VR Visualisation for the Self-Development Industry
In our Expert Talks series, we interview experts in the field of Immersive Technology. Jackie Caroll is Founder of ‘Genie in a Headset’. The company, which was recently featured in The Irish Times, has found an innovative way to apply the power of VR visualisation as a tool for the self-development industry. We caught up with Jackie to find out a little bit more about the company and her journey to date.
I’m from South Africa originally, and I was involved in the film industry there and worked my way up from being a runner on set right up to managing production. I moved over to Ireland in 2003 – a friend of mine owned a children’s gymnastics franchise and asked me would I help him bring the business over. Later on, my husband and I invested in a business that didn’t do too well, but I think everybody had a tough time when the market went bang! I believe those failures are critical for success. So we started over and I helped my husband set up his business in 2010.
I wanted my own success story and that’s what led me going into the whole self-development industry and studying with the likes of Bob Proctor. Tony Robbins, Joe Dispenza and Bob are leaders in that space. With all the turbulence in my life, I got into the self-help industry wanting to better myself. One of the things that coaches and mentors always tell their students is that once you have a very clearly defined goal you must learn how to visualise yourself achieving it. A lot of people want to be really successful but they don’t want to do what it actually takes. They’re lacking the desire and passion. It can be difficult for people to visualise their goal. For example, a lot of people are really scared to do public speaking, but if you own a business you will have to stand up and do a business pitch at some point. For some people that is the worse you could ever ask them to do! You need to visualise yourself doing it and doing it really well.
In the research that we have done, we have learned that the reason people don’t do things like public speaking is usually down to a lack of confidence. With the help of VR visualisation, they can stand in front of a virtual crowd and practice their pitch. It’s a mental rehearsal and it gives them the confidence to carry it out in real life. If your body is believing and thinking that the event is taking place then you are learning.
The Elevator Pitch
We are creating a VR visualisation tool for coaches and mentors that they can use to help their clients. The tool will allow users to practice situations in Virtual Reality so that they can face real-life challenges with confidence and self-belief. The tools on the market currently are all 2-D whereas we completely immerse the individual in the situation. There is nothing really like it on the market for the self-development industry.
In the beginning, I started out putting together a really basic prototype, people could walk around on their own island or choose the car of their dreams. The business model developed due to the feedback we were getting. For instance, a lot of our potential customers wanted to improve their self-image and self-confidence. That’s when we decided that it was not going to be just about walking around a fabulous house and having wealth around you, it had to be more practical. A lot of the feedback from female customers was regarding body image and how could we create a way to improve their confidence in the Virtual environment using VR visualisation.
Initially, we were going to sell directly to the consumer but now we have moved to a B2B model. I have established really good connections within the self-development community. Rather than trying to build our own network we are going to go straight to the industry leaders like Bob Proctor, Joe Dispenza and Tony Robbins who have a massive following already. They will licence the software as a tool to their coaches and mentors. Bob Proctor really likes the concept and is very keen to come on board. He has about 800 coaches worldwide with students under him.
The User Experience
So when you put on the headset you are standing in front of a cave, you have to walk through the cave -which is really about getting you out of your comfort zone. In the centre of the cave is beautiful genie lantern, but instead of the genie popping out you actually get stuffed into the lantern. You are the genie, you are the one who is going to create your own environment, your own life. When you enter the lantern you go into a space like setting. I’ve learnt a lot from Neuroscientist Dr Joe Dispenza.
When we take people into the dark, you want to alter their brainwaves. We want to get people as close to delta brainwaves as possible and the reason for that is you are shutting off the logical mind. Shutting off the part of your conscience that’s telling you can’t do something. Once you do that you enter a state of possibility and calm. When people move through the game they are going to be moving by breathing. What we want to prove going forward is that this will help people reduce stress and reduce anxiety. This is the power of VR visualisation.
What’s next for the company?
The product is not consumer-facing yet. At present we are adding to the prototype, the next phase will be testing the market. To do this we will create a focus group and examine the data that comes out of that. Then we will go to MVP and to market after that. I raised pre-seed funding last year and we are looking toward another round at the moment.
The major challenge was finding the right team and talent. We had a bad experience with a company in Ukraine also. However, we have found a wonderful crowd in the UK that we are about to move forward with. We’re also working with the Dublin Institute of Technology now, they have been a massive help in terms of assisting me with putting the prototype together. Money is easy to raise the challenge is finding the right people.