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April 21, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Avrio Analytics developing training using AR

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

About three years ago, the Co-Founders of Avrio Analytics relocated their company to Denver for mostly business opportunity reasons although they have continued to serve clients in Knoxville.

Alicia Caputo, Chief Executive Officer, and Mik Bertolli, Chief Scientific Officer, were back in town recently, and we had a chance to catch-up with Caputo to learn about an exciting new direction they are exploring.

“We’re developing training using AR,” she told us. As defined by Wikipedia, AR, which stands for augmented reality, is “an interactive experience of a real-world environment (that) fulfills three basic features: a combination of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects.”

“Think high-risk, low occurring scenarios like a nuclear waste spill,” Caputo says, explaining that the Avrio Analytics team sees AR as either a replacement for or an enhancement to the typical exercises that many organizations currently use to train people.

“AR can provide more immersive versions of typical scenarios that increase engagement and retention,” she adds. “AR can support the delivery of meaningful, engaging remote training across classroom learning, tabletop exercises, and live-action drills.”

In addition, AR-based training captures real-time performance data that can be analyzed for after-action briefings as well as measuring the engagement, retention and learning gaps of an individual. Avrio has built proprietary technology leveraging this, using the expertise of the team in data and machine learning, to heighten expertise of trainees.

Are you wondering how this sort of training would be used? Think about emergency preparedness organizations that occasionally plan mass casualty exercises to prepare for an event like a plane crash. Those activities involve a great deal of preparation and the deployment of many resources. They are expensive, so they are not scheduled as frequently as might be desired.

As a result, the default for many training sessions is the tabletop exercise. It is more like a discussion around a table where the roles and responsibilities of each person during a similar situation are discussed.

Obviously, simulating an emergency situation as close to the real thing as possible is best, but that is not always an option, and the Avrio Analytics team sees AR as providing something much closer to a real-life experience.

As Caputo noted, they are answering the question, “How do you train to make it more realistic?”

Based on work the company was undertaking for a government client, Caputo and Bertolli have branched-off to create an AR-based active shooter scenario for use in hospitals. Just as a user would experience in a video game, those being trained would be immersed in a lifelike experience where they would see tables, chairs, doorknobs, beds, perhaps the shooter, etc.

During the AR-based exercise, command-level individuals could make decisions in real-time about deployment of vehicles and emergency personnel and see how those decisions playout. Non-command-level individuals would be trained for their specific role in the exercise and also receive feedback. They could even change roles during the training.

“We’re working with three police departments in Colorado to Beta test the concept,” Caputo says, adding that de-escalation training is another potential area that Avrio Analytics is exploring. Those types of situations range from domestic violence calls, some of the most deadly for law enforcement officers, to protests.

Launched about five years ago, Avrio Analytics has been funded thus far by the two Co-Founders. “Five years of being bootstrapped teaches you a lot,” Caputo says. “For this (AR) effort, we need more people.” Avrio is actively hiring.

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