Original article was published by Women in AI Netherlands on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
WaiACCELERATE participant/founder: Tracy Cosgrove
Tracy Cosgrove wanted to create a Virtual Hotel in a virtual world. She wanted this to be the place where the hospitality industry trainees globally would come to share best practices and have a space to learn from each other. This Virtual Hotel would enable participants to develop a global view on hospitality, sharing, and cultural values. The idea is that soft skills all over the world should be the same, and these modules can be used in every corner of the world.
With the VR training, the first question she asked was: “How do we want the user to feel and what do we want to teach them? Is it communication skills, problems and complaints empathy, diversity & diversity, or technical skills? We now have over 100 training module scenarios which are ready to be adapted to VR training.
The virtual world has now been a lifeline with COVID-19 with hotels in India, Thailand and Myanmar coming together and sharing their experiences and creating best practice. Tracy and her team have been able to provide a COVID-19 training space, with a new view of the world, bringing the importance not just of soft skills but cross-cultural training and development, having a safe environment and discussions without the time and space constraints of traditional learning across countries.
Tracy, the Founder and Creative Wizard of VRHTI, is also an award-winning serial entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and mother of 2. Born in Manchester, moved to work in Hong Kong at the age of 21, and after having lived and worked in Asia for over 30 years, she is now based in the Netherlands, working internationally and considering herself to be a global citizen.
An entrepreneur from the age of 12, her motto is “If you don’t ask you don’t get”. Tracy has utilised this to help others along the way. From taking on construction giants to provide education and safety for their migrant workers’ children to being a mentor and working across the globe.
Tracy Cosgrove with trainees from Passport to Success Myanmar
“We all aspire to be someone, and our objective should be to reach the goal we have set ourselves. People with goals succeed because they know where they are going, over time however they can move the goalposts along the way to seize new opportunities presented to them.”
What is Tracy’s goal? To eradicate extreme poverty, the number 1 designated Millennium Development Goal by the United Nations.
Tracy is proud to be introduced as Mum, Daughter, Mrs Cosgrove, Miss Tracy, Entrepreneur, Scottish Woman Of The Year, Aunty, Partner, Director, Founder, Teacher. Tracy has had many goals in her life, including re-inventing herself, may times, through action, learning and experience, along the way to achieve those goals.
VRHTI (Virtual Reality Hospitality Training International) is a recent development from Passport to Success Myanmar, an initiative of Tracy to improve the service quality as well the English speaking skills of people working in Myanmar’s service sector. The company was established in 2008 with the goal to develop Myanmar’s hospitality standards, as the country’s tourism industry and services offered were largely underdeveloped and did not meet the expectations of international visitors at the time, due to political reasons.
Tracy sees VRHTI not just as a commercial company, but more of a path of personal development for guiding disadvantaged groups of people in their future careers. Although the core business is hospitality, VRHTI also provides training in Embassies, hospitals, offices with customer interaction, and is working with a number of commercial companies in South East Asia and looking forward to working globally.
VRHTI is, with the development of modern technology, the logical expansion of Passport to Success Myanmar for reaching out to the hospitality industry and providing training even in more remote areas. Training modules have been designed by creating a Virtual Hotel, 360º footage photos and real-life situations and experiences. All training scenarios are custom-made and lifelike. The goal for the future is to truly become international and share VHRTI training modules in other countries where there is a need to improve the quality of services.
As for the integration of AI into VRHTI, it will be used in the form of Voice Activation within the VR training modules which are filmed in 360º. The trainees will wear headsets and Bubbles the Robot Avatar will greet them. Bubbles, who is bubbling around when trainees first come into the session, speaks to them and gives them instructions on how to use the training module and respond to their instructions incorporated by AI. For many of the trainees, this will be the first time they have worn a VR headset.
At this stage, Tracy and VRHTI are still in need of 1) an element of AI for Bubbles to also respond and give user interface reactions, and 2) the help of an MBA or PhD student in technology or hospitality. If you have questions or want to learn more about VRHTI, visit their website or connect with Tracy on LinkedIn.
If you are an investor interested in Tracy’s VRHTI, please contact Eve Logunova at email@example.com