VR Conferencing Could Soon Be a “Reality”

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

One of the best assets in the Unified Communications suite, video conferencing is enjoying a fair dose of popularity among adopters, as enterprises and small businesses alike demand higher-quality, lower-cost video tech to reduce travel and improve collaboration. Just like mobility took Africa by storm before the country could even set up landlines, so could VR take on the business sector before everyone has a chance to adjust their webcam.

In its latest report detailing the top technological trends, Juniper identifies 2016 as the watershed year for VR headsets, both in terms of product launches and consumer roll-outs. “The recent attention to and investment into virtual reality is helping to revitalise the industry and with major brand commercial launches imminent, there is huge potential for rapid market expansion,” reads the press release.

Virtual Reality has long been predicted to transform the entertainment industry, including gaming and video, but it now seems that VR take on virtually every market, including the industrial and healthcare sectors.

There (will be) an app for that

Right now VR is still in beta, so to speak. But it’s beginning to make some serious waves in the gaming industry, and there are some staggering signs that VR is rapidly expanding into every industry where video plays a big role – namely, all the important ones.

A recent example of VR being put to intelligent use is the Vrse app, which I’ve had the pleasure of testing earlier today. Among the curated videos that ship with the software is U2’s “song for someone,” which literally puts you feet away from Bono and his crew, with the ability to switch to any of them at will, in full-screen 360 glory, and with dynamically changing directional binaural sound. It’s the next best thing to being there! Which brings me to my point.

The 360° conference room

Video conferencing today has one major drawback in that you’re stuck viewing everyone from a single vantage point, without the ability to turn your head over to John and see is he’s taking notes or doodling on his iPad. Picture this. You’re the CEO of a hot shot company and you’ve just called an urgent meeting. Everyone is attending physically, you’re there virtually via a 360 cam built into the table. Some immediate benefits spring to mind:

  • you’d get to switch to the person who’s talking by just turning your head
  • you get to read body language just like in real life
  • you can literally get up and pace through the room
  • you can share a file by just sliding it with your hand over the table (humanization software)…

…and the list could go on. It will take years of development and millions of lines of code to make this a “reality,” but there’s a good chance we’ll get there eventually. VR holds a much bigger promise than blasting zombies from a first-person perspective. The only problem are the ugly headsets, really.

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