xr industry leaders arborxr podcast

Futurus: Set Up XR Pilot Programs for Success

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Episode Summary

In 2014, Annie Eaton started a networking event for people in Atlanta interested in immersive technology, specifically virtual reality and augmented reality. Businesses quickly approached her and asked how to use XR in their companies, which led to her founding Futurus. Now, Futurus develops VR and AR apps for some of the biggest companies in the world. How did Futurus get their start? What does it take to be a successful VR developer for enterprise?

In this episode, Brad and Will interview founder and CEO Annie Eaton of Futurus. They discuss the startup journey, how to be successful in VR/AR pilot programs, common pain points for organizations using XR, measuring the impact of XR in business, and more.

Key Moments

  • Growing from an XR consultant to XR app developer (02:40)
  • Startup journey and learning what to say “No” to (05:40)
  • Specializing in training with AR and VR (07:05)
  • Specializing in industry verticals (08:30)
  • How to be successful in VR/AR pilot programs (09:34)
  • Example of a pilot program with Mars Wrigley, INC (11:45)
  • How to set timelines for XR pilot programs (14:21)
  • How can you measure the impact of a VR training app? (16:13)
  • What are the pain points of enterprise customers using XR? (20:40)
  • What is the VR content pipeline like from concept to deployment? (24:02)
  • Advice for XR champions in companies who want to show proof of concept? (27:01)
  • What is the future of XR? (29:00)
  • What’s a favorite use case you’ve seen in XR? (30:13)
"It takes an internal XR champion to understand that VR is still highly experimental and there is a lot to define. Our job is to produce a proof-of-concept that will be helpful for business, but also, to help create a process that hasn’t been defined for your organization or your industry yet."
xr industry leaders podcast with arborxr and annie eaton of futurus
Annie Eaton
CEO at Futurus

About the Guest

Annie Eaton is an immersive content producer specializing in engaging and interactive virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. She currently serves as the CEO of Futurus, an Atlanta-based software development company, and Executive Producer of Amebous Labs, a virtual reality-focused game studio. She serves as the volunteer Director of Arts Programming with Women in Technology, and as an advisor for the virtual reality hardware startup Unlocked Reality. As a Georgia Tech graduate, she stays involved in the Atlanta technology community, managing XR Atlanta, a community organization that now boasts over 1,500 members. Annie is also involved with Women in XR Atlanta, Women in Technology (WIT), and The Academy of International Extended Reality (AIXR).

Various organizations have recognized her for her work in tech, including Women in Technology (Woman of the Year Award), Women in IT (Rising Star Award), and Technology Association of Georgia (Young Professionals’ Technologist of the Year Award). Her projects have won recognition from Fast Company in their Innovation by Design award series. Annie has vast public speaking experience, having been invited as a speaker for conferences, podcasts, educational institutions, and corporate events to share her love and knowledge of immersive technology.

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: Well, Annie, we are excited to sit down and visit with you today.

Annie Eaton: Yeah, I’m excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Brad Scoggin: Definitely, definitely. Well, I always love to start by asking about your personal journey into XR.

Annie Eaton: Yes. Well, it is kinda different, because I don’t come from a development background or an art background, which many of my peers do. But I was actually working at a company in marketing, where I was introduced to virtual reality just by a coworker. He had kick-started the original Oculus Kickstarter, and brought his DK1 into the office, and we got really excited. Well, I say we. He and I. There weren’t many other people who were as excited as us. And we thought it’d be a great opportunity to think of new ways we could use the technology for our business. Now, granted this was like 2013, early 2014, and a lot of people were not ready for that at this time. So we started a meetup group in Atlanta, which is where I am based, and we had over 200 people show up to the first meetup event, and we were not expecting that at all. That was July, 2014.

Brad Scoggin: In 2014?

Annie Eaton: Yup.

Brad Scoggin: Wow wow wow, thats great.

Annie Eaton: July, 2014. We had put it out on Reddit. We partnered with a gaming bar, just ’cause we knew maybe the audience had some overlap. And then, I guess because I had started the meetup, people started coming to me locally, asking how their businesses could get involved with the technology, and there really weren’t any service providers in Atlanta at the time that were catering to that market. And so I started a consultancy initially, and then after working through use cases with those companies, they started asking how they could actually make the products. And I saw an opportunity, and so I started to grow my business from there, and hired contractors, which turned into full-time, which then grew to a full team. So we keep it pretty specialized. We’re about 20 people here in Atlanta right now, but working with some of the biggest companies in the world.

Brad Scoggin: That’s very cool. Always love to hear about the entrepreneurial journey, and the pain.

Will Stackable: Did the DK1 make you nauseous?

Annie Eaton: Did the DK1make me nauseous? Absolutely. Yes.

Will Stackable: I don’t think I actually threw up, but yeah. I remember some, maybe a rollercoaster or some kinda experience, where I had to pull it off, ’cause I was gonna chug.

Annie Eaton: Yeah. I don’t know why everyone thought the best first experience that they should show to people was roller coasters. If that makes people sick in the physical world, why would you wanna put someone in that in the virtual world? But yeah, I know, Brad, you mentioned about the pain of starting a company. I gave the very happy abbreviated version of the journey. There were definitely some difficulties, especially starting in the space that early. A lot of challenges, and not a lot of money at first, that’s for sure.

Brad Scoggin: Well, I think that’s the beginning of all of our journeys, right? Not a lot of money.

Annie Eaton: We’re just excited.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, right. When you look back, you try to say, “Well, that’s what made us stronger, maybe, is not having resources.”

Annie Eaton: That’s what we tell ourselves.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah. Well, maybe walk us through a little bit of how the company matured, and how you got to where we are today, working with these big companies. And even the focus. I mean, it sounds like maybe from the beginning you were focused on the enterprise space, but now very focused in training. And maybe walk us through that journey just a little bit.

Annie Eaton: Yeah, I mean, as we talked about earlier, like starting in 2014, you really just would take any job you could, as long as it was somewhat VR adjacent. And so we definitely lacked focus at the beginning, pretty much taking anything anyone would hand us. Now, enterprise was always our target, but we did do a lot more marketing engagements, especially since that was my personal background when I first started the business. So we would do a lot of product visualization in VR. We would do 360 video, which we no longer really do much of. We would do more gamified marketing experiences as well, We did one for the Super Bowl several years ago, which was really fun. But we saw a lot of parallels with training and games, and since the majority of my team comes from gaming or game development backgrounds, it just seemed like a really natural fit. And plus, the use cases for VR training are so fantastic, and there’s so many ways that they are directly impacting businesses and showing direct results that it’s oftentimes the most provable way to succeed when implementing VR in an enterprise organization. So I think that just the evolution of how people use the technology, and then us seeing those opportunities align really well with our staff made us want to focus more. Just being pulled in so many different directions, it’s really easy to say yes to everything, but then very difficult to complete everything you say yes to. So we found a lot of power in the past several years in saying no. And while I hate it sometimes, because I wanna do everything, it has made us a much stronger company, and be able to deliver better products by focusing on training.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, that’s great. I noticed on one of your blogs, some of your advice was saying no, and I thought that was really good. It is hard to say no. Sometimes I wonder why, I mean, have we gotten so weak as a society that we just can’t say no? Why is it so painful, even in personal things, to say no?

Annie Eaton: It might be a personality thing too. I am a people pleaser. I wanna see people be happy, and so telling people no, I feel is difficult, just ’cause I want people to be happy. But in thinking about the bigger picture, that’s how I have been able to personally say no and not feel as bad about it. Also, I think coming up with good strategies in how to say no, like you’re not saying no ’cause you don’t wanna do it, it’s just not the right fit. Maybe you don’t wanna do it, but coming up with something that’ll maintain that relationship and keep the door open so that they will think of you in the future is important too. So, I don’t know. No is probably one of the hardest things for us to say, but one of the most powerful.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, I agree. And I think probably early on in the startup journey, you kinda have to say yes more, and as you get more experience and get a little more traction, you can say no. But maybe tell us too, so today, future is today, what is your primary core focus today?

Annie Eaton: Our focus is VR training. Yeah. We have a couple other things going on, but I think everything is pretty much training adjacent, or at least employee education adjacent. So even if it’s not hard skills training, it is still about familiarization, or something to do with the organization or the company, to help employees succeed. We do have an augmented reality side of the business as well, which I think has been a really great asset to have, because we can use some of the same models and content across different devices, both in a VR and AR setting. So one of our clients on the AR side does product visualization, but then they have a training component to it, so you can access via an app anywhere in the world information on their machinery, as well as seeing it in front of you on a job site. So it’s ways to integrate educating the consumer or your employees on the products or the services that you provide. So I think all of it is adjacent to training, even if it’s not always direct.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, that’s very cool. We’re obviously seeing a ton of traction in training. Are you focused on any specific vertical?

Annie Eaton: Ha, ha. That’s a great question as well. We’ve worked in quite a few verticals. Manufacturing has probably been the biggest. There are a lot of common themes that have to do with safety in the manufacturing space, which we’ve been having some great experiences with. We’ve been now into aviation. I guess food manufacturing’s an adjacent to manufacturing, retail and architecture, engineering and construction. So those are probably the biggest ones that we’re involved with right now.

Will Stackable: So the I thing I think it’s always funny is when I talk to my parents about VR, they’re always talking about the televi, you know. So they saw a TV ad, and it’s always games. And sometimes I think the real exciting use cases in my mind, and the ones that are starting to take off around us are these enterprise use cases. It’s the training, it’s manufacturing. I’m curious. A lot of the companies we work with at some point decide to do a proof of concept or a pilot, and there can be a lot of confusion, and there’s not a lot out there to know how to do that well. What have you seen helps companies be successful in a pilot project, and how do you work with companies to help make those pilot programs more successful?

Annie Eaton: Right. I definitely believe the right internal champion is very important when you are trying to make a pilot, especially with a large organization. We’ve been lucky to have a lot of really great ones, but it takes a person to really understand the fact that VR is still highly experimental, and that there is so much yet to be defined, which can be scary, but also really exciting. So framing it in a way that, yes, you are gonna make a proof of concept that is going to hopefully be effective within your business is a great thing, but also, you get to help define something that hasn’t been defined for either your organization or even your industry and beyond. And I think if you can really get that into the mindset of the people you’re working with within these organizations, the project’s gonna be a lot more successful. I’d say timing as well is really important, making sure that you have way more time than you think you are going to need is a big one. Setting expectations really early about what the graphics are going to look like, because, as you said, everyone is seeing these amazing gaming commercials that are basically out there to try and sell you the hardware for Christmas, or someone’s birthday, and it’s awesome, but that is a blessing and a curse, because it’s what our clients see when they are just casually watching TV. It might set unrealistic expectations for what you can do with a proof of concept timeline or budget, but it’s also a really great thing, because they are getting exposed to the technology and the hype around it and the excitement around it before they use it, and sometimes that’s one of the reasons that they wanna use it at their organization, is because they’re like, “Oh, this is so cool. How can we use this at our company?” So I think those commercials are really great for some reasons, a little tough for other reasons, and as long as expectations are set up in the beginning and you have the right champion, it is going to be successful.

Will Stackable: Do you have any specific pilot programs that you were a part of that you could talk about? I think it might be helpful. Or if not, something that you could… Could you describe in general how a typical pilot project flows?

Annie Eaton: Yes. There actually is one I think I could probably talk about, just because they talked about it at a conference last week and mentioned us. So I’m like, “Hey, you did it. I can do it too.”

Brad Scoggin: We’re always looking for those. “They said it publicly, so now we can say it.” Right?

Annie Eaton: They did, yes. And yeah, it was at a conference, so. So we did a really awesome pilot program with Mars Wrigley, and I think that that was a great success because, largely, in part, the people we were working with there. They were really excited about the innovative technology and opportunities that VR had to offer, and they did understand that it was experimental, and that we were going to be doing something that may have some concessions, not everything we defined in the beginning is gonna be exactly as it is in the end, but that’s one of the points of the proof of concept, so that was great. We really do start out with some great pre-production sessions. We do information intake, we took a lot of reference imagery of the machinery we were going to be working with, as well as talking with the subject matter experts that are already training or performing these actions that we were gonna be replicating in VR. And then we kept in communication with them throughout the development process, so making sure that the design in VR was comfortable and also realistic enough to the job at hand, for their project and for a couple of others. We don’t just show how to do something correctly, we also show what can happen if the employee does it incorrectly. And that can be a really impactful way to make sure employees think twice before they do something incorrectly on the physical job site. So that was really important to them. And then I think just listening to them throughout the process, and hearing what the goals of the experience were. It was really to show its effectiveness, so that they could expand the project. And everyone’s goals for a proof of concept are gonna be different, although that’s a pretty common one. I think it was really successful, because we’re continuing to work with them, but I think just having the flexibility with them and being able to just go back and forth in a very collaborative way was one of the main reasons it was successful.

Will Stackable: What’s the typical timeline for a pilot project like that?

Annie Eaton: That one was pretty quick. That one was about six to eight weeks, which–

Will Stackable: Oh wow, that’s fast.

Brad Scoggin: Wow.

Annie Eaton: Very fast.

Brad Scoggin: Very fast, yeah.

Annie Eaton: No, it wasn’t–

Will Stackable: Is that normal, or is that an outlier?

Annie Eaton: I would say usually we have two to three months for a pilot, if we keep the scope limited. So this one was expedited, but it was for a reason. There was a particular meeting with leadership that was happening on a hard date that couldn’t be moved. And so, instead of rushing the design process, we constrained the scope to what was realistic. And everyone always wants things really fast, so that is another part of our job, is to explain, “Well, we can’t necessarily do it faster, but we can limit what is in the experience.” And so having those conversations is something that I am very familiar with. But we were able to do it in time. And another thing that we were able to do with this one was create a video export of the experience. Not everyone is gonna have access to the headset, so we did kind of like a picture-in-picture video of someone using the headset, going through the whole experience with the good day scenario and the bad day scenario, and being able to show that for people who don’t have access to the headset, so that they can still be included in the conversation. But I would say that was an expedited timeline. Usually, three to four months for a small pilot. We’ve actually done some pilots that are closer to six months, just depending on the scale of it, but I would say, typically, anything less than two months is a little aggressive.

Will Stackable: You said that you’d considered it a success. Is there anything specific, or any aha moments, that you feel like that their team had, where you could tell, okay, this is really, this is tracking?

Annie Eaton: Yeah. It was when we showed it to employees who were not a part of the design process, and they didn’t wanna take it of. That was exciting.

Brad Scoggin: Wow. That’s huge. That’s huge.

Annie Eaton: Yeah.

Will Stackable: So just so I can visualize, when they put on the headset, where were they? Were they in a factory, or? What was the environment?

Annie Eaton: Yeah, they were in one of their facilities.

Will Stackable: So they’re able to visualize something that, in a way that, and they’re able to go through. And you said there’s a good day and a bad day, so there’s different scenarios they’re running through?

Annie Eaton: Well, it’s really just if you do it correctly. If you do the process correctly, then you succeed. If you do it incorrectly, you do see a direct physical impact of the incorrect action that you took. Yeah. And there are several clients that we do have that implemented. I think it is very effective. It’s not for everyone, but really showing people firsthand what can go wrong is important in a safe environment, like VR.

Will Stackable: I think that’s huge. Jeremy Bailenson from Stanford, Professor, talks about how VR’s great for anything that’s difficult, dangerous or expensive to simulate in real life. And yeah, so you were seeing some of those aha moments when they’re putting the headset on, and something’s clicking.
Annie Eaton: Yeah. Yep. I think, yeah, that usually if people get frustrated, or they don’t understand what they’re doing, they’re very vocal about it. And so when they’re quiet and they’re in it for a long time, and they’re still performing actions, that’s when we know it’s working. So we have been doing a lot of work, and I have an amazing designer on my team, Elijah, who has been doing a ton of work in making the experience as smooth and as seamless as possible for first time VR users. A lot of our audiences, I know I mentioned the verticals were in earlier, are not necessarily going to be be personal VR users, or they wouldn’t have access to that normally, or maybe they’re not gamers either. I think there’s a great translation over with how to control a gaming console to how to control VR hand controllers. So if they don’t have that experience, we have to teach them, usually in a minute or less, how to use the controllers, how to make sure that everything is clear, and the actions are clear, and make everything as intuitive as possible. So we’ve been working really hard on making sure that we kinda standardize that for our own company, so that that’s something that we can bring into every project moving forward. But every single thing we do, whether it’s a proof of concept or a full-scale development, has that tutorial at the beginning, where we have to make sure that they know what to do. And one of the main benefits of doing VR training is to reduce like, well, a couple of things, but the actual trainer headcount, you’re able to train more people and a faster capacity. So if you have to have someone on the outside explaining to the trainee how to use VR, it’s not really helping, which is why it’s so important to spend time in the tutorials.

Will Stackable: You mentioned reducing trainer time. Do you have any stats you could share just on ROI, or on impact of reduction of training time, or reduction of employee count?

Annie Eaton: Yeah. We are actually in the middle of going through that with a customer now, so we don’t actually have the stats yet. I know that’s one of the hardest things in VR right now, is getting the stats. There’s three different clients we’re working with right now on a few different stats, so we’ll talk next year, and I will hopefully have them for you. But yeah, training time is something we’re measuring. The reduction in the need for a physical trainer is another. And then the, well, two more, retention of information, and then the scoring, and the comparison between classroom training and VR training on scores. So there’s one project we’re doing, where we are directly measuring the exact same questions that they are asked in the classroom, versus in the middle of a VR simulation as they’re going through it. And so that one I’m really excited to see the comparison of.

Brad Scoggin: That’s exciting. I mean, to me there is a lot of data out there. We all do the research when we’re raising money years ago, right, like the efficacy of XR in training. But I do think it is so powerful. I mean, even for us, Will and I, who, we’re in this every day. When we get to sit down with people like you who are on the front lines, and you say like, “This is what we’re seeing. I mean, we’re seeing it firsthand.” It just hits differently than reading the article, the research article. So we appreciate you sharing that. There’s still, I guess, something we’d be interested in hearing about from your perspective as an app developer. You know, you’re going through these proof of concept, and hopefully then moving beyond and scaling. What are some of the main pain points you see with the enterprise end user adopting XR?

Annie Eaton: Yeah. I definitely know one. I know y’all are ArborXR, so I’m gonna give you a big shout out. But the fact that we can use kiosk mode with you guys is like incredible. Before that, ’cause I mean, I’ve been in this for eight years. Before we could do that, it was so, so hard. You couldn’t put anyone in VR without having another person in the room to walk them through how to go. I mean, “Go to the app library, go to online sources, go to the dropdown.” Like, “Click on it. It looks sketchy, but I promise it’s not.” That was a huge one that now is resolved, so thank you. I would like to say thank you personally for that one. Now, other ones, I mean, just getting people to put on the headset is the hardest part. That’s not really anything that we can control, but I think convincing people that VR is effective, for all the naysayers or curmudgeons at companies who are like, “We’ve done it this way forever. Why would we make a change?” Typically, once they put the headset physically on their head, we’re good. So just getting the headset on someone’s head is a big struggle still for people who just really don’t wanna do it. I guess… I’m trying to think of other pain points in development. Just the optimization of models and environments is something we’re always working on. We went from everyone wanting PC VR to now everyone wanting mobile VR, and so expectations from some of our longer-standing customers are still at the PC VR level, which you literally can’t do with a mobile VR headset in some capacity. And so just optimization, and making our systems as efficient as possible to be able to support mobile VR. Even just making the right headset suggestion is difficult sometimes. We are pretty agnostic with what we do, so if a client has a really strong feeling, or has already invested in a certain type of hardware, we are more than willing to adapt to that. We’ve had experience with pretty much every major headset on the market over the past 10 years, so that doesn’t bother us. But when they have strong feelings that don’t really make logical sense, then we have some problems. So, I mean, there are things that every production studio is dealing with, but those are just a few of ’em.

Will Stackable: I have this distinct memory as you’re talking. We were on a call with a big company, a legit company. And behind the guy, in his background, was just stacks of boxes. And we ask, “What are all those boxes?” And he said, “Oh, those are headsets.” “Oh? What are they doing there?” “Oh, whenever we need to install a new app, we have to have the employees ship them back to me, and I plug cables in and I install the app and I send I send it back.” And I was just thinking, that’s still kind of where we are in some way. I mean we, we’ve come a little bit, that was about a year or so ago, but that for us was a big aha moment of, “Okay, this is why we’re building what we’re building.” I’m curious from your end, you’re constantly working with building apps and distributing versions and getting feedback. Could you talk just a little bit about your content pipeline and how you go from build to customer to deployment in the field with actual headsets in real world use cases?

Annie Eaton: Yeah, definitely. So it is still an evolving process, I will say, it always is going to be, but we do have a process with our builds, and we’ll just have, I guess, a set schedule, depending on the customer. So we like to deliver builds every other week if it’s an active project. Sometimes we’ll do it more frequently, although that really crunches the QA time. And then once something goes into maintenance, it’ll be much longer gaps between. But when a project is active, we typically do push builds to the client every other week. So we will make content changes, then we will internally test. Then we’ll typically have our internal champion at our client company that will have a special little test project that we are able to just deploy directly to them. So, for example, that is something that we have set up in Arbor in the past, where we’ll have their headset on its own little, I don’t remember what it’s called, someone else manages that for our company, but its own group, I think, within the organization. And so we’ll push them the test build, and then they’ll be able to review it before it goes to everyone. And then once we get the go ahead from them, then we will deploy to everyone. So it is a little scary when you’re dealing with tens or hundreds or more headsets and deploying, ’cause we’re pushing something. As soon as they’re connected to the internet, they’re gonna get it. So we do like to have that multiple checks between our content development, and then making sure it passes our internal review, and then our champion, and then to everyone. So when we do get new feature requests from the clients, or new content that they want, usually that just gets filtered into our project schedule, so it’s not like we’re making immediate changes to these projects. A lot of the training experiences are really, really time-consuming to test, just because we have to go through so many different scenarios. We had this one where, if you repeat too many times, so if you fail and then repeat, repeat, I think on the third or fourth repeat, one of the NPCs is walking on the ceiling. We had it as a known bug. Our champion saw it and screamed, because she was like, “What’s happening?” So yeah, it’s funny. You get some really interesting visual things that happen, but we try to be very structured about when things get out to the larger group within an organization.

Will Stackable: Very smart. Is there any other quick advice you could give for XR champions in companies that are trying to navigate this landscape, and wanting to win out, you know, prove a pilot out?

Annie Eaton: Yeah. I would definitely say, as fast as you’re gonna wanna move, just be patient, or have a little patience, especially when there are some new features that haven’t been proven out before. It’s really exciting to work in immersive and innovative technology, but time is probably the thing that we wish we had more of always, and that people are always rushing us on. So just know that any partner, us or someone else, is going to be doing things to their best ability, as quickly as they can, but sometimes, no matter how much money you throw at something, or how many people you throw at something, it is not gonna speed it up. So just know, patience is a virtue, and your service provider is trying very hard to make something cool for you.

Brad Scoggin: That’s good. Yeah, I think we, and I’ll assume you as well, we feel this kind of deep sense of responsibility to removing the friction, to making it… I mean, we’re in this phase of XR adoption where it’s getting traction, it’s getting hot in a lot of ways, but you still have this… I mean, you talked about one of the biggest challenges is just getting somebody in the headset. There still is this, “You’ve got one shot at a first impression.” And so, yeah, I mean, it’s great to hear from somebody, you know, from an app developer, and from your perspective of how you approach. And you work with a lot, I mean, a lot of companies you can’t name, a lot of high-end clientele, some smaller companies at well. And we both know, we all know just the difference of expectations across the spectrum. And so that’s really, really good. Couple of hot takes here, to bring it home. So one we always like to ask. Ten years from now, we looked back. What surprises us about XR?

Annie Eaton: Oh. Hold on. So 10 years in the future I’m looking to now?

Brad Scoggin: Ten years in the future, yeah, we looked back. What surprises you? What surprises all of us?

Annie Eaton: I think what will be surprising in the future about now is how bulky the headsets are. I think they’re gonna be so sleek in the future. Kinda like phones. I look at my first phone. It’s like tiny flip phone. Could throw it off a building and it’d be fine. But I think that will be probably one of the things we laugh about, is how bulky and goofy they look.

Will Stackable: My dad had a car phone that had a cable.

Annie Eaton: Yes!

Brad Scoggin: Yes. Our kids will look back and say, “What?”

Annie Eaton: They’ll be like, “What?”

Brad Scoggin: “What were you guys using?”

Annie Eaton: Like, “That’s implanted in my brain.” Like, “What, Mom and Dad? What?”

Brad Scoggin: Yeah right? Exactly.

Annie Eaton: Yeah, I know. I think that’ll be funny.

Will Stackable: We’re gonna have implants?

Brad Scoggin: Yeah.

Will Stackable: Are we gonna all have contact lenses and neural implants?

Annie Eaton: Maybe so.

Brad Scoggin: Hopefully not.

Brad Scoggin: I’m not sure if that’s better or not.

Annie Eaton: I welcome my cyborg future.

Brad Scoggin: Okay, one other question. What’s the most compelling enterprise use case you’ve seen for VR so far?

Annie Eaton: Oh, my goodness. That’s a really tough one.

Will Stackable: It’s a tough one, right? I dunno how I’d answer that.

Brad Scoggin: I always hate to asking, “most,” right? ‘Cause then you think you gotta pick the one. What is one, one of the most compelling?

Annie Eaton: There was one we’ve done, I’ll try to be a little vague about it, where we did have to simulate a flash fire. And I think it’s very cool that we were able to show the chain of reactions that caused the flash fire in an immersive environment. So I think that is one of the coolest ones.

Brad Scoggin: Yeah, that’s cool. I think, I mean, Will said earlier, the dangerous use cases, they’re so powerful, right? I mean, you can put someone in that type of a situation over and over again, and they get their muscle memory, and they get, you know, so that when it happens in the real world, they’re not surprised by it, so. Well, Annie, this has been great. We really appreciate you taking time outta your day. I know you’re busy running your own company. And if somebody wants to find you, I know you’re on LinkedIn. Annie Eaton, and we’ll have some information down below. And then also, your website is futurus.com. So we really appreciate you being here today.

Annie Eaton: Thank you so much. Great to talk to both of you.

Brad Scoggin: Man, it’s always so fun to talk to Annie. She’s got such a great energy. And I love the story of that aha moment, when the group of employees who had not tried XR before put on the headset, and then they wouldn’t take it off. Because we all know how hard it is to explain what XR is to someone, and it’s that moment when you put it on for the first time that’s just so cool.

Will Stackable: I know. And you know, for these companies that are implementing VR at some kind of scale, sometimes in multiple countries, I think they always have to, you obviously have to think about the end user who’s gonna put on the headset. Have they played a game before? We’ve heard stories. She talked about how they developed a one minute intro for somebody to be able to put on a headset in one minute, get familiar with VR. And I love that. I think that’s an insight that working with independent software vendors and content creators who actually are on the ground, testing VR in the real world, you get these little nuggets. So it was a fantastic episode. Hope we can have her on again soon. And if you wanna hear more interviews just like this, check us out on ArborXR.com\podcast. We’ve got show notes, links, resources, and full transcripts of each episode. And, of course, you can find us wherever you like to listen to podcasts. Be sure to subscribe for more. Thanks for listening.

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