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Ep 216 - How XR is Changing Workplace Training and Accessibility


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This episode of the Workology Podcast is part of our Future of Work series powered by PEAT, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. In honor of the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this July, we’re investigating what the next 30 years will look like for people with disabilities at work, and the potential of emerging technologies to make workplaces more inclusive and accessible. Today, I’m joined by Technology Strategist, Joel Ward.

Joel is Technology Strategist & AR Product Manager for management consulting company, Booz Allen Hamilton. His work is focused in the areas of mixed & augmented reality, the Microsoft HoloLens 2, computer vision, biosensors, and sensor fusion. Joel, welcome to the Workology Podcast.

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Ep 216 - How XR is Changing Workplace Training and Accessibility

  1. 1.   Episode 216: Future of Work: How XR Is  Changing Workplace Training and  Accessibility   Episode Link: ​    Intro: [00:00:00.21] Welcome to the Work OLogy Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive workplace leader, join host Jessica Miller Merill, founder of work ology dot com as she sits down and gets to the bottom of trends, tools and case studies for the business leader, H.R. and recruiting professional who is tired of the status quo. Now here's Jessica with this episode of Work OLogy. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:00:25.74] The Future of Business and the Workplace as virtual. I'm talking about X are the X art industry is booming, especially on the consumer side of the house. It's only a matter of time before X are really makes its way into the workplace. I'm interested in talking about how X-ART is being applied right now, maybe at work. Most importantly, how do we leverage this technology to make the workplace and the employee experience more accessible and inclusive for everyone? This episode of the Work OLogy podcast is part of our Future of Work series powered by PEAT there, the Partnership Unemployment and Accessible Technology in honor of the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July. We're investigating what the next 30 years will look like for people with disabilities at work and the potential of emerging technologies to make the workplace more inclusive and accessible. Today, I'm joined by technology strategist Joel Ward. Joel is a technology strategist and a product manager for management consulting company Booz Allen Hamilton. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:01:27.24] His work is focused in the area of mixed and augmented reality, the Microsoft holo lens to computer vision, biosensors and Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  2. 2. sensor fusion. Joel, welcome to the Work OLogy podcast. Thank you, Jessica. Tell us a little bit more about your background. Some of the some familiar with and some of it not, but how did you end up in this space? Joel Ward: [00:01:48.89] So I started school many years ago and then when I went to college, I wanted to be an architect of buildings built Lego. [00:01:55.66] And I was a kid and I thought I wanted to actually build buildings after going to school for a couple of years at Penn State. I decided I didn't want to be an architect and got into web development. So I kind of put my own degree together, didn't exist at the time. And then I went into building Web sites for many years, built Web sites, content management systems, things like SharePoint. If you've heard of that and it did it for a long time and it's good work, it's consistent work. There's a lot of web development out there. But when our new innovation center was being developed and then released into 2016, I got pulled in to help run some of the technology there. And so through that project and I was there for a couple of years, I got involved with a lot of other things outside of our standard software development, including augmented reality, virtual reality. And it really piqued my interest, especially demonstrating to people and seeing what what was possible. So as I moved out of that role, I actually started working on a couple different projects, including the projects in X are extended reality for augmented reality and virtual reality and in devices like the HoloLens. And so that's where I've sort of focused the past couple of years as this is an evolving, sort evolving space. It's starting to mature, but it's still evolving. And there's a lot of exciting things we can do. And that's what I'm hoping we've talk about today. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:03:21.67] Awesome. So for those of us who aren't aware, walk us through what virtual reality, extended reality and augmented reality are. Joel Ward: [00:03:30.07] Sure. So over the years, there have been quite a few different terms used for these types of technologies. Currently, XDR is what most of the industry is using for a blanket term for what most people may know as VR. Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  3. 3. And our virtual reality is VR and ERES augmented reality. There's also another term called mixed reality and they all kind of blend together. And I think for most people they may not be interchangeable, but they're really not. We use X artists to cover all of that because the goal where we see everything going is they will be blended together ultimately. But currently there are sort of very distinct different things. So starting with virtual reality, which most people probably know because this is this has been around for decades at this point and in different forms. This is where you put on a pair of goggles and you may have seen this actually in arcade places like the Microsoft Store have had this. And Best Buy, you may have heard of companies like Oculus. You put on a pair of goggles. You have these lenses that show you somewhere else, take you, just take you somewhere completely different. You don't see any of the real world. Joel Ward: [00:04:42.28] You see a virtual world. So that's virtual. Reality is also, as is the technology's gotten better. It's makes you feel really feel like spatially like you actually are somewhere else, not just like a flat screen, but you actually get a three dimensional experience. So you actually feel like you're somewhere else. So that's VR. Probably most people, whenever they think of any of these terms, they may assume it. It's VR because that's what we've mostly seen over the years. Augmented reality has actually also been around for a while in different forms. That is where you might have either a pair of glasses and then walking around the world. You may have heard of Google Glass. This is one of the first commercial products that came out in the modern era where you're overlaying information on top of what you're seeing. So you might have glasses and you can say it might give you instruction or navigate you around. You also met everybody actually has this on their phones nowadays where you can hold your phone up. It uses the phone camera and then it shows you a lot of view of the camera overlaying information. And you may have played a game like Pooky Mongo. Joel Ward: [00:05:45.34] That's sort of a version of augmented reality or use the IKEA app and put furniture in your living room to make it look see what it looks like with a new sofa. And so a-r people actually may have use it, but even realize it's called augmented reality that's existed for a while as well. I hope though is Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  4. 4. that this movie is more into glasses, so you'd have to hold your phone or your tablet up and then it becomes more of a seamless experience. The last one that's part of Star is mixed reality. And depending how you ask this, this one has a slightly different definition. It sort of morphs between augmented reality and virtual reality. But think of mixed reality is for some of the companies that use this term, primarily like Microsoft. They're thinking of a world where, again, you might have eventually have one pair of glasses that can do both a virtual world and a real world. Joel Ward: [00:06:37.09] For now, this means more likely that you have a pair of glasses where you can still see the real world. But instead of just having two dimensional information in front of you like navigation or a video screen, you have a three dimensional holograms in your world, kind of like virtual reality. But then they're overlaid onto your real world and they actually can then map to real world. So you say you could put a model of something on a table that actually knows where the table is in full floats on the table, and then you can interact with that thing, even using your hands nowadays where you can pick up this virtual object, like almost like it's really there and move it around. So you still see the real world. But you can interact with it like it is a virtual world. And that's that's kind of the idea and the dream of all of this. Are a VR Emaar, where it can blend together between both worlds, depending on what you need to do. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:07:25.72] I was one of the early adopters of Google Glass, so I'm definitely I definitely see the value in this technology. And it was in its infancy. But I loved that I was I able to tweet or share things or read things or get directions and all it was it came directly from my my glasses. And then I told it what I needed to do to a series of like headbutts, which was really cool. Joel Ward: [00:07:53.53] Yeah. And that's and that was the grade. It was culture. Culturally, though, it was awkward because we hadn't seen that. And you know, nowadays we we look at what that was great. And you and you tried it and unfortunately get to try it that way back when. But I whatever came out now I would've tried it. It blazed the trail for what we have now. Even even cell phones, Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  5. 5. like back in the days back then, you people were kind of awkward around people holding cell phones at the dinner table. Joel Ward: [00:08:19.96] Right. And nowadays. We use them all over the place. It's the same thing with these glasses. It was this kind of a head ahead of its time. It also blazed a trail the same time. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:08:29.45] Yeah I never felt unsafe, but I have had friends who when they had their Google Glass on that, were yelled at or approached or asked to leave a restaurant simply because they were wearing them. So they were really obvious. Kind of like a cyborg. Joel Ward: [00:08:46.47] Yeah. Well that goes to the so the form factor too, which is also evolving needs to look more natural and then people then will accept it more. So it's a good point. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:08:55.78] Joel Give us an example of how X-ART is being used in the workplace right now. Joel Ward: [00:09:00.03] There are quite a few areas that it's currently being used or we we see it going in the workplace for what we've been doing in my company and kind of where we've seen the industry going over the past few years. It's been used a lot for applications like training and maintenance. And so we've built a lot of custom applications in VR training for things like learning how to use equipments, learning how to repair equipments. Actually, companies like Wal-Mart and KFC have had examples out there where they're using VR headsets for training, training their employees either in the kitchen or in the stores. And so this is a great way of this kind of goes to the fact that VR is great for going somewhere where you are not. And so if you need to train in a certain location, you don't have ready access to that virtual reality specifically is really great for that. And so that's what we've done a lot of over the past few years. And we see that continuing. Obviously, there's some newer space in the training area that is Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  6. 6. coming out right now. Therapy and empathy training actually is can be really powerful. And this has been around for a while as well. Joel Ward: [00:10:14.75] But as the graphics get better and sort of the this actually ties into artificial intelligence is sort of the the more natural feel of these applications gets better. Then these kinds of things can be useful for not only being somewhere else. So different locations, but also being somewhere someone else. So something like empathy training. We're actually piling this internally with our learning and development team where we're looking at having people put on a VR headset to be somebody else, go through a certain HRR situation as somebody else. And so even though there's no way you can actually be somebody else, it is much closer than any other method we've had before of essentially seeing what someone else sees and getting a much better feel for how certain comments or looks are addressed to that person. And that actually is very powerful. And so you kind of go off on that tangent for not just empathy trading, but other kinds of therapy, training for relaxation, going to different locations. We actually a couple years ago built an application for doing physical therapy called Kosta Paradise, where it takes you on to a kayak in a tropical location. And then you have to take the two controllers like their paddles and you paddle. Joel Ward: [00:11:35.01] And so it's sort of relaxing and you're going along this river right over this bay, but you're also moving your arms with these controllers. And that's actually the exercise you're supposed to be doing. So you can think, well, that's much more interesting than doing physical therapy in a hospital where I'm looking at a great wall. And I just have to kind of go back and forth, back and forth. We can now use virtual reality to make it more interesting and then it's more interesting than I might actually complete it on a regular basis. So this is the kind of thing that we've actually already seen. And this is, I think, one big growth area, especially in health space that we'll see in the next couple of years. And so on the training, right. By the way, there's a bunch of other kind of training orientation and then kind of related to training and the health being able to go somewhere else and keep mentioning this. The VR is great for this week to take you somewhere else. But the idea of going in to even Google Maps where the Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  7. 7. Google Street view, we can go somewhere else, there's applications that you can put on a headset, go anywhere in the world that can be interesting for for for some people. Joel Ward: [00:12:39.39] Actually, in my son, by the way, he loves to do this. He loves to put on the headset and go play with places he's been and kind of click around, essentially Google Street View. But from a therapeutic standpoint, thinking back into that hospital or if you're stuck at home or stuck somewhere else, if you can go anywhere in the world and and feel like you're there, that can be very powerful. And so this is all kind of I put this in the training room, but if you start there, there's a lot of possibility and just in training and I'm talking about VR. So flipping on the air side, augmented reality at the next reality, starting with training and VR. If you go to the maintenance side and that job aide side and augmented reality, if you can put on a headset like a like a Microsoft HoloLens, which is a holographic augmented reality headset, put it on, it can actually sense what you're looking at. And then if you need to fix something, it can actually step you through that process. And the technology's getting better where it can not only align its direction to what you're looking at. So it knows you're looking at like a car engine, for example. And it could say, you know, open this, twist this off and put the fluid in here, something like that. As the technology is getting better, it actually can analyze what you're doing is you're doing it until you did it wrong. Right. Joel Ward: [00:13:55.23] So we're not quite there yet with all these applications, but that's where it's going, where it can sort of tell you what help you along automatically as you're doing it. And this is what augmented reality is really great for, because it's blending the real world along with this virtual world also along with augmented reality gratification, actually. So the I'm building for a prototype is I've been a reality makes reality headset combined together with analytics and sensors like cameras and biometrics. And so imagine you're wearing this heads up. You're also wearing other sensors that are looking at what you're doing or monitoring your health or looking for other objects or people. And this is can be really powerful where the user can be much more aware of their surroundings Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  8. 8. and their self. For example, nearby threats, navigation, so it may know where you are and then be able to direct you again, your health outhow how you're feeling and then also communication. So sort of combining all these things together and then being able to see that one view instead of having to look down at a phone or computer or something else. That's another great USAR. I think there's a lot of hair is going to grow a lot in the next couple of years, especially as we see new devices and headsets that are more affordable and also more powerful. And so these kinds of things for. For security and monitoring for the military, it could be for even home use and personal use. What was really going to grow? The last thing I'll mentioned that kind of covers both augmented reality. Virtual reality is that idea of using these platforms for teamwork, for communication, for collaboration, replacing phone calls, video calls and even travel, which is what we've been trying to do for decades is is eliminate or reduce unnecessary travel. Joel Ward: [00:15:55.26] If you can have a virtual meeting that it feels much more like a physical meeting that can be really powerful. Right, where you can have people in the same room all collaborating around virtual content and then people remotely being beamed in as holograms, as avatars that even look like themselves and interacting with the same virtual content. And eventually we'll be able to then combine that with sensors that bring in real physical content into that. So you may be looking at our actual physical model, for example, that's in one room and you're doing a design review. Consider the remote people seeing just a video feed of that. They eventually should be able to see a virtual three dimensional representation of that model because of special cameras that can now then translate physical into a virtual model life by event, stream it to somebody else. And so this this is still evolving. Actually, the pieces are there. And I think in the next few years as some of these applications and some of these this is sensor technologies improve and become more affordable, we will see this and it will start with more specialized use cases like designer, if you like, and mentioning. But we may start to see that as replacing regular meetings and even travel and training orientations and all kinds of things, because we can do it much more readily. And people also tend to focus at the same time, too, with these kinds of environments. Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  9. 9. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:17:25.77] We talked about on a previous work ology podcast as part of the PEAT Future Work series and we delve into virtual reality and inclusion. And I'll link to the interview on the transcript of this podcast. But I wanted to to get a little bit more speed because it's been about a year since we had this interview. If you could tell me all about why accessibility is important and X are VR and augmented reality industries. Joel Ward: [00:17:52.66] Sure. So as we move into more of these types of applications being available in x ray or VR, there's there's two things that are important. So first is we need to make sure that these applications and devices are accessible just like other kinds of things software, computers, buildings, et cetera. We need to make sure they are usable by people of all abilities. For example, people are mobile mobility restricted. How can someone who's mobility restricted use a VR system that requires you to walk around or maybe use your arms or legs hands to control something? Joel Ward: [00:18:34.68] There needs to be another way for them to interact with it. And so we've done this for other kinds of systems. We need to make sure we're doing it for next our systems and that that is still a work in progress, but it's essentially moving forward. The second thing is S.R. can be used to enhance participation for people with disabilities. So and actually for everybody. Right. So we talked about accessibility, thinking about people, disabilities, but really it's to make things accessible for everybody. And so finding ways of engaging with people in different ways, because everybody has a different way that they work. And so X-ART can be another one of those tools. Again, maybe it doesn't work for everybody, but there's there's certain things like, for example, both in-person or remote access for meetings and things like that, which we always struggle with, like how do you make these kinds of things? Engaging XDR can provide new ways for both people in person where it can augment how they engage with other people in the room, giving them more information, augmenting what they're seeing. Think of augmented reality or remote people where they might not be in the same room, but they can see a lot of the same content engage with people Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  10. 10. similar to the whether they would be if they were physically in the room. But maybe they can't be or for whatever reason that they're not there, they can still feel like they're being engaged. So this is where things like XDR can do this kind of experience where there's really not been nothing like it before. I mean, we have phone calls and video calls, but it's not quite the same as what you can do and more of a spatial three dimensional environment. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:20:08.73] I encourage anyone who hasn't tried on virtual reality glasses to give it a shot. I mean, it does really feel like you're you're in the room. And it's interesting to see it being used in the HIV and recruiting space in different ways. Several years ago, I went through a kind of day in the life fritsche route, virtual reality experience with Gap. And so I went through Fashion Week and I visit the San Francisco offices and I really felt like I was in the office. It was it was a great thanks. I think there's a lot of possibility, but I'd like that we're thinking about accessibility and inclusion with these new technologies. Joel Ward: [00:20:48.15] Definitely. Yeah. Break: [00:20:49.26] Let's take a reset. This is Jessica Miller Merrill. And you were listening to the Work OLogy podcast. We are talking with Joel Ward about S.R. accessibility and the workplace. This podcast is sponsored by work ology and is part of our Future of Work podcast series in partnership with the Partnership on Employeement and Accessible Technology or PEAT, the Work OLogy Podcast Future of Work series is supported by PEAT the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology. Break: [00:21:16.59] PEAT's initiative is to foster collaboration and action around accessible technology in the workplace. PEAT is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. Oh dep-. Learn more about PEAT at PEAT Works dot org. That's P.T.A. T.W. O. Our R.K. s dot org. Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  11. 11. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:21:37.29] Now I want to get back to accessibility and X R. Can you tell us more about maybe some ways to make X are more accessible for everyone? Joel Ward: [00:21:48.15] Sure. So there's already work being done in this space. And so because of X, R has been around for a while and some of these devices could release commercially available devices have matured over the past five years. There has been some work done and actually many of them are being built on top of things like Windows and Apple's products, which already have accessibility built in. So in point, there is there's already underlying infrastructure that has accessibility. And so we don't have to start from scratch, which is great. That said, as we add new features and have new sort of hardware types and software applications, not everything necessarily is has been designed from the ground up to include all those hooks like we have for the Web and for other applications. So that's what we need to think about, what can be built into the these platforms to make it easier for developers as they're building these things to make sure that they exist instead of having to manually put in accessibility hooks, for example, Okami Labs, the vacation and job simulator, they put a lot of accessibility features into their applications, but they they had to think through it and then add the manually versus having sort of those hooks built in. Joel Ward: [00:23:01.89] And that's kind of where we want to go with with this kind of thing. So again, for traditional laptops of computers there, things like screen readers and alternate input methods. And so we can actually build off of those things for X VR and a.r. But we need to make sure that that makes sense and that all the new kinds of features in our applications can be used by these other traditional Vice's. And then on top of that, think of maybe there's new kinds of input methods, new kinds of assistive technology needs to be created more can be more easily made available to allow people to engage with these kinds of things. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:23:43.53] So it's a lot of your work focused in kind of awareness and conversations with the developers and the companies who are Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  12. 12. making these new technologies to say like, hey, you need to think about accessibility and screen readers and this other technology as your end about that instead of later on in the process. Joel Ward: [00:24:03.39] Yeah, that's and that's why I'm extra part of the Extra Access initiative is one of the things that I want to make sure is that we get the word out. And I did this back in the day. I mentioned I did web development. And so the web development back when web, the web was new women through the same thing with the World Wide Web Consortium rules and then Section 5 0 8 as part of the government regulations for making Web sites accessible. That doesn't exist now. And so that's one thing that we want to do with the extra access initiative, is help provide those kinds of guidelines. But at the same time, even before that's all complete. Yes. One of my goals is internally in my company and then externally and in the public realm, I want to let people know they need to think about it. We need to at least think about it. And ultimately, everybody should just be doing this automatically. And that's easier said than done. But the first step is education and getting the word out. And so that's what I'm doing. That's what we're doing right now. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:25:05.22] Well, talk to us a little bit more about the X-ART Access Initiative. How does this work and then how can folks, if they're interested, get involved? Joel Ward: [00:25:14.16] Sure. So we kicked off the extra access initiative last year on July 2019 in New York City. We had about 140 or so people. From around academia and industry, and it was hosted by Cornell Tacon Verizons media at their Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island there in New York. We had a bunch of presentations. And so it was an interesting mix of a lot of people that are already in the accessibility realm, people that are in the X our realm. And I think the the thing that was really interesting to see is on both sides, they didn't necessarily know about the other side. And so part of it was sort of cross training people. So they understand from accessibility perspective, the extra folks learned about that. And then from an extra perspective, the folks that have worked in Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  13. 13. accessibility wrote about XDR. And so that was the first step. Everybody together we had some workshops talk through some ideas. And then after that, we came up with six groups that were formed to create some of these guidelines and engage with the community around first as guidelines or policies, which is the ultimate goals, creating some structure around what what you can do, awareness and outreach. As I mentioned, that's can be very important education, which is also not just teaching people, but also engaging with the education space. And then on the specific application platform side, we have application accessibility. So the software side building applications that are accessible. And then I'm actually the lead for hardware devices working with some of the companies that create hardware and also thinking through what else can we recommend it or collect that provides for the space. Joel Ward: [00:27:00.87] And the last one at least, content and authoring, which is also related to the application accessibility. How how can people as they're creating content, make sure that they're creating content an accessible way. And so the whole goal of all this is to have these working groups we meet regularly. We're pulling people in from across industry, academia to create a set of guidelines. And again, some already exist. And so we're not initially starting from scratch, but we want to put in what's already been created and then see where the gaps are and then come up. And the goal being a place where people can go and learn what they need to do or what they should be doing to create accessible X R applications and hardware and environments. And so the goal is actually by the summer to have something to report out when we have our next symposium and then keep building on that and see where it goes. To be honest, you know, we're all kind of curious to see where it goes. I'm excited just to get the word out. But as long as we can move it forward and have something to build on, then I think we're doing our jobs. And that's that's all I can hope for at this point. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:28:09.63] So if people are looking for more information, X are access talk is the place to go. Yes, some will include a link in this also and in the transcript resources of the podcast. Let's talk a little bit about H.R. and workplace leaders. We talked about what X R is accessibility and maybe how it all Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  14. 14. works and how we're working towards this. But why do you think this is an important topic for four human resources in the workplace? Joel Ward: [00:28:41.94] So first off, we're going to have X R in the workplace no matter what. So we need to be prepared for it. We already see it. Showing up in certain applications like training and maintenance and communication. So folks at X-ART need to think about that ahead of time because otherwise they're not going to be prepared. Secondly, as I mentioned before, we can use X R to make the workplace more accessible. So it's actually a great tool in that and that that that tool belt of technology for making the workplace better for everybody. So as I mentioned before, training can be enhanced using stuff like H.R. X R as an alternative or replacement for sort of more traditional computer based training or even classroom training. And for for some people, it may be more engaging or maybe more accessible available. For example, things like maintenance aides and this is where we see a lot of this in an augmented reality can be used to help people maybe with cognitive disabilities be able to step through a bunch of work tasks with some assistance. And so that and also stuff like navigation or just general sort of direction can be provided to people in different ways so they can have some aides during their day and then telepresence and there's apps. What I like is called spatial is a is a way for people to. Joel Ward: [00:30:06.45] Engage both in person and remote's in a more holographic natural style setting and then we'll see this evolve over the over the years. But I think eventually down the road, some like a Star Trek holodeck where you might be able just to sort of be in a virtual space with different people, both in the same space and elsewhere, and have more of a natural kind of conversation versus a telephone call or a video call or email or more or more traditional way of talking or conversing. So those are the kinds of things that are coming in the general workplace. And we want to make sure they're accessible. And again, they can be used to make the workplace more accessible. Would also say is that I've been demonstrating a aren't VR for a couple of years now, probably demo to thousands of people at this point. And every time that I show that for somebody for the first time, they see what's possible with this new technology. And so as Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  15. 15. that continues to happen, more and more people see it just like we have with lot of technology. It will creep its way into the workplace. So even if these other things weren't happening, people are beginning to try this out and they will start to bring it back into work. Joel Ward: [00:31:20.46] And so we do need to make sure that this kind of technology is ready for the workplace, for those maybe that that aren't as familiar with XDR as they should. I have a report which will link to it's the SA Industry Insights report. And just to give you an idea, because H.R. typically follows consumer trends in my mind. So as things come into the consumer market, then they start to move into the workplace. We just it's just an expectation that we have. And so in this survey, it says that there is a twenty five point seven percent growth just in the last twelve months for VR in the Enterprise segment. So it's growing and it's coming. And I think that H.R. leaders and workplace leaders can get ahead of things by exposing themselves to the technology, getting involved in initiatives like you have and thinking about how this is going to transform their workplace so they can kind of be at the forefront of this change in innovation. Definitely. As we look forward to the next 30 years, what emerging workplace trends or technologies do you think are going to have the biggest impact on people with disabilities in the workplace? Joel Ward: [00:32:38.01] I think XR will have an impact, big impact. But I honestly feel like technology, like XDR, coupled with tech, like artificial intelligence and robotics, will probably have the biggest impact, at least from what we have seen. Now, these kinds of technologies. Hey, I did the ability to have computers analyze things closer to how humans do and actually analyze a lot of data and be able to provide better insights than humans can and much more quickly, if used correctly, can really enhance human experience. And then the robotics side, there's a lot of work being done to then combine that artificial intelligence with robots devices that move. And then that also can be combined with XDR. Hey, are in VR. So for, say, remote access, you might be able to be remotely be a robot in sort of so engaged with your environments. But on the health side, for example, there's a lot of work being done with and robotics for helping people with Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  16. 16. engagement like people with autism, engaging with robots and actually just watch to do a documentary that talks about this robots being used for helping people engage with the world in different ways. And I think this is also where X-ART can come in if if people need either they have trouble engaging with with other other people. It's actually been shown that things like robotics, A.I. can help draw people out. Also say dementia patients. They've been using these kinds of things to help them engage with people and then sort of draw out their memories and have them engage again and also work on their memory. This is, I think, where robotics can really kind of fit in, where we're having trouble with enough people to be able to support everybody. Joel Ward: [00:34:31.29] So there's I think there's certain places where these kinds of technologies can fill in where we might have used to have had enough people to support. But now we can have technology help with it. And I'm not saying replace it, but we need to kind of think about how we can help help a lot of people in the right way. And again, this is using the technology in the right way. And so along with that artificial intelligence, with things like health, analyzing your health data, and we're actually doing this in some projects in my company, collecting health information so you can tell if you're going to have some. Sort of health episode. Well, either immediately or as a trend over time and say if you're working in a group of people and this is something where you see for except law enforcement or military for working in a group, you can have the group sort of keeping an eye on each other and prevent health issues more quickly with stuff like that. And that's kind of really to the artificial intelligence being able to gather the day, but also analyze it to make sure that everything is okay. I think there's a lot of other cases like that where I get used in the right way and used the right way, not only from a moderate standpoint, but from a privacy and security standpoint can actually really be powerful. And with increased computing power, we'll see can probably things we have never imagined yet that we'll see in the next 30 years. Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  17. 17. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:35:54.01] Well, Joel, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Where can people go to learn more about you and the work that you're doing? Joel Ward: [00:36:02.02] Sure. Yes. So soon? Come to my my Twitter. So @joelsef on Twitter. And my blog is Joel, joelsef dot com and I love people would come in and discuss ways were incorporating X-ART into the workplace. New ideas. I my my goal is to find new ways of using this technology for the right kinds of things and then also making sure it's accessible. Along with that and mentioning accessibility, our access dot org is where we're doing the work for creating these guidelines and documenting how we can make these things accessible. And if you want to see what my company is doing last month at least Booz Allen dot com slash immersive, you can see some of the products that we're doing in the immersive space for our clients customers. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:36:48.16] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. I really appreciate it. Joel Ward: [00:36:51.79] Thank you, Jessica. Closing: [00:36:52.96] Are you tired of putting your professional development on the backburner? It's time for you to invest in yourself with upskill HRR by work ology. We're a membership community focused on personal development for H R gain access to our elite community training, coaching and events. Learn more and upskill H.R. dot com. Jessica Miller Merrell: [00:37:17.77] I love the variety of different ways that X-ART can be applied to the workplace, especially the empathy simulations and trainings. Not to mention the ability to provide employees and team members with learning, development and these simulations, providing them with experiences and tools to leverage not just at work but in everyday life as an early adopter of Google Glass. I have always been excited about the possibilities of X R and I absolutely love the work that Joel is doing and appreciate his time getting Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology
  18. 18. us up to speed on important terms and applications in the workplace. Not to mention his work with developers and educators to help shape the future of X are not only for consumers, but also for employees and making it accessible and inclusive for everyone. If you're interested in the reports and data I referenced in this podcast episode, you can check them out in the podcast resources, which is in the episode transcript here. This Future of Work series is in partnership with PEAT and they're one of my favorites to work with. Thank you to PEAT as well as our podcast sponsor Work OLogy.     Episode Link: ​    Workology Podcast​ ​| | @workology