Technology

We believe it’s not about how much technology you have; it’s how you use it! By utilizing our proprietary technologies we reduce required resources resulting in a faster, cheaper, and greener production process.

Anyone else excited for virtual reality to become mainstream? All predictions for 2016 show that virtual reality is set to take off! Among the industry buzz is the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive that have many setting their sights on trying the new virtual spaces (put me on the Oculus Rift pre-order list, please!). While the whole idea of virtual reality has been tossed around for the past 20 years or so, it’s never been able to really take off, until now that is.

Sure the Rift has been demoed at trade shows for the past few years, but it looks like 2016 is the year for it to become available to the masses (at an affordable price). Pre-orders for Facebook’s Oculus Rift were just announced, and now it seems that virtual reality is set to transform. Additionally, the Sony PlayStation VR has a projected release in early 2016 as well. A variety of smartphone apps based around virtual reality are also currently being released.

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality

No matter which virtual reality device you look at, the primary theme is to immerse the player (trainee or learner for our purposes) by stepping into the world of the (serious) game. The virtual reality renaissance is upon us; it is our belief that this will be a game-changer for the worlds of training and education. We believed in virtual worlds when they were all the hype and now technology has finally caught up enough to make the hype a reality. This really will, change everything.

2016 could just be the year of success for virtual reality. Content will need to catch up to the evolving VR platform, but it will come. Becoming immersed in a virtual world is something that Visual Purple has always sought to do for our clientele, and moreover for our trainees/learners. With virtual reality becoming more mainstream, we are excited about the possibilities that it presents when applying Visual Purple technology and creativity to virtual reality training.

Immersive VR is here and is set to explode over the next few years; Visual Purple is excited about this new opportunity. Stay tuned for more news to come!

Allow us to introduce you to gamification. Although much hype surrounds the topic of gamification, there seems to be some misunderstanding as to what exactly it is. For our purposes at Visual Purple, we contend that gamification through our customized simulation training experiences is accomplished through a reward system. While not for every simulation design, when appropriate we will utilize leveling up, leaderboards / scoreboards, badges and achievements to further engage the trainee or learner.

For many even the term of gamification can be a turn-off. Why pay to have a trainee or learner play a game? Gaming concepts are everywhere nowadays from our smartphone apps to email campaigns we all have a desire to feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement.

Gamification must also vary from one application to the next. In the case of simulation design, each simulation is built with different elements of gamification. Through incorporating gamification elements within a simulation, it allows a more immersive training environment that can further engage trainees and learners resulting greater muscle memory and development of critical thinking skills.

Why Gamification Has made Its Way into Simulation Training
Millennials are the least engaged generation at work, and a recent Gallup study further determined that only 31 percent of employees are engaged at work. Let’s just reiterate that number, that’s less than one-third of U.S. workers that were engaged in their work last year! Gamification of training aids the trainee in engaging further and also helps them to prepare better for real-life situations. The average millennial spends upwards of 10,000 hours gaming before even turning age 21. Thus, the millennial workforce is an audience that yearns to have training delivered to them in an easily digestible format that is relatable and intriguing. The millennial generation (as well as other generations) are demanding of innovative training solutions that actually teach what they need to learn.

The 2015 Military Training Technology (MT2) Top Simulation and Training Company List is out and features Visual Purple as a featured top simulation and training company. The award honors only the top simulation and training companies around the world that have made a difference in training for military personnel.

Although this is not the first time that Visual Purple has been recognized on the list, it is a proud accomplishment for Visual Purple nonetheless to see that our training really does make a difference.

Military Training and Technology Top Simulation Company

The training submitted for the award supported limited gamification elements with a technology driven theme. The final training product delivered a high level of interactivity and replayability with the ability for the trainee to learn and apply knowledge through the simulation. Ultimately the training sought to have the player “think like the enemy.”

The training provided a story-centric approach to complex training material that was simple to play and encompassed a Hollywood plausible storyline. Action sequences provide rewards to the player and the training also served as a foundation for future episodes, which are currently under development. A big thank you to Military Training Technology Awards for recognizing our work!

Most have wondered where we have been for the past little bit, let me tell you it hasn’t been a boring time for us here at Visual Purple headquarters. In reality we have been on some really cool projects. One of which being the creation of simulations for a nuclear power plant based upon lessons learned from the Fukushima incident.

Since the tragic 2011 Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster, nuclear regulators and plant operators around the world have re-focused their energies toward training and readiness of personnel – in the context of thinking the unthinkable. Or, what is known in the industry as beyond design basis events, such as the 9.1 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit Japan on 3/11/11. It was that crisis that illustrated the urgent need to prepare plant personnel to handle plant functions through the use of improved planning, additional equipment and training. Training for beyond design basis events enters a realm of training that can often only be realized in an immersive 3D world. To attempt to train otherwise is prohibitive from both cost and effectiveness perspectives. Visual Purple’s F.I.S.T. powered simulation training allows for rapid development and modifications as new procedures are defined and evolved through iterative testing in the virtual world.

Simulation based technology is the perfect tool to train personnel in protocols for dealing with potential incidents. It gives the personnel the ability to train in a true-to-life replicated environment that accurately mirrors their plant, down to the inch. Visual Purple has 15 years of experience in creating life like simulations that replicate the real-world while providing a safe practice environment for the trainee.

We are pleased to provide innovative simulation training solutions to a variety of sectors, and more recently to the energy industry (both nuclear and non-nuclear). Visual Purple’s proven training simulations and proprietary F.I.S.T. technologies deliver unparalleled training value across the energy, business and government sectors.

We are awash in facts. Have a question? Google has an ‘answer.’ If you wanted to know the gross domestic product of New Zealand, you can find that online in a few seconds. Or in the world of training, you can endure traditional CBTs (that’s short for Computer-Based Tranings) rich in facts, and as exciting as a root canal. What matters more now than ever is the ability to put facts into context and deliver them in bite-sized pieces with emotional impact; we all know this as story. This is the magic of bringing context and building connections – if you want to convey important lessons and subject matter in ways that stick, you must first recognize the power of narrative and effectively lead your organization by creating and delivering engaging story with a beginning, middle, and an end. It’s in our DNA.

We carried this successful theme beyond Intelligent Simulations with GisterPRO. Both 1.0 and 2.0 (currently in BETA) build a story by extracting terms and concepts then displaying them in what we term a ‘Gister Graph’. This visualization bakes in an interesting story of meaning by displaying relative relationships and strengths of terms and concepts. So, with just a glance, a dense dataset of facts yields its ‘story.’

GP OldGP New

Our mission with GisterPRO, is to give people something they didn’t know they were missing: their data has a story to tell; an important story.

Blogs are great if you treat them right! Our mea culpa is too much to do, and not enough time. So, things had to take a back seat…like blog posts.

We are coming out of two major technology advancements for both our simulation technology: F.I.S.T., and GisterPRO 2.0. Only recently have we been able to breathe a sigh of relief and look out to the real world of business development. So, thank you for your patience as we go about updating our websites and working to communicate our exciting new capabilities and relationships. Stay tuned!

No, we haven’t been living under a rock. In fact we have been busy, make that very busy. Why? You might ask. We are excited to announce that David Ostby and Ed Heinbockel (both resident Visual Purple geeks) have launched a project campaign on Kickstarter. It’s called Gooey Search and it actually is a spin off of the GisterPRO search technology. With Gooey Search they are setting out to change the way you and I search the internet (while still harnessing the power from Google) yet bringing in a creative and interactive approach to it. Oh and also ranking results better, cutting out all the Spam and serving up only the most relevant results to your search. To learn more about the campaign and Gooey search click on any of the below links.

Kickstarter
Gooey Search Website

Greetings all VP loyal blog followers! Our apologies for not being consistent in our blog posts as of late…new offices, new technology, an expanding team have kept our ops tempo up! Most exciting is our game-changing technology released in September… years in development, GisterPRO is a cloud-powered Exploratory Search technology. Huh? What did you say? Below is a quick overview of GisterPRO. It is a revolutionary new approach to search inspired by many factors not the least of which is our core competency in understanding analysts needs and processes from years of producing intelligent training sims in this domain. We get it that analysts need better tools especially when it comers to being more effective in OSINT (Open Source Intelligence).

A GisterPRO SaaS Exploratory Web Search starts in the Amazon cloud. An army of Drones (Intelligent Web Crawlers) read all results- tens of thousands of documents- from fifteen search engines carefully selected to cast a wide net. Only the best results (Gisted Results) are presented for rapid review and sorting.

Gisted Results include thumbnail snapshots and metrics generated by precisely reading unstructured data from web pages and documents in an automatic, unbiased manner. This assures the user that their search terms will be in the returned pages and documents while rejecting search engine optimization strategies and profit biasing of results by search engines.

Rapid filtering of Gisted Results is achieved by sorting a unique and powerful reporting metric: Closeness Factor. This is an amalgamation of factors that report on how significantly the search terms are related to each other in a specific document.

Discovered Entities, automatically extracted terms of interest, are displayed with concepts and linkages on an interactive Globe, encouraging easy search exploration and refinement by clicking Globe terms. Simply put, GisterPRO both helps to construct the question, and rapidly reveal the best answers.

Discovered Entities are both listed and intelligently grouped (Automatic Disambiguation) on the Globe presenting the best data picture available from the entire text corpus acquired by the search. This projection- the story of the data- often reveals important or actionable intelligence and empowers the user to drill down.

September 2011 marked the official release of the production version of GisterPRO as both Software as a Service (SaaS) and customized for clients with special considerations and requirements, in both the OSINT World and the Enterprise. You can learn more information about GisterPRO by downloading the Product Overview below or visiting the GisterPRO website at www.GisterPRO.com to sign-up for a 14-day trial.

And don’t worry… We haven’t lost our simulation roots. We continue to do three worlds of custom-built simulation training for select clients and licensing of our authoring technology.

A recent post on Advertising Age entitled “What Social Media Will Look Like in 2012” captured my attention and got me thinking (this could be dangerous, I know). Needless to say the article speculated that in 2009 most major marketers adopted social media as something that is here to stay and not just a fad. While I agree with this to some extent, the article went on to outline the eleven points to watch for in the coming years leading up to 2012.

Privacy expectations will have to change: Sharing more personal information with people you don’t even know…hummm although some may be all into this I don’t think it is necessary for complete strangers to know my favorite color or what my preferred pizza topping is.
Complete decentralization of social networks: Everything is becoming more portable from iPad to iPhone many check friend’s status updates and news while on the run.
Our interactions with search engines will be different: I agree with the fact that real-time information will be king.
Rise of content aggregators: Who wants to login to 5 different social networking services to check on statuses and news- the aggregator can serve as man’s best friend.
Social media augmented reality: Kind of scary to know what your friend is doing before even picking up the phone to call. This to me takes away a certain level of personal contact, just like email has reduced the number of snail mail letters that are sent.
Influencer marketing will be redefined: Social influence will have more pull than the old-school search features that Google and other major search engines currently offer.
Ratings everywhere: User ratings could hinder or help, all dependent upon the specific instance. A lot of purchasers nowadays look at how products are rated by users before ultimately making the purchase decision.
Social media agents: Oh great! More things going automated and taking the person out of the customer service experience, please press 0 not to be connected to a live person.
Riding the Google (wave): It could be the next big thing, but only time will tell.
Thinking beyond “nowness”: Could the answer really be the semantic web?
Social media everything and return of digital media: Not too sure that social media may change to being referred to as digital media.

With new technology deployments- a lot are hesitant to jump in and take a risk. The conundrum here is really ROI; will my investment really pay off? New technology deployments are always risky. But just as with anything else without taking the risk one will never know what could have been. Although early adopters tend to jump on the bandwagon, many remain skeptical and want to see some proven success before trying out a new program. Without a tried and proven solution to demonstrate what your specific results may be it may be a hard sell (especially to those higher on the ladder). However, by taking the risk one may gain the technological advantage in the marketplace.

New technology always takes a while to reach the maturity curve and the ROI studies that follow will be tried and true, but you may now be behind in implementing a solution and your competition could have the upper hand. But by the time the technology is no longer new it may be too late. So are you a risk taker or do you avoid risk at all costs? It’s up to you but just remember you may lose the competitive advantage in this scenario.