AVATAR Partners Debuts Avatar CONNECT AR Solution for Advanced, Easy-to-Use, Real-Time Virtual Workforce Collaboration

Avatar Connect

AVATAR Partners has introduced its new Avatar CONNECT solution. Avatar CONNECT is designed to deliver a highly user-friendly, robust and low-cost way to connect remote team members via real-time collaboration anywhere in the world and on any AR-enabled device.

Avatar CONNECT is a powerful AR-enabled remote workforce solution that dramatically improves design, field coordination, installation, project management, quality control and assurance, productivity, safety training, and maintenance for a wide range of applications across multiple markets.

“We are very excited about the opportunity that Avatar CONNECT can provide, especially in a time when working remotely is on the increase and effective support is a must for those frontline workers,” said AVATAR Partners CEO and Founder Marlo Brooke. “Our goal was to create a high-capability solution with the latest AR technology, in a form that takes minutes to set up and implement.”

Using mobile devices, on-premise team members can share real-time views of equipment and environments with up to 15 remote concurrent users in multiple locations. A unique 3D annotation feature enables teams and senior experts to virtually view and draw on objects in three dimensions using a tablet or remote PC to provide guidance for accomplishing a job right the first time.

Other features of Avatar CONNECT include:

  • Ready to use in minutes with no development or training required
  • AR combined with visual, audio and 3D annotation
  • Enterprise-ready, high-quality resolution
  • Support for unlimited concurrent sessions
  • Built-in privacy with sessions not recorded on any server anywhere
  • 3D spatial recognition to lock annotations on a target object while the user moves around a room or object
  • Resizable and rotatable arrows, indicators and drawing tools
  • User-controlled text entry anywhere on the screen for detailed information
  • User-controlled color variants
  • Photo capture to record relevant data for record-keeping and reuse with other users
  • Platform agnostic to run on iOS/OS, Android and Windows 10
  • Made and supported in the U.S.A.

Avatar CONNECT offers other noteworthy benefits including a multi-faceted “show me, tell me, guide me” approach to real-time AR that improves team performance while reducing delays and errors. In addition, with the increasing trend toward remote work, it can help eliminate travel costs and downtime.

Our Leadership Role in Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

Diversity

By Mark Samuel

As the intensity of energy and protests following the unjust murder of George Floyd settles down, it’s important for business leaders to keep working toward diversity, inclusion, and equity within their organizations.

As business leaders we can make a positive impact in the movement to value, respect, and include all human beings, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, nationality, religion and any other form of prejudice. Some ways in which we can do this are:

1. Hiring, developing, and promoting a diverse staff in all levels of leadership.

2. Being mindful that we are offering the same mentoring, compensation, promotions, and bonuses to BIPOC individuals, women, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities based on merit and not on any other status.

3. Creating a safe space for minority employees to speak up about their goals, desires, concerns, and needs – especially unfair practices or treatment.

4. Holding employees and peers accountable if and when they perpetuate racist or gendered stereotypes, ideologies and assumptions with their words or actions.

5. Making sure we are providing the best quality service to a diverse customer base.

6. Engaging with supply chains that include fair representation of all diverse individuals.

7. Finding ways to donate to organizations that support BIPOC groups and individuals.

When it comes to Civil Rights and creating a country in which ALL people are valued, respected, and cared for equally, business leaders must be bold and have the courage to no longer accept moving from our current A State to an improved A State (A+ State). This is not enough! It’s time to be purpose-driven by creating a new B STATE (Breakthrough) change in the treatment of Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, LGBTQ, woman, and any other group unfairly subjected to prejudice and bigotry. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”

We invite you to create your own Picture of Success as a leader for inviting, welcoming, engaging, developing, and promoting Diversity and Inclusion to influence our teams, our corporations, and our government to truly become a united America. We all need to become the transformation we want for a more just, peaceful, and caring society. When we achieve this new Picture of Success, we all win. We have stronger companies, improved customer service, increased profitability, engaged employees with leaders at every level, and more caring communities.

Why We Need To Contextualize Flat Data In A Round World

Data

By Ike Kavas, Forbes Councils Member, Forbes Technology Council

For the last 2,000 years, we have known that the earth is round. Most notably, it was Aristotle who pronounced the earth was a sphere. Yet this idea was dismissed by many at first, with potentially a few deniers left that still believe the earth is flat.

You might say that there is a similar phenomenon happening in the business world. We have known for some time that semantic data — data with context, relationships and links — is far more insightful and knowledgeable than two-dimensional flat data. However, enterprises of all sizes continue to work with flat data, a system that is outdated and inefficient, and that slows down productivity.

What is flat data? Simply put, it is data that is stored in legacy silos. It can be structured or unstructured data. It is data that provides no context and gives only a narrow view of a broad, intertwined group of statistics, information and relationships.

The opposite of flat data is semantic data, also referred to as contextual data, which provides workers — both digital and human — with a 360-degree view of their data and the many factors and background of where that data came from. Semantic data is the deep understanding of multiple data points and their relationships to one another. Understanding the context of these pieces of data can lead to deeper insights through AI and machine learning. Businesses that want to remain competitive and boost productivity and efficiency need to take their flat data and transform it into contextual data.

For instance, let’s say you work at a bank, where your job is to process mortgage applications. This means sorting through stacks of “flat data” (e.g., bank statements, tax records, utility bills, pay stubs, etc.). Following this sorting, you then must correlate with the bank accounting system to check credit rating scores, conduct a background check and go through myriad other steps that require scores of data — sometimes up to 600 different documents — before the underwriter can determine whether the applicant is approved. All of this data may be linked in your head, but in your digital stack, it has no history, is not connected and has no correlation to any other data.

Today, technology has greatly advanced since the days of the flat world with flat data. In the case of our mortgage documents, the relationships between documents, from both internal and external sources, can now be linked and viewed in a comprehensive and effective way, without the flat data wall blocking and slowing you down. Knowledge graphics that use semantic data can visually represent your findings, offering business leaders a global, well-rounded perspective. This is what we call enriched data.

Accelerating process automation is the result of enriched, semantic data when it is applied and visualized. The result is a view of compiled context that users can access and that systems and digital workers have available in digital form. So, instead of reviewing the bank statements, tax records, etc., as separate “flat” documents, you can see them as one single digital entity. Instead of taking days or weeks to process a mortgage application, you could do it in a few minutes.

Full article here

Special Note from Hughes Marino Vice President Will Tober

Hughes Marino

With the last few months being a challenging time for all, we know corporate leaders are looking for real-time, digestible solutions they can put into practice immediately, especially in this new era when time and resources are precious. So as we went to work creating this Special Edition of Work+Space Magazine®, our sole focus was to bring you practical and tactical solutions in order to successfully navigate your real estate challenges and create a successful “new normal” for your team to thrive.

We knew we needed to get this helpful information out as part of our mission to help businesses navigate two of their highest priorities, their real estate obligations and their team, and we hope you find these articles valuable and easy to implement.

This issue is packed with articles and timely solutions geared toward helping businesses navigate the dilemmas that the pandemic has caused, from expert advice on lease restructuring savings, tips on subleasing excess space, modifying workspaces to meet new safety guidelines and creating safer environments, to ideas to welcome back your team and keep spirits high.

We are constantly publishing new articles and content to our website in hopes to help provide valuable solutions to companies and the community. From the benefits of tenant representation for business owners to all things commercial real estate, workplace and culture, our website is loaded with practical insights you can use today.

In the interest of keeping our clients and friends safe, we made the decision to switch this special edition issue to only a digital format, but will be mailing out our printed issues again when the time is right. If you would like to request digital issues only moving forward, let us know and we will be happy to make that change!

There is no workplace related need that we can’t help with. Click here to set up a complementary consultation for any one of the many workplace solutions you may benefit from, big or small. Many of these services are free to clients, so it’s worth taking the time to let us help you explore your options.

Wishing you and your team a safe and healthy summer and we look forward to the days when we can meet in person again soon.

B STATE Has Gone Virtual!

B-State

By Mark Samuel

There is even greater need now for building your leadership team based on your COVID-19 experience. Which of the following needs apply to your organization?

  • Align on new strategies
  • More effectively coordinate execution
  • Communicate more effectively with “one voice” fully aligned
  • Develop Recover Plans to quickly pivot your business as changes continue
  • Develop your leadership teams given the new business environment

Now you don’t have to be in the same room to get stellar results!

What We’ve Learned in the Past 2 Months (to our surprise):

  • You can develop intimate team relationships in a virtual Team Building format
  • You can build team awareness, teamwork, and collaboration in a virtual format
  • You don’t need social interaction, games, and dinners together to build a sense of trust, family, camaraderie, and unity

In fact, there are benefits and advantages to building a team virtually:

  • Now the time is spent on your team’s actual role, priorities, and execution getting cross-functional alignment and agreements on execution, not just strategy
  • The degree of open dialogue and sharing increases in a virtual format, without being dominated by strong personalities when in the same room
  • A virtual meeting format is more effective, less time consuming and can be adjusted to meet each person’s needs regardless of location
  • You naturally lower travel costs considerably by not having to pay for airlines, hotel rooms, and meals
  • Every team member is part of creating the documentation of agreements and commitments used, which enhances shared ownership and sustainable results

We are now offering Leadership Team Sessions virtually. In our first sessions, participants loved how it accelerated their implementation, developed the team, and established a bonding and trust between all of the participants beyond expectations.

10K Mask Giveaway

Face Mask

The CDC has recently distributed information on implementing new coronavirus related restrictions while recognizing the need to reopen schools.

We, at NewRain, recognize that in-person classrooms have benefits far beyond just hands-on learning. Access to in-person classrooms provide a safe environment for school-aged children while facilitating their health and wellness. To support the efforts of our hardworking teachers, school administrators, and their students, we are GIVING AWAY 10K HIGH-QUALITY DISPOSABLE MASKS!

Our disposable daily wear face masks filter over 90% of particulates in the air, and also help protect against smog, dust, and virus, while being comfortable enough to wear all day.

Please nominate a school for our giveaway by:

1. Following NewRain Instagram Account

2. Comment your school name and city

3. Share this post to your story or feed

Giveaway ends July 31 and the winning school will be announced later that afternoon. This giveaway is open to any U.S. K-12 school.

Virtually Enabling the Workforce

Enabling The Workforce

Group Editor Marty Kauchak completed a wide-ranging interview with Marlo Brooke, CEO and Founder of Avatar Partners.

Marty Kauchak (MK): Marlo, thanks for taking time to speak with Halldale. Let’s start at the strategic, overarching level. Share with us your perspectives about the state of this community, in particular, at this point of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marlo Brooke (MB): Companies and employees are thinking differently about the workplace in a post-COVID economy. As a company that specializes in immersive reality and augmented reality (AR), we have seen increased interest for virtual collaborative products that remotely connect dispersed workers. We’re also seeing that companies are considering how to optimize productivity and employee satisfaction in a virtual work environment, which also has positive implications for reducing fixed overhead costs, such as facilities. With a purely office-based workforce, whether sales increase or get worse, companies are stuck with the same overhead.

Technology continues to mature to enable a socially and emotionally connected virtual workforce – and other important human factors aspects that would sustain long-term virtualization. As human beings we are social creatures, with an ingrained emotional need to connect meaningfully with others. In other words, extended reality (XR) technology should give employees realistic experiences of feeling as though they are realistically with others, in life size, with eye contact. XR can support a true energy exchange between people that promotes creativity, organization, respect, and passion for the job. Whereas Zoom and other similar video-people-in-a-box type of solutions are a short term quick-fix, they don’t address the significance of human-to-human connection. For example, Zoom doesn’t enable actual eye contact, and looking at oneself in a brady-bunch style grid naturally makes us self-conscious. We have solutions today that bridge the gap between distance and connection – providing an entire or partially remote workforce to experience the human connection that we all need, while also being accountable and present.

MK: What about developing these solutions?

MB: Great question. With the significantly increased need for human-factors based virtual technology, we have an overall resource shortage, even in major metropolitan areas like Southern California where we are headquartered. While this area is a mecca of gaming and virtual reality skillsets, we need a wide variety of skillsets, including effective design and storyboarding, business and performance analysis, mechanical skills, and the ability to translate procedures into high-impact virtualized solutions that support the social and emotional needs of employees. We turn to the partners in our own ecosystem to fill the gap; it does take a village. People don’t want to spend their day wearing heavy glasses to communicate with others.

MK: And one solution to this emerging vision?

MB: We are working with and extending our college involvement, including University of California, Irvine and Auburn University, who have highly reputable computer science curricula. We are providing students free trial licenses of SimplifyXR, our enterprise XR software development tool, so students can extend their skills beyond the basic XR languages such as Unity or Unreal, and develop true enterprise solutions that businesses need from day one – these are high-paying skillsets.

Full article here

Why Our LGBTQ+ Community Needs to Show up for Black Rights

LGBTQ Rights

Read the full story here

What is intersectionality?

Intersectionality was first coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a civil rights activist and legal scholar. It refers to the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups.

As a gay man of color, I have experienced multiple forms of discrimination as I live at the intersection of these two identities. While at the same time, I recognize there are others who experience discrimination even more deeply, such as Black transgender women who belong to one of the most marginalized communities.

Why #BlackTransLivesMatter

Black transgender people need our support right now. Despite progress in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, transgender, and gender nonconforming people continue to suffer the consequences of racism, transphobia, and sexism and sometimes — even violence. Black transgender women/people are disproportionately impacted by violence against the community. In 2019 alone, 26 transgender/gender nonconforming people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means, and 91% of them were Black women. Riah Milton and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells are just a few of the names in the despairingly long list of Black transgender people who have been victims.

We, as a community, need to make sure that every Black life not only matters, but is protected, valued, celebrated, and empowered. We have a responsibility to help elevate and advocate for our Black LGBTQ+ community.

In that spirit, some colleagues, whom I admire, share their personal journeys with us

Terence Williams, Lead Designer, Salesforce Experience

“I’ve viewed my life as a paradox. I’ve often had to live two lives. One as a Black man and one as a gay man. I’ve felt the rejection of my Black family and friends because of my sexual identity. I’ve also felt the unspoken judgment, stereotyping, and dismissal that often comes from my LGBTQ+ peers who hold racist perceptions.

As a native Kentuckian, I especially feel hurt for Breonna Taylor who could have easily been someone in my family or extended circle, many of whom still live in the West End of Louisville, KY today.

Though it’s often frustrating living at this intersection, it has also given me the foresight to understand sadness is closely followed by hope. As we observe this wave of acknowledgment, dialogue, and a desire to end systemic racism, I hope underrepresented communities will also begin to assess themselves. I hope LGBTQ+ communities address the presence of anti-Blackness. I hope Black communities address the presence of homophobia. I also hope individuals assess how their own intersectional identities are expressed and will learn to be more empathetic to others.

The focus on the loss of Black life in recent weeks has heavily weighed on me, as it has the world, in a number of ways. This moment in time is a sad one, but I also believe it can be a catalyst for renewed hope. I hope that will result in action and lasting change. This moment is an opportunity for people like me to be seen and heard while embracing their entire identity. Black queer people must also have a voice in this movement.”

Click here for the full story

Enterprise Data Solutions LLC: Letting Service Lead the Way

Enterprise Data Solutions

Enterprise Data Solutions LLC (EDS) with locations in Irvine and Newport Beach provides IT managed services to companies in Southern California. They also offer co-managed services to organizations that have their own IT staff or IT departments.

EDS is committed to providing exceptional service to their clients, as well as serving the local community and non-profits through its volunteer and philanthropic efforts. They offer to donate to a non-profit of choice for each client they serve. Besides providing a discount to non-profits needing services, they participate in fundraising events when possible. Their next project is sponsoring a “California Love Drop” to the frontline workers at CHOC Children’s Hospital in collaboration with Wing Lam, owner of Wahoo’s and Charles Antis of Antis Roofing. Matthew Sipes, CEO of EDS encourages more business owners to take an active part in supporting the community in whatever capacity they can.

To learn more about how Enterprise Data Solutions LLC, contact Jennifer Annes at 949-301-9308.

The Future of Retail, Reimagined

Retail Shopping

By Anthony Simon, Ware Malcomb

Even before COVID-19, the retail industry was already going through significant challenges, disruption and transformation. That has all been turned on its head. Get ready for the “new abnormal.”

Going forward there will be a fundamental shift in consumers’ reengagement and behavior towards physical environments, including the size and program of space. Ultimately, what is truly important in commerce has changed.

Based on our internal discussions, industry thought leadership and the data we have collected throughout the marketplace, we have pulled our sketchbooks out for ideation. Here is a glimpse into the future of retail, reimagined.

The Increase Of Drive-Through, Online Order Stations And Pedestrian Pickups

Social distancing and quarantining have driven the necessity to connect even more virtually. Consumers will continue to utilize e-Commerce platforms, including the use of delivery services and apps, takeout and curbside pickup. Brands will make modifications to storefronts, parking lots and base building envelopes to strengthen the “pick up” points. This is not new but will become more of a stronger necessity and a regular part of programming.

Curbside Appeal

Retailers will need to evaluate how to bring the storefronts and exteriors alive even more. This will include a range of strategies, from pedestrian pickup windows to digital motion-activated window shopping to shopping from the outside with the assistance of a staff member navigating the store from the inside.

The New Role Of The Welcoming Concierge

Before entering a space, consumers need to have the assurance that it is safe, that the brand has made all the necessary preparations and taken the required precautions. The customer service representatives or “welcoming concierge” will need to have a higher sense of empathy, of awareness to health and safety, and be able to shepherd consumers through “the new experience.”

The Autonomous Shopping Journey

The pandemic has raised acute awareness of the spread of germs and viruses. As a result, the need for designing environments to accommodate contactless experiences and transactions is under way. Components of space will cater to “Ambient Intelligence,” creating smart spaces — voice activated, motion sensor, and tied into your smartphone — all while not having to engage with physical customer service. This technology will also serve to collect data on consumer needs, habits and behavior.

Allow For Elbow Room And ‘Personal Space’

There needs to be a rethink on square footage allocation and crowd capacity within space. In places of assembly, from restaurants to retail to entertainment venues, crowds and side-stepping to move about will be second guessed and seriously reconsidered. Design considerations might include physical (yet transparent) barriers, screens, less merchandise and more generous spacing between displays, floor fixtures, seating and tables.

High Design Hygiene

Brands must step up with modifications and enhancements to their store design program. They need to reestablish confidence and comfort for both their staff and consumers. Careful thought must be given to what truly makes the environment safe, in cleanliness, health and hygiene.

Design must consider materials that have antimicrobial surfaces while still being aesthetically pleasing. Dedicated areas will be required to accommodate sanitizing and the distribution of personal protective equipment.

With public knowledge and approval, entry points into stores can act as sterilizing “chambers” and thermo-scanners for purposes of decontamination or scanning for fever.

Crowd Control

To manage crowd control, stores could implement data tracking, beacons and heat mapping technologies to monitor the number and capacity of consumers and employees entering and navigating a store. Another option is to set storefronts back and provide outdoor amenities while customers wait, or partner with like-minded adjacent cobrands to bridge an experience.

Digital And Analog Brand Storytelling And Community Connections

After this period of intense retrospection, brands should emerge with a clear understanding of their core values and communicate them with absolute transparency and authenticity.

Consumers will hold to a discerning spending behavior and only focus on what is truly important to them. Relevant community connection points will be essential, and the reference to this in every store environment will be key. The need for space is multi-functional and now includes the importance of holding many small businesses together within a small community. It is no longer just about transactions or capturing “Instagrammable” moments.

The Store On The Move – ‘Go Where the Need Is’ Retail

Will permanent “anchored down” space with behemoth square footprints be necessary?

Since the pop-up store concept entered the industry vocabulary as early as 1990, it has taken on a whole new life. As we now have migrated more to e-Commerce beyond choice and for necessity, digitally native brands will want to revisit “testing the waters” with more mobile, flexible and temporary space.

The majority of small and startup brands will have limited capital to sustain long term leases. Brands can be ever-changing. Multiple small businesses and retailers can live under one roof, creating new opportunities for stores to be compact and mobile to travel to other neighborhoods. This will give them the ability to share their story locally, with mobility. Think the Airbnb of retail shops.

Retail’s Tectonic Shift

Retail “as we know it,” will not rebound. Rather, as one industry friend put it, retail will undergo a “tectonic shift.” Sadly, we are already seeing bankruptcies and debt closures, and there will be more. Some brands will not survive the impact of COVID-19.

But the world of retail is also incredibly resilient and adaptive. What rises from this crisis is up to all of us as designers, innovators, strategic thinkers and new brand enthusiasts. To thrive in the “new abnormal,” we must shed our traditional sense of retail, restaurant and hospitality design and reimagine the future.

Anthony Simon is Director, Retail Architecture & Design for Ware Malcomb, responsible for the growth and management of the Retail Architecture & Design services for clients regionally. He brings over 25 years of experience in customer-focused design to his role. Utilizing a holistic design approach for environments, his project expertise spans the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries. Simon has worked for boutique brand strategy agencies, retail architecture/design firms, and on the client side on for multi-format retail, store design and planning. Simon is also a proven leader in the areas of business development, client services, oversight of national and regional teams and staff mentorship.