Matouš Tlapák from Lifeliqe: One profession is not enough for a lifetime

23. June 2022

The Czech technological start-up Lifeliqe from the CREDITAS investment group made a breakthrough in the USA. As part of the SANDI project, a group of enthusiasts from Brno received a three-million-dollar grant to help the state of Nevada mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using interactive 3D, virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality content, it is changing the form of adult retraining and their preparation for the economy of the future. Matouš Tlapák spoke about the change of the labour market and new trends in education for 

We probably agree that the pandemic has brought a shift in the digitalisation of education. Online educational courses are increasingly being introduced to the teaching of children and adults.
Definitely. Moreover, omnipresent digitalisation is significantly transforming the labour market. The Internet is no longer just a source of information. Thanks to VR, it is changing to a place where new experiences and skills can be received. Our long-term goal is to become the leading platform in virtual reality for retraining. We are currently doing well in this respect in Nevada.

The fact is that it will be increasingly difficult to succeed in the labour market. The knowledge acquired at school will not suffice until the retirement.
I dare not guess what professions will exist in five or ten years. The fact is that many of the existing ones will disappear or change significantly. Who would have guessed a few years ago that there would be a mobile application developer. It will no longer be the case that a person did one job all their life as in previous generations. People who will be able to organise their lives, work in a team and pursue lifelong learning will be safe.

Digital literacy and virtual reality play an important role in this context…
Much is said today about so-called metaverses – virtual worlds. But, basically, no one knows exactly where this phenomenon will go. It brings great challenges, whether in the transformation of social media, architecture, leisure activities or in gaining new skills and experience. And all this quickly, efficiently, without having to go anywhere. 3D learning materials on mobile devices and virtual reality simulations make learning more effective and available from anywhere. A moving picture has greater impact than a classic textbook or a static picture. This already works in Nevada. People who have lost their jobs receive a certificate that helps them get a better salary, a career in the most sought-after professions and a greater economic mobility.

Virtual reality is also increasingly being used by companies in their business. It helps them acquire new co-workers and customers and train their employees for various situations and skills.
Virtual and augmented reality is applicable in business wherever an individual or a group of employees needs to explain, present something that cannot be shown live or that does not physically exist at all. We are people, we have instincts, senses built since prehistoric times. To touch something, perceive it, is very important to us. We can actually fool the brain with digital reality.

Does mixed reality accelerate learning?
You could say so. 3D glasses can transfer a person very faithfully to a certain situation. At such a moment, our brain is unable to recognise the difference between reality and virtual reality. Within a work environment, mixed reality offers tremendous challenges. Far more people will be able to change professions and pursue further learning.

Let’s go back to your project in Nevada. Can you explain the abbreviation of the local programme SANDI?
SANDI (Supporting and Advancing Nevada’s Dislocated Individuals) is a government-sponsored programme that promotes employment in Nevada. Lifeliqe is an integral part of the recovery of the Nevada economy. Our virtual content helps adults prepare for key industries of the future through certification programmes. An important pillar of the project are local libraries. Success in Nevada is a confirmation of our business model. That is the development of VR simulations to help acquire key career competencies for the most sought-after occupations. These are found in Nevada mainly in the field of smart manufacturing, technology or healthcare. Lifeliqe also cooperates with institutions in charge of retraining the unemployed.

What does such retraining look like?
Those interested enter retraining programmes with the help of virtual reality glasses. For SANDI, Lifeliqe creates VR courses, 3D content, virtual workplace tours and an online platform that makes it easier for employers and trainers to access VR content. An example is the course for dialysis technicians. It provides a person with specialised education in a field that is in demand and in which it is possible to obtain an above-average salary together with the prospect of long-term employment. During 2022 and 2023, other fields will be added to the grant, including a nurse’s assistant.

Do you want to stay in Nevada only or move to other countries? What about Europe, the Czech Republic?
Lifeliqe plans to offer its VR products to other US states undergoing economic transformation. Our long-term goal is to become the leading retraining platform. We start in the US, which are key for us. But we also want to help the Czech industry and labour market. In the short term, we focus on expanding our team so that we can meet our visions. We are very happy to be able to help where it is needed and to continue to develop technologically and commercially. Especially after the downturn caused by the COVID crisis, when our company was largely dependent on the support of the CREDITAS group, we are able to see further development.

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