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Startup Corner: Charlie Rosenbury and Tyler Drenon, Tacit

Springfield’s startup community is here. Take the pulse.

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Minimally viable product …
Tacit is a virtual reality training platform (where) employees can safely learn on-the-job skills in a simulated environment. Through virtual demonstrations, guided hands-on engagement and real-time assessments, businesses and employees find efficiencies beyond real-world training.

Problem solving …
Traditional training is boring, costly and marginally successful. Through immersive technologies like Tacit, the process becomes engaging for the trainee and effectively automated for the employer. No longer do personnel have to be taken away from their duties or extra materials set aside for training purposes. Training programs become self-contained while improving outcomes.

Seed money …
Tacit is a spinoff of Self Interactive. While educating the business community about the possibilities of VR, virtual employee training quickly rose to the top as a business need ripe for this innovative technology. We’ve been able to share resources between our companies and gain partnerships with early adopters.

Hurdles overcome …
The greatest challenge is getting people to wrap their heads around the VR technology. People think they already know what it is from the first surge of VR hype in the 1990s, inferior mobile device experiences or YouTube videos of people overreacting to these experiences. Fortunately, modern, high-end VR is leaps and bounds ahead of these initial impressions. It’s difficult to convey this without getting people into a VR headset. We’re working with Stradling Creative to capture videos of Tacit users in the software. These mixed-reality videos convey the VR experience by superimposing a video of the user on top of the virtual world with which they’re interacting.

Next phase …
We plan to offer a skills library that can be used by companies in a subscription model. For one price, a company can lease the hardware and a set number of hours in the training software to teach hands-on skills, like forklift driving and welding, or soft skills, like sales call training and customer engagement.

Pivot …
The biggest change has been switching the development platform from Unity to Unreal Engine. This has required a complete rebuild of the core Tacit framework but also has given us the opportunity to improve on the software’s code based on what we learned the first time.

Biggest mistake …
If I could go back, I would have spent more time putting together a polished demo. The early clients were difficult to convince with the prototype we had.

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