New Matter: Inside the Minds of SLAS Scientists

Lab of the Future | Extended Reality Solutions with Miquel Vidal and Adam Prosho (Sponsored by Molecular Devices)

May 15, 2023 SLAS Episode 150
New Matter: Inside the Minds of SLAS Scientists
Lab of the Future | Extended Reality Solutions with Miquel Vidal and Adam Prosho (Sponsored by Molecular Devices)
Show Notes Transcript

Help improve New Matter by taking this short survey!

Welcome to another installment of our "Lab of the Future" series! This week is a very special episode as we learn about augmented reality and how one company uses Microsoft Hololens to provide the kind of technical support seen in movies.

We're joined by CBRE ILS Global Training Director Adam Prosho, and Head, XRS, Extended Reality Solutions Miquel Vidal, to talk about CBRE's Extended Reality Solututions

Prosho and Vidal delve into how CBRE is utilizing its Extended Reality Solutions to provide tech support and equipment servicing for a wide range of laboratory equipment. They explain the benefits of using augmented reality in this process and how it improves service quality and reduces downtime.

Episode transcript available on Buzzsprout.

Key Learning Points: 

  • What is extended reality and how it's used in the laboratory setting
  • How the Extended Reality Solutions can be used to enhance lab processes
  • Challenges with using extended reality and its solutions
  • The future outlook on this augmented reality technology

Our Sponsor for this Episode
Molecular Devices makes scientific breakthroughs possible for academia, biopharma and government customers. Dedicated to enabling life science labs of the future, where innovative technology and novel research meet, Molecular Devices empowers scientists to advance discovery, driving earlier diagnoses and safer therapeutics for patients. Spanning cell line development, 3D biology and drug screening, their automated, end-to-end solutions streamline and scale complex workflows while integrated machine learning-enabled analytics allow researchers to mine data easily for insights.

Molecular Devices is the innovation partner that empowers scientists with next-generation technology to advance discoveries, improving the quality of life everywhere.

Learn more about Molecular Devices by visiting:

Stay connected with SLAS

Upcoming SLAS Events:

SLAS2024 International Conference and Exhibition

  • February 3-7, 2024
  • Boston, MA, USA

SLAS Building Biology in 3D Symposium

  • April 16-17, 2024
  • Jupiter, FL, USA

SLAS Europe 2024 Conference and Exhibition

  • May 27-29, 2024
  • Barcelona, Spain

View the full events calendar

Hannah Rosen: Hello everyone and welcome to New Matter, the SLAS podcast where we interview Life science luminaries. I'm your host Hannah Rosen, and today we'll be continuing our series focusing on the lab of the future with Miquel Vidal and Adam Prosho of CBRE, which was one of our SLAS 2023 Lab of the Future companies and they're here today to tell us all about their extended reality solutions for the lab. So welcome to the podcast.  

Adam Prosho: A pleasure to meet you, Hannah. Thanks having us. 

Miquel Vidal: Yeah, likewise. Excited to be here and looking forward to it. 

Hannah Rosen: So, I would love to start us off. If you could both just kind of give us a brief description of your professional backgrounds. Adam, why don't you start us off? 

Adam Prosho: No problem. So, I as I like to say, am a biology by trade. I did a... got my degree in biology back in 2005 from the Malta University in the UK, and then I basically went straight into the lab. And that's after where I fell in love with automation. So, I worked in compound management there and when I came across the liquid handling robots I thought, that can do my job for me. But I fell in love and from that point I worked at a global pharmaceutical company and then went to go work one of the leading OEM's in laboratory automation. And then David Cross, CBRE, where I drew CBRE back in 2016, and since then have been in a number of different roles, largely decisively focused around how we can deliver the best service value to our clients, but also how we can best partner the manufacturers and really bring that added value to both our clients, and other clients by deploying expert fees and technology solution. 

Hannah Rosen: Miquel? 

Miquel Vidal: So yeah, my name is Miquel, Miquel Vidal. My background is in electronics, robotics engineering. As you maybe can gather from my accent, I’m from Spain. Originally in the Catalan... Catalan area, and, you know, almost twenty-three years ago I moved to the UK. I started my career... so really drew me life science, by the way, so far, bear with me, so I started my career in... in Sony as an electronics engineer in Barcelona. And then I moved to the UK. And then I worked for many years, the Blue Chip company, and then I made my transition into life science and working for an OEM as a robotics engineer and obviously still support engineer for many years. And I worked over there for almost 15 years, a company based in Cambridge in the UK. Took me pretty much all over the world, met many customers across the life science, because ultimately we were developing robotic systems all the life science... for life science. And then from there I sort of jump... jump over the fence and I joined CBRE, the... and the... and the... the... the... the life science, the life science and Tower, which is where Adam is... is at and during that period I was initially joining also with one of the biggest life science accounts within CBRE as a... as a... as a head of innovation. So, I was part of the Lab Solutions team within CBRE for most of my career, I've been in CBRE for 11 years now. And two... two and a half... two and a half years ago I sort of, I moved to DTT, the digital technology team within CBRE, fully focusing on deploying the prototype... the solution, one of the solutions we discussed today around mixed reality. So... so today we went through a big journey, but today I'm part of the, as I said, I'm heading the... the extended reality within... within CBRE, which ultimately is the mixed reality solutions and they are mixed reality solutions we're gonna be discussing today. 

Hannah Rosen: Yeah, that's very exciting. It's so interesting that, you know, two very different journeys to where you got today. But it does seem, you know, the more I talk to people who are in this, you know, automation and especially the cutting edge of automation, when we talk about the lab of the future stuff, so many people didn't get their start in life sciences, you know, they started in some other sector and the automation kind of really sucked them into the life sciences, which I always just find to be really interesting. Now, you know, it's really starting to open doors for people in different sectors, which I think is great because we're getting a lot of new perspectives and I think that's why we're getting so many innovative solutions coming into the life sciences right now. 

Adam Prosho: Well it’s robots isn’t it? I mean, for a little while when I worked at OEM, my mum just couldn't figure out why it was I needed for a job. So, I just said, look, mum, I play with robots, save lives. And, you know, what you get to do in... in... in automation globalization because it... yeah, we're... we're deep down geeks. We love science. 

Hannah Rosen: Absolutely. So, can you give us, you know, now that we've gotten a little bit of your professional backgrounds in how you got here, can you tell us a little bit about, you know, at CBRE, how are you guys viewing... what is your vision of the lab of the future? 

Adam Prosho: So, it's... it's a good question and something we work on a lot. So personally... my personal opinion, the lab of the future, it's... it's... it's gonna be automated in that you can't even think of today, right? So... and we see this in home automation. Everyone's got... a majority of people nowadays have got either Alexa, which I was hesitant to name because I’ve got one right next to me now and it’s probably gonna go off, or some other, you know, device. And what we’re seeing now is, solutions like that are being deployed into the map space more and more often. I forget the name of the company, but when over the... the SLAS Conference in 2019, I remember in San Diego, and the... the company there that was talking about elab notebooks, and basically enabled the scientists dictate their notes while they're in the hood. And then it all gets uploaded and populated. So, the fact that there's companies and products that are coming to market now just means as the technology advances, gonna become more and more just integrated in how we work it.  

You know, it's interesting, but we're sort of going in that direction of what we're trying to do with our extended reality solutions group in terms of, really sort of trying to make the adoption of our technology seamless and beneficial to the person. Usually, it... so it doesn't become an obstacle to getting stuff done, but it's just becomes intuitive. But ultimately, that's kind of where I've been going in the future. You see, you... from a scientist perspective, just really focus on science, and the equipment should be as accessible and easy to use when they need to use it. The replicating as well from the scientist’s point of view, the equipment is ready to use when they need to use it for their sides. You know, it's... it... It's not broken down, you know, it's... it's been repaired, but an issue has been repaired as quick and efficiently as possible, but when they want to run their screen or assay it's available for them to do so. But, and... and that's where these labs are able, I think. The other interesting thing that is going on a lot at the moment is the rise of the dark labs, sound like a Star Wars film, but, you know, then in these power based service companies, they're saying, send us your assay, will run, and we send you your results back. And, you know, in that way that you can find automation and pop up that is taking the place of the lab tech. And I think companies like Biosero, who... which is... which... I forget the name of that product base, the one that's on the wheels and got an arm on in the middle, it looks so cool. And this is where I miss being in the lab myself, getting to play with the automation. But that's the... sort of where the technology is going. It's not replacing the scientists, because you're gonna need the scientist to do the science. That's what they're there for. But what you do need is the scientist to be able to do that, and that’s where I've seen the technology really going is implementing the support services that are in place, but also the routine task that the scientist’s needs to complete: consumable orderings, and reagents, and glass wash, and, you know, getting your routine maintenance service for your equipment that, all those things are happening in the background in an automatic fashion. That really frees up the scientist to focus on science. 

Hannah Rosen: Yeah, terrific. Miquel, do you have anything to add? 

Miquel Vidal: I mean, the only to add, and again, I know I'm gonna use probably for the first time the buzzword, Chat GPT. And again, for... for my... my humble... humble... humble opinion, when it comes to the lab of the future, you know, beyond what with Adam saying, which I concur, so, I see the future of the lab being, for the augmented reality or for the extended reality, I'm looking more visual, more collaborative, more interactive, really tapping on the excites and the reality. Plus... plus, you know, Chat GPT, whatever comes next, because I do truly believe this is gonna transform all the business and science, and life science is not going to be excluded. So yesterday I was listening to a podcast from from... from the CEO of Open AI and... and I'd say, you know, I'm even more blown away of what's coming in ahead, and, without going into much detail, because I'm not gonna claim to be an expert on... on it, it is definitely something that, you know, sooner than we think it is gonna impact all of us. But even when it comes to life science, in terms of helping to... to... to expedite and explore that, that, that life, you know, that pipeline or life cycle, you know, discovering new... new... new... new drugs and new medicine. 

Adam Prosho: OK as an example of that, a while ago wasn't there... there was an example of that no too long was there where, and I always remember it passing, the news where they identified, I believe it was the new drug target or a new small molecule target using AI and machine learning to get to the bottom of it. And I remember it wasn’t Chat GPT, but it was... it was definitely an AI tool. But when you think about it in that aspect, and that's really what's going to drive the product, the client, and business forward is identifying those targets and novel approaches, and especially in areas such as antibody resistance and development. There, that's the deployment of AI and machine learning tools there, it's... it's... it's gonna be game changing. 

Miquel Vidal: And... and to me... to me, it's sort of, and again, I know I’m kind of thinking allowed here, folks, so don't get alarmed, but it, you know, I... I said I... my background is not life science, but I’ve been involved in life science for 20 years now, previously with my... my... my the previous, base in Cambridge across multiple labs and multiple customers and clients, and literally if you go walk into a lab today versus ten years, besides more fancy robots and more automation, has it really changed much? I mean sure, on the naked eye looking at it, you know, years, you probably have as I said more high-tech robotic systems, more core robotics platforms, more high tech, you know, analytics and instrumental. But bottom line, we create a lot more data, I’m we create a hundred times more, but fundamentally has it changed? And... and... and again, here's a question for... for everyone, we don't have the answer, I'm just saying. But how much Chat GPT or 510 is gonna replace or overlap a lot of today's experiments, today’s tests we're doing in our hardware piece of equipment. So, food for thought, but I'm thinking, and again maybe I felt inspired listening that two and a half hours podcast from the... from the fund of Open AI, but I do feel that, again, probably in the future, uh, there may be less... less equipment in the lab... less equipment the lab and do a lot more theoretical exercise using... using... using the, you know, the artificial intelligence. 

Adam Prosho: I think we're, speaking of that, one thing we are seeing is there's a big trend in sharing of resources across departments or across groups so... and I think there's gonna be big ride towards that in the future because again previously how large companies works is each department have their budget, they would buy their equipment and then one department would massively utilize that equipment and another department wouldn't, and then often, what I said from a management perspective you've got pockets of over and under utilization. Why... what we're starting to see now and where I think it’s going to become a big trend is that validation of reasonable and share of both reasonable and efficient way that they get better ROI essentially. I think that will be something we’re gonna see a lot more of. 

Hannah Rosen: Yeah, I mean, these are all... it's just, yeah, there's so much, right, going on in this lab of the future, and it can be so hard to kind of narrow down, you know, what... what is gonna be the... the important thing just because I feel like we're at a place where there's so many different directions, you know, that things can go depending on the trends and what takes off and... and what researchers really kind of latch on to. So, can you guys kind of talk a little bit... you mentioned it earlier about this extended reality solutions that CBRE is... is rolling out. Can you kind of go into a little bit more detail and... and kind of briefly describe, you know, how exactly is CBRE utilizing extended reality? 

Miquel Vidal: So today CBRE is focusing on three main use cases. And again, it's important to understand, you know, without going too much into details, when we talk about extended reality, what we're referring to. Again, a lot of misconception there, especially from last year big buzzword, the tech world. Sure, you would be the Metaverse adds the extra complexity. But, boiled down, extended reality just encapsulates the three types of realities: the virtual reality, documented reality, and mixed reality. Ultimately, all three of them fall under the same package, which is the extended reality. And today what we're focusing in CBRE life science and CBRE across the board is, in particular, they... they are AR committed and mixed reality. Again, that is our main focus. And VR is still very much a very, very, very powerful type of reality. But what we're focusing today is delivering... is in delivering XR, specifically, mixed reality solutions.  

So, for our phone line workers, and those are our techs... techs, project managers, engineers, surveyors, auditors in tapping on this technology, to do what? To help them to be able to do at remote support will help our folks, at the labs in this particular case, to be able to access and remotely utilize on the mixed reality technology to help them to escalate repairs, to help them for escalation, maintenance and also something which is... which is very hot, helping them on the... on the job training. On the job, what we call on the job training. The other one is helping them to do and carry out inspections, all these risk assessments, again, all remotely tapping on the XR technology. Very powerful. And then the last one of the list, which I think for me is even more... more disruptive, is training, knowledge. Again, all the... still very basic. You know, we're only scratching the surface here when talking about XR, but as they say, you know, let’s make sure we can walk before we run. And... and that is today what we're focusing on. In terms of portfolio, what’s coming next, or portfolio, as you say, road map and what's coming next, you know, we're very excited again in terms of visual twins, in terms of BMS's, in terms of 3D, and also, ultimately what we call the industrial metaverse. But again, that's something maybe you can... we can sort of discuss the further down... down... down... down the... the... the session.  

But today the three main use cases is... is around those three case... these three case studies which... which, you know, where... where we see this is, you know, this is something just nice to have nowadays. We felt that, from a security point of view, maybe five years ago when we started this journey, almost six years ago, in the... in the... in the laboratory solutions, which is actually where it originated, now it is split across the whole CBRE, originate... originated... that originated in the... in the lab solutions within CBRE six years ago. For the first three years, it was being seen as a bit of a gimmick, a bit of a, you know, kind of a cool, sexy toy. But very rapidly, people started to realize, hold on, you know, I think that's more than just, you know, a... a cool glasses on... on... on your head. And now we have the, you know... you know, three... three main... well with those, yeah, three main values and benefits all the way from gaining productivity by reducing the time subject matter experts having to travelling from A to B and then C back to A. Also by releasing travel you're reducing costs at... where it used to be the... the... the... the cherry on the cake, but it's no longer, now it's part of the cake. So... so, this is the sustainability aspect, like, to be able to avoid people travelling from, as I said, all over... all over it, and be able to host these decisions using... tapping on the XR technology, it brings a lot of benefits. And then for me, which is also very important, is the knowledge aspect. Being able to share and retain and transfer their knowledge capture by applying these technologies is very powerful, especially when you look at the, you know, in the next... the next, you know, generation of baby boomers due to retire in the next ten years. When you look at the people leaving the business, people coming into the business, there's a big delta there. How we gonna really use that? I'm not saying XR is... a sorry, XR is a solution for everything, but definitely has to be one of the enablers helping to mitigate that gap and helping the next generation of... of scientists and... and lab solutions technicians and engineers. 

Hannah Rosen: Yeah, you know, you mentioned that, you know, initially a lot of people saw it as just being like, a gimmick and that eventually, people kind of realized the potential. I wonder, cause, you know, I... I was kind of thinking along similar lines is, you know, and I wonder if maybe this has to do with the fact that a lot of this, you know, virtual reality, augmented reality, where a lot of people are first getting exposed to it is more on the general public side of things of like, you know, it being advertised as like, you know, a gaming platform or a social media platform or something like that. And I wonder... a... do you think that, that is kind of adding to this idea of it being kind of a gimmicky novelty? And also, you know, be... why... why is that? Why are we seeing it more rolling out as sort of a more fun, whimsical, you know, use instead of it first being ruled out in this where it seems like it... that's some, like you said, very practical implications in the industrial spaces. You know, why... why has it... hasn't it been rolled out in that setting first? 

Adam Prosho: So, the problem is, and is one of the challenges. We come, they... they think... it immediately looks like a gimmick right, because it's something you put on your head, and they're just like, this is new, right?, this is different, and it's just taking any sort of change in ways of working. They're... they're... they're that only adoption base is always trickier. And, you know, as Miquel said, you know, we've been at this for about 6 years and I'd say we're... we're just coming out the initial curve. And unless and, being honest you know, COVID was the real driver in the adoption deployment of these headsets. What we saw in COVID times and how we tend to operate is we have people based on our client accounts and so we had people where the manufacturers couldn't send people to. So, what happened there was a lot of thinking outside of the box and the outcome, we support our suppliers and support our customers at the same time and how we did that in the first instance and the most common use case is the remote assist where you've got the technician in the lab, right, and you've got an SME from an OEM, a subject matter expert from a manufacturer, sorry I’ll stop dropping acronyms, down on the other end and then they're able to direct the person what they need to do, what needs to go where and carry out et cetera. And that improved a lot of the aid in terms of deployment through CBRE and other parts of our business, but also engagement with manufacturers. But the problem is, and this is where we're at now, if we used it for one thing, and that... that... that... that... that will both... so, we use remote system, the one person... but there's gonna come a point where the need to use it for that one thing per an individual is going to drop off.  

So, what we're really driving the development and engagement for now to do exactly what you said, Hannah is like, tackled the perception of it’s a gimmick and really turn it into a tool that brings value to people every. So we... and some of the things we demonstrated in our booth in February was how we collaborated with manufacturers to develop, guide step-by-step procedural content via text when they encounter an issue. So... and we always develop in a way that is complementing training that's been delivered. And it's in this instance, not the primary stores of knowledge as it were, though the directory would go in the map space and develop troubleshooters, for want of a better word, troubleshooting tools that the engineer can... they uncover an issue with this. They're... it's unfamiliar and they'll see for a while, cause that can happen, and you put it on and you say, what’s the major issue? And they’ll say check this, have you checked that? And really one thing about the mixed reality solution as opposed to the virtual reality solution is we currently use the HoloLens headset and that enables you to basically play with the holograms we have. What's the typical term on this? Well, we’re going to say real world. You know, in a real world environment you can go... physical world, that’s the one, and you anchor the holograms in space, and therefore when an arrow is pointing at a part of a system it's pointing to the correct part and you can build an instructional videos.  

And because at the end of the day, it's a laptop on your head, and the problem is that understanding is yet to click sufficiently across, well across society, you know, across the industry. We could realistically from, you know, from, say, a cyber security perspective or an IP perspective, it's no different than a mobile phone connected to a guest network when you go into a café. You know, from... but because it's something you wear on your head and it looks all futuristic, people become a little bit more wary of it from the get go. So, in terms of adoption they're the... generally tend to be the questions you get consistently from IT departments. It's all like, they're all what’s... how secure is this or, you know, what are we gonna be concerned about recording and stuff like that? The thing is, it's not recording. You know, you're not recording. May have a camera on it, but then so does a smartphone. That... everyone has on them whenever they walk into anywhere. And they... they... but, they're valid concerns, you know, they're valid concerns to be raised. So why... I’ll let Miquel talk, but these things we're redirecting wherever we deployed because they're, you know, privacy regulations in different jurisdictions, they vary but, you know, they're in place. We need to make sure we adhere to them. So... but again it's the same with any new technology or new paradigm. It's a paradigm shift. So, whilst we're developing the tools to give people a reason to use it, because ultimately that's how anything's going to stick is they look at something like, what could this give me? And what we're developing is to make people's lives easier or more efficient, be that from collaborating with suppliers to, again, act as extensions of their service organization, you know, because we're there to support them as much as that, making sure their equipment's up and running, be an extension of them, but from an engineer's perspective it is basically with me having to do work duplication when I can backup laptop. Can I close off my work, or can I order a part. And because it is basically a laptop on your head, you're able to incorporate that functionality. So then when we get to a point where it truly add value back to an individual's bay, that’s when... and we're almost there, we’re practically there, to be fair, it's just we need... and then it becomes something that is ubiquitous and, like you... like you said Hannah, this is where technology is going and where the future is going to be.  

And to be honest, the fact that is being largely driven by, say, the gaming industry, that is not so much a bad thing. I don't view that as a bad thing because I'm... because I would say that's where more of the immediate revenue to generate the functionality in content. But the immediate... while most of the application may be an industry, it's not the fun space, is it? Every, you know, human beings love to be driven by a short-term gratification, and that is games. I'm a big gamer myself, you know, I'm a bit biased, but... but ultimately that was gonna drive the innovation tech and the more that happens and... and... but also the more ubiquitous the technology becomes, the more use cases we’re gonna get from around, you know, space like laptops in the early days or mobile phones of the early days where you have to cart around the briefcase just to make a day's worth of phone calls, you know. And give it about 20 years, they'll probably fit into the... no bigger than normal glasses. I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe not normal gloves, you know, but not too dissimilar. 

Hannah Rosen: Absolutely. And I think that that's a... that's a good point of, you know, things that are popular can drive that innovation, you know, whereas a lot of people, they're not, they don't really care that much about, you know, what innovations can we make to improve, you know, drug discovery workflows, but they really care what innovations will enable them to play, you know, Call of Duty in a virtual environment. 

Adam Prosho: From our perspective, what value we can deliver, what we see as being able to deliver and we have delivered from this, is really reducing down that, and that's time to repair. So that's from the moment an instrument breaks down, they're getting it back up and running. Now, by our collaborations with manufacturers in the industry where we bring into that is basically connecting the expertise, but also the knowledge and resolution capability where it needs to be. So, for example, we can connect, if our technicians are unfamiliar with the problems, it happens. You know, we're... we're not the manufacturer, we are... we work with manufacturers to be able to cover around about 90% of issues, but it's always gonna be that remaining 10% but, you know, the manufacturer is only ever gonna be able to help. So that's where our partnerships and collaborative approach with them comes into play, but also the development of mixed reality solution. So, this one, I like to coin the phrase “digitized escalation”, I don't use it a lot because it's a mouthful, but this is one we've developed where our techs go through the troubleshooter, if they're able to resolve it, great. If they're not, they can escalate up to the manufacturer. It details what steps they've tried, captures a little video clip, and then they get sent straight off the manufacturer. So, if they do have to send an engineer like, there's no... they're coming fully armed with what's been tried, what... what is the assessment of what the issue is. They could be... if they need better application, that’s just because we've eliminated the hardware fine. They said... if they need to order a specific part but it's not something that we would store on site because it's an uncommon failure and by value, then they know to send someone to the site with that part. So, it's really about increasing the efficiency of that service we give the clients both there and, going back to what I said at the beginning about equipment being available when they need it, is to facilitate that. So, then the chances are that a piece of equipment isn’t going to be out of action because it's been go back up and running as quick and efficient way as possible. 

Hannah Rosen: Yeah, that's terrific. I mean, we all know how frustrating it is when you're trying to get a tech problem fixed and you have to keep answering the same questions over and over and over again. So if we can eliminate that... 

Adam Prosho: Yeah 

Miquel Vidal: So... so, if I... if I may interject quickly here, going back to your original point, Hannah, about the... the... the, you know, toy sort of, still perception. What we need, and I’m gonna be honest, is we need another iPhone moment. And that iPhone moment is coming sooner, in fact, yeah, next month Apple gonna be announcing for the first time ever Apple Reality to us. Today, there is still people, they think that Apple invented mobile phones. Actually, last month there was the 50th, five zero, anniversary of the first ever mobile phone call made in New York by Marty Cooper. Marty Cooper, the pioneer inventor, did the first mobile phone call 50 years ago. It took 10 years to come out with the first prototypes and some mobile phones. And I think another 20, whatever, 30 years for iPhone to come out with this... for Apple to come out with iPhone. The real... real, you know, hockey stick graph, the famous hockey stick, didn't really happen for mobile phone... yes, we have Blackberries, yeah, we have Nokias, but it took a brand the likes of Apple with trust... with trust... with the pedigree, to... to be able to really excel at and get... and adopt that technology massively, globally across the world. Today there is 5 billion people using mobile phones... 

Adam Prosho: Or cell phones that are known in the States just for our American listeners, Miquel. 

Miquel Vidal: Going back to your original question. You know, I'm spending most of my time educating folks. And time is about educating and people having time to stop... stop what they're doing and think, you know, what's that... thinking ahead. Today people are so, you know, walking through the day-to-day, they... they... they are pretty much operating in their comfort zone. They tune everything... they don't think, they’ve done for decades. So, you know, we are in that transition moment, paradigm shift, you know, where we are... where... where we need... to need... why we need the e-mail? We already have, you know... you know, fax machines. Or, you know, why do we need mobile phones? We already have a line phone. Ohh. So... so that's where we are, the same balance, why do we need to add these things where we have mobile phones and laptops and, you know, what else? And so the iPhone moment, it’s coming soon. I... I do foresee in the next three to six years, you know, the size of my spec glasses be able to do everything needed today on a mobile phone today thought wearables. Remember, we live in a 3D world. 95% of the content consumed we consume is in a 2D world. Be able to bring that through the AI in my glasses and be able to bring that into the life science, be able to do what they do today for the e-locks, and then to be able to do the experimentation all during the 3D, be able to see the molecules, working inside the molecules, the... the chemistry and literally looking from the inside out, all live 3D in collaboration with the science all over the world, that is the big... the big... the... the... the big collab. But unfortunately it will take the likes of Apple and others for people to realizee oh, I see, this thing exceeds. Ohh, and by the way, it... it really works great. Let's jump in the... into... into it... into the world. 

Adam Prosho: You know what I’m going to say Miquel don’t you? Haptics. Yeah. For me, what I think will be the next real game changer for extended really is, perhaps, it could be a haptic response. Now, I love the technology and we like to deploy it. My personal bug, and this is just me, I'm a very kinesthetic learner, you know, I like touching stuff. And the... the moment when you get some sense of feedback from touching the hologram for me, that’s when... 

Miquel Vidal: So... so... so, this is, so again, without going into much detail, this... this is something that is also... is also coming. So... so... so, there's another prototypes from... from Meta, where you can wear... wear that in... in your... in your... in your wrists, for the which you get the haptics... haptics. As you said there... there is lots going on the pipeline that people don't realize. I'm just... I'm just amazed today. And now I talk with lots of IT departments across many business, I know even those folks are supposed to be the techy ones, have a good clue about XR, how it works and what’s it for. So just imagine the... the... the poor scientist in the lab doing the, you know, R&D. 

Hannah Rosen: I have to say, listening to you guys talk about this, it's making me very excited, but what's gonna come in the future? Like, I'm just like, thinking about all this and even just, you know, for my own personal use because I also... I, you know, I love the VR games, I love the... this stuff. But... but just thinking about in the lab, you know, just like the total game changer of that experience, you know, to be able to just step into somebody else's lab space without having to leave your own. It's just incredible to think about and so exciting to think that we've got so much technology in the works that can make that possible. So I wonder... 

Adam Prosho: Right... 

Hannah Rosen: Oh, go ahead. 

Adam Prosho: I was just going to say on that one, didn’t we Miquel? We played around with one of the new tools on Microsoft, it was quite fun, it was called “Mesh”. And you had me, just outside Bedford in the UK, you had Miquel, just north Cambridge, you had another one of our team, Mike, three hours north of where I am, and Claire in another town. But then you also had Brian who's over in Texas, isn’t he Miquel, all in the same MR space, and we can see each other's avatars, 3D space where we were, and we were passing holograms to each other. It was the trippiest thing ever. But again, that’s today, that’s just... so the thing... it's a bit like... it was a bit like the virtual reality Metaverse right, but this was mixed.  And it was just so... and even though you were watching these people in your living room, and you’re able to share files freely, the images, stuff like your wiring on notes, it was... it was just mind blowing. And it was... but the thing that was the most mind blowing, was the longer you wree in that environment, the more normal it felt. I mean, what was really funny Hannah, was when Miquel joined he was actually in a dress with a different avatar altogether. So that was highly comical for quite a while. Because while he was trying to figure out, change it back... and then there’s a story there, but I don't know what it is.  

Hannah Rosen: Yeah, that sounds amazing. 

Adam Prosho: It... it... it... it is. When you think stuff like that, and because again so... yeah, working...  

Miquel Vidal: I'm just... I'm just. Again, I'm going to... there's many more questions, but... but I'm just waiting.... I'm just waiting for... for the day we gonna have the first R&D establish the Metaverse. Uh, today we have all sort of big name brands already to certain degree to the... I'm gonna... I'm gonna rename that into the commercial Metaverse, you know, the Metaverse because the... the Metaverse as they call it with a big M, does not exist. It will exist in the next 15, 20 years. Today what we have is many tiny metaverses like, you know, Minecraft, like Fortnite like Roblox. Like, you know, all the big brands like Walmart land or Nike land. Today you can already tap into those smaller metaverses, call it the small m metaverse, and I’m not surprised that... it will be very soon, someone is establishing the first ever R&D lab of the future in the... in the metaverse. Commercial, let... let me rephrase that, enterprise... enterprise metaverse. So... so... so... so, yeah, I'm... I'm looking forward for... for the day that comes, and I'm sure it’s going to be sooner than we think. 

Hannah Rosen: You know, where are you guys now with, you know, your use of this extended reality solutions? How prevalent is this being used? You know, how many manufacturers are you currently working with? How many customers do you have that are currently utilizing this extended reality? 

Miquel Vidal: So, Adam said the... the answer part of that. And, from... from a... from a CBRE point of view today, again, a lot of folks, even within CBRE, the eyes are kind of a blue sky thing, maybe for tomorrow. People... brand wise today we have, you know, numerous... I’m gonna say... I’m not gonna say specifically the number, but I’m gonna say numerous accounts. I will say more than 25 and less than 50, in between there. Where we already... we deploy this technology as we speak. So, this is not something for tomorrow, infact it is for today. I think, something since even yesterday where... where we already deploy the big strategy distributions. That it was initially envisioned in the... in the laboratory solution in CBRE six years ago across the whole are, you know, CBRE from financial... financial services or financial institutions, clients for life science obviously, from banking, from data centres, from technology clients where ultimately our foreign workers, regardless of the actual tower or regardless the... the actual that type of customer, the ultimate goal and the ultimate use case is still very valid across the board. So yeah, this today has been deployed as we speak, and counting, across... across the CBRE as well as within the lab solutions. 

Hannah Rosen: You know, when... when we first kind of talked about this discussion surrounding extended reality and... and, you know, just trying to think about what are we going to talk about and, you know, not wanting to just limit it to what you're currently doing because it is just such a huge topic and it is something that I know, you know, we... we could have this podcast again a year from now, and I'm sure what we're discussing would be completely different, you know, because it is just moving so... so quickly. And I wonder, you know, because one of the big things that we talked about at the beginning of the episode was, you know, just a general conversation about AI and how AI is being integrated into the lab of the future. And, I mean, how do you think that this whole extended reality and AI, how are they gonna ,and are they gonna, intersect? And do, you know, do you have any vision of what that could potentially look like? 

Miquel Vidal: I do, and AI is going to be crucial for ultimately generate virtual worlds for the ultimate vision of the Metaverse. Remember, the Metaverse is the evolution of the Internet, Web 3, Web 4, Web 5, which is going to happen very organically and a very... for the next... for the next, say between the next 10 to 15 years. Where... where... where what we do today at the Internet level, we were able to do for a fully immerse experience. But it's important to understand what we're talking about the Metaverse, that vision of the Metaverse, which is the evolution of the web. It has to be persistent, it has to be decentralized, it has to be interconnected and it has to have this 3D experience. So, whenever you hear that term, the Metaverse, which today lots of folks have started to turn on when they hear that term the... the... the concept that... it was already there when Mr. Mark Zuckerberg announced the change of the name from Facebook to Meta and saying they'll announced the full Microsoft enterprise Metaverse, our folks... whoa, whoa, whoa, where is the metaverse? Anywhere? Ohh they... they... they tell us... when in fact, the vision they were selling, it's not this vision, it’s the vision the next 15, 20 years. Again, back where the origins of the Internet, back in the late 90s, you know, if you are someone what is... was Internet 20, 25 years ago, would ever anyone think that will define Internet as it is today? So... so, that we are on the same people, um, stage. And when we took all the metaverses there, we combine blockchain, NFT's, crypto, and now AI. So, one of the biggest challenges of creating these multi global universes, fully digitalized, is that there is not enough manpower in the world to be able to build these worlds. So, guess what? AI is do that in a half afternoon while they're having lunch. So yes, I see super powerful, the AI actually the key... key technology to develop and enhance the metaverse experience for the next years to come. And today, never mind the next 15 to 10... 10, 20 years, today, again tapping into AI or... today there is so many different ways you can tap into an AI. And I can see using AI as an oracle where you, as a scientist with your glasses on, you have your molecular description there, you have your experiments here, you have everything going on and you have AI helping you to make sense of everything helping you to be more smarter, helping you to be more productive, basically using AI as... as... as... as a platform to ultimately once again expedite that R&D process, which, we all know it can take years, even decades. And in fact even enhance it with the full 3D visualisation and experience collaborating with multiple... and again, I'm going to throw something else here. Lab of the future. Lab of the future may... physically may not exist. Maybe, sits in the metaverse, and the scientists connect with this technology and... and they, regardless of their place, geolocation, be able to... to truly collaborate for the first time. So... so... so that is where the science, where they see AI being so pivotal to the success of creating and developing the... the Metaverse. But today you can already use AI as a sort of oracle, as a sort of happy to expedite some sort of the... in the lab. 

Adam Prosho: Yeah, I mean bringing that so, just going back to where we started, really thinking about what the lab of the future’s gonna look like. I mean, it's quite interesting picture to picture it. So, let's say we've got wearables, so let's get it... got to the point where it's just natural that everyone's wearing their mixed reality or extended reality, wearable tech, scientist walks into the lab, all the other automation such as stock machine management, equipment uptime, and you walk into the lab with your wearable on and you scan around the room, you can just say just by glance which equipment’s in use, which equipment is available, which equipment is booked out, which equipment has run low on tips, for example, and you just glance over at the shelves, you see what's stocked on their shelves and all this sort of stuff there. And the... the point is that it's one of those value adds back... the user is the... information, there are moments like this. And, being realistic, that's not the craziest thing to think about because, you know, the technology is there. Equipment utilization, well, we have solutions for our... our business around the running of equipment, around general equipment utilization, work both movement and all that. But that's what we do today. The... the trick then becomes connecting that up and making it one integrated system that is available for use still, be able to be utilized. And then, user notes you’ve got. Yeah, that's where I really see it going. 

Hannah Rosen: Yeah, and, I mean, I'm sure we could continue to talk about this all day and probably then some, but unfortunately we are out of time for our podcast today. So, I just... Adam and Miquel, thank you so much for coming on and having such a fascinating conversation. And we really look forward to seeing you at more SLAS events in the future where we can keep this conversation going and... and see where this technology takes us. 

Adam Prosho: Always happy too, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one. 

Miquel Vidal: Yeah it’s been... it’s been a pleasure. Thanks again for inviting us guys. Thank you. 


Podcasts we love