SNCF is preparing a virtual campus for the Digital School

By Philippe Guerrier | the † digital learning

The SNCF continues its experiments between virtual reality and metaverse. Training initiatives are gaining momentum. Illustration with Frank Douté, FAB AR VR Manager within the rail transport group.

SNCF: Frank Douté presents the collaborative metaverse at VivaTech 2022 – © DR

a new virtual campus for the SNCF Digital School will be unveiled in September 2022 with Manzalab, a specialist in metaverse environments, as its technology partner. It will focus on digital professions.

the dot with Frank Douté, FAB AR VR Manager, SNCF Groupwho explained the joint metaverse testing process conducted with his partner Antilogy (consulting & training in virtual reality and metaverse) during a workshop at the SNCF booth at VivaTech 2022.

What will be the virtual campus configuration for the Digital School opening in September 2022?

We already have 23 campuses in the group, meeting a variety of training needs based on our 100 occupations identified in the group. The new digital campus, to be unveiled at the start of the school year in September 2022 with our partner Manzalab and its Teemew technology, will focus on digital professions.

  • It provides students with a platform of virtual booths that will showcase skills (cybersecurity, cloud, etc.). This is linked to our 360Learning developed LMS to make the link with e-learning.
  • We will use a virtual environment accessible through a simple internet browser for wide access. We’ll then look at whether VR headsets are needed to better meet specific needs in more immersive environments.

With this digital campus we will be able to accommodate 400 students at the same time, but we will place a dipstick on a maximum of 200 people to start at the start of the school year.

The modules that will be available on this campus can be integrated into a more global certification training.

Virtual campus: towards “an engaging and collaborative training experience”

The future virtual campus of the SNCF Digital School, operated in the form of “metaverse formation” through Manzalab’s Teemew technology, “provide an engaging and collaborative training experience”according to the session hosted on June 17, 2222 at the SNCF booth at the VivaTech show and hosted by Frank Douté and Bertrand Wolff, co-founder of Antilogy.

For students (Front office)the training metaverse aims to:
• present the digital school’s services in an innovative way,
• provide simplified access to the Digital School’s training catalogue,
• provide access to training sessions in virtual classrooms,
• facilitate exchanges between pupils.

For the teams of the SNCF Digital School (Back Office)offers the training metaverse:
• collaborative workspaces,
• visual management for the management of the activity,
• places for informal exchanges.

In what context did the metaverse experimentation take place with the executives of the SNCF group?

It is part of a large digital acculturation program so that all leaders and senior managers have a digital coating on topics such as big data, IOT (Internet of Things) and virtual and augmented reality. This course lasted between three and four months through:

  • Thirty hours of content to consume (live sessions, videos on demand, e-learning modules, etc.). This presented a logistical challenge as it was necessary to send virtual reality headsets during the confinement. The initiative has been well received with positive responses.
  • Virtual reality masterclasses on the platform to discover the use of immersive technologies. Groups of 30 people were organized in two pools.
    • We did a maximum of four a week. For example, we were able to reach a reach of 800 to 900 people (executives, senior managers) between April 2021 and February 2022.

We’re not talking about operational applications on the metaverse yet, but we’re continuing to experiment. Nevertheless, the SNCF Group has been operating virtual or augmented reality applications for 10 years. They are often deployed as part of POC. With the learning curve, some have passed the milestone of industrialization.

For example, we have a customer relations application with a panel of 300 to 400 SNCF agents trained at the front desk in sales areas with hundreds of VR headsets purchased and deployed in group entities. All this is combined with the speech recognition system of the start-up Pitchboy.

We also have other industrial applications related to, for example, rail maintenance.

Do you have virtual reality applications related to the HR function?

We have used training modules, in particular on the following topics:

  • soft skills,
  • management training,
  • feedback culture,
  • conflict management,
  • incompetence,
  • work safety,
  • cybersecurity,
  • team building.

We have a selection of about forty modules from different publishers such as Reality Academy or Reverto that are grouped in the catalog of our partner Antilogy.

Metavers: the SNCF continues its experiments

At the start of the school year, the new HR and virtual reality priorities will revolve around recruitment and onboarding within the SNCF group:
• Develop virtual recruitment fairs,
• Find the skills on jobs in tension,
• Attract talent,
• Discuss with newcomers or group members to guide them.

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