Meet with your Team in Virtual Reality with vSpatial

Meet with your Team in Virtual Reality with vSpatial

The vSpatial team is distributed across the United States, but we work together and meet from all these different places in virtual reality every day!  Meetings in VR are unlike anything you have ever experienced.  We have been meeting in VR for some time and last week we rolled this feature out to our users in our latest release.  Here is an overview of some of the major features for you!

1) Share Unlimited Screens with your Team Member in VR Meetings

You can now start a call with any of the members of your team using the tablet.  Here is a video introduction to getting going with this feature and starting a call and sharing your screens with one another.

Meeting in VR is better than traditional video conference meetings because you are IMMERSED in the meeting and every person can share up to 4 screens at a time.  With 4 users in a call you can all view 16 screens at a time.  Anything even close to this in real life would cost tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In addition to that every team member has the best seat in the house where they can supersize what is shared to fit your desires.  No more trying squinting at a full screen and still not being able to see the excel spreadsheet report.

In addition to the best seat in the house when you are in a VR meeting you really feel like you are with your colleagues.  This feeling of presence helps us to be more productive than anything else we have ever experienced.  Our users tell us is just something you need to see and try for yourself.  It’s incredible.

2) Virtual Reality Slack Integration

Here at vSpatial we are huge Slack fans and users.  There are over 9 million other weekly slack users in 50,000 teams around the world.  As we got going on this team meeting feature we knew we had to build our first integration around slack.  Now users can log into their slack account from directly within the vSpatial app using the profile icon on the tablet.  From here users can call other members of their slack team directly from vSpatial to initiate the call.  Users can also initiate calls from the channel directly within the app.

3) Move Screens Around with “Grip Grab”

Anytime you are working with unlimited screens you have to have an easy way to manage and work with all those screens.  One of our most requested features (we hear you!) was the ability to move around screens.  With that in mind we are thrilled to introduce the “grip grab” feature for each screen in virtual reality.  To use this feature simply point your raycaster (pointer) to a screen you want to move. Then press the grip button on your controller (your middle finger on the Oculus Rift) and you’ll see the screen shrink toward your hand.  Keep holding the grip down and point to where you want the screen to go.  When you let go the screen will instantly go there.

What do you think of the latest version of vSpatial?  Have you tried a call yet?  Let us know what you think!

Interact With A Computer in VR For An Entire Week – Lessons Learned

Interact With A Computer in VR For An Entire Week – Lessons Learned

What do you get when you have a team of 16 people interact with a computer in VR for an entire week using their Oculus Rifts? A whole lot of ideas on the future of work and one excited workforce.

The old adage that a company needs to “dogfood” their own product has been around for ages. It was with this idea that our CEO, Richard Platt, got the team together a few weeks ago and challenged us to spend as much time as possible working inside of VR. The goal was to work ALL WEEK in the vSpatial application eating our own dogfood.

It was a wonderful experiment on so many levels. Most of us spent upwards of 30 hours working in the vSpatial app. On Friday we had a company-wide meeting where we went over all the things that worked well and the things that didn’t work well. Here is a summary of a few things we learned!

Comfort

Anytime you strap something to your face for hours on end you are going to have to think about comfort.  Especially something as immersive as a VR headse to tinteract with a computer in VR.

First, the good.  We were able to interact with a computer in VR for an entire week without getting motion sickness. The framerate (which is the primary cause of motion sickness) is great with the Oculus. We are all big VR users so we already had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

That being said, the #1 concern was comfort.  Everyone had their own little tricks and ways to make it work.  A few folks invested in some VR covers.  Those seemed to help. Others fine-tuned the adjustments to the straps on the Oculus headset so that instead of pushing against the face, it really sat on top of your head.

ProTip: Most folks have their headsets strapped tight for gaming and other high movement activities.  This is not necessary for productivity in VR. When you are working in VR you just need to have it sit on top of your head and in place. Try tightening the top strap so it rests on top of your head instead of pulling it against your face.

Health and Safety

If you are going to spend a ton of time in VR it is easy to get immersed and forget you have the headset on.  This makes it especially strange when you take it off at the end of the day. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are going to work in VR for an extended period of time.

  • It is a good idea to set some alarms to go for a walk in the real world and talk with folks near you a few times a day. It does wonders for your productivity as well.
  • vSpatial has a “Privacy Camera” that allows you to see the environment around you. This is fantastic for keeping an eye on your surroundings and for finding things like your keyboard and drink.
  • Speaking of nourishment, it’s a good idea to have a drink nearby. A cup with a straw is super helpful. Make sure it has a lid and is always in the same place to help minimize accidental spills.
  • Change your environment to keep it real. With screens all around you can forget to stop and smell the roses. Change your background. Go into focus mode in a video conference so you can feel like you are with others and not isolate yourself.

Input Devices To Interact with A Computer in VR

Right now, to interact with a computer in VR you are limited by the input devices that are available for the Oculus. During the week we tried a variety of ways to type and interact with our spaces. We are all computer savvy so we are used to working with a keyboard and a mouse.  Transitioning to this new environment meant that we had to rethink how we worked a little bit and find creative ways to type. Here are a few things we tried.

  • Virtual Keyboard – vSpatial has a spiffy virtual keyboard. At the time we only supported single controller typing. We corrected that one really quick so now you can type with two hands and that is a significant improvement. It’s like typing on a mobile device with your thumbs. It works well for doing simple things like typing in URL’s or quick replies to messages. It was not great for coding or anything more involved. We found it especially hard to not have keyboard shortcuts.
  • Physical Keyboard in Virtual Space – We found that the best thing for most of us was to use the real keyboard. We like the wireless ones that allow you to sit back in your chair, or put it on your lap with your feet on the desk. We’d keep our touch controllers nearby for pointing, but you could do quite a bit with just your keyboard.Keyboard Tip: Did you know that while you are wearing your Oculus headset you look down toward your nose you can see your hands.  It’s not noticeable normally, but if you need to find a key quickly to orient yourself it’s a lifesaver.
  • Voice Dictation – We tried a number of programs to help with voice dictation. Cortana was okay. The best for us was Dragon Speak where you could dictate entire emails and messages quickly… even faster than we could type them.

In the end we were able to find quite a few good ways to type and get work done.  Now and again we all took our headsets off, but for the most part it was not because of a problem with the input devices. We think that the eventual solution to typing in virtual reality is going to be an advance in innovation to all three of these categories.

Overall Conclusion

Overall the experiment was very eye-opening for us.  Some are skeptical to interact with a computer in VR for an extended period of time, but that was certainly not the case for us. We learned a lot about our product and got a lot of ideas for the future. We have quite a few things in store and can’t wait to help you be more productive than you’ve ever been before!

Anyone else tried working in vSpatial for an entire day?

Have you ever tried to interact with a computer in VR for an extended period?  Any tips to share with us?  Tag #vSpatial on facebook with the tag #VRProductivity.

5 Ways VR is Impacting the Business World

5 Ways VR is Impacting the Business World

Virtual reality (VR) has made leaps and bounds the past couple of years and is widely being adopted by gamers. So the natural question is “How can this technology be used in a business environment?”

For those that may be familiar with virtual reality yet, boiled down to it’s simplest form VR is technology that allows you to experience a simulation of a 3D environment.  Those who have tried it are quick to talk about how real it can seem. This environment can even have physical devices to interact with to make it seem even more real. Names such as Oculus, Gear VR and Vive are virtual reality devices that are becoming household names as virtual reality takes a hold on our daily lives.

It may sound like a blast to visit other worlds and environments you may never experience. However, VR promises much more than just a visit. In our reality, virtual reality is poised to change the way we do business around the world. Here are five ways that VR is impacting the business world.

Interactive Training and Employee Education

As a business owner, an entrepreneur or an employee, superb training and employee satisfaction may rank high on your list of important business goals. VR is an amazing technology for interactive training that takes traditional learning to new heights.

In fact, businesses are realizing the need for advanced training programs and employee education now more than ever. A whopping 78% of businesses are more worried about a talent shortage now than in recent years.

The only way to secure talent within your workplace and continue to nurture growth is through training programs and interactive learning. Virtual reality not only offers an interactive training environment, but gives your employees hands- on experience in their field.

For example, educational institutions and hospitals are training doctors and surgeons on new life-saving procedures by allowing them to perform the procedure themselves – in an alternate reality. This gives these individuals a chance to gain real-life experience while staying safe and in an environment where questions can be answered.

Whether you are training doctors, marketers, salespeople, customer advocates or receptionists, VR offers something for all careers.

Advanced Marketing Strategy

Businesses are now using VR to market – and it is making headway. Nowadays, it is truth that consumers want experiences, not necessarily things.

According to a report by American Lifestyles, “over the next five years, total spending will grow by nearly 22%, with the so‐called “non‐essential” categories, including vacations and dining out, expected to see the greatest gains.” Consumers are wanting to experience new things and live beyond their current state. Virtual reality can do this for your business.

For example, the TOMs Shoes company has created a campaign titled, “A Walk in Their Shoes”, that takes the viewer on a journey to meet a child in Colombia. This campaign is the bottom line for this company and what they want to achieve. Not only does the consumer now understand the mission, they are compelled to purchase to feel a part of it.

North Face allows customers to climb Yosemite using VR headsets within their stores. Toyota created a VR app that raises awareness about driving distracted. All of these companies have discovered hands-on marketing thanks to VR, quickly realizing that reality, in fact, sells.

Communication from Anywhere

VR is giving businesses the ability to take their business operations to another level. Technology seems to be trending towards making internal processes simpler and more effective. 

Some companies are beginning to use VR for business meetings and other work related activities. As companies are beginning to see the potential behind remote employees from across the globe, virtual meeting rooms are becoming a need.  This is where vSpatial will step in.  We will be launching a private beta of a conferencing solution in June 2017 that will replace traditional virtual meetings.

VR gives you the ability to share ideas and information in a virtual environment that makes for great discussion and total collaboration. It has the ability to place various people from all over the world in one room together, creating a world of possibility for your business bringing us even closer to virtual collaboration. Talent acquisition can expand, the walls of your business can open and more doors can be created for growth.

Product Testing and Development

Businesses that sell products such as vehicle manufacturers, furniture designers and the like are finding out how VR can be a source of wealth for product testing and development.

Computers are able to help us design and tweak a product on a two-dimensional scale, without truly seeing the product in action. Virtual reality can take the design and allow us to interact with it, test it out and discover the product’s true form in a three-dimensional world.

Some vehicle manufacturers are using VR to design vehicles from the human’s perspective instead of a computer’s perspective. Clothing designers are able to see how the product fits the human body and tailor their product to fit the needs of the consumer.

Since VR is also shareable, we are able to work together on product development while seeing the product in front of us, without having to prototype. VR gives manufacturers a way to effectively see the inner workings of a product, while saving money and time.

Know the Consumer

VR is giving businesses the ability to learn directly from the consumer. Other strategies such as surveys and polls can only go so far when trying to gain feedback from your customers. Virtual reality allows them to be an actual part of the product timeline and process.

For example, a vehicle manufacturer can use VR to give consumers a glimpse into a new concept. They can try it out, test the features and give their feedback on what should change and what should stay the same. What is the product in the end? It is something that your consumers have helped create, therefore something they will ultimately want to purchase.

Virtual reality gives your customer a first-hand look into your business, your strategies and your products. This gives you more insight than you can imagine, without trying to scour the internet for reviews, setting up tedious email surveys and spending hours tracking polls.

This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as virtual reality in business goes.  As products are purchased, technology shifts and new ideas spring forth, VR will continue to rapidly change to become a force to be reckoned with.

How else have you seen, or can you imagine, VR being applied in a business environment?

Leave a comment below or Tweet us @vSpatialVR

We’ve created a full infographic you can use as you educate others on VR in the workplace. Click here to view the full infographic.