Frequently Asked Questions
1) What devices does Altoura support?
Altoura runs on HoloLens 2, Meta Quest, mobile (iOS, Android), PC, and Mac.
2) What does the Altoura experience in VR look like? Is it true VR (where we have the options to include custom 3D content to provide a true immersive experience)?
The quality of a virtual, or immersive, experience is most heavily influenced by the quality of the headset’s graphics engine and the quality of the 3D model that is rendered and animated for user interactions.
Altoura is a virtual experience, so users can wear an AR headset or a VR headset to visualize the 3D models brought into Altoura. To deliver rich 3D experiences, Altoura works with high-quality headsets. And to deliver high-fidelity 3D models for immersive user interactions, we rely on the most talented and most experienced 3D content rendering team in the world (Altoura Studios), which supports our customer POCs and is available to Altoura customers for ongoing 3D content services.
Many Altoura customers have their own in-house 3D teams, which enables them to build their own 3D content and immerse their users in custom environments. Whether using Altoura Studios or their own content team, Altoura customers can confirm that the experience in Altoura is unrivalled in the industry, whether in AR or VR, which is why many of the most innovative and valuable brands in the world select Altoura for their immersive training, collaborative design, and virtual sales initiatives.
3) For building scalable applications, what’s the default development engine to be used? Do Altoura customers use the no code tool (Experience Builder) to author spatial experiences for Altoura only?
Altoura does not provide a cross-platform integrated development environment (IDE) or development platform (like Unity) for building enterprise applications. Our no-code Experience Builder enables organizations to build their own 3D workflows, like step-by-step immersive training, but only for the Altoura environment.
4) What’s the difference between Unity and Altoura?
There are a few important distinctions:
- Unity is a platform for software developers to build applications, while Altoura is a platform for business users to create business workflows.
- Unity requires a software engineer to write C-sharp code to build and publish an application, while Altoura is a visual platform that allows business users to build a workflow inside a 3D, spatial, full-scale virtual replica of the physical object or environment. This is the heart of the Metaverse…the ability to occupy a digitally equivalent world and do physical work.
- Unity is used by IT and developers, while Altoura is used by business uers (training creators, frontline workers, and project managers). If one word was misspelled in a training prompt inside a Unity application, a software engineer would need to open the code, fix the error, rebuild the application, test and resubmit it to the app store. This could take several days of work. But in Altoura, a user can open the Experience Builder, make the text edit and instantly see the change in the training module on every supported device. This is one example of how Altoura is built with business users in mind.
5) Do you build custom applications in-house with Unity and allow them to run the experience in Altoura?
While we do not build custom or white label applications, we do provide services (via Altoura Studios) and can build custom experiences that run in Altoura. We acknowledge that there is a thin line between a spatial computing app and a spatial computing experience. We work closely with our customers to understand their goals so we can recommend an optimal approach to achieve their business objectives.
6) How much internal expertise is required to use the Altoura Experience Builder on an on-going basis for new training development, to update/modify existing training modules, etc.?
To use Experience Builder, you need people with 3D modelling capabilities and some instructional design experience, but no development experience is required. Several of our customers have trained up teams within their organization to build hundreds of 3D workflows and trainings with Experience Builder.
7) Do you help your customers onboard to Altoura? Is there a way to get a proof of concept up and running rapidly?
Yes and yes. We can demonstrate rapid time to value, but our goal is to demonstrate the long-term business value of Altoura’s productivity platform. With most of our enterprise customers, we typically work closely with them for 6-12 months orchestrating a pilot implementation, which includes envisioning, planning, 3D content production, team building, product training, workflow development (such as training), measurement/analysis, and change management. Our methodology enables us to deliver a consistently high level of success for our customers. But our goal is to onboard your team to be self-sufficient in Altoura, from 3D content development to building 3D workflows using Experience Builder, then expanding to other use cases.
Altoura Studios and our partners (such as Microsoft, Facebook, Insight, Velrada, and others) have deep expertise in custom development and backend integration work. Moreover, they are experts in spatial computing and can help your team from start to finish with immersive training planning, content development, and implementation.
8) How does Altoura define immersive training?
Immersive training is a worker enablement strategy that uses spatial computing (AR, VR) to facilitate learning in an interactive virtual environment. It is a simple equation:
Immersive Training = Spatial Computing + Experiential Learning
Immersive training combines principles of cognitive science, data science, instructional design, and spatial design into a single solution that accelerates employees’ proficiency and leads to better business results.
To construct a learning environment, creators build or import 3D models or video which appear as real-world objects (people, equipment, work environments, etc.). To add interactivity and experiences, creators then build video, animations, step-by-step training, virtual tours, and interactive content that enable users to interact with the 3D objects.
An immersive training environment simulates a worker’s physical environment and empowers workers to develop skills by following step-by-step instructions, evaluating design plans, practicing customer interactions, or simulating procedures. This approach lets workers to develop familiarity and expertise in a virtual environment before transitioning to physical or frontline work. The tremendous value to this learning approach is that organizations can dramatically accelerate learning, improve knowledge retention, and reduce errors.
9) Does Altoura integrate with Microsoft mixed reality products/environments?
Altoura is the only spatial computing platform on the market optimized for Microsoft environments. Built on Azure and tuned for HoloLens 2, Altoura provides single sign-on, Microsoft Power Apps support, and seamless integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Guides, which empowers workers to train virtually in Altoura before transitioning to AR assisted work on-site using Guides. And with built-in support for Azure cloud services like Remote Rendering and Spatial Anchors, Altoura makes it fast and easy to deploy remote work solutions that generate a superior return on investment.
Train-to-Work®, an immersive training solution that includes Altoura, Dynamics 365 Guides, and HoloLens 2, enables organizations to build training guides once, deploy those guides inside Altoura to train remote workers in a virtual setting, then use the same guides within Dynamics 365 Guides to provide workers with real-time AR-assistance when in their physical workspace. The result is an end-to-end training workflow from virtual to physical environments. Train-to-Work® is sold and supported by Altoura, Insight, Velrada, and an ecosystem of Microsoft partners around the globe.
10) Does Altoura support remote calling like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist? Or do we need to purchase a separate license of Remote Assist to add remote calling functionality?
While Altoura supports multi-user collaboration and voice-over-IP calling (users can share views of virtual objects, but not physical objects), Altoura does not have remote assist functionality (annotation, field service integrations, click-to-join call, asset capture in CDS). For solutions that require this functionality, we recommend Dynamics 365 Remote Assist.
11) Can the training results from Altoura platform be integrated with some of the popular Learning Management Systems (LMS)?
Altoura integrates with any LMS via the Experience API (xAPI). We can collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has within online and offline training activities. xAPI’s use of a shared format for both the receiving and sending of data makes xAPI an ideal tool for sharing learning between multiple systems.
We have customers that have LMS and CMS stores that they integrate with Altoura with the help of consulting services from our strategic partners like Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS), Insight, Velrada, and others.
12) What are the methods you follow to gather training feedback from the users? Do you generate insights from these user data and publish them into a dashboard for downstream consumption or integration with LMS?
We have reporting functionality and telemetry that provides insights into usage patterns, and we can integrate with any LMS via the Experience API (xAPI). Altoura integrates with Microsoft Power Apps, which allows organizations to conduct advanced analytics and reporting on Altoura usage data.
13) Is it possible to bring existing training content such as videos, PPTs, PDF, etc. into an Altoura immersive training experience in the same format?
Yes, existing 2D assets can easily be brought in to Altoura to be used in collaborative, animated, or instructor-led training. This is a commonly used feature of Altoura.
14) What CAD formats does Altoura support for importing 3D designs for collaborative review? Does the platform support only neutral formats (.stp, .iges, .fbx, .obj, etc.) or do you also support native formats from Creo, CATIA, SolidWorks, 3dsMax, etc.
We use Unity so any file format that Unity supports we can support.
15) Does Altoura support delivering trainings in multiple languages?
Currently Altoura supports English only. We have global clients for whom localization is important, and we expect to have localized product by the end of 2022. Today, within the interface of Altoura training experiences, we use Azure text-to-speech, which can support many languages beyond EFIGS.
16) Do you provide on-premise deployment of Altoura to a customer’s cloud environment, or is it all managed by Altoura and customers consume the services alone?
Our standard model is to host Altoura in Azure within Altoura’s tenant. In other words, the Altoura environments (we call them “projects”) are managed by Altoura, while our customers consume the services. This ensures that Altoura software is always up to date. If you feel that you need an on-premise deployment, we will work with you to better understand your objectives and provide our recommendations.
17) What is the minimum internet speed/network bandwidth requirement to seamlessly deliver user experiences from your platform?
The minimum bandwidth needed is standard voice-over-IP bandwidth.
18) What is the pricing structure?
For Immersive Training and Simulation, our pricing is based on the number of active monthly users. We also offer a negotiable Enterprise Agreement (EA) global license for deployments that require more than 1,000 active monthly users.
For Collaborative Visualization (for real-estate design planning, for example), our pricing is based on square footage of the hosted environment.
19) Can you share a few project examples (delivered to large enterprise accounts)?
We focus on three primary use cases: immersive training, collaborative visualization, and sales and marketing. Almost all our customers are enterprise accounts, and many are innovation leaders among Fortune 500 accounts. And while many have deployed Altoura, many of the details of the projects are confidential because they are being used to gain first-mover advantages in their industry.
However, we can provide a summary of several projects from the past few months:
- Thermo Fisher Scientific — using Altoura for immersive training and simulation for users of Covid-19 testing machines. Read more. Watch webinar.
- Microsoft’s Real Estate and Facilities teams — using Altoura to assist with spatial planning of new $3B corporate campus, as well as design planning, space layout, and change management for real estate projects in several geographies. Read more. Watch webinar.
- Fortune 500 manufacturing company — using Altoura to train technicians virtually before they work on the physical parts (engines).
- Fortune 500 Retailer in N. America — using Altoura in their warehouse operations to optimize space planning and process training.
- Fortune 500 Fast Moving Consumer Goods company in APAC — using Altoura for immersive training of employees on retail practices and procedures, empathy training, and corporate governance.
- Fortune 500 financial services company — using Altoura for collaborative visualization to plan, design, and tour digital twin of new corporate headquarters.
- Fortune 500 food company — using Altoura for product testing (sensory testing).