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Collaboration

It is time to adopt AR and VR into the classroom

It was not all that surprising that the most popular areas of my daughter’s elementary school science fair last week were tables where kids could build, design, and problem solve with each other.

While everyone appreciated the stationary displays, the real engagement came when kids got together to practice and learn both hard skills like paper robot building and soft skills like negotiation, teamwork, and empathy.

And then it struck me that there may be no school next week or even the week after. I know there will be online classes but that is not a substitute for what kids need to continue to stay competitive confident, and connected.

As Glimpse Group CEO Lyron Bentovim points out in his argument for modernizing classrooms with AR and VR capabilities, humans are social, collaborative, and spatial learners and AR and VR are the only technologies that fully support this type of learning.

We need to get AR and VR into schools now so our kids remain engaged when they cannot be together in person. The prices are no longer prohibitive but the cost will be high if we cannot keep our kids engaged in learning, especially in difficult times.

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Collaboration

Virtual Reality and Remote Work Isolation

Research indicates that remote work will equal, if not surpass, fixed office locations by the year 2025. Already, 70% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week and over 50% work remotely half the week.

And there are good reasons as highlighted in this recent article that lists 17 benefits remote working brings to both employers and employees. Among them are the fact that remote workers are 13% more productive – mainly due to taking fewer sick days, 83% of workers feel they would be happier working from home, and companies save $11k annually per remote worker.

But what is sometimes overlooked with all of the benefits of remote working is the feeling of isolation that can occur when teams are dispersed. Lost are shared lunches with colleagues, cross-functional events that bring different teams together, and after work happy hours.

And this can have real effects. According to a recent Gallup study, perceived workplace isolation can lead to a 21% performance drop while another study from Future Work found feelings of isolation having significant effects on employee engagement and retention.

While platforms like Slack and WebEx allow teams to communicate instantly through text or through scheduled video chat, they do not replicate the feeling of presence and connection that occurs with face-to-face interactions and meetings around the office.

Enter virtual reality, a technology that opens the door to providing a shared environment for people who are located remotely from each other. For similar reasons people who work remotely or independently look for physical co-working spaces, VR spaces provide the virtual version of WeWork and alike.

Unlike conference calls, screen shares, and chat streams, a shared work place in virtual reality offers a persistent location for workers, teams and even whole companies that feels more like a physical location than a specific productively tool.

Remote workers can have their own desks, connect with one another in separate conference rooms, share 2D and 3D content at any time, attend larger company events in virtual auditoriums, and even play games together like Ping Pong, Pool, or Beat Saber.

VR work spaces can also be personalized, engaging, and energizing, encouraging colleagues to come to the ‘office’ on a regular basis.

This will lead to more spontaneous meetings and interactions increasing engagement and innovation, especially for those who are feeling isolated. At the same time, with the click of a button, anyone can transfer to a virtual “quiet space” to focus with lack of interruption. And for employers, providing a center of gravity to a dispersed organization can help with retention and even recruitment.

Why does this matter? Remote working is not an anomaly anymore. It is the new normal. But it is also in direct conflict with the fact that humans are social animals. Working from home is good for the environment, work-life balance, and a company’s balance sheet, but we need new platforms to provide the human touch to support this new (virtual) reality.

Collaboration

What would you do with 163 billion more minutes a year?

A great article by Niclas Johansson highlighting the 7 benefits of VR for meetings.

He touches on a range of areas where VR is making a real impact on increasing engagement: feeling of presence, removal of distractions, limitless environments and interactions, saving the environment, and, perhaps most importantly, saving time and money.

I would add one more to the list:

8. Come back anytime, and stay as long as you like. Imagine a meeting room that is always available and does not require having to clean up after a collaborative session. No need to transcribe and erase the white boards, remove stickies, or unplug your laptop from the in-room display. A virtual meeting room can be accessed again at any time from anywhere to continue where the meeting left off or to reference the collaborative output that was created. And no one will be waiting at the door glaring at their watches if the meeting runs over time.

Also worth reading the comparison of platforms at the end of the article. While social VR will offer a new paradigm for group interactions, enterprise solutions will require a higher level of scalability, security, compliancy, and integration with existing systems. It will be exciting to see how those platforms evolve and gain traction.

To follow how Foretell Reality is approaching these challenges, visit our website and keep reading our blog posts.

Collaboration

Three Ways VR Can Help A Remote Working World

Research indicates that remote work will equal, if not surpass, fixed office locations by the year 2025. Already, 70% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week and over 50% work remotely half the week.

Here are three ways VR helps increase collaborative productivity in an increasingly decentralized world:

Increases Focus and Attention

Currently, employees rely on some combination of phone calls, video conferencing, and group chat to communicate and collaborate remotely. Everyone is in their own world along with all the distractions that go along with it. With VR, remote participants meet in a singular, shared environment and interact through high quality audio, all encompassing visuals, and true-to-life movements and gestures. In short, the ‘real’ world does not distract focus from the work at hand.

Enables More Productive Collaboration

With VR, collaboration is not restricted to a meeting room or monitor. Collaborators in 3D environments can view content across multiple screens at the same time, manipulate and analyze objects from any angle, recreate real-world scenarios by embodying any persona, seamlessly break out into smaller sessions, and preserve the output of any collaborative session to revisit at a later point in the same space.

Creates a Feeling of Being There

As more people work from home, WeWorks, and local coffee shops for more days a week, employers will face the ongoing challenge of creating a work environment that feels tangible, connected, and real. Despite the name, virtual reality offers the closest thing to a real feeling of proximity, place, and community of any other communication technology that exists today.

With stand-alone VR headsets now less expensive than a typical mobile phone, there has never been a better time to introduce VR into the communication mix of any remote work force.

Foretell Reality is an enterprise VR solution for interpersonal communication and business collaboration. Learn more here.

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