2021 State of Enterprise VR Collaboration, the Death of the “Googley” Office Model, & What’s to Come?
From the moment we open our eyes into the world, we perceive and size out everything while seeking to learn and grow. Our personal movie unrolls in a lifelong process that has each of us accompanied with one large question mark we apparently never know to answer, but which makes us into phenomenal meaning making machines!
Flash forward to a pre Corona world, although some of us knowledge workers would be pampered in FAANG campuses that showered its consumers with a firehose of perks, what I commonly refer to as the “Googley” office model has become not just a dusty dino, that model is all but dead in 2021, and for very good reason.
As the new black swan Corona reality crosswebbed with AI innovation to create a new knowledge worker enterprise model that’s far superior than the previous one, we woke up into a world that consumes a lot less energy yet gets a lot more done for a fraction of the previous costs. And as minimalists would vouch, it turns out that we can get so much more digitally when we don’t have to move our physical bodies through needless commutes, physical residence twins, and old world business travel, only to arrive at a business environment that, well, doesn’t really value our physical bodies over our digital ones to begin with. And what happens to the knowledge based economy as these efficiencies play out? Pure gold gushes out everywhere: Efficiencies make the market ever stronger, in spite of Corona.
This paved the way for ubiquity in videoconferencing — after all, it’s an immediate way to engage in 2D which is already good enough and far superior to IRL meetings: Instant meetings. Zero commute. Pure transactions. However, although these meetings are great for interviews and presentations, digital wallpapers notwithstanding, these meetings are lifeless and soulless by comparison to immersive meetings.
Because the biggest value immersive meetings add are the ‘being there’ that videoconferencing lacks. Have you ever thought about if you actually met the people on the other side in the video meeting? They’re there, and you’re here, and neither of you are sharing the same space, even though you’re within arm’s length. And though it passess the ‘met at Starbucks’ test, it’s not quite the same.
Compare that to a VR meeting where participants share a common space and are all there together, with haptics surround sound and scanned or invented places like the Dolomites or Saturn’s rings. OK that’s neat, but is that enough? No of course not, you need to be able to seamlessly convey ideas through notes, drawing, spawning objects, presentations, and wait… Right there we’ve touched on it — we’ve just created a hyper-creative environment that even our best imagination efforts cannot keep up with. This is what users often refer to as having superhuman capabilities because in this unrolling movie, the players are factually superhuman: They can do things they cannot do in the real world. Like spawn a presentation to participants on Jupiter’s north pole. Or strolling a North Macedonia park together while mulling over a deal. By now over Villa we’ve had literally hundreds of such experiences both with clients and internally, that we can finally attest: There’s a *FAR* (can’t emphasize enough) better reality for business than dusty physical offices. And every reason to wish to expand on this reality in VR, and not in AR where you are limited back to that physical environment you ran from. But why? you might ask. I challenge you with the why not. And remember: it’s impossible to have an experience without experiencing it. Not a day passes where I don’t speak to naysayers — always know-it-alls who’ve already been there in their limiting imagination, but not in the limitless VR experience.
So is it perfect? Far from it. There is so much on our list, not least of which making avatars be lifelike instead of robotic. Currently the biggest drawbacks in VR are that it’s tough to read people’s subtle facial expressions. This has pros and cons: The confrontational aspects of videoconferencing, particularly cognitive overload when there are many participants, is that everyone stares right into our faces, which can be daunting and stressful, as it’s unnatural even when compared to IRL meetings where people can’t possibly be all staring at you at the same time, but rather from various sides. Unless you’re on stage — and stage fright is scarier to many than the fear of death, which is the experience over videoconferencing. But even if you consider 1:1 meetings, current day VR avatar interactions come with cons and pros: they’re tougher to relate to as in the real world, while at the same time *a lot* more relaxing, than an ‘in your face’ videoconference experience. You can just be yourself, and not be judged. After all even if the person in front of you is a pro in body/facial expression readings, they’re not 100% a reflection of what necessarily goes through our minds, nor is that intel necessary for the favorable transaction to occur and in many cases leads us to unwanted bias. In fact, we’ve often noticed: How special it is that we can dump our physics based bias, resolved to accept the VR chameleons in front of us.
But we won’t settle for less. We should be able to choose when to exhibit these subtleties, when to show our subtleties and when not to, and when to see them in others. And that’s where this article takes a spin to what’s to come: Although the hardware to capture our subtle facial expressions isn’t yet implemented into devices, it’ll be here before long. And then — well you already know it. We’ll have real expressions overlaid our imagined selves, and that’s a win for choice and combating bias.
Ready to bump enterprise workforce collaboration into 2021 standards? Grab one of these $299 devices (your company likely will agree to comp you, but talk to us for company wide solutions) — without doubt the best bang/buck currently on the market, search Villa and install your free trial. Tap us any time on through the chatbot to get your company piloting in a structured way. Before long you’ll be zipping around the metaverse with thousands that have already discovered their innate superhuman.
Comparison of IRL to VC to VR (scroll below, so many benefits!):https://blog.villa.rocks/media/7e98f637a2810467b4fda4b0d85a777a