Media today is filled with accounts exposing the underbelly of our maturing in this technological world. Texting while driving and walking through intersections, social alienation from excessive attachment to our devices, and diminished levels of concentration are some of the claims cautioning us to be mindful of unrestricted use. Yet the benefits are still, by any measure, qualitative and far reaching.
Innovative companies know well the payback of our digital world if they are able to harness these efficiencies and transform them into enhanced learning tools to optimize performance. Vickie Devos, CEO of iMVR and her dedicated team of industry-qualified leaders, have invested their collective expertise in the launch of an optimal learning enhancement program for the commercial transportation industry.
In 2017 Devos envisioned the startup company iMVR and the flagship program, IRIS. The company was established in June of 2018 and IRIS is now being introduced to the industry. According to Devos, “IRIS is a cutting edge, industry changing product, a new way of learning through Virtual Reality capability.” Measured against conventional learning, VR has proven to be more effective. Studies have shown that learners retain 70 percent of new information through Virtual Reality learning compared to substantially reduced retention rates of just 30 percent through traditional online methods.
iMVR envisions a future by introducing a new way of learning to help create a better, more efficient, and safer world. Iris, iMVR’s VR program, replicates behind-the-wheel real life situations through VR technology. It reinforces what it is like to be driving a truck while coming face to face with all over-the-road challenges. The program comprises several learning modules, each with 6 views available which provide a comprehensive assessment of a learner’s reactions from multiple perspectives. Among the IRIS modules, or industry-specific challenges, are well defined learning opportunities. These include Yard & Loading Docks, City Driving, Highway Driving, Driving Impaired, and Mountain Driving.
IRIS includes three chief features – Eye Tracking, A-1 Technology and Recording of driver response to simulated challenges. Vickie Devos explains how it works: “Carriers will now be able to have their drivers or potential drivers go through the VR modules with each test unique as the random distractions will always be in different places and at different times. Furthermore, Carriers can select from different driving events upon signing into a module which places the driver in preferred contexts such as weather conditions, load weight, time of day and specific equipment,” she said. Simulated environments also include recreations of landscapes, and even near misses. Results of driver testing are then recorded and stored on a web based Canadian secure site for further review.
Abundant learning opportunities are available virtually anywhere and anytime through the IRIS VR program. IRIS tracks and records the observations and performance of the driver, thereby allowing the Carrier to evaluate driver strengths and challenges under their own unique company standards and policies. Once complete, learners along with peer operators, mentors, and safety personnel, can review the results of driver performance in each of the completed modules. Drivers then can explain and relate their stories, assess near misses for example, and identify what to watch for while on the road – all while in a classroom, office, or even coffee shop.
IRIS is as customizable as it is portable. iMVR stands apart from comparable products in several ways. It can be used as a Plug & Play, set up on any table, and replayed anytime, anywhere, for authorized personnel. Modules are excellent renditions of real life situations, and the Virtual Reality program has affordable startup costs and monthly fees with no hidden payment attached.
Each IRIS licence can be tailored to the specific learning objectives of the Carrier. For example, upon entering the Customer or Carrier’s yard the company may encourage their operators to look 5 times from west to east and take in distant views prior to entering the site. If someone is walking through the yard the module can detect if the learner still looked in each direction the requisite number of times without distraction from a walk by. With every action recorded, down to the identification of where the driver is looking during the exercise, the module lends itself to constructive assessment on the learner ’s behaviour.
As well, IRIS clients have their privacy guaranteed. Each purchaser of their program is issued a unique ID and password in accordance with iMVR’s license. Notes Vickie Devos, “This ID will always be their IRIS ID# which is transferrable from IRIS licence holder to IRIS licence holder once the waivers have been completed. This transfer can only be completed by the staff at iMVR. This will enable learners to transfer their results to future employers should the need arise.”
Innovative products and companies designed to improve the learning process in the transportation industry are built on the resourcefulness of the people behind the scenes. Founder and CEO Vickie Devos is an industry veteran with more than 30 years experience. She continues to execute her responsibilities as President of Fleet Tax Services and is Vice Chair of the Fleet Safety Council Hamilton/Niagara Chapter.
Harry Yoo is COO and iMVR partner. The company relies on his software/hardware expertise in VR performance enhancement. For 15 years Harry has been owner/operator of Geeko Systems, and for the past four years has researched and developed Virtual Reality programs.
Vice President Randi Devos has been a trucking industry stakeholder for the past five years. Randi is also the Compliance Manager for Fleet Tax Services and is a Certified Member of the Drug & Alcohol Testing Association of Canada.
As Project Manager of iMVR James Wong has proven to be a perfect fit, working with a team of designers and programmers in developing VR software. James has been involved in the advertising and branding sectors of the industry for the past 18 years. In keeping with their passion to help stakeholders in the industry – drivers, fleet managers, owners – with handson and effective learning tools, Vickie and her team will be introducing this unique Virtual Reality program into secondary schools in the near future in order to promote interest in commercial transportation.
For more information on how iMVR can yield optimal learning results for your organization, contact www.imvr.ca.
Vickie’s vision is to create a VR tool that will allow professional drivers to develop, repeatedly practice, and become comfortable with various driving techniques throughout their career. This understanding and comfort will create more confident professional drivers that will inherently lead to increased road safety.