18:54 PM


Innovative AVR partnership could change the nature of training in the future

A partnership with augmented and virtual reality (AVR) leader EON Reality is the first-of-its-kind in Canada and a new model for Mohawk College.

The initiative has two facets, says Kurt Muller, Dean, McKeil School of Business, Media and Entertainment.

The first is an academy where EON experts teach AVR content creation to Mohawk students, staff and faculty who will earn certification. The second is a development lab where Mohawk will work with industry on AVR projects using state-of-the-art equipment and EON’s software platform.

More and more companies are seeing the benefits of using AVR. For example, Walmart is using virtual reality to train workers, and IKEA is using augmented reality to help customers choose products. The EON platform is easy to use and intuitive – you don't have to be a coder or software expert to use this technology.

This is EON’s first partnership with a postsecondary institution in Canada.

“I’ve been working in Canada a long time, looking to find the right partner that had the same goals,” said Frank Botdorf, EON’s Director of Business Development.

“Mohawk has the right mindset about joining forces,” he said. “We are breaking new ground with this type of partnership.”

EON has 30 partnerships around the world and a big reason is that the company, in a rapidly emerging technology sector, has more projects than resources to complete them.

“By partnering with academic institutions, we can help train the industry’s workforce and pick from the cream of the crop to hire ourselves. The eight months of training is a great way for us to vet people and to provide a pipeline of talent for our needs.”

Mohawk has an exclusive deal to share in the royalties of EON software that is licensed in Ontario and will take over instruction in the academy once enough faculty are trained.

The AVR academy is training its first cohort, a group that will earn certification after a four-month immersion in the EON software, followed by four months working directly with industry partners on AVR solutions.

In September 2019, the academy will also launch a post-grad certificate program that Muller expects will attract industry enrolment.

Leif Peng, a professor in Mohawk’s Graphic Design program, is among about 10 faculty and staff on a secondment to earn the AVR certification. He plans to build the technology into his curriculum.

“This is something I know my students are going to need. Graphic designers will be called upon to use their skill sets in an AVR world. I think AVR is going to have a massive impact on everything we do in our industry and across life generally.”

The college and EON are now hosting workshops and demonstrations to introduce faculty, staff and industrial partners to AVR and to the new partnership and the potential it brings. “There are AVR applications across any industry you can think of, from education to energy to retail to health care,” said Muller.

Those learning skilled trades can be immersed into situations that are too dangerous, difficult or expensive to be simulated in real life. Workers can be trained virtually to use equipment that isn’t on hand yet. There are also AVR applications in empathy training and return-to-work simulations