Virtual events have been booming as way to safely bring people together during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, one company is offering a solution that is a little different: The Virtual Lab’s virtual reality (VR) platform, Virtuworx, mimics online gaming in that it builds online worlds where people can enter and engage as avatars. It’s a novel way to support the human interaction that we are so sorely missing right now.
Virtuworx’s solution has a number advantages over other VR tools, such as being able to offer a VR experience without headsets or other expensive equipment, as you simply use your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. The online worlds on offer are fully-customisable – from real-world replicas of a convention centre to unreal scenarios such as a meeting space on Mars. And the company believes the interactions within these spaces mimic real-world ones.
Niall Carroll, chairman of CG Tech, explains, “The other day, I was finishing a virtual meeting with somebody and as I was walking out of that virtual office, I bumped into a person who was coming in for another meeting and that interaction for a couple of minutes turned into a proper business conversation later – just like it would have done in real life.”
“As I was walking out of that virtual office, I bumped into a person who was coming in for another meeting and that interaction for a couple of minutes turned into a proper business conversation later – just like it would have done in real life.”
This aspect of accidental meetings make it an ideal tool for industry professionals looking to network, while it’s informal nature of being able to join and leave conversations also make it suited to teams working remotely who want to collaborate more. It also has applications for classrooms, where students can learn from each other’s questions or form groups to work on tasks.
Another upside to the platform is the opportunity to gamify experiences and make them more fun. The company plans to expand this benefit by investing in developing voice capabilities and reward features, as well as improving accessibility by reducing hardware and bandwidth requirements.
Niall adds, “By creating and hosting these environments, catered to our client’s desires, we’re hoping to transform remote work into a far more engaging and enriching experience. We believe fun and creativity are powerful drivers of productivity. Virtuworx provides this interaction in ways never imagined before.”
The financial benefits of VR are gaining recognition, especially thanks to studies such as those done by PricewaterhouseCoopers which found the following:
- People who attended virtual reality workshop were three times more confident about what they had learned than those learning in traditional classrooms or via e-learning courses.
- The cost to train 13 000 executives in a classroom is eight times more expensive than a virtual reality course for the same number of people.
- Immersive technology could save banks as much as $1.5 trillion by 2030, of which $500 billion is attributed to virtual reality applications alone, such as VR training and business meetings.
As such, investment in VR is booming. ZME Science writes; “Between 2016 and 2017, combined venture investments in VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR) exceeded $1.25 billion, and attracted around 90 million active users. The user base nearly doubled to 171 million in 2018 and investments increased threefold to more than $4.1 billion, with expectations that within the next few years the VR market will reach $44 billion.”
So expect to see more VR solutions emerge in the future, especially with the added drivers of keeping people safe and reducing corporate carbon footprints.