Two of Manchester’s leading tech companies are leading the race to innovate the global education metaverse with their own science and tech campus, ‘Credersi World’, using a mixed reality platform that includes virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
While Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has outlined his vision of what a global metaverse might look like, tech and science educators Credersi and 3D tech innovators PixelMax believe they are at the forefront of developing and shaping what the education metaverse will actually be. Tech disruptors Credersi and PixelMax are already making this a reality and for the last 12 months they have been developing and creating their own virtual science and tech campus.
‘Credersi World’ is an immersive platform in which students – and employers who want their workforces reskilled for careers of the future – shape their learning in a virtual campus world, complete with shops, cinemas, art galleries, wellbeing rooms and food and coffee shops by using immersive mixed reality technologies. The concept for Credersi World was to create a virtual science and tech campus that could train and reskill workforces of the future in an immersive and engaging way. The Covid pandemic has resulted in more people than ever before taking up training and learning with a view to reskilling for a career of the future.
Credersi co-founders Darren Coomer and Andy Lord saw how the pandemic had impacted university students and those in further education courses. Many students were struggling to keep up with remote learning on platforms such as Zoom and Teams and maintain their engagement to learning. At the same time, through their tech training company Credersi, the founders then saw employers and business suddenly finding a skills shortage as never before, as well as a rapid advancement of future technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). They decided to team up with PixelMax co-founders Shay O’Carroll, Rob Hilton and Andy Sands, to see how they could revolutionise and shape the learning and education metaverse.
“The reality is that technology is now driving businesses forward at such a rapid pace that there is simply not enough skilled workforce available to fulfil those roles, which is why we have such a massive skills shortage and demand is outstripping supply,” explains Credersi CEO, Andy Lord.
“As companies try to keep up with the rapid pace of technology as it evolves, they have realised that a large percentage of their workforce are simply not fit for purpose. That now means companies have to identify the talent from within their workforces and organisations and create the opportunity to educate and train them – and reskill them for a career of the future.”
The Credersi World science and tech campus is an immersive experience with its own real estate. Delegates enter the concourse – much like they would at a physical university campus – and will be able to delve into different learning pods relevant to their courses. Various boulevards line the tech estate, which engages with the delegates at all levels, providing breakout rooms, libraries, shops, cinemas, art galleries, oceanic aquariums, as well as virtual banks and even wellbeing counsellors.
The careers boulevard will have exhibitor totems, where tech, pharmaceutical and bio science companies can have a presence on the campus real estate. Delegates can drop in to learn more about career opportunities at each company and the campus will also have its own careers fairs, where companies can come to recruit delegates.
The lecture boulevard will have rooms that allow delegates to wander in and listen to visiting academics and tech entrepreneurs giving masterclasses. Bio scientists will be able to carry out and conduct live experiments in AR and VR laboratories, while coders and cyber security students can simulate real-time ethical hacking and defence exercises on real-life infrastructures.
“The simple question all CEOs and business leaders need to ask themselves is, ‘What do you do when demand outstrips supply?” says Lord. “Try and find people who don’t exist?’ You simply can’t just wait and hope the workforce will come back. The pandemic has been a clarion call to the global economy. Business and industry must rethink how they adapt to the future after the impact of events such as Brexit and the pandemic.
“With the rapid advancement of technology and AI, we must now look at how we reskill our workforces to make them future proof. Businesses also need to create a culture of continuous personal development for their staff and talent. They will find this in the education metaverse, which will future-proof their workforces with the right skills in an immersive and engaging way.”
Dubbed ‘Silicon City’, Manchester is now the fastest growing tech hub in the UK and across Europe and is widely seen as the UK’s version of California’s Silicon Valley thanks to its phenomenal growth of tech companies. LOrd believes that Credersi is at the forefront of incubating, training and developing the digital pioneers, codebreakers, vaccine developers, bio scientists, biological and cyber defenders, software engineers and data scientists of the future.
PixelMax was founded in 2018 and created by co-founders Shay O’Carroll, Andy Sands and Rob Hilton. Their specialism lies in creating virtual 3D worlds, where they have delivered ground-breaking initiatives and won numerous awards. They have worked with some of the world’s biggest businesses to deliver innovative solutions that solve a variety of business problems and challenges.
“The 3D worlds we create and the solutions we offer our clients are vast,” says O’Carroll. “The pandemic has changed the way businesses operate and it has become clear that virtual worlds add a huge amount of value. The PixelMax technology allows our customers to deliver something truly unique. Our mission has always been to create a place where people can effectively communicate and collaborate in real time.”
Over the last 18 months PixelMax’s 3D world technology has evolved to offer world first virtual events and more recently to create ‘always on’ 3D environments which businesses are now starting to use as their virtual office to complement their hybrid working model. The PixelMax technology harmonises the virtual world and the physical world to deliver an enhanced or more immersive reality for the user. Partnering with Credersi to create the science and tech campus is a great example of what can be achieved.
“What we have created with the Credersi World science and tech campus is something truly unique, which is immersive, engaging and interconnecting,” says Lord. “We are creating the education and training metaverse, a unique ecosystem for companies to reskill their existing workforces and make them future proof. It also means that we educate and inspire the next generation of tech and science pioneers in a world they relate to. We want to ensure that each delegate can be immersed into their surroundings and engage with their syllabus learning within an exciting platform.
“As a result of creating and shaping the education metaverse, we can also create our own real estate within the campus. Big pharmaceutical companies and technology firms can exhibit their companies and recruit the very brightest minds and talent coming out of our incubator programmes. We become much more than just a tech training provider, but a science and tech campus that has everything to offer delegates and future employers. There is no reason why you couldn’t have companies like AstraZeneca, PWC and British Aerospace alongside Government organisations such as the Home Office and GCHQ, as well as retailers like Boohoo and ASOS, and Deliveroo or an Amazon online shop.”