Education has always been important for the economic growth and development of any nation. In the US, 7.6 per cent of the nation’s GDP accounted for educational spends. And edutech accounted close to 2.5 per cent of the spends. In India, the market is currently estimated to be close to Rs 5.9 trillion and will touch USD 40 billion by 2017.
Organisations like Xamcheck, Purple Squirrel and many others are however differentiating themselves by solving different problems of the sector. A trend seen in this space is the use of virtual reality and gamification, to making learning easier. One such organisation is GreyKernel. It is developing edutainment content over a home-grown, community-based platform for high-end mobility and low-cost virtual reality devices like Google Cardboard and GearVR. From utility standpoint, it claims the platform would serve as gamified How Stuff Works for virtual reality.
"We are going to redefine word education by giving users first-hand experience of how stuff works, using the arcane powers of immersive virtual content," says Abhishek Gupta, Cofounder and CEO, GreyKernel.
Building the core team
He adds that the idea stems from the notion to make education interactive and fun. He says that we've all had our experiences of learning/exploring from the days of our childhood and still believed that learning could be more fun if done the interactive way and the team saw virtual reality as a tool to be able to make it how everyone wishes learning to be.
The core team at GreyKernel consists of Abhishek Gupta, who has had over seven years of experience in technology management; Pranshul Chandhok, a video game developer and Sushim Gupta, an IIM Calcutta and IIT Delhi graduate with five years of sales experience.
Abhishek and Pranshul shared the same office space at their last job and believed in breaking the stereotypes through technology, while mutual friend Sushim wanted to make a breakthrough in edutainment.
The product and its USP
The team believes that there are several issues - lack of interaction and engagement being the predominant ones - which limit the effectiveness of one’s learning experience. Others, Abhishek says, include possibility of context related disengagements and unavailability of quality content.
Through the platform, the team wants to organise quality content to engage audience via high amount of interaction. It will also feature content to take users to unexplored areas or domain.
"The USP of our product is high level of interaction, which we deliver through virtual reality. We believe that users will adapt to the new technology to gain access to next level interactivity. Social integration's, leader boards and high fidelity content would help users see unique value in our platform," says Abhishek.
Challenges and way forward
Although, six months back, when the team began work, everyone believed that virtual reality was a game changer, no one wanted to take the bold step, because of the uncertainty involved from the technology standpoint.
To address this issue the team says that it kept the content agile, by porting it to multiple platform/devices in best possible time frame, this even helped keep up with most technological advancements in the space. The team is aiming to cater to a user base of over one billion smartphone users across the globe.
"One can still explore content from our platform even if a user doesn’t possess a cardboard/GearVR," adds Abhishek.
As a source of revenue, the team has created virtual credits required to unlock content. This could be earned by completing module-based activities or could be purchased using currency.
"We met many teachers and trainers from the region and represented some of the demos we have done. 'Wow' is the sentiment we always hear back from them. We also did content trials with more than 200 students and youngsters," says Abhishek. The team intends to integrate multilingual capacities in the platform covering as many languages as possible. The beta version of the product will be launched in October this year.