New Virtual Human Technology from Talespin Leverages VR and AI for Teaching ‘Soft Skills’

First platform demo simulates HR use case, tasks trainees with firing virtual character “Barry”

Talespin, the leading developer of enterprise XR solutions, announced its new virtual human technology, a virtual reality (VR) soft skills training tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The software empowers organizations to significantly improve employee learning and development (L&D), particularly when it comes to training interpersonal and leadership skills like communication, negotiating and conflict resolution.

Leadership and communication skills, commonly referred to as “soft skills,” are the fundamental attributes that allow people to interact effectively, and are a top priority for talent development, according to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report. Talespin’s virtual human technology leverages VR to present trainees with a safe, repeatable learning environment to practice these nuanced interpersonal skills and to simulate challenging situations. When using the platform, trainees interact with a virtual human, or character, that uses speech recognition, AI, Natural Language Processing (NLP) and narrative branching to realistically simulate a conversation. The virtual character’s delivery of realistic speech, body language and mannerisms creates emotional realism in the simulations, a vital component to practicing communication that’s typically missing in other training systems or role play.

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To demonstrate the power of the software, Talespin created a demo putting the user in the shoes of an HR manager tasked with terminating a fellow employee named “Barry.” The scenario captures the real stress and emotion typically associated with this situation and presents trainees with common wrongful termination pitfalls such as demonstrating bias. The AI-enabled software provides real-time feedback so a trainee can gain virtual experience that feels real enough to create emotional muscle memory, and get real-time guidance on how to empathetically and effectively terminate an employee.

“Improved workplace communication and empathy are the most critical factors we’ve identified as we help organizations think about the future of work,” said Kyle Jackson, CEO and co-founder of Talespin. “We’ve developed our virtual human technology to help people better prepare for a rapidly changing workplace dynamic and evolving technology by improving their interpersonal skills. With this platform, we’re empowering people to become better managers, colleagues, and communicators, and in turn, helping our customers unlock innovation and growth.”

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Virtual human technology comes as the latest component of Talespin’s platform of connected XR solutions, which offers enterprise customers VR software for job simulation, augmented reality (AR) tools to support distributed workforces in the field, and immersive business intelligence applications. Since 2015, Talespin has been leveraging its platform to help its customers transform their employee training and business processes with VR and AR technology and content.

Talespin’s virtual human technology offers organizations the ability to integrate their own subject matter and learning curriculums, and supports a diverse range of virtual characters and use cases. Gamified scoring, dynamic feedback and enterprise integrations allow Talespin customers to track employee engagement and development. The platform’s adaptable feature set has been designed for a wide variety of use cases ranging from giving critical feedback and employee performance reviews to sales training and conflict resolution. Talespin has multiple Fortune 100 customers currently using its virtual human technology, and will be announcing them later in 2019.

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