Progressive Athlone company Mersus shortlisted for prestigious innovation award

During the pandemic, Ireland’s vibrant life science sector continued to grow and securing the necessary talent is vital to maintain ongoing momentum.

From their office in Golden Island, local software company Mersus Technologies continue to positively impact the sector, their ‘Avatar Academy’ Virtual Learning Experience Platform earning the company a place on this year’s prestigious Irish Times Innovation award in the Emerging Technology category for a second occasion.

This is not the Avatar Academy’s first success after attaining runner-up status to Alexion at the 2020 National Manufacturing awards in the ‘Best Training and Development’ category. During the lockdown Mersus pivoted from what was a creative animation studio into the software engineering company which they are now.

The Avatar Academy VR learning platform sits at the intersection of digital transformation and the new phenomena known as ‘the Metaverse’. This is the next generation of computing that combines multiple elements of technology, including virtual reality, augmented reality and video where using head mounted computers, users immerse themselves and meet others in virtual worlds.

In such highly relegated Life science industries, intensive skills training is required to onboard new operators and meet compliance standards. The speed of technology is an ongoing challenge for all businesses, especially those in Ireland’s multinational sector.

Mersus’ solution is simple - using the same computer gaming technology that young generations entertain themselves on, Mersus mirrors a computer version of each cleanroom, so that the same youths learn their new occupational skills through virtual reality.

“It is great to get some recognition in the public arena as much of our efforts remain confidential, owing to the nature of what we do. Many now are finding our novel approach interesting which gives us huge leverage when attracting new talent is what is a scarce market.

“That we now have many new faces during Covid-19 so the future is bright for anyone looking to move into the hot new career arena for 2022 and beyond,” Brenda Mannion, Chief of Operations, stated.

With demand set to surge, Mersus are also chairing a consortium to create an Apprenticeship for Immersive Technologies. Looking to the future, Mersus has identified the lack of candidates for this new sector as a potential ‘bottleneck’ for their continued expansion. This will complement Mersus’ own strategy for developing the necessary skills in-house, with a lot of young people to give them a flavour of ‘Jobs for the Future’, an exciting new space.

“Working with specialist trainers in Europe, we accelerate our team’s individual skills during Covid-19. This is now paying off as we lead in ‘hand tracked’ VR software for industrial applications at a global level.

“The Avatar Academy platform uses VR that allows trainees using their own hands to within the ‘computer game’ cleanroom, removing the risk and costs involved in training. People learn much faster when they use their own hands,” co-founder, Dermot Condron, explained.

Technology is not all about Silicon Valley and Shenzhen. Per capita, Athlone is one of the software capitals of Europe, anchored by the likes of Ericsson and Huawei.

Next level are great companies like Sidero and Zinkworks adding to the Midlands region reputation.

“We all need to unite to leverage these positives by building the conditions and putting in infrastructure here for the next generation of developers. Right now is the opportunity as Web 3.0 arrives,” Mr Condron concluded.


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