Corona forces us to work from home and spend almost all of our free time there (as of April 2020). This can lead to isolation in both the job and the private sector. I experience on social networks that many people have video meetings about e.g. Skype and stay in touch with friends. But have you ever thought about meeting friends or business contacts with VR glasses in virtual reality? I tried it and would like to share my experience in this article!

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated reality with image (3D) and in many cases sound. Most of the time there are forms of interaction in VR, if only in the sense of physical movement through the virtual world (Gabler). Don’t confuse VR with augmented reality. This is not the complete creation of a virtual world, but the expansion of the real world to include aspects such as Pokemon in Pokemon Go.

Survey of more than 1,200 people on VR (source Statista)

To implement it, you need special VR glasses. VR glasses have enjoyed a greater interest in society in recent years. According to a survey, since 2019 – 10% of 1,200 respondents have such glasses, another 21% can imagine buying such glasses and more than a third have already tried them.

My experience: VR glasses in a private environment

Before I used it in business, I bought such glasses privately in the form of the Playstation with VR glasses in 2019. You play there in the first place and virtually climb Mount Everest or save the world from monsters of all kinds. The motion controllers allow you to make movements like climbing and boxing to be very real. More than 1 million devices have already been sold, making Playstation the market leader in VR (about 15% away from second and third place – HTC and Oculus – Computerbase).

I play at Playstation VR on a quiet Sunday

My experience: VR glasses in the business environment

VR in the B2B environment? This is definitely not yet widespread, but as a statistic shows, the use of VR is already slowly growing based on sales. €2 billion is forecast for 2020. So is VR an alternative in the home office to videoconferencing?

Forecasting and surveying sales of VR services worldwide (source Statista)

Now I bought a VR goggles with some colleagues. We should try out whether we can meet there even more efficiently than by video and discuss concepts and software code in a meaningful way. It was especially important for us to maintain personal closeness despite the contact barrier by Corona. At first it was of course unfamiliar but we had a lot of fun and have been enjoying it for 2 months. Meanwhile, my days often start with a VR meeting.

A typical VR meeting on the balcony in the home office

It’s actually quite simple. You create an avatar and log into the VR room. Now we invite all participants and choose a suitable room. In addition to the business room, you can still meet in space or at a campfire. However, we always choose the business space. On the beamer, a presenter can upload an image or video and we can discuss it.

Photos from the VTIME app (source VTIME)

My conclusion: It feels much better than a video meeting and is a great alternative. Of course, everything is still in its infancy, but I’m sure it will be a great alternative to video conferencing and a part of our business world.

I imagine the future with VR meetings like my colleague Tobias Greff from the AWS Institute. Our idea is a virtual project manager, who puts together a team in a platform for the problem and is selected according to professional expertise, verified references, star rankings or recommendations from the professional social network. The virtual team will be complemented by intelligent bots, i.e. assistance services with artificial intelligence designed for specific topics.

You write the logs and transcribe the results. Automatically generate PowerPoint slides, Excel calculations or perform information searches on request. The team is thus put together. So off to the first customer meeting and quickly with just a few clicks, the outfit adapted, because according to statistical expectations only jeans and shirts belong to the innovation project.

Reading tip: The digital twin

Finally: I have tried the following VR glasses and recommend an Oculus Go for the start, which is available for 149 Euro.

Conclusion

VR has been a niche technology to this day and, in my opinion, it has only become better known in the private sector with PlayStation VR. It turns out that it still needs to be improved in many places to produce a perfect gaming experience, but it’s already a lot of fun.

This has taken me to try VR in business in the form of meetings. Especially through Corona we wanted an alternative to video conference. We were thrilled with the first meetings and take advantage of the few possibilities. We are currently discussing very open and no data protection-relevant content, as we still need a secure on-premise VR solution. But for a first test, I can say that it could certainly become a part of our business world. I would welcome it!

Image source: Shop photo created by pressfoto – de.freepik.com

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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