It’s 5 pm on a Thursday, and you’ve just wrapped up what feels like the 20th video call of the day. You had to keep muting and unmuting because your dog wouldn’t stop barking, which means you missed your chance to speak up and get your point across to the team. You sigh and take a look at the mess around you, pushed just far enough out of view to make a pleasing webcam backdrop. The dog’s still barking. Sound familiar?
Voice and video calls have become the standard for morning meetings and scheduled catch-ups. Still, as the pandemic has continued, many have wondered whether there are other, better remote collaboration tools. Sure, video calls are quick and easy, and sometimes that’s what you need. However, where video calls can’t deliver, VR steps in and creates a learning and working environment primed for maximum productivity and daily excellence.
It’s all about picking the right tool for the job.
|Limitations and Possibilities||You are limited to only what you can see and hear through your screen.||You can collaborate in a virtual shared space, using familiar tools such as whiteboards, 3D models and post-its to facilitate ideation.|
|Immersion||Easy to get distracted by notifications, surrounding environments and dogs :)||You don’t get distracted by your surroundings, thanks to the immersive nature of VR.|
|Meeting Dynamics||During group calls, only one person can speak at a time without people talking over each other.||You can turn away from group discussions and have one-to-ones with nearby colleagues.|
|Hardware||Anyone who owns a computer or smartphone can join the meeting.||Owning a VR headset is an essential requirement before attending a meeting.|
|Depth of Interaction||For short meetings and catch-ups, a voice or video call can be enough.||For activities and meetings that require physical collaboration, VR offers a far more sophisticated level of interaction.|
In the Room Together
VR technology used to lag behind, but it can now do what it needs to do: create a seamless, immersive experience that allows you to forget where you are as you transport to a different world. Instead of merely seeing faces on a screen, all boxed separately in their video call environments, you’re sharing a limitless virtual space with your colleagues. You can reach out and shake hands, pass post-it notes to each other and note down best ideas, brainstorm on whiteboards in real-time, even throw a basketball around. You’re in the room together, and that’s how the magic happens.
Presence is at the very core of why VR is so effective for bringing people together from across the globe. It’s reality made virtual: the next best thing, yet sometimes even better. One of our Gemba Masterclass speakers, Albert Creixell, recently shared on his LinkedIn how “VR provides a sense of presence matched only by reality.” He’s “convinced VR is the future of enterprise collaboration as it greatly improves the video calling experience” — and once you try it for yourself, we think you’ll know what he meant.
Communicate More Effectively
Companies rely on effective communication to run their operations efficiently. Where remote working forces colleagues into separate environments, VR offers a joint space where teams can reunite — restoring the comfortable sensation of working in a familiar, shared space.
In VR, your avatar mimics your body language, reflects your personality and allows you to express yourself as you would in real life. You can move beyond the screen’s limitations to deliver dynamic presentations to a filled auditorium, host Q&A sessions, work through a project on a whiteboard, highlighting and discussing points by drawing and posting directly onto them. In a shared virtual space, you can reclaim the physical and natural group dynamics that video calls can’t recreate.
A limiting aspect of video calls is that only one person can speak without things becoming a noisy mess. On top of this, it’s difficult to know who is talking to who because you can’t see where anyone is looking.
Conversely, in VR, you can be having a productive group discussion around a table. You turn to face someone nearby, and now you’re having a real one-to-one conversation away from the group. Moments like these are essential to achieving natural communication and restoring the spontaneous interactions and impromptu comments you miss from the office.
Focus in a Distraction-Free Environment
How many times have you seen a notification at the bottom of your screen which immediately distracted you from your video call? By nature, VR helps you avoid distractions upon putting on a headset, capturing your attention in a far more effective way than a voice or video call ever could.
Achieving complete focus is just one of the many reasons participants in a study by the National Training Laboratory showed retention rates of 75 per cent when learning in VR - much higher than those shown for lecture-style learning (5 per cent) and reading (10 per cent).
With unparalleled focus, your entire team can be working towards their goals daily by gathering around dynamic KPI boards or reviewing detailed product prototypes around our 3D model viewers. With distractions eliminated and all minds focused on the task at hand, productivity soars and creative ideas can flourish.
With video calls becoming ingrained in our daily lives, VR benefits from a novelty factor. The prospect of a game-changing piece of technology is enough to conjure a genuine enthusiasm across the enterprise, but it’s the experience of using it that engages everyone and keeps them coming back for more. However, to take advantage of VR, you first need to invest in the necessary equipment and then get that equipment to your users.
As one of our members from Digital+ put it, once in Gemba, “expansive blue skylines wrap around the spaces and seas spread as far as your virtual eyeballs can see. You do feel transported. Just by being in the beautiful and unfamiliar universe, one’s mood lifts.”
Book a Gemba demo today and experience it for yourself.