On the one hand, today's education is not the best. The children hate to go to school, they are bored of the classes, anxious of the exams, not to speak about homework . On the other hand, Virtual Reality is the most immersive technology right now and its market is growing bigger and bigger day by day. By 2020 it will exceed $40 billion stated by some sources.
Also, personal coaching is the most powerful tool if we want to develop our skills.
Last but not least, e-Learning platforms like Coursera, Pluralsight, Udemy etc. are very popular and have a lot of revenue.
So, we created the next generation coaching and e-Learning platform in VR to change the education and democratize personal coaching.
What it does
The user could choose courses in different categories in a VR device. Then the story starts and goes forward. The user will reach a point where he or she has to make a decision as fast as possible. Every decision has an impact on the story. He or she will encounter lot of situations where he or she has to choose what to do next. In the end he or she will get a feedback by a virtual coach about his or her performance and tips how it can be improved. Every course can improve different skills and every path has different values of these skills. E.g. if you decided to shout on your employees then your aggresivity value is high, your friendliness is low, etc. By being in VR the user has more emotions to the environment and it is also more interesting than watching flat screens or big whiteboards.
As we stated we are making a platform and the VR player only, the content is made by people or organizations who want to teach something. They can use our user friendly UI to build decision trees and upload the videos for every node. Every node corresponds for a decision that can be made by the user. In the first version this person have to make the coaching videos too.
How we built it
Our product is consist of three different parts. The VR client for the users, the web frontend for the content creators and the backend that drives these.
The VR client is created for Google Cardboard in Unity3d by Denisz Kaslik. It is the cheapest VR headset that is available for only $10, all you need is an Android or iOS device.
The frontend is built with the help of Cytoscape network builder framework, jQuery, HTML5 and CSS by Daniel Kanyo.
The backend to store and manipulate the decision trees and videos is written in ASP.NET Core by Daniel Papilion.
Our designer Marton Molnar made our product polished by designing the web frontend, making the logo, editing the videos, etc.
The project is coordinated by Dominik Foldi, he is the mastermind of the project. He also helped for everyone to solve technical difficulties be it web frontend, backend or Unity.
The demo course is made with an LG 360 camera that we got from OLiX. Thanks for him and the organisers, without them our project couldn't come to life.
Challenges we ran into
Firstly, our team has only one Android phone that has the minimal Android version that Cardboard requires, plus it was not at him so his sister brought it to him a day before HackTM.
We had issues with the 360 video player in Unity because Google made a lot of changes in the SDK recently and the documentation was not up to date. Also, it was our first try to create a VR project.
Later the format of the video recorded by the LG camera was not compatible with the Android. We solved it by converting the video to a playable format.
There were challeneges at the model layer of the backend because we have some complex entities. Plus the WEB API controllers sometimes not worked as expected.
The Cytoscape framework was a new thing for our frontend developer, so he had to learn the technology first.
It was the first time for our designer to edit 360 videos and he had to learn the best practices of it.
It was hard for our project manager to help in three technologies and manage everything else in the same time.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
As we said, it was our first VR project and we are proud of making it real. Also we again proved that we are a good team together!
What we learned
Setting the project goals, assign tasks before the event, a good team and a good idea is the key for a successful hackathon.
What's next for Situator
We are going to get investment for our project and we will make our own startup this summer. After that we are heading to the U.S. market.
We will make our VR client for the mainstream VR headsets, and create the UI for the content makers as user-friendly as possible.
It would be nice to develop such an AI that does the coaching without the content maker recording it himself.
Content makers could upload paid and free courses on our platform. We are making money by keeping 30% of the paid courses price.
In the first half a year, based on our quick computations we will have 5.000 users and 1.500 will pay at least once for a course. The average price of a course will be around $25 that is $37.500 revenue in total. In 2018 it will be more than $250.000. And in the third year we will reach the $1.000.000 goal.
Our exit strategy is to sell our company to one of the mentioned e-Learnng companies, so we will building our system from the beginning to allow them to easily integrate it into their's.