Our VR team: Nicolas Klose, Paul Montague, Luc Dobler, Max Schrimpf, Lukas Möller, Roger Pollini and Annika Geissler have tested current VR solutions together and are happy to present the results in this blog entry.
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), there was one overwhelming topic: the Metaverse! At the latest since Facebook has brought the topic into the public eye by renaming it "Meta" and its enormous broad impact, various companies are jumping on the topic and presenting their own ideas what the otherworldly universes of the future will bring. It is not only about immense prices for virtual properties and a virtual gaming landscape but about the creation of virtual realities that interact or even compete with the "analog world".
Once before, the world experienced what it means when millions of people start moving simultaneously in a virtual parallel universe. With the release of Pokémon-Go in June 2016, people flocked, for reasons completely unrecognizable to outsiders, to places where rare Pokémon appeared or engaged in battles over virtual arenas in monuments. The clash of the virtual universe on the smartphone and the everyday environment already represented the attraction for many people at that time.
At the same time, it is not new for people to meet and experience virtual realities. At the latest since the World of Warcraft, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) have become an integral part of the computer games industry, delighting millions of people around the world every day.
The ideas surrounding the current metaverse go one step further. Instead of a reality on the computer screen as in MMORPGs or augmented reality of Pokémon-Go, they bring us into a fully tangible virtual reality, which is best experienced with an appropriate headset. Depending on the solution, you can move freely in virtual space.
It has been impossible to imagine the gaming industry and the pictures from Gamescom without VR glasses for years. Numerous VR headsets have found their way into the homes of passionate gamers so that every new game can be played. Compared to solutions in the industrial environment, business is lagging far behind in our experience there, where the standard introduction of video conferencing in everyday office life (and creating the technical basis for it) was only anchored in the entire working world by a global pandemic.
After the pandemic, a new normal has been established at many companies with office operations, with greater flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere. Meetings take place virtually - whenever possible - to be compatible with home office and workation. Various methods, such as the use of Miroboards and Mentimeter, have taken hold to streamline virtual meetings, and in some cases offer advantages over traditional on-site workshops. However, we have found that these online meetings have technical limitations and, most importantly, they tempt people to pursue other activities at the same time, which means that even we as a "digitalization company" still strongly advocate on-site workshops in certain situations.
However, on-site meetings need to be planned well in advance, as travel is now considered extraordinary. Thus, the newfound flexibility makes it more difficult to find shared time slots for creative workshops or other forms of intensive on-site collaboration.
When it comes to virtual reality, visions of the future are inevitable. Together we considered: How could VR continue to develop in business? We are certain of one thing: VR technology will not simply disappear again. Why do we believe this? On the one hand, it shows us the investment of the big technology companies in VR, on the other hand, we see great opportunities for the "New Way of Working". Not to forget the financial and sustainable advantage that an on-site presence is no longer necessary and that I can avoid a plane trip, for example. In part, these possibilities are already visible today, as in the use of VR glasses for innovative workshops, but above all we still see great potential for innovation and optimization, whether in the design of the glasses or in the configuration of the metaverse. This could still contribute to one of the biggest changes in the current way of working.
If we take our visions further, one of our future scenarios is to have VR glasses on every workstation in the next few years, and that will then be as natural as our headset, mouse or keyboard is today. If we choose a disruptive approach, even screens in offices could disappear completely and the workspaces as we know them today could change in a revolutionary way. Then our office will be more like a cozy lounge where people meet for a coffee and wear their VR glasses in comfortable armchairs for three to four hours until they want to quickly meet up with Ms. Müller at the real coffee machine.
You can already experience part of this vision of the future today: We are already conducting workshops with some of our customers to experience and use the immersive experience together. For this, we are also happy to meet with you once in a metaverse of your choice. We as the entire Digital Workplace Team at Eraneos will definitely continue to try out the solutions and see what is already a reality in our dreams, so that Virtual Reality becomes a reality in business.
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