Turns out that VR is more suitable for collaboration & virtual offices than gaming

Hrishikesh Pardeshi

Hrishikesh Pardeshi

A few days back, Facebook announced that it will be launching its next-gen VR device called Quest 2. While I was wondering whether this will go down as another failed breakthrough tech (👋 Google Glass?), Facebook broke my chain of thoughts with an unexpected pivot by launching Infinite Office, a product geared towards people working from home. 

I have always associated VR technology with gaming and you can’t blame me. Most of the companies have traditionally targeted this tech for gaming consumers as it provides an immersive gaming experience.

But with remote working having become the norm for many in the recent months, Infinite Office wants to bring that immersive experience to employees working from home as well.

Spatial is another interesting product in the AR space that complements Infinite Office to put you in completely immersive digital environments.

I think the concept is really simple, it makes it look like your coworkers are there — or at least realistic avatars of them are, on a virtual space, where you can then collaborate on projects. 🤝

As much as I am excited, I’m also equally worried about the consequences that might arise due to this tech. Creating new digital spaces will allow for more exclusion, where the digital divide has already proven to provide different experiences for those able to work remotely and others who are struggling to keep up. 🙁

Not to mention the psychological effects of using a technology as immersive as augmented reality that blurs the line between what’s real and what isn't. Finally, most important of all, the privacy issues of these headsets if at all they come with cameras and sensors.

Whether you are ready or not, VR is already transforming workplaces and this article by HBR explains how it is being used for corporate training. It's only a matter of time until you realise your co-worker is a life-like avatar, collaborating beside you, from thousands of miles away! 😎

I am keen to hear what others have to say about the impact of VR on remote working. 

Here's what our users had to say:

  • Justin said "My co-founder is a big AR/VR guy, his previous startup was in this space, and so I've had a small exposure to the tech as a test subject/out of my own curiosity. And in my limited experience, the biggest obstacle I see is peoples' abilities to tolerate the display rates (I may be misconstruing the tech, excuse me if that's the case). Basically a major challenge is that the visuals/display rate are slower than that of the human eye and so human brains have a harder time processing the information and so for many people (to my understanding, 50% of the world) they'll experience nausea after a short while, if not immediately (this is me). The technology continues to advance so I'm sure at some point it will be more feasible for me to wear a head set and participate in a virtual office (I'd be interested in at least trying). But for now it's not physically (or is it mentally?) possible for me to even attempt without feeling sick, which is probably not so great for an "office" atmosphere 🤮"

  • Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "There's actually a term for that, Cybersickness or VR sickness 🤓 I always thought natural gesture interactions to be the biggest blocker for VR but turns out Quest does have controller-free tracking? I just feel it's unintuitive to carry the controllers & use a bulky headset for every interaction. Also adds up to the price tag. Although that might change very very soon."

  • John Wade said "That's a valid point, Justin. I too feel nauseous while gaming on a VR headset for longer durations (anything more than 30 mins), and that's the reason is I haven't used it for months :( Now, I can't imagine people using this continuously at a stretch of about 8 hours or so with the current tech. But maybe once we advance and cross this display rate barrier, I think people will be more willing to collaborate virtually."