SGEF2017

An interview with Dan Lejerskar, co-founder EON Reality, on making knowledge transfer accessible, affordable and available to all, in an exclusive at SGEF 2017

Parvathy Jayakrishnan
An interview with Dan Lejerskar, co-founder EON Reality, on making knowledge transfer accessible, affordable and available to all, in an exclusive at SGEF 2017

EON Reality is an 18-year-old multinational virtual reality and augmented reality software developer company headquartered in California. Dan Lejerskar is also an expert in simulation-based learning.
He explains that technology kills millions of jobs but paradoxically technology is also one source that creates new jobs. There is an increasing gap of unfilled jobs. He opines that in education, India is in a race, a knowledge transfer race, but the funds available for each student are decreasing. So one has to teach more with less time and less money!

What is the aim of EON Reality in making a change in the education sector?
The key is to improve knowledge transfer. If you think about what we are doing in education, there is very little need to memorise things because Google does it best! So what we are trying to do now is to expand the communitive dimension, think up things like creativity, collaboration and creation. Virtual reality and augmented reality lends itself very well for this type of knowledge acquisition.

How has your experience been in convincing people in Asia to take up something like VR and AR?
We have almost 17 years of experience in Asia. We established ourselves very early in Singapore, even though Singapore is quite advanced. I do agree that some of the videos in my presentation look futuristic but that’s when we land. When we borrow someone’s phone and show them that they can experience both virtual reality and augmented reality, then all the doubt disappears. Seeing is believing and I would say Asia is one of the best locations because people are so tech-savvy.

How has your experience been in India?
The experience in India is still very early but there is a lot of interest and a lot of demand for fast knowledge, especially in the vocational training area. There is a big gap there at the moment. We have made our first investment and we will announce it shortly. It is going to be in Chennai. Our goal is to set up 10 centres to cover 10 regions in India as well as covering various segments, not only education but also sectors like energy, manufacturing, aerospace and so on.

Each country is different and their needs are different. How does your research team adapt to that?
Simply what we do is we find the best local partners and we team up with them. We make the major part of the investment but we also ask them to co-invest. So we know that they are interested. They help us and advise us and make sure that the ‘Indian’ solution is ‘Indian’ and not anything else.

It appears that this would benefit the higher education sector more than the school education sector…
I would divide the market into three areas - K-12, vocational and professional training, and higher education. Today, the number one is vocational training, number two is higher education and number three is K-12 but I would say that in the next 3-5 years, K-12 will catch up with higher education. 

This story appears in the September 2017 issue of ScooNews magazine.

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