The VR sector is heavily growing in software and hardware but still the possibilities in collaboration aren't innovative.
During the last two years, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology has started moving again.
Entertainment is as always the primary driver. But applications in the communication, education, and life enhancement space show the massive potential of these technologies as well.
The Goldman Sachs report of 2016 suggested possible growth of the VR market in all areas of industry. Facebook invested two billion US$. Google is restarting Google Glass as a business utility. Mobile AR/VR is booming, and nearly every IT exhibition is full of VR innovations. The USA and Japan have a VR shop almost in every corner. But as always, the European markets need more time to adapt to those changes.
Why does collaboration still require such intense effort? Planning and traveling need time. Physical infrastructure like trains, roads and airports are often ineffective, busy, restricted physically and expensive. Why is this inefficiency still there?
We use Skype with or without video, email messages, meetings with pen and paper every day. In this time of fast-paced business, we should be able to do much better, shouldn't we?
New tools and hardware enable close remote collaboration
Currently, graphics engines and computers can produce an immersive feeling, using more than two million pixels per eye, which is like HDTV. Controllers have more precision, sufficient to show correct handwriting. Connection speeds are improving everywhere, enough for video communication with high bandwidth in every larger city, enabling better communication. In the next two years, we expect network capacity and hardware capabilities to redouble again.
Collaborate in one VR room at a distance
You can join a collaboration space from everywhere and collaboration with each other. Only a decent internet connection and a VR device are needed. Two people can join from one physical location, and up to four locations can join in the virtual room.
You can speak with all users. The system mutes those who are in the same physical space as you are to avoid echoes. Other users see your lips synchronized by the words you say. Besides voice communication, the system transmits head and hand movements precisely. Those gestures and micro-movements add much authenticity and add to the depth of conversation.
For collaboration, it is possible to share your desktop with all other users and control your computer directly from within VR with the controller to perform a live presentation of your work.
For basic collaboration, you can share and create unlimited whiteboards. You can preload whiteboards with prepared slides. The system saves your work automatically in simple files for future use.
The work so far
researching for ZHAW
more projects and cooperations
Virtual Reality cannot replace direct contact with a person entirely. For example, in politically charged meetings all human communication elements are necessary, and it is paramount to see the counterparty in person. Also in other settings, facial expressions, smell and touch might play a significant role. However, collaboration happens in different scenarios. For active learning, understanding, creating and persisting ideas, new applications and visualizations do already exist as isolated experiments and proofs of concept. Our team built the basis of a collaboration space where you can communicate, interact with objects, writing on a whiteboard using the VR controller, sharing desktop screens and persisting writing. Each of us invested more than a thousand hours to build a critical knowledge in VR technologies, in the psychology of human communication, analyzing limitations, gaining experience in creating applications for VR and still gaining more and more experience by doing projects and collaborative research with the school of applied science in Zurich (ZHAW). Our team spun off from the University. We have experience and knowledge in all areas of engineering and see the massive potential of these technologies.
Our product is in prototype status and we want to develop this to a stand-alone product.
We see potential to make it as a service or as a standalone product with customer specific features.
For this development, we need resources and connections.
We need to define marketing goals, a business plan, the surrounding systems and optimization in different parts of the features of the application.
We gathered and weighted technological information in the bachelor thesis.
Created a catalog of User Stories for the main product.
Developed a prototype for presentation and testing.
Performed an acceptance test by a collaboration between three companies.
We putting our blood, sweat and tears into this venture! We are passionate, experienced and going to deliver.