Virtual reality: is it the future of remote work?
How about starting your workday by putting on your virtual reality headphones? This is what some companies dream of, taking advantage of the increase of remote work to offer virtual reality services.
Over the past year, some of the tertiary professions have switched to remote work, not without difficulties. Multiple channels of communication, the overdose of video conferences, and the birth of the neologism of “fatigue zoom” means the lack of social connection. However, remote work seems to be becoming a new standard: across the Atlantic, many companies like Spotify have announced that they want to continue working remotely even after the end of the pandemic.
Last November, Virginia Rometty, former IBM CEO, predicted that remote work would resist the arrival of a vaccine and our return to “normal life”. For several years now, virtual reality and augmented reality have become part of everyday life: it was the main innovation for video games or casino games at BetWinner, art expositions, and more recently, work. Indeed, many companies specializing in virtual reality are taking advantage of the standardization of remote work and want to reinvent the way of conceiving remote work.
The terms virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are often used to refer to a multitude of services. VR thus makes it possible to dive into an artificial world created digitally, often using a headset that uses a display system that recalculates the images in real-time to synchronize them. These immersive spaces are often allowing total immersion. But it would be a shame to limit it to the image of the helmet. It can be a world that is filmed, animated, played. And with social virtual reality, platforms can also be by computer, which looks more like a classic video game.
The virtual reality market is not new, but the last few years have been defining years for the industry. With the arrival of headsets for the general public, it has opened up other markets, it’s also confirmed by directors of big companies who work on virtual reality software for design offices. Because if the market for virtual reality headsets fell in 2020 due to the pandemic, it would be to rebound better, according to the study conducted by IDC: the future would therefore be virtual reality, with an expected growth of more than 46% in 2021.
A tool already used in certain sectors
In certain very specific sectors of activity, virtual reality has already been working for several years. For example, in the aeronautical sector, it’s a way to avoid physical mockups, it saves time, it saves time to market faster. Virtual reality solutions are particularly suitable for architectural projects, where collaborators are located in different countries, and where modifications can be added in real-time. With solutions like these, the architect can take his client inside his future building, explain the process, give feedback.
Virtual reality to recreate links and the informal
Today, we have a larger customer base because the solutions are cheaper. More and more businesses and SMEs can have access to VR solutions. Besides, with the democratization of virtual reality tools, they are increasingly available through collaborative workspaces. “In the future, you will be able to virtually teleport your colleagues into the physical space you are in by recreating a virtual version of it” even predicted Urho Konttori from Varjo.
There is also the attention and global engagement enabled by virtual reality. “A meeting in an immersive setting can be much more engaging than a meeting via a computer screen. You can see your colleagues, your virtual objects, your real keyboard and your mouse in ultra-high resolution and interact with them in time. real, by shaking their virtual hands and blinking with your avatar”, insists Urho Konttori. But also, rediscover the informal moments formerly formed around the coffee machine or a drink after work.
Between the virtual and the real, find a balance
All Zoom users can be virtual reality users to work. And the advantages would be numerous: team building, moments of project construction, better concentration than videoconferencing. Even Facebook launched its virtual office last September. However, in a few years, will we put on our virtual reality headsets to go to a meeting?
It remains to be seen whether virtual reality will become commonplace in the coming years. For Varjo, there is no doubt. “We believe the future work environment will be immersive. We predict that by 2025, immersive meetings will be as natural and intuitive as when you meet people face to face, so you don’t have to go halfway around the world for business meetings,” says Urho Konttori.
Virtual reality should be seen more as a compliment than as a replacement for real environments. At least one meeting a week, whether informal or formal, but in addition: it is quite difficult to stay more than an hour with a headset which is proved by many studies. So, we have to conclude that meetings through avatars do not seem so utopian.