Collaboration innovation: Connecting the workforce through VR

ofb 2020 isv developmenttraining 02
Oculus by Facebook supplied

Videoconferencing has long been a punchline for countless memes, videos and comedy sketches, which mock the medium’s low-quality video, laggy audio, and end-user etiquette breaches. And that was before a global pandemic forced entirely new waves of workers to learn to use videoconferencing to stay connected with their colleagues.

Now, however, a new set of 3D visualization features, enabled by virtual reality (VR), is giving organizations a way to better replicate the in-person meeting experience. The use of spatial computing technology fosters collaboration in a more realistic environment and gives employees more interactive interfaces, such as whiteboards, so that teams can accomplish just as much in a virtual setting as they would in a conference room.

For example, employees across multiple locations can work on a virtual whiteboard with inputs such as photos, videos, sticky notes and markers – all in a 3D space instead of on a flat computer screen. They can view a 3D representation of a new product design, whether it’s a new automobile, changes to a sneaker design, or even a new office building prior to its construction. Changes and notes can be quickly shown on the 3D model in real-time, speeding the development or design process.

New twists on collaboration

Spatial computing also gives companies the chance to do things virtually that they couldn’t accomplish in a traditional videoconference or meeting. For example, the sales team at Nestle Purina has long relied heavily on crunching and sharing data on spreadsheets to plan the most effective retail shelf displays for its pet food products. Now, using Oculus for Business, sales team members can adjust displays in a virtual space to respond more quickly to new sales data. Geographically dispersed salespeople are also using VR to conduct meetings virtually to review content and share whiteboards and other dynamic tools.

New VR applications in the spatial computing arena include Spatial.io, Arthur, and Gravity Sketch, which work with VR hardware systems such as Oculus for Business to create virtual meeting rooms and collaboration tools. By using these new technologies, organizations can save money on travel costs for in-person meetings and keep employees more engaged with their work regardless of their location.

Getting people on the same virtual page

Going from a typical 2D space to a 3D space can be quite valuable for teams collaborating on a large project. Instead of a browser with multiple tabs or documents competing for space on a limited screen, a virtual meeting room can surround team members with more space for presenting information in a 3D visualization. For example, this lets everyone in the room see supporting assets at the same time while a speaker, or other collaborator, is referencing that particular document, video, or photo.

Beyond a virtual meeting space, these new tools can be used in various other ways, including:

  • Having a virtual collaboration area that shows a new building or area being developed, such as in the construction or real estate industry.
  • New gesture-based interface options allow users to interact with others through virtual handshakes or “high fives” rather than just waving to a webcam.
  • Giving virtual tours of areas such as a college campus or tourist destinations.

Learn more about how VR can eliminate physical barriers to provide new ways for companies to connect, collaborate, and learn.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.