Episode Summary

In this episode of XR Industry Leaders, we dive into the world of virtual reality and its applications in the financial and banking industries, featuring the remarkable work of Capco. We interview Luigi Nicastro, Senior XR Consultant at Capco Toronto, and discuss what it takes to build a successful immersive technology program.

We explore Capco’s journey into XR and their approach to XR content creation, avatars, and virtual meetings over Zoom to enhance client experiences and drive engagement. We also discuss the challenges of security and privacy in VR, which are of utmost importance in the financial sector, and how Capco takes a diligent approach to addressing these concerns.

However, the road to innovation is not without challenges. We explore the obstacles faced by Capco during their on-the-ground experiences and XR pilot programs and how they navigated through them to achieve success.

But what lies ahead for the industry? Luigi shares his thoughts on how VR will revolutionize the financial and banking industries, offering a glimpse into the exciting future that awaits us.

Join us on this immersive journey as we uncover the remarkable innovations and achievements of Capco as they utilize virtual reality as an organization. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable insights into the present and future of VR in the financial and banking industries.

Key Moments

  • Personal Journey into XR (00:45)
  • Journey for Capco in XR (1:59)
  • Conversations when working with banks – what leads you to success? (4:52)
  • Project with TD (5:56)
  • Content / avatars + meeting over zoom (11:22)
  • security/ privacy approach (13:54)
  • Trends in headset types (15:27)
  • Challenges experienced on the ground/pilot experience (17:55)
  • App experiences/early ArborXR (22:54)
  • Back in the day, content creators, first experiences in headsets (25:25)
  • Prediction on how VR will change industry (28:58)

About the Guest

Luigi is a Senior XR Consultant in the Immersive team at Capco Toronto, focused on building the digital future. With a background in Metaverse development and Interaction Design specializing in user experiences, Luigi has experience in developing virtual reality programs from social hubs to medical training programs.

About Capco

Capco, a Wipro company, is a global technology and management consultancy specializing in driving digital transformation in the financial services industry. With a growing client portfolio comprising over 100 global organizations, Capco operates at the intersection of business and technology by combining innovative thinking with unrivaled industry knowledge to deliver end-to-end data-driven solutions and fast-track digital initiatives for banking and payments, capital markets, wealth and asset management, insurance, and the energy sector. Capco’s cutting-edge ingenuity is brought to life through its Innovation Labs, award-winning Be Yourself At Work culture, and diverse talent.

Capco’s approach is tailor-made to fit each client’s problem, with an emphasis on building long-term strategic partnerships that foster collaboration and trust.

Episode Transcript

Brad Scoggin: Hey there, welcome to “XR Industry Leaders” with ArborXR. My name is Brad Scoggin, and I am the CEO and one of three co-founders of ArborXR. And we’ve had the opportunity of working with thousands of companies since 2016, and we’ve learned a ton about what it takes for XR to be successful in your organization.

Will Stackable: And I’m Will Stackable, co-founder and CMO. This podcast is all about interviewing the leaders who are on the ground making XR happen today. True pioneers in the space from Amazon, Walmart, and UPS to Koch, Pfizer, and beyond to uncover the pitfalls, lessons learned, and secrets that you can use to help grow XR in your organization.

Brad Scoggin: All right. Well, this week we get to sit down with Luigi Nicastro. Luigi is a senior consultant at Capco. And Capco is a global technology and management consultancy that’s specializing in driving digital transformation in the financial services industry. Great to sit down with you today, Luigi.

Luigi Nicastro: Thanks, Brad. Really appreciate it. Very excited to be here.

Brad Scoggin: To get us going here, for those who may not know, tell us, okay, when you say financial services industry, what type of customers are you all focusing on?

Luigi Nicastro: Yeah, for sure. The best way to paint this is imagine any of the big banks within Canada, we’re working with them. So we have a pretty good audience here we’re working with.

Brad Scoggin: Very cool. Love to see VR getting into some serious sectors like that. Before we jump into the Capco angle, I’d love to hear just a little bit about your personal journey into XR.

Luigi Nicastro: For sure. My background, it’s funny. I actually started in a few things. I did media for a little bit, then business. Then I found myself actually doing my bachelor degree for interaction design. So my background really is in that area, but it wasn’t until my last year of school where I was like, “VR is cool. I like playing VR games.” And I just swapped my whole life to do VR. Fast forward five years, and here I am working in virtual reality. I’ve done a variety of things from working education, working learning developments, building social hubs for virtual reality and desktop apps. Now, I’m working with Capco shaping the financial world.

Brad Scoggin: That’s awesome. We have varied background as well. I started out in an education nonprofit, Will was in media, and I think both of us, when we saw the power of VR, it was like, “Okay, we need to jump into this.” So that’s cool.

Luigi Nicastro: Yeah, I agree.

Brad Scoggin: Okay. Well, tell us a little bit about Capco. I love to hear about a sector like the financial services or big banks. You don’t think-

Luigi Nicastro: For sure.

Brad Scoggin: … always cutting edge tech, right? So what has that journey been like for a company like Capco to even try to bring XR into that world?

Luigi Nicastro: It’s funny because when I first got brought into Capco, when they asked me, “Hey, do you want to join our team to help lead and build XR programs to the banking world?” My first thought was like, “I want to know how we’re going to do this. This sounds exciting.” I actually met with our partner, Michael Morman, and he’s the one who sold me on this. It’s actually his story I’ll tell how it started because at Capco we’re always trying new innovative things, how we can increase just our interactions with our clients and also our team members.

We do this thing called Partner Idol. So like American Idol, but our partners here at the company, they had to pitch an idea. Michael Morman, he pitched his idea using the Metaverse and he actually did it all using Immerse, using his meta avatar and talking to everybody and using VR. And at the time, this was probably, I think two years ago. At the time everyone was like, “What is this? This is like a cartoon. What are we doing?” I don’t know the full story of how he won, but he won the whole thing and he became top of the Partner Idol and that got him a spot with our CEO.

He got to do a one-on-one with our CEO to show him what exactly he had envisioned for this practice. Originally, it was actually an augmented reality practice, but then he shaped it towards an immersive practice as a whole. But the selling point wasn’t just winning Partner Idol and showing off this fun video he did, it was actually putting everyone in headsets. Once you see it, once they saw it like, “This is actually amazing. We can do something really cool with this.”

So it really helps get the traction going. But also a big part of helping Capco get involved was when Meta rebranded… Well, when Facebook became Meta and the Metaverse became this huge thing that everyone realized they could do, that in hand with what Mike was doing with Capco, it kind of just really sparked this next big step. And that was how we found ourselves rolling off and created this practice. Mike hired myself and a few others from the gaming industry to build this team. And we have other consultants who work here who have a background for business. And coupled together, we’ve built this team that can just do a lot together.

Brad Scoggin: That’s really cool. It is very interesting that… And we see it time and again. You have such a powerful technology that’s just sitting here. And until someone puts on the headset, that’s when it clicks. And we talk about it every episode. I mean, this is a learning revolution that people are learning faster and it’s just this powerful technology, but it’s so hard to communicate until you can put somebody in the headset. So that’s very cool.

Luigi Nicastro: Yeah. No, I agree. I’ll probably say it over and over again during this call, but talking is one thing and then doing it is another. Right?

Will Stackable: When you’re working with these banks, what’s the conversation like to even get a proof of concept off the ground? What have you seen? What’s led you guys to success?

Luigi Nicastro: Well, the first thing is, it always helps having a connection, which is a great first step into any conversation. And we actually had a colleague who was very close with the head of innovation at TD, and they sparked the conversation just talking about the Metaverse. The conference happened and they’re like, “Oh, you hear about the conference?” It kind of got the ball rolling on some ideas. We met up and it just started becoming, “Okay, we want to do this. How do we do this?”

So we spent time building and planning this whole project that we wanted to do with the client. Honestly, all it takes is that first conversation and then we just kept going. Right?

Will Stackable: Yeah. Could you tell us a little bit more about the project with TD and just lay out what are they doing, who are they, and where are you guys at in the project?

Brad Scoggin: Hey, before even that, I’d love to hear about either with TD specifically or any of the big banks you work with?

Luigi Nicastro: Right.

Brad Scoggin:  Just what’s some of the initial resistance? I understand in that situation-

Luigi Nicastro: For sure.

Brad Scoggin: … you had that open door, but yeah.

Luigi Nicastro: Yeah, that’s actually really good. I actually will use TD as the example because it was TD’s head of innovation who we actually met with and just got the ball rolling on this project. I think the first thing, and it’s something that we’re going to continue to face in this industry, is going through, “Okay. Well, what hardware are we going to use? The cost of the hardware. What software we don’t want to use? Security protocols.” There’s just so many hurdles you have to navigate to make sure we can build, one, an experience that our client will love and it will benefit from. But two, something that’s feasible given the infrastructure we’re working with for the financial world.

So one, it was, “Okay, how do we get this ball rolling? How do we get headsets to our client?” Thankfully we actually partnered with a company in the UK. They’re called Mesmerise. They run an application called Gatherings. We’ve worked very closely with them and they provided us with a bunch of headsets that we could use for client interactions. So we were able to get headsets shipped over to TD and said, “Listen, we will give you the headsets to use for this, just kind of show you what we’re doing. That way you can try it out.” And once they try it out… Because like we said before, talking about it was one thing, but getting them actually in the headset, they’re like, “Okay, yeah. So we can see the reason for this. We’re going to invest.”

Because once they put the headset on their heads, they’re like, “We need to be involved in this. Let’s build this plan.” So the biggest resistance is it’s always the first conversation. And the reason being, most people when they think of VR who aren’t tied to the day-to-day industry, they’re thinking of Cardboard days, right? Google Cardboard days of VR where you have a phone and they think, “How is that going to be immersive? How is that going to help our company benefit?”

But when you show them where we’re at now and where we are today, we have wireless headsets and they’re more affordable than they were five years ago. Truly, it’s an eye-opening experience which you put them in there.

Will Stackable: Maybe you could just keep talking a little bit more about TD. I know you guys are midstream with it, but what are they actually doing with the headsets and what’s been some of the early results? What feedback are you getting?

Luigi Nicastro: So right now we’ve launched a program with TD where we have co-ops using the Quest 2 headsets to go through a day-to-day program. They do their onboarding and networking through Gatherings. They’re doing fitness and wellbeing through FitXR. We’re doing prototyping and building using ShapesXR. And we’re also doing social interactions working with Rec Room. We actually have a company called VRE that we work with who are with Rec Room. We actually have a company called VRE that we work with who are helping us organize events and showcasing what we can do for fun in Rec Room.

So all of these different applications, we’ve built this program for them that will allow them to hit all their goals and allow a lot more retention from the users working in the space.

Because one of the biggest things I notice, and you might be able to attest to this, is that when you do meetings, any meetings that requires a camera and a microphone, if I can turn my mic off and my camera off, I’m going to do that. If I have to be in virtual reality and I’m talking, I’m going to be a lot more attentive, I’m going to be on my phone. I’m going to be in this conversation with you, and you’re going to have my full attention.

And that’s something we’re seeing. We’re seeing so much engagement. I haven’t been in the spaces myself, but I’ve been hearing all the feedback. That everyone’s going in there and they’re having fun. And that’s one of the best things about it, because they’re having fun while getting the work done, and we’re seeing great outcomes so far.

We’re still tracking it day-to-day. The program’s still ongoing, so I can’t give full insight on that. But overall, I can say it’s been a pretty solid experience and we’re getting a lot of great feedback.

Will Stackable: Love it. Is there any specific module or aspect of the program that you feel that the interns have enjoyed the most? Or what’s kind of any highlights you’ve heard back already?

Luigi Nicastro: Actually, one of the things is, honestly, it’s level of excitement. And this wouldn’t even go for just the interns. This goes for almost any of our clients that we work with in VR. Once you put that headset on, it’s kind of like they’re… Well, they are in another world, another reality, but they truly are like, “I am somewhere else.” You get that reaction of, “I forget that I’m in a workspace sometimes,” and they’re just getting really excited, which is great because we want to see that. We want to see the excitement and get them involved in the space. So I think overall, it’s the first few experiences.

And it’s funny because a really big thing is when we set these headsets up for everybody and we get them involved in these programs, we want to make sure they’re using the easiest level of comfort in virtual reality. So we’re making sure we’re teleporting and snap turning, but sometimes they just swap it to the smooth locomotion and they’re flying through the scenes because they’re having so much fun and they’re just having a blast, and it’s really great.

And then, when you switch to the business side of things. We had a lunch and learn with some members in TD. And from the footage I saw, everyone was sitting and they were all looking, there was questions being asked, they’re all engaged. And what’s great is that these students are all across Canada. They’re all working remotely. This is the goal we had in mind, was how do we bring remote people together, to work in a space and be informed and be engaged. And we’re seeing it happen with these students and it’s phenomenal.

Will Stackable: I love it. And I should just note for anybody listening, TD Bank is a big Canadian multinational banking and financial services company. Any of the Canadians listening will know who they are.

On the topic of just content, I know that’s your background, it’s your expertise. What’s your approach to creating custom content for a program like this? How do you think about what tools and avatar? Versus, there’s so many different aspects to explore. What’s kind of your approach?

Luigi Nicastro: Well, we really have to take a pragmatic approach when we first meet with the client. For me, right away, I’m a huge VR person. I love virtual reality. I want to use it for whatever I can. But at the end of the day, we have to make sure and assess that it is the right solution for what you’re doing.

So once we can determine that, the sense of avatars, whether they’re realistic or whether they’re… Let’s say you have Meta or Ready Player Me or you have something like with Gatherings and other applications that use photo realistic avatars. It really depends on the scenario.

And the reason why I say it is, for instance, for networking events, we find that the photo realistic avatars work really well, because when I meet you in virtual reality with my Meta avatar, it looks a little bit like me, but you won’t fully know what I look like. When I use a photo realistic avatar, you can see my face molded onto this character, also by a name tag and a photo of myself in some applications. This allows it a lot easier. It allows a little barrier of communication and of knowing one another. Where I can say, “Hey, I have met you before in VR.”

And funny enough, this morning I met with one of our vendors on a call for the first time in Zoom and not in VR. And I was like, “This is so weird. I’m used to seeing your VR avatar, your photo realistic avatar.” But I already had that level of comfort myself. So when it comes to choosing avatars, it really is base-by-base for the use case we’re working on.

Brad Scoggin: That’s funny because we’re fully remote. And so, we have, as a lot of companies do, when you meet somebody in person for the first time, and you’ve always seen them on Zoom, there’s this, “Oh, I had this one image of you.” So it’s funny to think about the first interaction being a VR interaction.

Will Stackable: Everybody’s the same height on Zoom.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah. But I mean, there’s probably just been a handful of those in history, of first interaction in VR and then Zoom and then per in person. That’s an interesting-

Luigi Nicastro: It’s like we’re going backwards. We’re now swapping it. Where we’re so used to this digital world.

Well, even my team, we meet in virtual reality. We do all of our meetings in different VR applications. We do our standups in VR, and everything. And I see them in person once a month or every few weeks maybe. Sometimes I don’t even see them at all. We just work completely remotely, right. And I’ve gotten so used to their avatars and it’s just become the norm for me, if that makes sense. I am now one with the avatar. It’s just how it is.

Brad Scoggin: That’s funny. Well, I can imagine that working with big banks, security, privacy, there’s a lot of concerns there. So how do you all approach that?

Luigi Nicastro: The security thing is definitely one of the biggest things, and it’s something we do definitely have to take very seriously. And thus, we make sure with any company we’re working with, we do a full vetting process. We go through all their credentials, we do one-on-ones and testing. Even working with your team as well, we have to make sure we get the assurance that you have that security.

And it’s always priority number one on our list of things, because at the end of the day, these are financial institutions that have a lot of information and we need to make sure that the clients and their clients are protected. So that is definitely one of the biggest parts of our process.

Now, for instance with the TD program, we crafted this experience where these are all network sessions and interactions, so we aren’t interacting with clients or client data. So we’ve designed an experience where we can still have a fully secure and safe environment and also still deliver an experience that will give them what they’re looking for.

But at the end of the day, it comes down to crafting the right solutions that will allow us to meet our requirements for the project.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, we see the security stuff a lot. We go through-

Luigi Nicastro: Oh, yeah. I can imagine.

Brad Scoggin: We do a lot of work there. And what’s interesting is it absolutely is very important, but there’s also this, because of the unknown of XR, I think to a lot of companies, it does feel like just the perception and the importance of almost being overly secure, because a lot of companies don’t fully understand what they’re letting into their organization. And that’s the way it is, that’s fine.

Has there been any trend toward one particular headset type in the banking world?

Luigi Nicastro: No. We always try to keep it pretty agnostic and open to any devices. It really comes down to what best suits their needs. And we’ve been actually experimenting with multiple headsets.

The one thing right now with working with Gatherings, with Mesmerise, is they provided us with Quest 2 headsets. So that’s something we’ve worked with. But also in-house, we’ve worked with the PICOs as well. So we kind of keep it open to whatever works best.

It also comes down to also vendors and applications, what supported them, what hasn’t, what’s not right. So we really do our best to keep it open to all of them.

Also in this day and age, we have so many new headsets, new advancements, things happening every single day that it’s kind of hard to lock down to one thing. And we are glad we’re not doing that approach, because by keeping it open, we can always guarantee that our client will have the best experience because we’re going to always be on top of what’s next.

Brad Scoggin: Well, I was going to say, it’s just funny, as we support all the headsets as well, and as the market’s grown, there’s this excitement. Obviously, we’re all excited there’s new devices, new improved devices, but then the other side is our teams are like, “This is great, but now we have 5, 10, 15 different device types to support.” I’m like, “Hey, look, that’s good. It’s growth.”

Luigi Nicastro: That’s actually a question I was going to ask you. I was going to ask you, because for us, we have to balance the headsets too, but I’m like, you run a program that has to support all these headsets, so you’re probably constantly having to stay on top of every single protocol. And set up process and security and interfaces and everything like that for all these headsets, I can only imagine how your team is going through.

Brad Scoggin: No, it’s a challenge. And I think we’ve just recently started having some…

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, no, it’s a challenge and I think we’ve just recently started having some conversations about ending support for some older devices. But yeah, I mean, our whole position is we serve the globe. We serve every device, we serve every company, but one of the things that we’ve done, we’ve put a lot of effort into in the last year and a half or so, is building tight relationships with the actual hardware companies themselves. And that’s been so helpful, and I think as we’ve gained traction and they realize that we’re working with large companies like you guys, it’s given us more credibility in their eyes, and so that’s made the process a lot easier. But yeah, it’s still definitely a challenge, but again, it’s good. That means there’s growth. That means there’s new devices, more people are buying the devices. So we’ll take the pain.

Will Stackable: Something I want to hit on, we’ve got probably a lot of people listening that are in early stages of considering doing a pilot. They want to get proof of concept off the ground. What are some of the challenges, even at that level? I mean, you have 100 interns, so it’s not 1,000, but even at 100, you’ve got a number of headsets that you’re having to manage and you’re having to push out apps and updates and everything else. What are some of the challenges you all have experienced on the ground in taking these consumer headsets and turning them into a real world business pilot?

Luigi Nicastro: One of the biggest things we do is the preparation and the handoff. So we build this whole program for you and we’ll help you get the headset up and we’ll give you the information you need to get going, but also we give you guides and support for future use. So if there’s an update or something goes wrong, we have guides and material ready to assist our clients on these different things. As the time goes on and we keep doing more work like this, we’re going to get more involved with other things like work with MBMs and other solutions that would do more beneficial work. It’s one of the biggest things we got to consider though, is that the more software we introduce, the more research and vetting we have to go through as well. So we want to make sure that we make the best and simplest experience for our clients.

So by providing all the support and these resources, they’re able to fall back on those and they can get that information. Also, give us a call and we’ll help out as well. But so far we’ve noticed with this pilot, from my understanding, I haven’t gotten any complaints or issues with any crashing or bugs or update failures or anything. Everything’s been going very smooth, which is very great to hear. So I can’t really speak to what goes wrong because it hasn’t gone wrong yet, which is a good thing. But other way, we always make sure to be prepared for when those things do come up.

Brad Scoggin: That’s awesome to hear because I think one of our biggest concerns and has been for several years, from where you started at the very beginning of this conversation, it’s hard to explain VR to someone. There’s just this built-in resistance so until you get them in the headset, “Okay, now I understand it.” But even at that point, it feels like you’ve got one chance that a first impression is just on steroids in XR, you’ve got one shot, and if it doesn’t go well, people are looking for reasons to not work with them so it’s amazing to hear that you’re rolling out really well. But that’s something even for us, I mean, we work with a lot of the global Fortune 500, and most of those companies have a traditional UEM, like an Intune or VMware. And so we’re constantly in this conversation of those are excellent products for your traditional devices, but at least at this point, they do not have the capabilities necessary for XR.

And what’s going to happen is you’re going to run an excellent 10 headset pilot, but when you get ready to move beyond that, it’s going to be a mess. And we’ve seen it dozens of times. And then the leadership in your company, whoever’s making the decision, if it’s IT or L&D or whatever, there’s going to be, we don’t want to do this. And so that’s kind of an ongoing mission is we have all collectively, the hardware companies, the software companies like us, the content creators, folks like you that are actually implementing, we have to be so I think ruthless with that first proof of concept being excellent.

Luigi Nicastro: It really is, I know it goes without saying, but it really is a make or break. Even if it’s a five, 10 person pilot, that experience will go a long way. And then on top of that, we prepare scaling, we have the conversation. So within that, we do consider the future because in my mind and our thoughts when we’re doing these projects, they are going to scale. We know they can scale. It’s a matter of just having that first experience be the ideal one. So you are correct. That first initial interaction is important. And it’s funny when you say people don’t know what VR is, like, I’ve been working in VR for five years now. My parents have known this and they still have no idea what I do. They still ask, “What do you do for work again?” And I’m like, oh my gosh, at this point, that’s [inaudible 00:22:49] move around. But yeah, it’s funny.

Brad Scoggin: No, we have the same conversation. I think we’ve recently gotten in the last year some household name customers, and I think that’s helped our parents finally understand, “Ah, okay, now I think I understand.” But even still, I think when you say, okay, we’re the MDM, we’re kind of the glue that puts it all together, it’s easy to understand the hardware or the content or maybe even for you, you know okay, we’re actually helping companies, but for us, if you’re not technical, it’s very difficult I think to understand what Arbor does.

Luigi Nicastro: That’s why I usually try to I show them examples like, let’s do some mini pot in VR or we’ll do golfing. Because my parents get that. So when you start them in with something they can understand-

Brad Scoggin: Meet them where they’re at.

Luigi Nicastro: And that’s okay, now we’re going to fly through space. Okay, now we’re going to change the world.

We’re going to do all these different things.

Brad Scoggin: That’s cool.

Will Stackable: Hey, if you had three go-to apps experiences to start people out, what are your, everybody’s got their own list, but-

Luigi Nicastro: Well, it really depends on the perspective. If we’re talking from the BIS perspective, we actually do start off with something light, something that doesn’t put too much on the user. So we find Gatherings to be a really good first example because it pops into experience and they can just go through network and talk to one another and they can have that experience. Then it kind of comes down to, okay, well what’s next? Do you want to go to a more immersive experience and visuals? Do you want to have fun?

So it depends on the categories. If we’re talking fucking fun, Beat Saber’s pretty great. I think everybody knows Beat Saber, you play that, you have fun. Walkabout, money pot, there’s a bunch of games out there. Be sure that’s my personal things though. I can’t speak on behalf of what the companies will be using, but those are probably for the fun side of things.

I actually do find ShapesXR as well to be a really good tool because that one blows my mind in the sense of what you can do in the application and the constant updates and support for them is phenomenal. I don’t think I’d ever start off with Half-Life: Alyx. I think that’d be a little too much to throw someone for the first time. You’re going to throw them all way up here and they’re going to have no idea what’s going on.

Will Stackable: Oh, that’s fun.

Luigi Nicastro:But yeah, it’s always good to kind of keep it as minimal as possible. Even though you want to blow their minds, you want to blow their mind in a way that will not overload them.

Will Stackable: Feel accessible, yeah.

Luigi Nicastro: Exactly.

Will Stackable: I think there’s a surprising number of CEOs that have been baptized into VR through Beat Saber so that you’re not far off on the marke

Will Stackable: I was just going to say, one of my favorites is Richie’s Plank. I don’t know if you’ve ever done that one, but-

Luigi Nicastro: Oh yeah, no, that’s actually-

Will Stackable: We used to have an actual white plank that we’d put down and people would just, man, you get to the end of that and you tell them to jump off and it’s just hilarious.

Brad Scoggin: When we very, very first got started in VR, we started with an arcade that was our entry point and before the arcade in a mall, we had a kiosk in the mall. It was Black Friday weekend kiosk, and I mean, everybody’s at the mall, the mall’s packed, and we had a board out in the middle and there was just-

Will Stackable: Which we got from Home Depot-

Brad Scoggin: Huge crowd around. It was hilarious. Yeah, it was an awesome experience.

Will Stackable: A treated lumber.

Luigi Nicastro: What was the name again? Was it Spring-

Brad Scoggin: Springboard, yeah. Well, before the arcade was actually upward, upward VR, which then transitioned to the Software Springboard, which we sold to Vertigo Games, Zombie [inaudible 00:26:00].

Luigi Nicastro: I was going to say, I’m pretty sure Vertigo Games, yeah, I remember following all this in the news.

Will Stackable: Funny.

Brad Scoggin: Which then, for those of us who’ve been in VR, we always like to joke, that’s been six years, it feels like 20 or 30, it feels like two life times ago.

It actually does feel like a long time ago. It really does.

Will Stackable: And I’ll just say to give a shout-out, there’s a lot of really cool content creators that are creating great off the shelf, whether it’s fire safety training or a lot of soft skills. Bodyswaps is one of our favorites that we like to mention, but there are more and more kind of enterprise focused. I think back in the day it was, you had to buy a consumer headset from Best Buy and you had to show them Beat Saber, and it was a bit of a leap, especially for leadership to figure out, well, how can we make this practical for, we need forklift simulator, not like Beat Saber. But even then, I still think that there’s something about showing some of the best, most immersive apps just to get people excited and it’s also makes for a great camera moment, if you can film your CEO playing Beat Saber.

Luigi Nicastro: That first, also for me it’s, I mean it’s-

Will Stackable: … playing Beat Saber.

Luigi Nicastro: That first… Also, for me, it sounds kind of silly, but it’s probably my go-to reason why I still work in this field, is whenever I had the chance to see somebody use VR for the first time, and either if it’s over the VR headset itself or it’s in person, seeing their smile or their awe of being in VR, or two, if you hear them kind of giggling or laughing over a microphone, you could hear them trying it out the first time. Those are probably the best reasons for it.

And that’s the one thing we see from our clients a lot too, is that when we get them the headsets, there’s two ways about it. One, we do it with them in real time and we can see them react. Or two, when we have our first follow-up call with them, they’re like, “Holy, that was amazing. That was an amazing experience.” And we always say, “You’re just scratching the surface, there’s so much more we can do.” So it is a really good feeling when we can see that excitement from our clients.

Brad Scoggin: That’s cool. And again, it goes back to what we said. There’s this whole world that’s right here that people don’t know about until you put on the headset. So I put on a headset for the first time seven years ago, and it was Zombie Training Simulator, which is not even great graphics-

Luigi Nicastro: Zombie Training.

Brad Scoggin: I don’t know if you remember that. It’s like 2D almost, but it was just amazing.

It’s like paper cutouts of zombies coming at you.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, it’s like paper cutouts. It’s like Paper Mario kind of style.

Luigi Nicastro: Wow, okay.

Brad Scoggin: It was on a Vive, but the same thing. I’m like, “Wow.” I mean, I was at Will’s house and I took off the headset and it was like, I had no idea this technology existed. And so for us, that was… The reason we got into this at all was this technology’s going to change the world. And we had this very idealistic vision that maybe we could be a part of helping shape it for good. And so for us it was like, “Well, how do we get into the arcade and see this…” It’s kind of just grown over the years. And I think one thing we’ve really landed on recently as we’ve evolved into Arbor and now we’re focused on the enterprise space. One, you see these amazing use cases. You see people learning faster, people being safer, saving money.

But I think there’s this potential, we talk about the fun of XR, there’s this potential for the technology to just further feed into the desire I think we have as mankind today to just escape, or to check out, or to be [inaudible 00:29:08].

And so I think for us kind of planting a flag in the ground and saying, “No, this is a tool that we’re going to use. It’s not going to use us and it should actually give us our time back. We should have more time with our families because we’re learning faster, we’re traveling less, et cetera, et cetera.”

So maybe as we wrap here, here’s my question for you. In your position in the financial services industry working with big banks, an important sector, a serious sector, security concerns, privacy concerns, et cetera, what’s your prediction of how VR will change that industry over the next five to 10 years?

Luigi Nicastro: It’s a really interesting question and a good question to ask because when I think of where I was five years ago to where I’m today, when I first started doing VR development, I was using Lighthouses and I had to use a pc, and I had to do all this stuff, and it required a lot of programming myself.

Today, I can use my Quest headset or Pico, I can use OpenXR to develop it to work on all headsets. Now I can use AI to help me code my work. And we’re only asked this today. So in the future, it’s going to be pretty mind-blowing, especially when we see how we’re already using glasses connected to our phones to make it a different experience. And I truly am very excited.

I’ve heard rumors about the contact lens scenario working with MR and all that. And I think in the future, we’re going to have a very low form factor, very affordable. It’s going to be like our cell phones. When we first got our cell phones, they’re big, bulky. Not everyone had them because they were this new thing. But as time goes on, they’re going to be so affordable and so easy to use and it’s going to be integrated to all of our tech. I think it’s going to be a pretty integral part to our workdays and our lives.

Because myself, as a tech enthusiast, I already use it every day anyways. Even with it being a heavier headset and a bit bigger, I’m in VR during work and after work. So when it becomes easier for everyone else, I think everyone’s going to be using it.

And to add onto that as well, I think we’ll see a lot more companies who are focused around it and have it kind of embedded in their core. Capco as a whole, our Toronto office is where we have our immersive team, and we’ve built a practice around researching and delivering XR experiences. And we’re a small team, but in five years, the small team won’t be just within our Toronto office. We’re going to see this spread across the world in a lot of companies; and you can speak to too, all the companies you’re already working with. We’re going to see a massive growth in this space, and it’s very exciting.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, absolutely. I totally agree. And I think that the growth in technology is so key. Imagine five years ago if you had banks like TD and they had a room with the gaming PC and Lighthouses. That doesn’t work, they’re not going to have a-

Luigi Nicastro: It wouldn’t.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah. Well this has been great Luigi. Really appreciate you taking time out of your day to visit with us, and look forward to chatting again soon.

Luigi Nicastro: No, thanks so much. I really appreciate the invitation. And then it’s been a very good time talking with you both. Thank you so much.

Brad Scoggin: You bet.

Well, that was a great convo with Luigi. It felt like we were talking to an old friend, and it’s always fun to talk to somebody who’s been in the space through the evolution, and very cool to see that VR is getting some real traction in the banking industry.

Will Stackable: It is. You can tell he’s a VR aficionado, he’s living it.

Brad Scoggin: Definitely.

Will Stackable: It’s funny the whole time at the end there, when you mentioned Zombie Training Simulator, all I could think about was the first time I put my dad into VR, I put him into that same app. And when all of the zombies rushed him, he panicked and turned and ran full tilt and just hit the wall in my office. And I thought for sure I was taking him to the hospital, but he was fine. But just goes to show the power of VR.

Brad Scoggin: Absolutely. That’s funny. Honestly, every time I recount my first experience, I do think about that story of your dad, and then I think I didn’t run, so I was a little bit more prepared for the zombie apocalypse, at least mentally than your dad was.

But thank you all so much for joining us this week. As always, we appreciate you. And you can check us out anywhere you consume your podcasts, YouTube, Spotify, et cetera, and we look forward to seeing you next time.

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