A Franklin-based contract research organization is utilizing augmented and virtual reality to keep business going during the COVID-19 pandemic. B2S Life Sciences, which develops materials and tests to help pharmaceutical companies measure their drugs, says implementing AR and VR will allow it to interact with existing and potential clients virtually. Chief Executive Officer Aleks Davis says travel restrictions and general concerns related to the pandemic have made on-site visits or quality audit inspections difficult.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Davis said the company decided to adopt the technology to avoid a stall in business.
“What we’re hoping is that this is something that is going to help alleviate some of the pains that are associated with maintaining or doing business with our clients,” said Davis. “Most of our clients in the United States are on the east and west coasts and those are places that are still significantly shut down and people are not back in the office at work.”
B2S is using a Microsoft Hololens 2 mixed-reality headset, which Davis says creates a variety of interaction possibilities for clients.
“If someone was meeting us for the first time and just coming and taking a look at our operation, we can walk them through the laboratory. We can walk them in places that would be more difficult to do through just a video on your website,” said Davis. “They can interact with you directly by saying, ‘Okay, I’d like to go see our certain instrument and I’d like to see how you work that instrument’ and we can do that.”
Davis says, using the headset, the user can not only see what they’re doing, but also have visuals on the screen in front of their eyes to help them, on which the clients who are watching a feed can also write notes and follow along.
B2S only recently implemented the technology and Davis says the early feedback has been very positive.
“Typically, the individuals that we work with are on the technical side and unfortunately, in many large companies, they have very little to do with the process of creating a partnership from a contractual standpoint. Just the idea that we have started thinking outside of the normal process in order to help (the clients) get to where they want to be has been received positively. And then, the interactions that we’ve had actually in using the technology have been very positive as well.”
Davis adds the technology has the capability for use even after the pandemic is over.
“The process of making these types of visits and doing quality inspections, things like that, they’re definitely necessary but they’re also very expensive and can be time consuming. So I think that there is a possibility that these can be used beyond the pandemic just to make the process easier overall.”
As previously reported in the May edition of the Life Sciences INdiana e-newsletter, B2S is working on testing capabilities specifically for potential COVID-19 vaccines. You can read more by clicking here.
Davis says the company decided to adopt the technology to avoid a stall in business.
Davis explains some of the work that can be done with the technology.