State and local governments tend to be the early adopters of emerging technology in the public sector. Smart city projects, grant management, and regional collaboration have driven localities to implement emerging technology to meet the real challenges of serving citizens. Today, states and localities are experimenting with how virtual reality, and more specifically the metaverse, can help further real-world connections in communities.
Trained by Avatars
Virtual reality has long been used as a tool for training in government - think flight simulators - but today, the technology is being used for more than just tactical training. Virtual reality is helping to introduce scenarios to improve the empathy and understanding of public servants. In the metaverse, public safety professionals can safely simulate responding to dangerous situations (without the real-world risks) while also adding in realistic interactions with "people" behaving as they would during a crisis.Continue reading →
September is National Preparedness Month. This public service campaign is run out of the Department of Homeland Security and is focused on educating citizens about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time. The 2022 campaign has a theme of "A Lasting Legacy," urging people to "Prepare for disasters to create a lasting legacy for you and your family."
This theme of legacy also applies to how the government responds to disasters to aid communities in prevention and recovery. Increasingly, emergency managers are relying on Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and more to model and plan for disaster response. However, when disaster hits and electricity is unavailable, high tech solutions no longer function and first responders must rely on analog methods to communicate and execute response plans. Incorporating legacy low tech solutions into a high tech world is a critical challenge for emergency preparedness organizations.Continue reading →
Virtual Reality (VR) has strong roots in the military. Long used for training and simulations, the military has helped develop VR technology and continues to innovate in how it can be used. VR continues to be invaluable to tactical, mission training but is also being used in other training areas. For example, the Virtual Welder Trainer program simulates multiple welding processes, blending real world and computer-generated images into a VR environment to allow welders to train without having to use real world resources. Just as flight simulators save money in terms of aircraft use, other virtual reality in military training applications provide similar cost savings in terms of equipment and travel.
Designing and Maintaining Military Equipment
VR is being utilized in all aspects of equipment management. In the design phase, VR can help engineers test designs in combat environments. It can also help determine if a piece of equipment designed for one scenario might work in another and what changes would have to be made to ensure products can operate in a desert environment as well as in cold and rainy climates.Continue reading →
Training has been an early application of virtual reality (VR) in government. In fact, in a recent survey, 50% of public safety professionals report using virtual reality as a training mode in their organizations. Today, the use of the technology is extending far beyond training and into operations. VR is increasing in use across the federal government as a new way to conduct medical treatment and even warfighting.Continue reading →
The past year has seen us living with the reality of virtual. Video calls, online meetings, streamed events - the majority of our connections have happened through a screen. While this is our current reality it is not virtual reality in the truest sense. By definition, virtual reality (VR) is being completely immersed in a world that is simulated. Augmented reality (AR) allows a user to move around in the real world while interacting with virtual elements (think Pokemon Go). What we've called "virtual" during the pandemic does not fit these exact criteria but our comfort interacting with a screen and the related technologies does pave the way for virtual and augmented reality solutions to become part of daily work and life.