Virtual reality is powerful. It’s attainable. This newly unleashed technological marvel will define the decade. So between brass and tacks, how can immersive world building actually help a business? Let’s explore a few options.
The Workforce is Embracing the Third Dimension
Papyrus, paper, computer screens and iPads: throughout the course of human history, business has been done in two dimensions. That worked well enough for thousands of years, barring the occasional economic depression and moral gray areas of largely unchecked capitalism. Now it’s 2021, and virtual reality has broken open the third dimension. Motions and interactions that people are already natively familiar with can finally be leveraged to increase productivity and efficiency.
So what makes three dimensional interaction better for business? Three dimensional interactivity lends itself to sculpting, architectural, and engineering applications where an actual design product exists in three dimensions. Forcing a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional space (a standard computer monitor, for example) inherently sacrifices some of the data; if close objects are drawn over distant objects, how can a single mouse click select the object in the back? How does a mouse gliding over a desk translate to three dimensions? Most current 3D modeling solutions expect users to constantly toggle perspectives and camera angles to accommodate this limitation. In a three-dimensional workspace, individual objects in a model can be selected, moved, and scaled quickly and intuitively.
Looking forward, that flexibility could scale to any kind of data input. Physical objects exist in three dimensions; keyboards are no exception. Now imagine a world where your computer keyboard could be rearranged, expanded, and resized for maximum efficiency. In this virtual world, optimal keyboards might be circles or spheres. Typing might be faster when users can swipe through keys rather than the traditional press-and-release motion. Perhaps with more dedicated space for buttons, each key could represent a whole word, allowing for almost instantaneous transcription of thoughts into text. In virtual reality, the possibilities are limited only by the creativity of the designer.
A Truly Flexible Work Environment
Even the best computer systems feel cheap without a good monitor. In many fields, a dual monitor setup has become the gold standard for productivity. Some workers benefit from more screen space, others prioritize touch screen controls; and some have varying needs from day to day. In a virtual office, a single headset can replicate a dual monitor setup, a quad monitor setup, an interactive whiteboard, a drafting board, a standing desk, a roaming desk, a transparent glass-like monitor, a 3D visualizer, and a wall clock that displays the time in Tokyo. Perhaps one employee would like floor to ceiling windows with a New York City high rise view, while another might work better alongside an idyllic bay in Bali. A real life finance department would rightfully be hesitant to green light an international company-wide reorganization, but a virtual office is flexible, customizable, and personal. No amount of money can purchase a real office with that much potential.
VR’s ability to conjure convincing spatial replicas can feel especially powerful when recreating places that exist in real life—or places that will exist in the future. With the right hardware, a virtual tour can feel real while retaining all the benefits of a virtual environment. For instance, our in-house software solution PROJETO allows real estate clients to walk through properties from any place at any time. Sightseers can visit historic sites. Engineers can walk through a new factory being built overseas. Interior designers can demonstrate a striking remodel before painting that accent wall and reupholstering that chaise lounge.
Connecting For Real
Pandemic notwithstanding, virtual meetings fill an important need in modern business. Video conferencing saturation, however, has given society reason to rethink the value of a wall of nearly-static faces making an anemic attempt to emulate group interaction. In a virtual reality meetup, standard camera data is replaced with position data: what each user is looking at, pointing at, and interacting with. The space is populated with avatars that represent actions, not physical appearances. Voices emanate from distinct avatars in the room rather than one monolithic slab. Virtual reality meetings heighten the sense of togetherness and collaboration, focusing on important aspects of productivity and minimizing distractions.
In a world of virtual office spaces, these virtual reality meet ups can take place in an office with a full suite of productivity tools. A virtual office means everyone can participate in design meetings, present for presentations, and take notes during conferences. That’s a far cry from video conferencing, which characteristically occupies the single most important productivity tool most employees have today.
Fully 3D workspaces, editable offices, immersive spaces, and better meeting engagement make virtual reality an asset to any business. The flexibility of applications can redefine employees’ routines and clients’ experiences. If you still aren’t convinced, let us find a way to make virtual reality work for you.
About the Author: Joel Garcia is the Chief Information Officer and Co-Founder of PROJETO, LLC, based out of Washington, DC He has been creating virtual reality software and developing technological solutions since 2017, an uncanny alignment of his construction and coding backgrounds.