LAFAYETTE, La. – Whether you’re ready or not, virtual reality is taking off! We see this technology implemented mostly in games and in hospitals, but one tech company has decided to go the route of educating the masses about underrepresented people.
Wanting to lead the way on how virtual reality can be put to good use, they created the RESPECT project.
Eve Logunova Parker, Founder and CEO of Evenness, a provider of webXR, VR and 3D solutions for interactive events, remote team collaboration, virtual learning and more, has launched a new initiative called The RESPECT Project , an all-virtual gallery showcasing the triumphant stories of people of color throughout history and globally.
With the help of a webcam, visitors can be catapulted into the gallery, wander around freely and soak up the wealth of information. Parker sat down with news 15 to answer questions about the RESPECT project and this immersive technology in this News15 web exclusive.
Q What role does Evenness play in the metaverse and virtual reality space?
A. Regularity (www.evenness.rocks), an Extended Reality (XR) solutions provider from the Netherlands, is a platform-independent agency that works with a variety of select XR platforms to create ideal, inclusive and accessible environments for its clients and their guests. In 2022, Evenness has expanded and established its presence in the United States. Now they are focused on building their own Metaverse platform – a virtual marketplace for innovator learning and digital development. They aim to make their platform accessible to anyone, regardless of background or income level, who is curious about entering the STEM field, learning more about it, or starting their own tech startup.
In addition, Evenness has given life to social initiatives, such as the “RESPECT” gallery, the Open Innovation bootcamp “InnoHUB”, or the first virtual accelerator for women founders of startups in the field of AI, WaiACCELERATE. Read more about their initiatives here – https://www.evenness.rocks/blog.
“XR via browser or VR headset is the perfect solution to be able to interact in a more personal way with people around the world. I had an amazing opportunity to attend Evenness programs, such as InnoHUB – a virtual program for professionals and entrepreneurs to network and learn from the brightest minds in the fields of open innovation, AI and data! – shares Ivana von Proschwitz, international startups coordinator at AI Sweden.
Q What are the current applications of virtual reality and 3D spaces?
A. The evolution of the Internet Web 3.0 facilitates the growth of the metaverse – decentralized platforms that are made more realistic using AR, VR and AI. Users can access the metaverse through different devices and platforms, using an avatar to move around and interact with others. The promise of the Metaverse is to enable greater overlap of our digital and physical lives by effectively scaling 3D virtual worlds with a sense of presence. As the metaverse emerges, many key components have begun to take shape, bringing changes to industries, such as e-commerce (iCommerce – immersive commerce), entertainment, finance, and even education. Examples include Nike, Gucci, Microsoft, Walmart, Hyundai Motor Company, The Walt Disney, Coca Cola, RBC Royal Bank, UC San Diego, Arizona State University and many more.
In 2021, the Global Metaverse potential total addressable market for digital events, social commerce and advertising was equal to 1.2 T USD. The largest portion of virtual world revenue comes from in-game purchases. The all-time worldwide total value spent on sales of Web 3.0 Metaverse items such as virtual lands, goods and services reached 207 million dollars in June 2021, according to Grayscale Investments. [*“The Metaverse: Web 3.0 Virtual Cloud Economies”, Grayscale Research, Nov 2021]
Q How is virtual reality changing the way we learn and interact with others?
A. Since 2020, the Evenness team has been researching and piloting various initiatives in the field of the metaverse regarding pandemic-induced behavior change and how people learn best in remote conditions. The main results are that people follow more personalized and adaptive learning paths according to their objectives, they establish value-added connections, they request peer-to-peer learning and technical coaching to develop their problem-solving skills and their wallets, and they make career choices based on passion, not necessity.
By going virtual, people are finally given the opportunity to “come as they are” in avatar form and effectively learn the necessary skills. As immersive learning in extended reality removes boundaries or limitations, otherwise isolated users can now form or join communities and follow the programs of their choice with an “in-person” feeling. Employers – find and train talent faster. People with disabilities – gain mobility and thus freedom. Underrepresented groups – have access to certified education even at Ivy League schools, as immersive learning is more cost-effective and can be accessed via the internet, without moving overseas. Powered by AI, the extended reality can also offer analyzes of human behavior – the Happiness Index – and student learning progress, followed by on-time support and guidance.
Q Why is it important to leverage this technology to highlight underrepresented groups?
A. “Virtual environments, a so-called ‘metaverse’ that’s becoming all the rage now, could be used as a tool for good if designed in an accessible and inclusive way. It can provide access to learning, education and socialization for many people, including people from underrepresented communities or people with limited abilities,” – says Ramona M. Parker, co- Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Evenness.
The spark of digitalization in recent years, along with the global pandemic, has had a significant impact on the job market, leading to a global shortage of tech talent. By 2030, the gap is estimated at over 85 million people. Left unchecked, the United States alone could lose $1.7 trillion in revenue due to labor shortages.
Therefore, we face a global dilemma: how to ensure economic resilience and find solutions to global challenges if already tested technology and learning approaches have not generated the results needed to meet the demand for technology talent? To be effective in the long term, we must find ways to enable people from all walks of life, from young students and non-technical professionals to retrainers and refugees, to have access to quality education and to acquire skills and technological knowledge they need. will need for effective social and labor market integration.
Evenness believes the solution lies in community-centric, inclusive and affordable virtual technology that creates an ecosystem for learners, universities and businesses. A virtual space where everyone is invited to come and acquire new skills, test their knowledge and experiment with various forms of innovative technologies.
Q What is the purpose of the RESPECT project in these turbulent times?
A. re spect /rəˈspekt/ – verb – to admire (someone or something) deeply, because of one’s abilities, qualities or achievements.
Respect means that you accept someone as they are, even if they are different from you or you disagree with them. Respect in your relationships creates feelings of trust, security and well-being. Unfortunately, our history shows that respect does not come naturally. And to this day, we are still challenged to accept each other, end discrimination and misjudgment, and create equal opportunity.
Launched on March 1, 2022, on the occasion of the United Nations Zero Discrimination Day, the “RESPECT” Gallery (https://www.evenness.rocks/post/gallery-respect) features stories of people of color throughout history and globally. The gallery is an open and free initiative organized by Evenness as a virtual social project. The goal is to educate people and give them a platform to learn about history, barriers, learning and achievements through the stories of inspiring black innovators, scientists, politicians , poets, artists, civil activists, peacemakers, athletes, journalists and creatives.
“We believe that Black History Month shouldn’t be just a month-long campaign: the knowledge that becomes present during the month should always be accessible,” says Eve Logunova Parker, Founder and CEO of Evenness. “We’d like people to learn about the most powerful voices in history that come from all over the world. Also, we’d like people to learn the importance of respect between people.”
By the end of November 2022, guests will also be able to attend monthly virtual meetups in the Metaverse that will feature the stories of current inspiring people of color, engaging in knowledge sharing across diverse fields and countries.