Is a VR Headset the Next Big Thing for Telecommuters?

We, at Works, are a team of tech enthusiasts. Our founder, Sharon, often expresses her concern that we might eventually abandon our workplace and spend our days in adventurous Star Wars lightsaber battle simulations using virtual reality technology.

(however, it is impossible for the mentioned scenario to happen)

As a tech enthusiast and video gaming fan, I have been closely following the developments in virtual reality technology. Moreover, as a tech investor, I view the VR sector as a promising market for potential investments. Initially, I thought that VR applications could offer great assistance in managing and facilitating effective communication with remote teams.

Numerous companies, including those that have shown remarkable growth, as demonstrated by our case studies, make substantial efforts to modify their chat and video communication tools, to create a ‘virtual office’ environment. This allows their employees to work remotely from different locations, even different countries, while still feeling connected as a cohesive team.

With the current advancements in technology, is it conceivable to employ a virtual reality headset to transport oneself from a serene Italian veranda to the classy office of a prominent North American business? Would this experience be further enhanced with a suitable programme and the use of virtual reality technology?

The aforementioned scenarios evoke a few significant queries: Can a system akin to the Matrix be actualized? Has anyone endeavoured to incorporate such a structure in a professional setting, and if yes, what were the specifics of its implementation?

In 2023, three renowned companies introduced virtual reality (VR) headsets to the market: HTC launched ViVe, with the support of the gaming industry behemoth Valve Software; Facebook released the Oculus Rift; while Sony debuted their PlayStation VR, aimed at a broader consumer base.

After conducting thorough research, experimenting and consulting with virtual reality (VR) professionals at several software companies, I can conclude the following:

The Arrival of the Matrix is Imminent

Although some prior virtual reality ventures failed to meet expectations, such as the extensively promoted Samsung VR, the more sophisticated headsets being discussed are guaranteed to leave you astonished.

Although the virtual environments witnessed in virtual reality (VR) are still far from photorealistic, with several of them unable to match the graphic quality of a Nintendo console played on a traditional television, the merger of genuine 3D projection and head-tracking can effortlessly deceive our senses into disregarding the low resolution of the display.

Being positioned on an ice cliff can trigger shudders, while having a character throw a tennis ball towards you can prompt a flinch. Although virtual reality (VR) technology has some room for enhancement, it currently provides a captivating and engrossing encounter. Improvements to Virtual Reality technology are ongoing and will continue to enhance the VR experience.

How Can it Facilitate the Management of Remote Employees?

Imagine yourself wearing headphones, being transported to a dynamic office space with a whiteboard, where you witness six figures, who represent your remote team. The Agile meeting commences with a short standing session, after which, each individual takes turns writing on the whiteboard. When questions arise, the team exchanges glances seeking answers.

Viewing an image on a screen through a video can create an immersive virtual reality experience, where individuals can engage with a fully-realized avatar and be transfixed by an environment. Despite the graphical limitations, the impact on teamwork and productivity can be significant. The term ‘a sensation of presence’ is now closely associated with virtual reality, and it certainly lives up to its reputation.

Virtual Reality (VR) can offer various advantages in meetings. Instead of relying only on group video calls, virtual meetings can provide a more immersive experience, enabling participants to connect and engage with each other, as if they were in the same physical environment. This way, VR can facilitate participants to interpret each other’s body language and collaborate on tasks like drawing and modelling. As a result, meetings can become more efficient, leading to enhanced productivity and outcomes of superior quality. Here are 4 ways outsourcing can boost your company’s software delivery.

Although using Virtual Reality for meetings has evident benefits, its potential applications extend far beyond that. For instance, the implementation of VR technology for classes and seminars could bring about a revolution in the way information is dispersed and team-building exercises are carried out. Additionally, the use of gamification techniques in such a setting may yield outcomes that surpass those achieved in conventional settings.

What’s the Current State of Virtual Reality in Remote Work?

Although virtual reality technology is prepared to be deployed in the domain of remote work, it is currently not advanced enough to be entirely embraced by employees. Therefore, additional progress is required before it can be utilised to its fullest potential.

Samsung’s virtual reality system is the only cost-effective option available in the market. Nonetheless, each worker would still need to spend roughly £500 to obtain the necessary hardware. While a few companies may be willing to bear this cost, it’s important to note that the provided virtual reality platform by Samsung is restricted in terms of its technological abilities. This is mainly due to the limited processing power of Samsung smartphones, which hampers them from operating the more intricate programmes required for such applications.

The Oculus Rift primarily targets gamers and necessitates a computer costing $1000 or more; the HTC Vive is in a similar price range but is more versatile.

Although the software and application sector has been mostly uncharted territory, there is a more significant issue at play. Developers in the Virtual Reality domain have validated the feasibility of the commercial possibilities that we suggested, some of which are already accessible in rudimentary forms. However, much of the existing funding is dedicated towards gaming and entertainment software, with only a recent surge of interest in medical applications.

It may take some time for developers to identify the commercial possibilities of virtual reality. It is unclear when prices will decrease sufficiently for most businesses to procure this technology.

Meanwhile, at Works, we will persist in our trials with virtual reality headsets. Undoubtedly, these endeavours are for work-related, educational objectives and are unrelated to light sabres.

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