Meet the winners of the XR2Learn Open Call 1: EVR-OSH project

Meet the dynamic team behind EVR-OSH – Zengo, a burgeoning force in VR and educational content development, and TopSafe, a prominent figure in occupational health and safety. With a combined experience spanning over a decade, these two entities have joined forces to embark on an ambitious journey within the XR2Learn project. Their shared mission? To revolutionise traditional learning paradigms through immersive technologies. Let’s delve into their story, aspirations, and the exciting project they’re bringing to the table.

  1. Can you briefly present to us your team? What’s your story and what drives you?

Zengo first started as a small group of friends working together. Today Zengo counts almost 60 employees, divided into teams and working on various projects with the same dedication and precision no matter the size of the task. While TopSafe is a leading B2C distributor of protective equipment for large multinational brands like Honeywell, DuPont, and UVEX in Hungary, Zengo mainly delivers solutions to B2B customers, tailoring each to best fit their needs. Both Zengo and Topsafe have amassed more than  decade of expertise in our respective fields, Zengo has over 9 years of experience in developing AR/VR and educational content, while TopSafe has been a prominent company in occupational health and safety for 15 years, which is why we felt ready to take on such ambitions within XR2Learn. As for Zengo, from the very beginning, we’ve been leaning towards providing solutions in various areas and forms of education, from museum attractions to entire educational administrative systems. We have always been relentless about following new advancements in tech regarding both hardware and software. Because of this, we’ve also been deeply interested in AR and VR solutions in the educational/training field and we believe that it is a field that needs expanding and is worth putting significant research and work hours into. TopSafe’s strategy is to expand the range of services it provides, and deliver OSH education in a future-oriented way using VR technology, besides adapting to the rise of smart manufacturing robots and Industry 5.0. Our main driving force is to be able to provide and spread great innovative solutions to our current and future customers, as well as explore more of the international market. We feel that to do that it is essential to collaborate with and learn from others in the international scene.

  1. In simple words, what is your project about and how is it linked with XR2Learn?

As a high percentage of workplace incidents are caused by the lack of time (59%, Intertek Alchemy survey) and resources for proper safety training , especially in high-danger working circumstances (e.g. working at height (35-40% fall related accidents), working with/ around industrial robots (6.7% of the total workforce in the EU is linked to the auto industry where industrial robots are the most dominant), we feel we are both qualified and ought to try and come up with better training solutions utilizing modern technology and fill the gaps that usual classroom-type training tends to leave. After we initially started working together (as in Zengo and TopSafe) on a potential VR safety training application we came across the XR2Learn Open Call 1 and thought that it was an opportunity that would serve us as a springboard into the international market and a way to collaborate with like-minded innovation-driven organisations. On the very cusp of discovering potential ways to use XR technologies, we hope to gain future permanent collaborators as well as share our knowledge.

  1. How did you come up with this project idea and what benefits will it bring to the end users?

This has been a joint project from the very beginning. Through a proof of concept, the foundational elements of the project were established, and then a prototype application was developed. Our primary objective is to develop a VR application that evaluates the knowledge and preparedness of employees when it comes to working hazards. Central to this objective is the concept of instructor-led evaluations, facilitated by professionals such as Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) managers. These evaluations, akin to examinations, serve as a means to assess the competency of workers in adhering to safety protocols and effectively managing risks at work. Depending on who we call end users there are many benefits. For companies and organizations, it can prove beneficial as a cost-effective way of training a high volume of employees. With a way to monitor each training session, it will also be easier to find any inconsistencies in knowledge and optimize protocols. For employees, it can prove to be a better tool for acquiring knowledge and getting hands-on experience. For those who have forgotten how to learn, as they have been out of school for a long time, the intuitive nature of VR can also be beneficial.

  1. In what way is XR2Learn contributing to your own ambitions?

With the opportunity to participate in this tender, we can get to know the relevant and experienced representatives of the profession up close, who can further be an aid to developing ourselves with their technical support and expertise. We can employ the tools XR2Learn consortium created for our developments and integrate their corresponding tools and solutions into our developments. With their professional support, we are participating in a community-driven and exciting project that will promote future collaboration, research and development projects as well. We are open to exploring joint R&D project ideas as well and would be glad to share our market experiences if there is a need. We hope that as a participant in this tender, we can open the door to the European market, and get acquainted with people/organizations with the same interests and vision as us.

  1. What type of support do you want to receive from the XR2Learn team?

As this is our first big project that includes multiple international partners, we hope to adapt to working in an international setting, since many administrative processes differ from what we are used to and are comfortable with. We believe that mastering how to deal with different kinds of paperwork and submitting different kinds of deliverables might be challenging for now, but it will get easier as we advance within this project and will prove to be beneficial in the future. In our minds, receiving support means something along the lines of constant possibility to ask for and offer help. We realise the power of collaboration that lies in this kind of mostly uncharted territory of advanced XR solutions. In order to innovate we do have to have a strong sense of competition but we also can’t just strictly follow our own ideas, we need to look at what others are doing, just as much as they need to look at us. So we hope we can experience the benefits of sharing knowledge and learning from others as well as building a network for ourselves for future ventures.

  1. What type of synergies do you want to explore/are already exploring with other XR2Learn teams?

As of right now, we are yet to establish deeper connections with the other participants, but we re very much open to any discussions concerning XR and especially VR-training platforms as this is the main field we want to innovate. We are certain that mutual information sharing and even simple conversations can immensely move forward any project. Having a lot of experience with standalone VR applications we also want to push for change in terms of how VR devices are used. Currently these devices are much more of a periphery device rather than what we can call a main or total product. We also hope that through working together, not only can we widen our own knowledge but also spread what we learned, utilize already available developments and offer our support but also that we can learn more about how other consortium members are working, what their production process is, and how they approach and solve their problems. Getting to know our partners, and thus by extension also familiarizing ourselves with the market itself is one of the main reasons that we are so happy to participate in this open call tender. 

  1. What are your plans for the future when it comes to the development of your ideas & projects?

We wish to become one of the leaders in the field of VR training development focusing mainly on providing standalone solutions and to become a relevant member of the international professional community. We’d also like to establish permanent connections and leave the door open for future joint ventures not just only in the training field but other XR-based developments.