Full commercial release of ENGAGE
13 December 2018
Initial partnerships with Nokia Corporation and Shenandoah University
VR Education (AIM: VRE; ESM: 6VR), a leading virtual reality ('VR') technology company focused on the education space, is pleased to announce the full commercial release of ENGAGE, its online virtual learning and corporate training platform. At the time of its IPO in March 2018, the Group raised £6 million gross to, amongst other activities, fund the further development of its proprietary VR education platform, "ENGAGE". The URL for ENGAGE is www.engagevr.io.
ENGAGE version 1.0 is now available on all industry leading VR devices including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality devices. Development of ENGAGE mobile is now complete and will be made available early next year on devices such as the Oculus Go, Vive Focus and selected Google DayDream devices. The content that the Group has already created following its partnerships with the BBC, the University of Bristol, the University of Oxford and the University of New Haven will immediately be available on the platform. Other immersive content will also be available to view within the platform via ENGAGE's 360 video playback streaming system on launch.
- Full commercial release of ENGAGE including ENGAGE Education and ENGAGE Enterprise
- Emphasises the Group's clear focus on the education and corporate training markets
- Various content already produced and now immediately available
- Initial partnerships with Nokia Corporation and Shenandoah University
- Intel currently promoting ENGAGE throughout the US as part of the Tech Learning Lab initiative which will be touring Europe and the UK in due course
Purpose and capabilities
The ENGAGE platform, which has been in development since 2015, has been designed to overcome certain limitations of currently available online courses, known as MOOCs (massive open online courses), and traditional learning methods by allowing for virtual face-to-face education and training in a variety of environments regardless of the geographical location of the user. The Directors believe ENGAGE is the first platform globally consisting of networked features for live VR classes or tutorials where educators are themselves able to create VR content using the unique ENGAGE recording feature where user movements and audio are recorded and replayed within virtual environments giving the user the ability to record their presence for playback and publication for others.
Released today, ENGAGE version 1.0 provides a platform for creating, sharing and delivering proprietary and third-party VR content for educational and corporate training purposes. ENGAGE version 1.0 follows comprehensive testing of ENGAGE Alpha during 2017 and 2018, which included multiple virtual locations, screen sharing capabilities, interactive lessons, virtual whiteboards and multiuser live 360 video playback via YouTube. A key feature of ENGAGE is the ability for educators and trainers to use the software to create their own VR lessons and presentations on ENGAGE using VR tools provided by the Group or third parties without the need for programming or animation skills.
The ENGAGE version 1.0 platform is downloadable software, which acts as a social education and presentation platform. It allows its users to hold and attend sessions (meetings, classes, private lessons and presentations) together with multiple other users from around the world in a safe virtual environment, and seeks to offer improvements in how people share ideas and knowledge globally by utilising VR technologies. Not only is ENGAGE a powerful communications tool, it can also be used to provide full simulated training as utilised by Oxford University and the LIFE project, which taught students medical training remotely using ENGAGE.
ENGAGE has been created to enable users to benefit from the immersive nature of VR and the ability to create and deliver multi-user, content-rich VR experiences in a cost effective and safe environment. Specifically, the Group believes that there is a significant opportunity for widespread adoption of VR in the education and corporate training space and believes that the ENGAGE platform is well suited to overcome certain current challenges and limitations, including:
- Limited student places at physical schools/universities/training centres;
- Limited interaction between teacher/student via traditional online education methods;
- Low completion rates of online educational courses;
- Teacher/trainer time resource;
- Geographical limitations of students/employees; and
- Students being priced out of education due to rising costs.
The Group has designed ENGAGE with a view to addressing these limitations in the corporate training and education sectors, and to utilise VR capabilities in order to:
- Improve quality of learning by providing immersive interactive experiences;
- Replicate dangerous or seldom experienced events in a safe, interactive environment; and
- Provide equal opportunities irrespective of geographical location.
ENGAGE has full payment capabilities. While there is a free version of the platform to download and use, the Group has identified a range of revenue-generating opportunities and will adopt both a subscription and a revenue share model with educators and corporates who wish to use the ENGAGE platform to provide content to the general public. In order to target these two main groups of users, the platform will be marketed as ENGAGE Enterprise and ENGAGE Education.
ENGAGE Education - Revenue Model
ENGAGE Education is aimed at the education sectors such as MOOC, distance learning, universities and schools. The Directors intend that ENGAGE Education educators will provide a mixture of both paid and free content via ENGAGE. For example, educators may provide sample classes in a course for free and charge for the remaining classes in a course.
Potential revenue streams identified by the Group in relation to ENGAGE Education include:
- Subscription Revenue - Content browsing is free on the ENGAGE platform, however if users want full unlimited access to all the features available within ENGAGE they will need to pay a monthly subscription fee.
- Revenue share with educators - the Group will receive a share of the revenue from educators charging for their courses via the ENGAGE platform.
- Revenue share with content creators - 3D assets built by third party content creators will be made available on the platform for purchase by educators for use within educational lessons/presentations. The Group will receive a percentage of the selling price.
- Revenue for hosting private content - for institutions/educators not wishing to provide the general public access to their content, the Group will make private, closed virtual rooms available for a room hire charge and charge hosting costs for content saved on ENGAGE servers.
- One-off charges for creation of specialised content - the Group's development team can work in collaboration with corporate entities to design and create bespoke VR content for the purposes of training where required.
ENGAGE Enterprise - Revenue Model
ENGAGE Enterprise will be aimed at corporate institutions, businesses, medical institutes and private sector training. The Directors believe that ENGAGE Enterprise addresses some of the shortfalls of current corporate training and communications such as geographical limitations, low levels of trainee engagement, trainer time resource and increasing costs.
Revenue streams identified by the Group in relation to ENGAGE Enterprise include:
- Subscription packages for virtual meetings - made for corporate entities to host a number of users in one of the virtual environments available on the ENGAGE Enterprise platform. These packages will be similar to alternatives such as GoToMeeting.
- Revenue for hosting virtual content/training materials - for corporate clients not wishing to provide the general public access to their content, the Group intends to provide a private hosting subscription service where only permitted users will be allowed access to ENGAGE content.
- One-off charges for creation of specialised content - the Group's development team can work in collaboration with corporate entities to design and create bespoke VR content for the purposes of training.
- Revenue share with content creators - 3D assets built by third party content creators will be made available on the platform for purchase by educators and corporate trainers for use within educational lessons/presentations. The Group will receive a percentage of the selling price.
The Group also intends to explore other potential revenue opportunities such as opening up the ENGAGE platform to third-party developers to provide development services to educational institutes on a licence fee basis, or providing services for institutions who wish to white-label the platform for use within their corporation or among their clients.
Initial partnerships with Nokia Corporation and Shenandoah University
Both Nokia Corporation, the multinational telecommunications, information technology, and consumer electronics company, and Shenandoah University, the private liberal arts university located in Winchester, Virginia in the United States, have tested the pre-release versions of the ENGAGE platform and have now signed up commercial agreements to use the ENGAGE platform for training and education purposes respectively on a paid-trial basis with a view to extending the scope of the contract in due course depending on demand for additional functionality and/or user seats.
Commenting on the full commercial release of ENGAGE and initial partnerships with Nokia Corporation and Shenandoah University, David Whelan, CEO of VR Education, said: "The full release of ENGAGE is a transformational moment in our corporate history and is the result of many years of hard work, cutting edge research and innovation.
"Although significant revenues are not expected to be generated from the ENGAGE platform until general adoption of VR and AR increases over the next two to three years, I am nonetheless delighted that both Nokia and Shenandoah University have signed commercial agreements. Being aligned to global leaders like these institutions demonstrates the potential and need for the platform.
"People today all over the world say let's SKYPE when talking about online communications and meetings. In the future we want people to say let's ENGAGE and enter VR to communicate in a more natural way.
"We are also continuing to work with leading professors from Oxford University to provide content on the ENGAGE platform and Intel are currently promoting ENGAGE throughout the US as part of their Tech Learning Lab initiative which will be touring Europe and the UK in the coming months.
"We will immediately start to ramp up the marketing of ENGAGE, including participating at the Bett Show in January 2019 in London and GESS Dubai in February 2019. I look forward to updating shareholders on progress in due course.
For further information, please contact:
|VR Education Holdings plc
David Whelan, CEO
Sandra Whelan, COO
|Tel: +353 87 665 6708
|Cairn Financial Advisers LLP(Nominated Adviser)
James Caithie / Liam Murray / Richard Nash
|Tel: +44 (0) 20 7213 0880|
|Stockdale Securities Limited(Joint Broker)
Andy Crossley / Ed Thomas
|Tel: +44 (0) 20 7601 6100|
|Davy(Joint Broker & ESM Adviser)
Fergal Meegan / Ronan Veale / Barry Murphy
|Tel: +353 1 679 7788|
|Buchanan(UK Financial PR)
Henry Harrison-Topham / Chris Lane / Tilly Abraham
|Tel: +44 (0)20 7466 5000
|Fuller Marketing(Irish Corporate PR)
Ruth Fuller / Sheila Kelleher
|Tel: +353 87 981 3176
Notes to Editors
VR Education, together with its wholly owned subsidiary, is an early stage VR software and technology group based in Waterford, Ireland, dedicated to transforming the delivery methods of education and corporate training by utilising VR technologies to deliver fully immersive virtual learning experiences. The Group's core focus is the development and commercialisation of its online virtual social learning and presentation platform called ENGAGE, which provides a platform for creating, sharing and delivering proprietary and third-party VR content for educational and corporate training purposes.
In addition to the ongoing development of the ENGAGE platform, the Group has also built two downloadable showcase VR experiences, being the award-winning Apollo 11 VR experience and an early access version of the Group's Titanic VR experience.
On 12 March 2018, VR Education listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and on the Enterprise Securities Market, a market regulated by Euronext Dublin.
For further information, please visit www.immersivevreducation.com.