Equal Reality 2021

Q1, Teachable, BLM, ViacomCBS, New Tech

What has been happening?

What is next?

  • We are starting filming for a documentary on Australian Innovation next month. Prime Time, Public, Free to Air Australian Channel 10 TV

  • Some exciting projects with multiple large US healthcare organizations.

  • Finishing our existing project with MCCI

  • Continue our R&D into embodiment in video calls & flatscreen simulations.

  • Exciting partnerships in the pipeline.

  • Continuing to release more courses and simulations

  • Work closely with early users of our new course.

"Education and experiencing situations from another Point Of View - being able to witness both points of views, from Devin and from David, gives you the insight to not only understand how Devin is feeling, but see how you should react moving forward as an ally/as David. I think both are valuable POVs to grasp the full meaning of the exercise"

~ ViacomCBS employee participant

What exciting new things can you share?

We have a new course!

A three-part VR blended learning course exploring Unconscious Bias, Inclusion, Microagressions and Intersectionality.

Everyday Inclusion has been co-designed with Diversity and Inclusion experts at an Ivy League University.

The VR interactive experiences give you a first-hand experience of bias. They also include wrap-around learning material on unconscious bias and inclusion as well as additional resources for self-directed learning. See the full course here

"Walk a mile in someone else's shoes" in Virtual Reality.

A Perspective Taking VR-blended course teaching the concepts of Unconscious Bias, Diversity and Inclusion.

In this experience you will step into the shoes of Tamara, the new hire.

"Hi, I am Tamara. I’m an organizational design specialist and I’ve been working at Cornell for 4 months now. I’ve worked really hard over my 20+ year career to hone my skills and I was excited to bring that experience to this team. So far my time at Cornell has been, uh, interesting... Everyone’s been nice for the most part and I really like my colleagues, but these little subtle and not so subtle things keep happening that make me feel… well.. you’ll see."

This course has VR simulations that can be done in the web browser (for greater accessibility), or it can be done in the Oculus Quest headset.

Available on Side Quest

Remote delivery of immersive experiences about bias and inclusion - a Case Study

A collaboration between Equal Reality (ER) and ViacomCBS.

Unpacking Bias is an immersive journey focused on Bias and Inclusion, remotely delivered and closely codesigned with employees using real, lived experiences to ensure authentic and realistic responses and interventions.

Virtual Reality has been proven to enhance perspective-taking - the ability to look beyond your own point of view - and allows people to practice different behaviors in a psychologically safe environment. Like an unexpected fire-drill, it allows learners to face uncomfortable yet everyday situations. Participants are given an opportunity to recognize bias (and learn where they may have missed it) and make decisions on how to act and react. This creates an empathetic learning experience, and an opportunity to become better allies.

This case study details the making of Unpacking Bias, a world-leading immersive experience.

Virtual Reality Character Sarah, Narrator

Co-design: Creating an Authentic and Relevant Experience

"We worked with the Office of Global Inclusion, Employee Resource Groups, Group Culture, Ad Sales, Learning and Marketing and Communications to understand the key issues that VR training would solve, but also involved them in the creation of the content from the development of storylines, character conception, to voice and scripting. We closely collaborated with the ViacomCBS team at every step along the way. Our belief is that co-design not only allows more people to be a part of the process but it also creates a product with diversity and engagement at its core." Read more about our codesign with ViacomCBS

Flatscreen: Innovating a new way of sharing experiences

The global COVID-19 pandemic has lead to changes to the way we work, especially more remote working from home.

It has also had an impact on how VR is perceived, making it either not possible or undesirable

The flatscreen approach solves this issue and also has positive implications for Quality / Timeline / Budget / Resources:

      • It allows more perspective-taking than current e-learning

      • It is more scalable = lower cost per participant

      • Equivalency production costs

Success with world class results

400+ users participated, within 4 days of workshops.

Overall Net Promoter Score +54

"Really appreciated that there were applicable scenarios here informed by ViacomCBS employees. And also appreciated talking with other colleagues - there needs to be more of this!"

"It's really eye-opening to be able to experience some of these scenarios firsthand."

"The first simulation that was presented was INCREDIBLE. The question of "where are you from...no but where are you REALLY from" is a question I have received in the workplace (and in life) COUNTLESS amounts of times. I am glad that this session addressed it and that IT IS NOT OKAY to ask someone that"

"The experience of being in someone else's point of view was impactful"

"I hope this session (or one like it) becomes required watching for all employees"

~ ViacomCBS Employee

The Future of Embodiment

Snapchat AR tech for Video Calls! Our innovations.

We have been doing R&D to bring embodiment (virtual reflection of a character) to flatscreen devices (desktop, tablets, phones).

Embodiment: Research shoes that virtual reflection in VR allows yourself to identify more with a character, and has been demonstrated to be effective in perspective taking exercises. Stanford, 2009.

Embodiment: Step into the shoes of a character in VR.

How to use our characters on Video Calls

If you have Snap Camera, or would like to use Snap Camera. You can add filters to your video calls, or use our characters as filters (which we believe are the most advanced on the Snapchat platform).

Testing full body and facial tracking from camera feeds

We believe this is the first time this type of technology has ever been utilized this way. We are looking forward to implement it into our VR flatscreen experiences for better embodiment outside of a VR headset.

Unreal Engine - a look at things to come. The next generation of Digital Humans.

Here is a video of Roy testing out the Unreal Engine's new Meta Human Creator tool. This has just leapfrogged the industry forward by 10 years. Digital humans in computer graphics technology has come a long way since we begun our journey. Look at the quality of the 3D human tracking to Roy's facial expressions!

In the Press

Miami University - Farmer Business School to use Equal Reality for flatscreen diversity training

Miami University’s Farmer School of Business (FSB) is making strides to include virtual reality (VR) technology in its diversity and inclusion training.

FSB has worked with the company Equal Reality to develop virtual training simulations that allow participants to virtually experience discrimination and teach them how to identify biases, according to FSB’s website.

The simulations also allow participants to practice having difficult conversations and see how their choices impact others by experiencing the situation from different perspectives.

Oakenfull said VR gives people a safe and private environment to identify their own biases.

“It’s a personal and immersive experience,” Oakenfull said. “All of a sudden, you are now in [another person’s] identity … That’s a very different experience than just talking to somebody.”

Oakenfull also said finding new solutions to address the shortcomings of current diversity training methods was necessary.

“There’s been lots of data about how a lot of DEI workshops just don’t work,” Oakenfull said. “So I'm really trying to look at things that you can measure the impact on, and people are actively wanting to try.”

Oakenfull said this form of technology has benefits over traditional workshops.

“Bias is all about slowing down your thinking … taking what’s normally unconscious and making it conscious and mitigating it,” Oakenfull said.“That’s what [VR] allows you to do … so you can replicate it outside.”

To make the training more accessible, VR companies have adapted their simulation to a 2D format which can be used on a smartphone, but the full version will most likely be available in FSB by the fall. The training will be available to all students and faculty, and anyone may enroll in it through the website.

Advancing Australia

Prime Time, Public, Free to Air Australian Channel 10 TV

Next month we begin filming for an Documentary Series on Australian Innovation, featuring us in an episode about Innovation and identity.

In the Works

MCCI - Talking About Advance Care Planning

We are working with our partners at PeopleTech Revolution and the Multicultural Council of the Illawarra to create simulations around end-of-life conversations for carers in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Whats next?

  • We have some big clients and partnerships in US healthcare underway in 2021, we will be creating products that will deliver education programs to carers and patients.

  • Exciting partnerships in the tech sector in the pipeline.

  • Continuing to release more courses and simulations.

  • Work closely with early users of our new course.