro-learning, virtual and augmented reality, chatbots and video are really exciting approaches. But often a face to face exercise, simulation, or project is needed.

If you do all this work, and test and iterate on your design, your program will really drive value. I always encourage L&D leaders to evaluate learning by asking employees “would you recommend this?” and “have you used this?” This kind of practical analysis helps you stay grounded in reality, and not spend too much time creating academic content that may not really drive the business result.

Recently you characterized Blackboard as a “Program Experience (Delivery) Platform.” Can you speak more about what that means and how Program Experience (Delivery) Platforms impact business and learning at organizations today?

Yes. Throughout the L&D market companies need platforms to help them design, build, implement and measure their training programs. The original LMS vision was to be this platform, but it really became a learning “management system” and not a true “learning system.”

Today, given the enormous growth in micro and macro forms of online learning, there is a need for a new set of platforms. These include systems that can manage content, administer traditional training, and programs that can bring together instructor facilitated programs (ie. leader-led or instructor-led courses) in high-fidelity programs like onboarding, sales training, customer service training, ethics, and other high consequence programs. Blackboard falls into this category. Where most education has a teacher, Blackboard’s platform provides a solution for training programs that involve an instructor, a subject-matter expert, or a mentor or coach. Many companies need this type of solution, and Blackboard’s specific design can be useful for many training applications.

What are micro and macro-learning and how can companies help employees identify what type of learning they need?

Every learning solution has macro and micro-topics. Fundamentals, background, and theory are always macro or longer-form topics. For example, if you want to learn how to become a Java programmer, you need fundamental education in data structures, syntax, language, and use of the various Java tools. Once you become a programmer and learn how to code, however, you may need lots of “add-on” education which teaches you special techniques, solutions to common problems, and small answers to typical questions in a micro format.

This blend is common in every type of learning. Macro learning is fundamental. Micro-learning is applications, answers to questions, and new applications.

How can companies select and apply technology in a way that truly engage workers in their learning programs?

As I mentioned above, the hot new topic is “learning experience design.” What will it really feel like to take this course or program? Will it fit into the flow of work? Will the learner enjoy it and feel compelled to complete it? Will the learner meet others and feel inspired to create a community from this course? Will it help them move their career goals forward? Will it provide the types of learning (auditory, lecture, example, simulation, virtual reality, video, project, etc.) that the learner enjoys and remembers? Will there be enough “spaced learning” to let the material sink in and really stick? All these questions are independent of the topic, and they represent the excitement and design opportunities for learning leaders to build something truly amazing for their companies.

An oil and gas company I know recently built a 3D virtual world to teach employees about geology, history of rock and sediments, and the different types of chemistry that go into the formation of fossil fuels. The experience is more fascinating than a movie, and extremely memorable. This type of program would be boring in a classroom and probably boring in traditional e-learning, but using virtual reality and 3D animation they made it compelling and very memorable.

You have mentioned in a lecture that companies tend to increasingly reward workers for skills and abilities, not position. At the same time, recent research indicates that people are looking for non-traditional, short-term degrees and certifications. They want to learn specific skills that help them grow and evolve at work. How can corporate learning contribute to that?

Every organization rewards people for their formal education, certificates, and certified skills. But beyond that, real performance is based on an individual’s true abilities, experiences, their natural gifts, and their desire and passion to solve problems. These “non-certifiable” areas of capabilities are what we try to assess in behavioral interviews, reference checks, and on-the-job assessments and exercises. Knowing that someone is “certified” in Sales or Engineering may mean nothing about their actual experience and capabilities in different domains of these fields.

We in L&D have to help recruiters vet this out, and our true learning challenge is to identify these “non-certified” capabilities and skills and teach people to focus on improving in these areas, giving people experiences to learn, and coaching and mentoring people with strong advice on how to improve.

Research indicates that individuals now are working harder and they are more distracted and less productive than ever. In a scenario where employees are overwhelmed by information, how can companies make continuous learning easier?

This just gets back to the topic of experience design and micro-learning. Can you give me “just enough” learning to solve my problem without forcing me to complete a course when I don’t need it? That’s the magic of a modern learning experience today.

What trends will define the future of corporate learning?

In summary, I would say that corporate learning is more important than ever. Today, we have a vast amount of new technology, terminology, and concepts to teach people. But at the same time we want to teach people “how to perform better” – as technical professionals, managers, leaders, or workers. These “performance learning” programs are always custom-designed and need to reflect “what works in your company.” So our job in L&D is to apply all the new technologies and design approaches to making our particular company perform better.

Finally, I would say that artificial intelligence, chatbots, video, and virtual and augmented reality will significantly change learning in the years ahead.

We now have algorithms that can observe what works best, communicate with us in human language, and show us how to do something that might be expensive or dangerous in the real world. I strongly urge L&D professionals to experiment with these new tools, many will become the most powerful technologies and solutions in the future. And of course don’t be afraid to invest in new platforms. Now is the time to look for new platforms that deliver the learning people want and aspire for in today’s “always-on” workplace.

Quick take: Expert on corporate learning, Josh Bersin helps companies prepare for the future of work by investing in their people.

Source: Priscila Zigunovas and Josh Bersin

Perception vs. Reality: Immersive Technologies

1 Perception: Immersive experiences are scripted productions.

Reality:

Early versions of immersive technologies, which include augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), resemble their video game forebears in that they are essentially journeys of discovery through different stages of preprogrammed experiences. We can scale virtual cliffs and mountains while riding a roller coaster or stumble over park benches in pursuit of Pokémon Go characters. However, as immersive technologies become imbued with machine learning and AI, digital experiences will become increasingly multisensory, making them more convincingly “real.” For example, Fast Company reports that surgeons can now practice a procedure using VR with a stylus that simulates the feel of operating on an open knee joint. The AR and VR of the future will gather information from the surrounding physical environment and instantly pass it back to an AI for analysis in order to derive unique, in-the-moment responses to our actions.

2 Perception:  You need bulky equipment.

Reality:

We won’t be wearing those silly goggles forever. As the sensors that pick up data from our movements and speech become smaller, they will be easier to embed in everything. Imagine being in a factory in which every object has a visual overlay that lets you drill into information about that object, handle a digital version of it, or control it remotely. Today, firefighters can wear a smart helmet from Qwake Tech that combines AR technology with a thermal imaging camera. The device outlines the edges of objects (such as doors and stairs) and highlights sources of high heat, enabling firefighters to move through buildings more quickly. Companies including BMW are experimenting with advanced gesture recognition technology that would enable users to control devices without having to touch them. You might soon be able to launch a video chat by waving your hand.

3 Perception: A physical presence is required.

Reality:

For now. But before long, you’ll be able to create a VR avatar that looks like you, that sounds like you, and that can meet with your colleagues’ VR avatars in a realistic virtual space. The technology will likely require a brain-computer interface such as a headset or a brain-implanted chip. Neurable has a prototype software platform to power headset sensors that let users maneuver in VR video games using only their thoughts. Given sufficient computing power and a smart enough AI, you may one day be able to program your VR avatar to participate in a virtual meeting, tour the digital twin of a factory, or attend a keynote speech as your proxy and (theoretically) do a good enough job that your colleagues would never guess it wasn’t actually you. That will raise questions about how to tell if an avatar is being controlled live by a human or operated by a bot—and whether to require the differences be obvious.

Source: Digital Economy

Definition: Augmented reality (AR)

AR is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are „augmented“ by computer-generated perceptual information, ideally across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatasensory, and olfactory.

The overlaid sensory information can be constructive (i.e. additive to the natural environment) or destructive (i.e. masking of the natural environment) and is spatial registered with the physical world such that it is perceived as an immersive aspect of the real environment. In this way, Augmented reality alters one’s current perception of a real world environment, whereas virtual reality replaces the real world environment with a simulated one. Augmented Reality is related to a synonymous term called computer-mediated reality.

Augmented reality is used to enhance the natural environments or situations and offer perceptually enriched experiences. With the help of advanced AR technologies (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the real world. This information can be virtual or real, e.g. seeing other real sensed or measured information such as electromagnetic radio waves overlaid in exact alignment with where they actually are in space.

Augmented reality brings the components of the digital world into a person’s perceived real world. The first functional AR systems that provided immersive mixed reality experiences for users were invented in the early 1990s, starting with the Virtual Fixtures system developed at the U.S. Air Force’s Armstrong Labs in 1992. Another example is an AR helmet for construction workers which display information about the construction sites. reality is also transforming the world of education, where content may be accessed by scanning or viewing an image with a mobile device. Early immersive augmented reality experiences were used in the entertainment and gaming businesses, but now other industries are also getting interested about AR’s possibilities for example in knowledge sharing, educating, managing the information flood and organizing distant meetings.

Augmented reality has a lot of potential in gathering and sharing tacit knowledge. Augmentation techniques are typically performed in real time and in semantic context with environmental elements. Immersive perceptual information is sometimes combined with supplemental information like scores over a live video feed of a sporting event. This combines the benefits of augmented reality technology and heads up display technology (HUD).

Source: Wikipedia