How Verizon Is Helping Businesses Leverage XR Technology to Drive Efficiency in Their Industry
How Verizon Is Helping Businesses Leverage XR Technology to Drive Efficiency in Their Industry
Join us for Episode 2 of the PIXO Podcast. In this episode, PIXO VR is joined by Arleen Cauchi and Ruben Cuadrat of Verizon. Arleen and Ruben discusses how Verizon is leveraging AR/VR technology to help drive efficiencies in business they work with.
We discussed what Arleen & Ruben’s rolls are at Verizon and how their teams are helping to drive innovation in business they service. Next, we dove into what PIXO describes as their 4 phases of XR implementation and where customers usually are when they come to Verizon, and what they do to assist them.
There are always challenges when new programs are implemented, but Arleen and Ruben describe how they are overcoming those, in order to drive efficiency.
Finally, we took a look at what he thinks the future of XR looks like for business, and they provide tips to new companies looking to implement XR and be successful with it.
What is the value of XR: 2:42-9:30
What phase of XR implantation are Verizon’s customers in: 9:30-17:36
Challenges of implementing XR training and how to overcome those: 17:36-22:09
How will XR play a roll in business in the future: 22:09 – 26:25
Insight for companies looking to implement VR training: 26:25-30:01
About the Guest:
Arleen Cauchi is the head of the joint go-to-market with the system integrators and technology partners with Verizon. They focus on how to drive business value and how can businesses use these technologies to decrease costs and increase revenue, all with integrating to their existing back-end system.
Ruben Cuadrat is the head of the emerging technology team and devices at Verizon. With a background in physics and computer science, Ruben has helped build and launch a variety of consumer products.
Arleen: Thank you.
Rosina: Sure, I’ll start. So I head our joint go-to-market with our system integrators and our technology partners at Verizon. And these partnerships are all about delivering an end-to-end solution. So how do we drive business innovation and business transformation for our customers? And I think it’s important to kind of highlight what we focus in on is driving business value. So how do these new technologies… allow our customers to decrease costs or increase revenue? And how can they integrate it into their existing back-end systems for that end-to-end solution?
Ruben: Hey, thank you for having us My name is Ruben. I head the emerging technology team in devices at Verizon. My background is in physics, computer science. I started doing operating systems and virtual machines for embedded devices. And for a little bit more than a decade, ive been working, launching a lot of consumer products from mobile payments, trackers, activation flows. And what was very fascinating to see this past, maybe more than a decade, is the huge amount of value, user value and user experience. Especially at the beginning, pick one year, you almost would feel that the previous year was obsolete. And that was very fascinating to see, but I think we all seen that this value is getting to a plateau. There’s a limit of the value and experience that we can do within the constraints of a smartphone, which is a flat screen. And what is even more exciting is if there’s a way to move beyond this plateau and continue to increase use of value by moving. away from these limitations. I’m talking about the AR, VR devices, which are devices are way more powerful. So this duo of more value, more user experience coupled with all possible enabled thanks to a new type of device and device interface, this evolution is super exciting and looking forward to talk about it today.
Rosina: Thank you. So just to be super super clear you guys are working with B2B correct? You’re working for other businesses well other businesses come to you for For products and services
Arleen: Right. we’re two different teams, right? But we’re focusing on, we work together. We’re focusing on helping businesses
Arleen: Leverage the latest technologies to drive efficiencies in their business.
Rosina: It really kind of starts off with the basics that as individuals, we learn better when we’re engaged and we learn better by doing. And there’s been a lot of studies out there that have shown that there’s some pretty dramatic increases in what an individual can learn better through that increased engagement and the ability to kind of repeat over and over, which XR gives you. The increased engagement is really because you don’t have those outside interruptions. You really can focus in and obviously there’s certain tasks where we can make it easier to repeat and practice over and over. And I mean studies have found that individuals learn much faster. Their engagement increases up to four times, it improves retention 16 times, and there’s a reduction in learning time. It can be 40 to as much as 70%. If you take those kinds of numbers, it’s easy to see how quickly that can mean increased savings and increased revenue for a business. And we’ve seen this over and over from our clients who are using it today. Um, we have a customer who saw, uh, the re their training times reduced by 40%. But they’re the quality of the learning was three times greater. Um, we also have another customer who they saw that the retention of the knowledge was 15% greater. So these numbers again, quickly add up to provide real business value and real business.
Ruben: Yeah, I think these numbers are very impressive. And when you talk to customers, they tell you, like, hey, this is working. And the question is less about whether this is valuable, but about how do we execute and how do we scale this? And so Verizon has talked to many players in the AR/VR industry, got the feedback about, hey, what are the gaps? What are the improvements? And what is the value that we wanna see that’s more? And we focus on three big areas of value. I’ll go with fidelity first. First is the better fidelity, or fidelity in terms of seeing complexity. So you try to do an experience on VR today with existing devices. Typically, the complexity, or what you’re going to say, is limited by the compute of the device, which is going to be. maybe half a million polygons or one million polygons. What is the solutions that we are trialing and testing is that we can get access to big supercomputers on the edge and we can give you access to hundreds of millions of polygons. So, I mean, this is massive value. We’re talking about several orders of magnitude in fidelity or complexity of the scene. All right, you wanna do… A cartoonish avatar is okay with our local device, but if you wanna do something like a very complex forest with thousands of leaves moving with the wind, well, for that you need the supercomputers on the backend. So good value there, it’ll be focused. The other area we focused also is in the area of what we call ergonomics or wearability. A lot of devices are very, AR/VR, very heavy. I mean, you’ve seen some customers they tether the VR to a backpack, typically 20, 30 pound backpack, or when we use 5G, those devices are like much, much lighter. We can offload all the compute to the
Rosina: Yeah, so that they can get that computing power behind it, right? So, yeah.
Arleen: I wish we had one of those with us because some of them now, I mean, they’re literally this big. The device is fantastic.
Ruben: Yeah. I mean, this is especially very important on AR. Look, I don’t know if you guys have tested AR glasses, but sometimes, and some vendors, you put them on yourself and after a minute, it’s like, that’s too heavy. And what we are targeting is like, you cannot be that after a minute that you’re done. we’re talking about all the availability and that’s another area of value that we can target because it can float the compute to the back end and can get there. And then the last or the third area of value that I’m very excited also to talk about is what we call boundless. Boundless in the sense that you’re not bound to a specific room and only in that room you can run the experience because you have to be tethered to some of the laptops or PCs. Now we have the option to do it wherever we have coverage. And with the concept of streaming from the back end to anywhere we have coverage, then comes the concept of, hey, we can bring multi-user interaction, which is not possible when you work on your own. And that’s very exciting because some of the use cases we see in there, there’s a professor, there’s a bunch of students. And there has to be like an interaction. I have to see what you see. You have to see what I’m showing you all in XR. So that, very excited to bring this area of value to the market.
Rosina: That is all very exciting. Yeah, that’s great. Those are definitely limitations that people are experiencing in terms of, as you say, everything, wearability and computing power and what you can host on the headsets versus not. And so those are some limitations that people, well, that businesses do have. And then I’m curious in that realm. Our business is there yet. They understand that pain yet when they come to you. Because at PIXO, we have four phases of XR implementation. And the first phase is they’re just considering using XR. And phase two is using it either at scale or in a pilot or some small area, maybe one use case. And phase three would be. You have several use cases. So it sounds like you guys are talking mostly about training. But as we all know, XR can also be used for collaboration or even B2C, exhibition spaces and things like that. And then phase four is wanting it to be a very seamless experience. So instead of hosting everything on one area and needing to click into each of those experiences and potentially log in separately, it would just be a seamless that’s looking more to the future. a seamless area where you would just walk in and start interacting. And so if you walk over to that machine, you can train on it, but if you walk into that room, you can collaborate with your peers. So with that in mind, do the pains that you guys are helping businesses to overcome, have they reached it yet? What phase are they typically in when they come to you?
Ruben: Yeah, I think it’s interesting to talk about the different faces. I have to say that customers that come to us, they’re very convinced that they’re looking for execution, for skill. And what gets interesting is that there’s a different, not everybody has different requirements. For example, it’s not the same having to train somebody to make a milkshake versus trying to train an athlete, an NFL athlete to… learn to play for the weekend. And I mean, we can talk about some of the range and the spectrum of examples. Maybe I can talk about AR. Through the partnership that Verizon has with the NFL, we got access to many clubs and to we heard and learned about some of the challenges that they had teaching and training their athletes. And they start most of these clubs, they’re starting to use VR. And it’s very interesting, right? Because if you try to learn how to play and I have to explain to you on a 2D like piece of paper that is effective. But when even more effective. But this is the thing is I maybe it is very effective to use VR to train the play. But the most that you can do is memorize the place. So as an athlete, yes, I’m getting, you’re giving me an edge because I can better memorize the play. But where the clubs came to us, say, we want to go beyond that. We actually want to, after you learn that play, you still have to do it. You still have to train the play. And then they ask us, they said, can we move VR to the next level so people can actually do that play? And of course, without using the word, they were, what they mean is AR. And then we started working with the AR vendors, very wearable glasses with connected to a 5G device that we could stream experiences from the backend. And this effect, when we show this to the cloud, like, whoa, we didn’t know this was possible. So you can now, as an athlete, you can put the glasses, see a virtual team. We can even maybe play two physical players, see the virtual team and move with the play. So I know I had to move maybe one yard more or one yard less. So the concept. bring in the concept of spatial training. Here is the ultimate learning by doing, which is super powerful. This was not possible before. I think everybody thought that the limit was VR, but we bring in this through Fudgee and Edge to basically to the limit. So very exciting to see this powerful value.
Rosina: No, I was going to say with the NFL, they knew they wanted something in XR or they had already had it when they came to you or they just kind of know they wanted something in XR
Arleen: What I was going to say is, when you think about training, I do think a lot of people think about how do they learn how to use a machine on a factory floor or in fast food, how do they learn how to make milkshakes? But I think he gave a great example of how learning and training can mean something completely different for a professional athlete. I also think another example of something kind of… totally different would be what we’re doing with Arizona State University. So they’re actually using the technology for students to learn subjects that they tend to struggle with. And the subjects that tend to be the hardest for students tend to be math and biology. And so they’re using the technology to improve a student’s ability to consume the information. And so for example, what we’re doing in biology is they’ve created this make believe world, a galaxy world where there are creatures in this world and they’re dying. And so the students need to come and figure out how are they dying. And the immersive experience, they can go in, and learn more about what’s happening with these creatures. And they can actually take it a step further. So they can actually go into the cells of these creatures and examine the cells and determine what’s going on. And like they’ve seen with the other subjects where they’re incorporating a immersive experience to the education. because they’re still doing lectures, they’re still doing labs. This is an add-on. They’re seeing that students have increased their grades. They’re increasing their grades a couple of letter levels. They also start helping and being more collaborative in the room, which I am told is very rare in a lab environment. And there is an increase, people are, students are enjoying the subject matter more. So it’s definitely a groundbreaking way how to teach some of these these challenging subjects that I think we’re going to see more and more of this through out our educational system.
Rosina: That’s amazing. And I think what’s interesting about both of those examples, even though they’re very different, is that it also brings home the idea of you get to practice it in this other reality, but you also utilize it in reality, in your real world. So it’s a combination of training and education that really is the most effective way of doing things. You can’t just do it all in great results. You have to also practice and do these things in real life as well.
Arleen: Yeah, we also have another example where, with another partner where a doctor can practice a surgery, especially if he has to do like a tumor removal. He can practice over and over and over again in this immersive world before he actually touches the patient. So there are a lot of examples where that repetitive ability can make a significant difference in performance.
Rosina: Yeah, absolutely. Those are great examples. So what challenges have you experienced with your customers in implementation of XR specifically?
Ruben: Yeah, I’m going to take that. If you look, when I was talking before about the value that the Ration targets to bring to the industry, the conceptual architecture or the concept that we bring in is very simple. Basically, we’re shifting all the compute to the back end, to the edge, and we stream over 5G. That’s a concept that’s very simple. The execution of it, however, is extremely complicated. You have to deal with radio environments, with the streaming technology. And when you look at the spectrum where we use different type of radios from C-band, millimeter wave, the different type of use cases, which I can talk about very extreme use cases where we are streaming cinematic high fidelity experiences over the network. For example, 2K, 2K, FRI, single digit latency is less than one millisecond jitter. That’s crazy performance requirements where we had to work with partners to tweak and improve the networks and the radius to make that available. Then it is true there’s a lot of technology to do the streaming, but majority of the streaming technology used to stream over Wi-Fi. So as soon as we started streaming over cellular networks, we had to do a lot of different improvements because the correlations between latency and jitter and bandwidth are very different in Wi-Fi. So we had to do this. And today, it took us many, many months and almost like the last two years have been devoted to this. with very leading partners to do that radio and streaming. But I think now that we know it works, and I mean, we’ve conquered it, and it’s showing a lot of extreme performance being achieved. And it’s the value that was describing before. Yes, we know that we can achieve this, and it wasn’t easy. But yeah, simple model, very complicated, non-trivial execution.
Rosina: That’s the challenge, right? Than anything about the implementation. And okay, that’s interesting.
Arleen: You think of classrooms, like we’ve had teachers, so what we’re doing in the K through 12 community is we’re helping teachers use this. Again, it’s another example of helping students understand something that’s complex. So we’re doing things around students trying to understand. galaxies and supernovas and planets and space in general and how they evolve. So using an immersive world, we can speed up and accelerate time and just understand evolution and play with that. But prior to delivering this over 5G, you had a teacher who was hooking up like two AR or VR sets to a computer. And the room is filled with these computers and these wired connections. And she’s trying to manage that existing infrastructure with a classroom of children. So now, delivering it all over the network, we can stream live to over 30 students in the room. And we eliminate all that compute and wiring need, which is substantial to making these things. really have the business value that everyone’s looking for.
Rosina: Absolutely, that’s amazing. That’s an amazing hurdle to overcome and implement that infrastructure that makes it easier for everybody. that’s the name of the game. We want to make it easy, as easy as possible, because otherwise the benefits are a little challenging to play out. But with those challenges, so obviously we’ve heard how you’ve overcome them, and that’s amazing. And you guys are already dipping more into the future than then it already sounds pretty futuristic compared to how some people have VR setups or XR setups. But how do you see it playing in the future for businesses or even for education or anything in your realm? How do you see XR in the future?
Ruben: Yeah, I think we are starting to see all the examples and figures that Arleen mentioned. There’s so many more and more companies reporting, hey, VR is working for me. These are the improvements I’m seeing. Now it’s becoming a norm to see all this. I think more and more the market is convinced of the value. And we are seeing this in the numbers. When we look at the shipments of devices. The device interface and device is important to see. This is how you consume the experience. Big numbers, big growth. But what’s interesting is that the active users are even bigger than the devices, which means that it shows the signal is that the demand is there. And there’s a healthy demand compared to how much devices and equipment can support the demand. So I think these are good numbers or healthy numbers that show that. that the growth is already happening. The other thing that is interesting is there’s a lot of data on VR, not as much in AR, though the projection is always that AR is gonna overpass VR or even reverse the trend. And basically, the reason behind this is that there’s a romanticism about AR because it’s more natural, but it’s been more difficult to… to conquer technologically. And this is what I was talking before. Look, as we know how to stream from the network and we have the supercomputers on the backend, then devices can be much lighter and much more powerful. So we do see, yes, VR is very relevant. We see AR picking up in the future as well. And Yeah, I mean, it goes back to what we were saying before, right? So if you need to have a spatial component in training, like athlete training, you don’t want to train an athlete sitting in a chair. You want the athlete to actually do the thing. And then it’s when AR becomes way more relevant. Yeah. not always you need the AR . Sometimes VR is fine.
Rosina: Sure, yeah, no, I was just curious in terms of, yeah, where you would apply AR over VR. And then Arleen , what were you saying? For the future of XR, how do you see it?
Arleen: I was just going to touch in the industries, right? We’re seeing the demand manufacturing, warehouse, logistics, and then public sector really in that education space. In manufacturing, warehouse, logistics, if you think about places where there’s just high turnover and it’s important that these new employees… are really understanding what they need to do and improving accuracy and improving retention of knowledge, that’s where this really is playing well. And again, we talked about how you can reduce the time needed for training. So how do you get your new employees up to speed quickly? So again, manufacturing, factory floor, step-by-step instructions. How do I make sure I understand how to do maintenance, preventative maintenance, all those things that I’m learning quickly, but I’m retaining what I’m learning.
Rosina: Yeah, retaining what you’re learning and doing it in an environment that doesn’t hurt anybody or anything. And you can practice. Yeah, for sure. Alright, great. Well, I have one final question. And then if you have any other remarks, please feel free. But my final question to each of you is if you encounter a business, which you do every day, and who says, I want to do XR, what piece of advice would you have?
Arleen: So from a business perspective, I’m always about, let’s understand our objectives. Like, what are we trying to do and let’s set clear KPIs for that. And if you can communicate those KPIs and measure those KPIs, that’s when everyone who’s supporting that business transformation or business innovation can get excited because they can see, oh, we did reduce the training time. beyond our expectations. We have reduced mistakes. And understanding the business value is always critical for execution, but also critical for celebrating the success and understanding where you can take those learnings and use it elsewhere within the organization.
Ruben: Yeah. I like the credibility component, right? Cause I think a lot of people say, Oh yeah, I believe this is true, but I know how can I execute this is have you ever done this before? I think, I think we have now more credibility that we’ve seen the number of B2B we’ve done a lot of POCs, trials, customer deployments, and, and this is where we can say, but this is credible. That’s let’s go and do it.
Rosina: Awesome. All right, great. Well, that’s all I have. And if you have any other parting words, feel free.
Arleen: I was just going to say thanks for having us. This was super fun. I think that this is a world that a lot of people kind of are stuck thinking about gaming and what’s possible there. And we have, my first exposure was in Verizon’s Innovation Centers, where we have this set up and you can do some live demos. And I was amazed of of what’s available today and what this immersive experience feels like. And it, for me, it’s where the light switch went off that, oh my gosh, I could learn something better this way. And so it’s, I’m excited just to share this information with others because I think a lot of people don’t really understand what’s available today.
Ruben: We can finish the way we started, right? The concept of this tool, you can get more user value with better experiences, but it’s only possible when you move beyond the constraints of the classical rectangle. And this is where AIV are like super exciting to see these new devices. It allows us to do better value.
Rosina: Excellent. Thank you so much. And for that reason, we are very happy that you guys decided to join us today. We thank you very much for your time and look forward to posting this and having lots of people listen. So thank you for your time today. Thank you to everybody who listened. And if you know anybody that would be a good fit for being interviewed on this podcast, please do feel free to reach out and we will be happy to interview. Thanks and have a great day.