Your Content, Any Reality.
Dan Lejerskar is the Founder and Chairman of EON Reality.
EON Reality provides augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) training to supplement or replace traditional training and educational methods through user-friendly immersive lessons and content.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
All right with us right now we've got Dan Lejerskar. And Dan, you are the Founder and Chairman of EON Reality. So we'll be talking virtual reality in this, in this episode. Thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you for having me.
And Dan, you weren't doing VR say 20 years ago, were you?
Yes. It appears like yesterday, but it's been 20 years. Yeah.
Has it really so what? So what was br like 20 years ago?
You know, when we started with this, they were the computers alone were like refrigerators, size, the same computer power that I have in my iPhone 10 today, and the headsets were clunky, and you have to have help sometimes to even support your head. So it's a different world than today.
And, and I remember like the early days of multimedia, and you know, you had films like I think the Lawnmower Man, and I remember seeing that at the movie theater and like, wow, we're in the future. You know, it was just, you know, the animation was just so basic and rudimentary, but it's, you know, it's Moore's law. I mean, we're just, you know, what we're experiencing right now is just, it's incredible. And I think that, you know, and here's where I would love for you to play futurist with us for a while, because I think everybody wants to know, where do we go from here? I mean, I think I'm sure that we're going to experiencing technology five years from now, that you know, we're going to look back at 2020 and go, Oh, haha, remember then when it was so clunky and it was just so, you know, lack of, you know, just the sense of truly being in that environment. But I think that we're really I think industries and this is where this is where you come in with Eon reality about how industries are using virtual reality. So before we get into that, like, where are we today? And what should we look forward to in the years ahead?
Yeah, that's a very good question.
So let's, I just came back from Las Vegas in CES last weekend, we looked at the latest technologies, and we talked about partners. So let's dissect it and look at a hardware on one side and look at the software. So the software iteration of the latest VR and AR technology starts to merge. The devices become cheaper, faster, better. So they are today affordable for enterprises. They are not yet there for consumers fully they are some solutions, but not the ones that you can send seven to hundreds of millions yet. The big challenge to that has been for our industry, the latest challenge has been content and precisely how to create content in an inexpensive way. Think about YouTube right before YouTube, it wasn't that easy to, you know, disseminate or consume video content. YouTube came along, made it very easy. So our task as a company has been to focus on create that creation process and make it easy for normal people, people that don't know programming, they may even know No, let's say PowerPoint, but it should be able to create that content easily. So that's that's the challenge that we take it upon us. And that's allowed us now in the last few years to download more than 41 million users. The added challenge has been the devices right. So what we are approaching, there has been let's do this agnostically it should work on any type of device, but it should also work on your phone. And the reason for that phone or tablet, because especially in AR if you remember, Pokemon Go,
Dan, Dan, Dan, let me let me share Uh, oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt, but you said Pokemon Go and all of a sudden, I got really excited. So. So I'm actually like, this is how much I love it. Like, in the early days, it was, you know, it's augment. You know, we're like, looking around walking around our real world environment. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, you know, at that church over there, there's a pokey stop. And you know, and you know, it's just it's so I think I'm so excited for so many other games and applications to be in the real world and to see our real world in different ways. But truth be told, I'm actually a Pokemon Go. power user. I'm level I'm almost at level 34. And I really actually set it down for a few years. But I'm actually the nerd that keeps spreadsheets of all my Pokemon just so I can stay. Stay stay on track with what I need.
I'm gonna match you there. But when we come in so there's there's two spaces, I would say the entertainment space gaming, I think has a wonderful future, perhaps a longer perspective, the immediate, you know, value is what we do. I think knowledge transfer. So the ability for students to learn faster, remember longer decide better, like you do an aircraft simulator, the ability for enterprise to train very difficult situation that you don't want to do in real life because it's too dangerous. So that's where we we've been focusing on. So I think what's happening you asked me where we are today. Today, we are in a position where companies can benefit and actually reduce costs in training and increased productivity and academic institutions can transform education. So that's where we are. Now, you also asked initially, where are we going? So, you know, nobody can predict the future. But you can qualify guesses two, three years down the road, and less and less qualified if you go 10 years and beyond. So let me start with 10 to 20 years because that's the difficult one. So fundamentally, where we stand as humanity is at a bifurcation line, right? We can go it's like a matrix, you can take the blue pill or the red. Things are going on here. One is automation and AI. Correct. So AI leads that computer increasingly take over our jobs. And we'd be rendered, I would say useless, but different. So that's one vision of the future that's dark, and I don't subscribe to there's another vision where we embrace these missions and leaving symbiotic relations with them and connect and become the curious this driving nature that drove humanity for the last 70,000 years increases, but we take it back Have these machines ever stand on the shoulders? Now, to solve that, if you want to go the positive way, the way I subscribed, we call it human 2.0 enhanced humans. That is to find a link between man and machine that's faster than today.
act at the speed of thumb, you today you are human 1.3 with your phone or your phone, probably within reach, right? So if I take that away from you, you're not as efficient as you normally are. But imagine so in law perspective, we'll find perhaps, ways to connect this with our brains. I think things like that will take 2030 years. So in five years perspective of 10 years perspective, we think augmented reality will be the way to do it. Because rather than using your thumbs, you are connected directly to your brains is part of your brain. And this device knows where you are, what you want to do, what your competence is, and helps you to give you that knowledge and action when you need it as you need it. So that's, I think the future. And that's what will enable us to become human 2.0. And we working towards that future.
So, Dan, I think one thing that I'd love to ask you about is the big problems that you are solving with EON Reality. Now it's one thing to say, you know, to hear Dan talk about it. One thing we know about virtual reality is it's kind of a very visual medium. And so what I'd recommend is to the person who's listening to us right now, go to EonReality.com. And that's E O N reality.com. So you can actually see Dan, what you're about to share with us.
Okay, so, you know, when I started this business, my past business was to help aircraft pilots to learn teach them how to crash land or emergency land on water. You know, as you No, it's not so easy to do that with a real aircraft is pretty expensive exercise. So it's very well proven that people can use a simulator and train emergency landings. Okay, so if I gave you a choice, would you like to fly with someone that has 400 hours of emergency lightning or water? Would you like to fly with someone that read the book about it? It's kind of evident right now what virtual reality has enabled us because these simulators are $50 million and above by creating the same experience in a much cheaper and cost efficient way. So not only can we train a pilot to do an emergency, but we can train a nurse for emergencies. We can try an oil rig worker for a tremendous accident. We can train a welder how to conduct level three welding. So the ability to visually and tactically learn and transfer knowledge He's extremely powerful. And this is now evidence by medical studies. So we've put people in MRI devices, we studied the brain of a normal person reading, watching a movie, and learning or doing it in a virtual reality. And that level of activity in brain is immense. So people learn faster, remember longer and make better decisions.
And so, Dan, just so people understand why this is so important this work that you're doing. Can you talk a little bit more about? Well, number one, obviously, there's there's certainly cost savings that can be done. It's going to just improve efficiency. You're able to get people like one example that I love is on your website, you show a virtual re so you have this virtual reality experience of what to do in a laboratory environment when something goes wrong. And so it's building up this muscle memory and building up That, Oh, I'm so familiar with this experience. I've ran through this in simulation so many times, and then that muscle memory just kicks in. And people know exactly what to do. Not only are we saving money, are we, you know, saving time. But Dan, we're saving lives.
And you know that what you describe the use case, it's the nightmare of any university that has a lab. That's I mean, if something like that happens, you know, you get hundreds of millions of dollars of potential damage. So the training use case is very clear. And we've seen savings just in training cost of 68%. But when you talk about this, what we call low probability, high consequence scenario, when probability is very small, that BP will have an accident, but if that happens, it could jeopardize the environment, he could actually kill the company. So those are perfect for virtual reality. But here's the interesting thing. It doesn't stop there. So let's say you try For that scenario, and let's say we send you your normal ring worker, and then we send you to Alaska to actually work, right. And during that process an incident happens. And you know, there's 57 steps, you have to take precisely can miss one, or something that will happen. So here's where the power of augmented reality comes in. Once we encapsulate those knowledge, let's say you have to stop a procedure for a pump. If you don't remember the steps, augmented reality can provide them when you needed as you needed in the context you need it. And can also verify using AI if you're doing the right stuff. So that's where we go we're going from learning to training to performing.
And I would imagine, don't talk to me about the actual like the company Eon reality, you know, what kind of size are you at this point, like, who do you have on staff to, to support the kind of work that you're doing? I would imagine, it's a lot of animators and developers.
Yes. In fact, yes and no, if we met fat five years ago, that was true. But here's the beauty of it. We have evolved. So let's talk a little bit. We started 99, we had a wonderful start, because there was an era of.com if you remember, and everything could be possible. And so we had a fantastic dream. And we had a horrible crash in South Africa, where negative 5% of our competition disappeared. We survived, because we migrated for what was possible, there was 3d to Homeland Security. Obviously, 2001 was a devastating year for the United States. And we were able to offer these solutions or for Homeland Security. And then we grew the company till 2008 and 2008. I was looking at the business and we were profitable. We were doing well, but let's be honest, my previous business I took to half a billion. This one was more like lifestyle business. So I was quite disappointed. I love virtual reality. But from a business standpoint, I said, You know, I don't want to be associated with a business. So at that point, I gave the company no gave, I still was the shareholder, but I left it in custody or by CEO. And I said, I'm gonna do something else I did. So I went and did a smart business, green smart business to quit, you have $250 million in three, four years, never thinking to come back to virtual reality. Yeah, and here's a life when life throws interesting things. So I get a call in 2011. My CEO, Dan, Dan, you have to come back.
Nice. Why? what's realistic enough?
To take off, keep in mind, this is two years before Facebook and Oculus. So anyway, good friends, I came back and I was looking at it and I will say, Wow, look at this, look at this the business going and you know what it was, you know, the secret was this. This thing, you know, to power in this we could do a simulator for Aramco that used to cost $1.8 billion. We could do it on this day. buys. So when I saw that I said, this is it. I'm back. So when we came back, the business was doing good. But it wasn't, you know, global business. It wasn't a billion dollar business. And yeah, so I said, Let's, why don't we do this? Why don't we take this wonderful watch that works? Well, we know how to make money. And what we've done, we duplicate this around the globe. You see a map behind me here, if you see if you see just North America, but I'm just about to embark, you know, two weeks to visit about 26 of our offices. So what we did is we we basically duplicated our approach around the globe. So 82 countries later, some of them I visited 11 times together, my coworkers, we've set up this worldwide network. Now initially, as you well pointed out, the idea was to employ designers to create a lot of content. But you know, as a business, you want to make a profit, right, and the margin on services are very slim. Sure, well, after about three or four years, we thought about it said, Wait a second, well, this is great. 80% of the time we keep doing the same thing. Why don't we encapsulate that in a platform YouTube and sell that platform so we can make money while we sleep? We don't need to employ all the developers, the consumers, the customers are the developers IKEA. If you're familiar with the Swedish company, I'm sure you've heard of them. Right?
They've gotten they've gotten plenty of my money over the years.
So what you probably also sitting there with his drawings and try to install it, but the point I'm making is that you could actually create our customers can create the content. And that's where we are today. So today, we have 41 million people that downloaded our viewer. It's really inexpensive to download it. And I can teach you less than half an hour to create your own VR application.
That's just truly amazing. And so what does EON Reality do? Today to acquire new customers are you just kind of like, kind of sitting at the top of the mountain and everybody's just coming to you and you really don't have to do much marketing and sales?
I wish that was true. It's it's a cost of struggle if you're entrepreneur you know that. But yeah, we have our own sales team. Yes. All centers around the world with partners, we have direct sales, which historically used to be hundred percent. Now what we seen the big the big partners entering the market, Apple, Dell, magically, Lenovo, HP, Microsoft, and these people are fighting a trillion dollar war. Oh, yeah. Who's gonna dominate it's like the iOS versus Android wall who's gonna win that war. And all of them need a platform for knowledge transfer. So we are kind of approached by a lot of these partners. And what are we doing are we are building the indirect channels to support so we support all prop firms. So what we're doing now is we're strengthening direct sales. We're expanding the direct sales and the global coverage, which is a lot of hard work and requires marketing and many other things. One thing more we do, which I think could be helpful for your listeners, there's a lot in this thousands of small VR companies around the world that somehow have been decimated or at least hurt by because VR has gone through a hype curve. Five years ago, there was a lot of excitement
when it was on the cover of Time magazine with with the Husky kid.
Exactly, and he sold it for $3 billion. And then lots of people jump into this with a lot of money spent. And then, you know, people are amazed at the challenge and always demanded the potential and then it crashes. And out of this ashes, a few small company last time called Facebook, Google arises from that and that's what we are coming Today, so these small companies, we are approaching them, we created a marketplace. So on our platform, if you are a small developer, Los Angeles and created content, great content, we offer you the opportunity to place it on a platform like an Alibaba or a Netflix and publish that. And we get to 70% of revenue. And we market this around the globe. So
through collaboration, I love that. Well, Dan, say I would say thank you so much. Again, you are the you're the founder and chairman of Eon reality on the web at EONreality.com as E O N reality dot com, and one thing I'd encourage someone to do is go watch the videos so you can see exactly what Eon is doing. Because it's very, very exciting. And listen, I can tell you who's going to win over the next few years. And that's consumers and and industry. I think good What's gonna be coming ahead and the accessibility and, you know, just the the new uses that we haven't even thought of yet. I think it's just gonna be so exciting to see what the future holds. So thank you for making the future reality. Dan,
thank you so much for the opportunity. Have a good one. Take care.
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