Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Adapting VR for work and beyond

Daniel Lim

While the platform of virtual reality (VR) has continued to grow over the years, gaining traction by providing affordable and immersive gaming experiences for the masses, one of VR’s initials as well as ongoing visions and goals has always been to integrate and boost business opportunities.

Starting in 1970s, VR was developed mainly to aid in various businesses as well as military purposes, from flight simulations to designing industries, and while the early technologies are largely crude in today’s standard, help paint a vision of the future of the tech in the work industry.

This vision has helped aid in the growth of the VR platform today not only as a gaming experience, but also to supplement the everyday work that is done.

One of the more prominent use of VR can be seen with the plethora of work related applications made for the Meta Quest 2, previously called Oculus Quest 2, which ranges from bringing the work space into VR, to conducting room scale meetings virtually with colleagues and business partners.

The former comes in the form of Infinite Office, aimed squarely at being a workspace platform that blends reality and VR. In Infinite Office, using the Meta Quest 2’s ability to utilise its onboard sensors and cameras to track the controllers as well as hand tracking, users can bring in an office desk as well as accompanying peripherals such as a keyboard and mouse into the virtual space.

Infinite Office depicted by Meta, enables users to interact with websites and software both in real world as well as in VR

The result is that users are able to make full use of the flexible screens of VR that not only scale to the user’s preference, but can also boost productivity as a total of three screens can be used simultaneously, all without the need of finding space to set up the physical screens along with the equally troublesome physical cable managements.

While by no means perfect, as the pass through view that blends the two realities together can result in the background – ie the real world – being a fuzzy and blurry image, the main draw of the Infinite Office tech of bringing in a keyboard and mouse works decently, especially when other VR backgrounds are used.

Another rising trend not only in the VR space but also in other connected platform in general, especially during the global pandemic era of lockdowns and working from home, was the rise in popularity in video conferencing calls.

From work to school, and even social gatherings; many activities that were once done physically and face to face now shifts towards video conferencing as the world adapts to the new norm.

In addition to the video conferencing becoming the new norm, another form of virtual meeting and gathering can also be found in VR as a myriad of applications had been released prior to as well as during the height of the global pandemic.

Many of these applications, such as Meta’s own horizon Workroom, in addition to Spatial, Immersed Desktop and the Co-working app to name a few, all aim to deliver an integrated work experience even from home that is not only akin to video conferencing where live feed of users are shared across other work colleagues.

Furthermore, through the use of VR controllers, multiple users can potentially engage in working together on a singular task, from planning and drawing out schedules using the aforementioned apps to collectively viewing 3D models for architecture and building, all in the immersive setting of VR in Arkio.

This type of social interaction through the use of VR also extends to casual social meet ups and can cater to many needs and requirements of the users in all kinds of scenarios. From viewing and binge-watching movies with friends and families in VR through the use of apps such as BigScreen or SkyBox VR Player, to showing off creative artistry in 3D using SculptrVR or Google’s Tilt Brush, the VR platform has become a focal point to fill in the social gap created in the wake of the global pandemic.

Though even with the development and releases in the VR platform dedicated to streamline remote work flow and social gatherings, there are still inherent flaws with the system requiring users to buy specialised headsets to make full use of.

Despite this, the VR platform and its associated use case scenarios, not only related to work and social but also for entertainment in general, will continue to grow and be further developed as more interest is generated and users start to shift and adopt the new emerging technology of VR as not only a supplement but an essential tool in everyday life.