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Most people know Unity Technologies for creating the gaming engine that brought us cultural phenomena like Pokemon Go and Among Us, but what you may not know is how this engine combined with world class local talent are revolutionizing the ways that industrial sectors leverage and interact with their data.
The Unity Technologies Alberta office, located in the heart of downtown Calgary, employs over 75 developers, creatives and project managers. The office is Unity’s innovation Center that focuses on industry solutions. With the headquarters of many of the largest energy companies located in Alberta, the office services clients such as SLB, Suncor, Enbridge and Teck Resources bringing cutting-edge solutions to the industry, such as advanced user controls into the cockpits of the world’s largest shovels, and operational twins for how remote operations are coordinated. Outside of energy, Lead of Industry Solutions, Nick Facey, is also responsible for global automotive projects and works with his team to develop innovations transforming the auto sector.
Mercedez Benz is one of these manufacturers that is capitalizing on the opportunity presented by autonomous driving and other technologies that offer drivers the option to be less involved with operating the vehicle, freeing up more time to do other things during their commutes. This provides a huge opportunity to expand the in-car experience through additional screens with more capabilities. In 2019, Mercedes-Benz Group AG Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener declared the new battleground in the automotive industry: “Screens are the new horsepower.”
Unity has been working with Mercedez on the development and adoption of real-time 3D capabilities to power intuitive and visually engaging experiences – from 3D avatars that serve as “digital butlers” and 3D maps for richer navigation, to augmented reality (AR)-enhanced experiences and AI that adjusts vehicle settings and behaviors to user habits and preferences.
The adoption of new technologies is also being driven by the advancement and availability of microchips. As the new generations of semiconductors are produced with greater capabilities and processing power, the mobile phone and computer manufacturers snap up the availability. As more availability opens up as they move on to the next generation, other markets are able to innovate using those same chips in other industries.
Nick Facey explained the challenge is the same regardless of the sector they are working in, to take massive amounts of data and put it through a real time 3D engine and make it user friendly providing insights to non technical users. He elaborated that they aim to provide “all the benefits that gamers have on how they experience really advanced technology, with none of the engineering burden”.
The range of enabling, empowering and bettering the human experience is the most exciting aspect of real-time 3D technology, and it’s happening right here in Alberta.