ABOUT THE COMPANY
Interactive Immersive Classroom Ltd initially started off as a first-year university project that was developed by students at Backstage Academy in Wakefield. As part of the module, students were presented a concept by Enquire Learning Trust (ELT) that integrated advanced technologies, similar to virtual reality (VR), into a business or learning environment.
The idea developed by the IIC Team, used VR workflows to create some of the most advanced visual stimulation possible within a group setting to support education-based learning.
The concept, being so innovative, was used to invite students to pitch their ideas on how it could work. Representatives from ELT agreed that the system would change teaching and that if the team would carry out several feasibility tests, they may be interested in investing in the product.
ELT were so impressed with the results from the feasibility study that they wanted to incorporate more rooms through its schools and commissioned five installations.
Taking this positive feedback Production Park in Wakefield created a business that would put the theory behind Interactive Immersive Classroom into practice. Andy Delmaine was appointed as Project Manager for the business that would create and then commercialise the model, providing schools and academies with the technology and infrastructure to provide these unique learning spaces.
Andy comments: “Children are growing up with technology, they know no different. Creating an environment where they are able to immerse themselves into a world that is built around them makes the learning experience all the more engaging.
“Using a single room, we are able to show how a series of projectors can be used to create a 360-degree enclosure. So, students can come into class, sit in the middle of the room and feel like they are a part of the world or scenario that they are learning about. It provides a context that is simply not possible through any other method!”
Although the theory was there, it had to work in practice if schools, academies and other organisations were to invest in the business and turn an idea into a profitable organisation that would have a sustainable future.
In order to test the system, the team from Production Park borrowed equipment from Backstage Academy to create a room that would be set up in their offices in South Kirkby to show how the projectors would work when they were installed. This also allowed for the tech to be tweaked and for necessary updates to be completed.
Providing this space that would show the 360 content in action and give those that were interested with a taste of what was to come was a positive step forward, but this was only a temporary solution and the team were aware that investment would be required if they were to showcase the true capabilities of the Interactive Immersive Classroom and what it could deliver.
It was at this point that the team acknowledging that to move to the next stage the company would need practical business support and also funding, so they approached AD:VENTURE.
Setting out a detailed plan and future projections for the business, the team were able to access the advice and guidance needed to put a proper plan into place. This would be used to pitch the idea to other education outlets and also to streamline the message and make presenting the concept in practice simpler.
Following the practical support, Interactive Immersive Classroom also secured £11,000 in match-funding, which was used to purchase the correct projectors that would allow for the system to be perfectly optimised.
For the first time, the concept became a reality and schools, academies and businesses were welcomed to Production Park to see the true benefits of immersive spaces and what can be achieved when the technology is embraced in learning environments.
The first client to come on board and agree to install the system was ELT.
Focusing on the education sector, Interactive Immersive Classroom continues to work closely with ELT and since all feasibility checks have been completed the company has installed three systems into schools in Grimsby, Stockton on Tees and Manchester and have a further two planned.
With positive feedback from the schools that are using the system, the company is now exploring other sectors that could benefit from the technology including museums, retail, emergency services and other training providers.
Andy comments: “It’s been a real rollercoaster of a journey; from college project to business model but we have made it. AD:VENTURE helped us all to realise that we were running with a solution that wasn’t quite fit for purpose and that to take it to the next stage it needed to be shown at its best.
“They made it clear that we had to showcase the finished article, not a prototype and we are so pleased that they did. Seeing the idea in practice really is mind-blowing. The sky is literally the limit and to know that students get to explore new ways of learning in the space is really exciting!