Corona forces us to work from home and to spend almost all of our free time there (as of April 2020). This can lead to isolation at work as well as in private. I experience in social networks that numerous people hold video meetings about, for example, Use Skype and keep in touch with friends. But have you ever thought about meeting friends or business contacts with VR glasses in virtual reality? I’ve tried it and I want to share my experience in this article!

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated reality with images (3D) and in many cases also sound. Mostly there are forms of interaction in VR, even if only in the sense of physical movement through the virtual world ( Gabler ). One should not confuse VR with augmented reality. This does not mean the complete creation of a virtual world but the expansion of the real world to include aspects such as Pokemon in Pokemon Go.

Survey of over 1,200 people on the subject of VR (source Statista )

You need special VR glasses for implementation. VR glasses have enjoyed greater interest in society in recent years. According to a survey, 10% of 1,200 respondents have had such glasses since 2019, a further 21% can imagine buying such glasses and over a third have already tried them.

My experience: VR glasses in a private environment

Before using it in business, I also bought such glasses privately in 2019 in the form of a Playstation with VR glasses. You play there primarily and virtually climb Mount Everest or save the world from monsters of all kinds. With the motion controllers, movements such as climbing and boxing can be carried out very realistically. More than 1 million devices have already been sold, which makes Playstation the market leader in VR (around 15% gap to second and third place – HTC and Oculus – Computer base ).

I play at Playstation VR on a quiet Sunday

My experience: VR glasses in a business environment

VR in the B2B environment? This is definitely not yet widespread, but as statistics show, the use of VR is slowly growing based on sales. For 2020, 2 billion euros are forecast. So is VR an alternative to video conferencing in the home office?

Forecast and survey of sales with VR services worldwide (source Statista )

Now I’ve bought VR glasses with some colleagues. We should try out whether we can meet there more efficiently than by video and discuss concepts and software code in a meaningful way. Above all, it was important to us to maintain personal closeness despite the ban on contacts due to Corona. In the beginning it was of course strange but we had a lot of fun and have been using it for 2 months. Nowadays my days often start with a VR meeting.

A typical VR meeting on the balcony in the home office

It is actually quite simple. You create an avatar and log into the VR room. Now we invite all participants and choose an appropriate room. In addition to the business room, you can meet in space or around a campfire. However, we always choose the business room. A presenter can upload a picture or video to the projector and we can discuss it.

Photos from the VTIME app (source VTIME )

My conclusion: It feels a lot better than a video meeting and is a great alternative. Of course everything is still at the beginning, but I am sure that it will be a great alternative to video conferencing and a part of our business world.

I imagine the future with VR meetings just like my colleagues Tobias Greff from the AWS Institute . Our idea is a virtual project manager who puts together a team on a platform for the problem and is selected according to professional expertise, verified references, star rankings or recommendations from the professional social network. The virtual team is supplemented by intelligent bots, ie assistance services with artificial intelligence designed for specific subject areas.

You write the minutes and transcribe the results. Automatically generate PowerPoint slides, Excel calculations or carry out information research on request. The team is now put together. So off to the first customer meeting and quickly with a few clicks, the outfit adjusted, because according to statistical expectations, only jeans and a shirt belong to the innovation project.

Reading tip: The digital twin

Finally: I tried the following VR glasses and recommend an Oculus Go to start, which is available for 149 euros.

Conclusion

VR has been a niche technology to this day and, in my opinion, only made itself better known in the private sector with the PlayStation VR. It turns out that it still has to be improved in many places in order to produce a perfect gaming experience, but it is already a lot of fun.

This required me to try VR in business in the form of meetings. With Corona in particular, we wanted an alternative to video conferencing. We were enthusiastic about the first meetings and use the few opportunities. We are currently discussing very open content that is not relevant to data protection, as we still need a secure on-premise VR solution. But for a first test, I can say that it could certainly become a part of our business world. I would appreciate it!

Image source: Business photo created by pressfoto – de.freepik.com

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Image-Source Titlepicture: Fotolia.de 2016 – buyed License

Dr. Dominic Lindner
Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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