How one can use virtual reality (VR) to share ideas and discuss strategies is currently one of the hottest topics in the collaborative.
On the one hand, the image of a meeting with a group of employees wearing ridiculous headsets – from home or around the same table in the office – inspires rejection in most of us. It is simply “too much”. On the other side, all those who have worked with VR tell you: immersive virtual spaces can be very effective.
We like to “see”.
One could describe Notre Dame Cathedral with thousands of words – and even millions. Unless you are Victor Hugo, you will not be able to make the monument “feel” as well as with a photo. Better, switch to a Notre Dame in 3D and you can explore all its corners and see it from all angles.
It is impossible to deny the effectiveness of this kind of virtual experience. When you’re in it, nothing feels weird or out of place. And you don’t need a silly helmet to experience it. All you need to navigate this virtual space is a mouse, keyboard, and screen.
Of course, Notre Dame exists. And a virtual office only exists on your screen. But, if designed correctly, this office can look just as real as Notre Dame. People are getting more and more used to VR with video games. These experiences are not only entertaining, they are also immersive. Whether it’s a great movie, an engaging video game, or a well-designed virtual office, the result is the same: you feel like you’re there.
In many video games, you actually create the equivalent of a desk. I played a game where my team built a mansion that served as an office for our guild. We would meet there virtually to discuss game plans. We would share the items we were storing in the mansion. It was much easier to manage the team this way and to be “productive” than if we had coordinated everything by email.
And even though none of us wore VR headsetwe still used a completely virtual space.
I walked my little avatar around the main room of the mansion, and if my friends’ avatars were also around, I knew they were online and available to chat. Exactly like presence indicators in team collaboration apps.
Take what works IRL, only better
Ideally, a virtual reality office relies on a workflow that mirrors the way many teams collaborate today, but adding more intuitive and ergonomic visual elements.
Rather than sharing documents with Google Docs, go to a virtual room with a file cabinet. Rather than organizing a videoconference by email, bring your avatar into the virtual meeting room.
Once you start doing it, it all feels surprisingly natural.
Still, despite all the advantages that this technology can have, I don’t think that virtual offices will see the light of day in the near future. I’m a big proponent of collaborative in VR, and I believe that, if implemented correctly, it will result in greater productivity. But I also see that the world is not yet ready. I think most people still perceive virtual reality as fancy and superfluous.
VR is on the rise – at least, for now – because of its “cool” and mainstream appeal, not because of a deep appreciation of its potential benefits for businesses. This awareness will eventually occur, but a priori not as quickly as some might hope.
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Collaborative: how can virtual reality transform meetings?
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