The scene is a virtual construction site. By clicking the ‘play’ button that appears on your mobile or computer screen you enter the site. You walk towards an office located amid half constructed buildings, trucks, cement sacks and cranes. The site officer gives you your first task — operate a crawler crane.
A few consignments that arrived today have to be carried to a particular spot within the stipulated time, safely. Once inside the crane, you conduct all safety checks and start operating it. The consignments are found from different parts of the site and carried to the assigned spot. The task is completed successfully and you receive points as reward. This might sound like a game, but the scene is from a virtual reality (VR) and gamification-based training session that Simulanis — a Delhi based start-up — has developed. As the name suggests the company develops augmented reality (AR), VR and gamification-based real-life simulations to impart effective training to workforce and engineering students. Simulanis’ VR for crane operation is one among many such simulations and it took founder and CEO Raman Talwar, couple of pivots and course corrections to land upon the idea.
Talwar, a 28-year-old chemical engineer, worked for a couple of years in England’s pharmaceutical industry, after graduation. In 2012, he came to India with the idea of working in his father’s engineering business. It didn’t take long for him to realise that he possessed the skill sets to do much more.
So in 2013, he started the company to provide consultancy services in engineering. It was indeed a revenue generating business, but a few recruiting experiences gave Talwar another new business idea. Many of his recruits didn’t have the required skills and later, they had to be trained internally. Apart from knowing basic programming languages, the recruits are expected to work on standard computer-based office packages, develop, developing simple calculation tools using programming techniques and aid routine engineering design work, typically performed by engineering design consultancies and manufacturing companies
Talwar identified that this in itself was a pretty big opportunity and decid