Gronstedt Group boosts performance with pixelated practice spaces that mirror employees' real-life workplaces. We custom-develop multi-player, cross-platform spatial learning programs where employees are up-skilling and re-skilling through intense, deliberate practice at the edge of their comfort zones with feedback loops, and unlimited re-dos. Recent success stories:
• Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Takeda, and Novartis staff learn life-saving skills in our VR pharma labs
• Global HVAC leader Daikin visualizes competitive advantages with X-ray vision inside its equipment
• Walmart and Dollar General associates hone their business acumen in SIMS-style store games
Our 3D simulations may be virtual, but the positive business outcomes are real: reducing training costs, elevating job performance, and boosting engagement at scale. Our industry-leading clients are reimagining learning around experiential and visceral assumptions we once could only dream about.
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Demo Available on ArborXR
Device Compatibility: Meta Quest
Upon entering the pharma lab, turn to the left of the biosafety cabinet and click “Start Tutorial” for an introduction to our step-by-step skills training. Explore “Reset Sandbox” to play around with the medicine bottles and syringes in the biosafety cabinet.
Experience shared presence with colleagues by turning to the board on the right of the cabinet. Click on “Begin multi-user connection,” grant microphone access, and navigate the menu to either join or initiate a session. We’re happy to meet up with you in VR from the Gronstedt Group, just email us at [email protected].
We hope it will inspire you to contact us at the Gronstedt Group to discuss how we can elevate your performance.
TRANSFORMING CELL AND GENE THERAPY TRAINING WITH VR AT TAKEDA, NOVARTIS, AND BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB
Cell and gene therapies, which hold great promise for the treatment of diseases like cancer and diabetes, are the next wave of life science innovation. Manufacturing these highly customized therapies is a labor-intensive process that requires an extremely high level of learning innovation. With more lab technicians to train than instructors and training labs available, cell and gene therapy leaders Takeda, Novartis, and Bristol Myers Squibb turned to Gronstedt group to develop VR simulations. Recruits practice crucial life-saving skills in our failsafe, real-time rendered cleanrooms deployed on reality-bending high-quality headsets that cost less than an airline flight.
“We use VR simulators to train cleanroom technicians on aseptic processes, equipment operation, and laboratory manipulations,” says Brian Kesselmeyer, Associate Technical Director and Cell Therapy Capability Center Lead at Bristol Myers Squibb. “It’s ushering in a new era of experiential learning that promises to upend recruitment, selection, and training in life science as we know it.”
Unlike traditional pharma manufacturing (pills, infusions), cell and gene therapies are made to order. Patient cells or genes must be painstakingly purified and modified for weeks in labs before being injected back into the patient. Mistakes have life-and-death consequences, and every worker is shadowed by a quality reviewer. As much as 25% of CAR T cell therapy expense is driven by labor. Training operators to make these personalized medicines dependably, without taking physical lab space or subject matter experts away from production, is a billion-dollar challenge. One solution: what if we could recreate physical cleanrooms with interactive, photo-realistic digital versions?
BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB CELL THERAPY VR CLEANROOM
Bristol Myers Squibb cell therapy lab techs, working from literally anywhere in the world, don a VR headset and dive into an immersive, high-fidelity cleanroom of such convincing verisimilitude that they feel like they’re actually there. The pharma leader selected Gronstedt Group after an exhaustive search including over 15 vendors. “They can practice gowning and gloving, sterile tube welding and sealing, first air rule and aseptic practices in a virtual lab,” says Elissa Hoehn, consultant for the Cell Therapy Capability Center at Bristol Myers Squibb. “Moving seamlessly from the real to the digital realms, they can build muscle memory before they even put a foot in the training lab,” she says. The simulation starts in the Learning Level, which is built on step-by-step video tutorials, feedback, and guided practice. Next, students move on to the Practice Level, which mimics the real-life working experience (i.e., no handholding). Techs can rehearse techniques over and over to hone skills in preparation for their manufacturing qualification in a physical training lab. VR simulations build mastery by offering deliberate practice at the edge of users’ comfort zones. When they get it wrong, the sim resets so they can try that step again. There are unlimited re-dos in the metaverse.
VR training saves not only trainer and lab time, but also slashes the use of consumables (gowning and personal protective equipment, plastic bags and tubing, media and chemicals) that would otherwise end up in landfills or burned as biohazardous waste.
TAKEDA’S MULTI-USER SIMULATION
Takeda is piloting a shared virtual cell therapy manufacturing facility for up to eight students and instructors with the Gronstedt Group. They can interact seamlessly, talk to each other, and learn with and from each other in the performance environment. “Multi-user VR simulations elevate the learning experience by providing the sensation of working shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues, just like in real life,” says Ted Lehman, Associate Director of Takeda Cell Therapy. “Students can conduct collaborative tasks, handing each other equipment and inspecting each other’s work, for instance.” Succeeding and failing together, the cohort learns with and from each other in the performance environment and builds trust.”
NOVARTIS VR PIONEER
Novartis pioneered virtual reality training for its CAR T cell therapy manufacturing with the Gronstedt group five years ago. “The sensory experiences of touch, vision, and sound are incredibly convincing,” says Steve Sitek, Head of Talent, OD, Inclusion, Learning at Novartis Gene Therapies. “For instance, when users spray their hands with an antiseptic cleaner, both hands feel a slight vibration through the hand controllers and they hear the spray bottle in the headset. The brain suspends disbelief and generates a sense that their hands are actually being sprayed.” Hand and body tracking in the sims measure if the students’ hands are angled correctly so as to not interrupt airflow in the biosafety cabinet.
It would make Aristotle proud. Educational theorists as far back as the ancient Greece philosopher have pointed out that we cannot learn what we have not experienced. This is a critical time to reimagine life science training around an assumption of constructivist and visceral learning we once could only dream about. Today, Novartis is even developing VR to train manufacturing personnel of another innovative cancer treatment: radiopharmaceutical therapies. Operators practice working in glove boxes with radioactive medication in a safe virtual environment, just like pilots practice flying in a flight simulator.
A VR LEARNING PARTNER
Developing these 3D immersive simulations is a complex and iterative process that marries the artistry and tech wizardry of virtual reality and game development with learning design and subject matter expertise. BMS, Takeda, and Novartis turned to Gronstedt Group to bring their learning vision into the metaverse. A strategic VR partner can help identify high-value opportunities, build the business case, overcome obstacles, bring your concepts to (virtual) reality, and scale them across the enterprise with single sign-on and student LMS reporting.
A third of all therapies are soon expected to be cell- and gene-based. Under pressure from regulators to prove that the products given to patients is the same as the ones tested in clinical trials, the industry needs to invest in completely new manufacturing training models. Traditional new drug reviews focused 80% on clinical and 20% on manufacturing controls, but that proportion is now inverted. Developers must prove that they’re effectively training staff to consistently manufacture these highly customized therapies. Ultra-realistic VR cleanroom simulators are the learning breakthrough that will bring the medical innovations of cell and gene therapies to market.
The metaverse is here – it’s just unevenly distributed. Where cell and gene therapies are leading the way, the entire life science industry will follow. Regardless of your field of work, consider how to reduce training costs, improve job performance, and boost engagement by partnering with the Gronstedt Group.
DAIKIN’S VR SHOWROOM
Smart industrial HVAC buyers want to “kick the tires” before they write six-and-seven-figure checks for equipment. Engineering firms, contractors and building owners like to walk around, look inside and see the features before investing in equipment that needs to last 50 years, but these products are as big as a bus and are designed to keep a hospital or skyscraper cool, which makes demos challenging. Customers need to travel to a location that has them installed or to the factory where they’re built. And they still can’t see much more than a giant box, since the competitive advantages are under the hood.
Global HVAC leader Daikin Applied Americas partnered with the Gronstedt Group to create the ultimate customer experience of hyper-realistic, life-sized 3D versions of their giant industrial equipment in virtual reality. Customers don the reality-bending headsets and experience the superpower of X-ray vision, which lets them see how water and refrigerant work together to keep building temperatures comfortable. A 3D audio soundtrack shows how quietly the unit operates and the room goes dark for a demonstration of how rapidly service is restored during a power outage.
The multi-user VR showroom lets sales reps show customers around the digital equipment, pointing out features and benefits, like low refrigerant and oil-free magnetic bearings. Users can control the equipment from a wrist menu and run them at 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% capacity. Customers and sales reps enjoy a sense of social presence as they explore the competitive advantages of the equipment together. After an elevator ride up to the roof top, they can walk around a unit and click on modules that will slide out to reveal their inner workings.
The VR program launched to rave reviews at an event in Phoenix with some 1,500 customers and sales reps. Five days of demos with 16 headsets afforded a first-hand taste of the VR experience. Every single survey participant saw value in the experience, with 80 percent indicating “Great Value.” Comments from users included:
- When can we see all the other products in VR?
- You can show in five minutes in VR what takes five years to understand about chillers
- This was worth my trip to Phoenix
- @!#$% b@#$%…this is amazing!
ALIGNING WITH SALES & MARKETING
“Introducing VR into the sales channel has been a game-changer in our sales and learning success,” says Laura Masica, VP of People Experiences, Daikin Applied. Daikin aligns its enterprise metaverse strategy with sales and marketing. “Our VR program is a venue for sales meetings, a customer education tool and a platform for field training,” explains Masica. Sales reps can meet up with customers from all over the world on a virtual rooftop or basement to watch its equipment in action, exploding them into constituent parts, untangling their flow of water and refrigerant to visualize competitive differentiators.
“We’re leveraging the investment for recruitment as well, bringing VR headsets to high-school recruitment fairs to reach the next generation HVAC talent,” says Brian Dewhirst, Sr. Manager of Learning Technology, Daikin Applied,
“I can now fit a 10×15 foot, 800-ton rooftop HVAC unit in my backpack,” says Dewhirst. The VR version isn’t just more portable, but more pedagogical as well. “Poke your head inside the equipment while it’s running and watch its inner workings from any angle, you can’t do that with a physical product,” adds Dewhirst. Making the products readily accessible to the sales organization is key to their ability to sell these six-and-seven-figure investments.
CROSS-PLATFORM – MULTI-PLAYER
The VR program can also be deployed to flatscreen devices, giving everyone a portal to the digital world. The Gronstedt Group developed a 50” touchscreen version that brings Daikin’s 3D program to a roadshow trailer when there’s not enough floor space for a VR demo. Phone, iPad and laptop versions are also useful for Daikin sales reps. Leveraging cross-platform, multi-player 3D solutions from phones and giant touch screens to VR headsets allows them to bring products to engineers and customers with ease.
“You all did an awesome job. I am really looking forward to having the new hires learning with the VR system. All the work that you guys have done, in this short period of time, was amazing. Please, say thanks to the whole team, and let them all know that they will be helping all our patients with this work.”
– Novartis client
“I can’t believe you took all our technical information and created such a phenomenal user experience.”
– Arthur Rizoli, Director of Centrifugal Products, Daikin Applied Americas
“Our operators rehearse aseptic processes, equipment operation and laboratory manipulation over and over in failsafe virtual cleanrooms, honing their skills in preparation for their manufacturing qualification in a physical training lab.”
– Brian Kesselmeyer, associate technical director and cell therapy capability center lead at Bristol Myers Squibb
“Multi-user VR simulations elevate the learning experience by providing the sensation of working shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues, just like in real life.”
– Ted Lehman, Associate Director of Takeda Cell Therapy
“Our partners thought it was very cool and gave a sense of having a teacher with them helping them through the exercise.”
– Ian McConnell, Alarm.com Manager, Digital Learning
ArborXR Demo Available: Yes
Trial Period Offered: No
Regions Supported: North America, South America, APAC, EMEA, LATAM
Notable Milestones / Awards:
- We earned Gold in Chief Learning Officer 2020 Learning in Practice Awards, Excellence In Technology Innovation Award
- We’re a Meta Independent Software Vendor (ISV)
- Brandon Hall Gold Award 2019 for our Spark City Walmart Game
- We beat out 13 other finalists to win the Serious Game Awards Business Category of the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge for our cyber security game for Intuit in 2017
- We collected a Gold in the Simulations category of Training Magazine’s eLearning Design Challenge (eLDC) in September 2017 for our 3D hospitality management simulation game
Type of Developer: VR
Type of Content: Custom
Device Support: HTC, Oculus / Meta, PICO, Lenovo, Magic Leap, DigiLens, DPVR, Lynx, Realwear, Rokid, Vuzix