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Augmented and Virtual Reality: Leading Remote Work

Monday 30 of March, 2020.
Reading Time: 7 minutes.
By Jorge Azurduy



At some point or another, we all find ourselves working remotely for some reason (travel, health, training or getting hired for a job with headquarters in another country). There are concerns regarding this topic, such as the quality of service provided by remote workers, how working from home isolates people, or how some companies prefer not to lose the benefits of face-to-face interaction. However, there are some innovative elements that need to be taken into consideration: how has augmented and/or virtual reality changed and improved remote work in recent years?

We start this article with some short definitions; we’ll be referring to augmented reality and virtual reality as AR and VR respectively. Then we’ll review how these technologies improve our remote work experience, go over interesting data about remote work, and examine some reasons why we should begin implementing AR/VR in our lives.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. The definition of virtual reality comes, naturally, from the definition of both ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. The definition of virtual is ‘near’ and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term ‘virtual reality’ basically means ‘near-reality’. This could, of course, mean anything but it usually refers to a specific type of reality emulation. It is most popular in video games and education. It utilizes 3D and 360 imaging to capture space and depth in a manner similar to the way our eyes do and relays the scene for an intriguing immersive experience.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is a technology that expands our physical world, adding layers of digital information onto it. Unlike virtual reality (VR), AR does not create a wholly artificial environment to replace real reality. AR appears in direct view of an existing environment and adds sounds, videos, graphics to it. Augmented reality adds a new dimension to the existing world. Some devices, such as Microsoft’s Hololens, Apple’s ARKit, and Google’s ARcore, allow users to project 3D holograms, inserting them into the space around them.

AR and VR in Remote Work

As these emerging technologies begin to find their place in the consumer market, companies are racing to adapt them for the workplace. As a remote worker, it is an excellent idea to become familiar with the role VR and AR play in current industries.

Even if you are not a tech expert, you can greatly benefit from knowing what’s in the pipeline for companies who are early adopters of augmented and virtual reality platforms. As VR and AR become more mainstream, you can keep an eye out for job postings, conferences, and additional advancements that mesh these technologies with the remote work landscape.

The following is a list with some jobs that are currently applying AR/VR:

Healthcare - AR helps doctors practice procedures without a patient. A holographic projection of a previously performed open-heart surgery can be replayed.

Construction and Architecture - Construction companies and designers were some of the first to adopt VR and AR to accurately model new projects.

Education - Space exploration is now at the fingertips of future astronauts when using technology such as AstroReality, a crowdsourced AR project that has one of the most accurate models of the moon to date.

Marketing - The marketing field is expanding to some experimental uses such as adding holographic and digital media to objects and enticing consumers with more immersive sales and marketing tactics like the Holoroom from Lowe’s.

Journalism - Uses VR to help people understand important issues such as global warming. This year PBS helped to fund the project Greenland Melting, a spellbinding journey through the devastating impact of climate change on the Arctic environment in Greenland.

Travel - Discovery channel just announced an exciting addition to its VR venture called Discovery TRVLR, which features exploration in vivid VR video filmed on jump cameras. Discovery TRVLR takes you on voyages to all seven continents, and by focusing on the locals, you will uncover the hidden stories of these places and learn things you’d never see in a travel guidebook.

Retail - Companies like Ikea are already beginning to use this technology. With Ikea’s ARkit app, consumers can try out furniture in their home, seeing with holographic clarity just how a couch will look in their living room.

Film - Obviously, we cannot omit this category from the list as an interesting topic to highlight. Movie companies are innovatively implementing AR/VR technology to improve theatre experiences and attract larger audiences.

Working Remotely: Intriguing Facts

  1. 56% of global companies allow remote work.
  2. 52% of employees around the world work remotely at least once per week, and 68% work remotely at least once per month.
  3. South American respondents are 67% more likely than average to work remotely.
  4. Men across the globe are 8% more likely to work remotely than women.
  5. Small companies are 2x more likely to hire full-time remote employees. Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 5.12.31 PM
  6. Remote workers say they are happy in their jobs 29% more than on-site workers. Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 5.12.39 PM
  7. Global employees' top reasons for working remotely are: increased productivity/better focus, no commute, and achieving a better work-life balance. Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 5.19.55 PM
  8. 35% of global employees agree that remote work offers more opportunities for quality employment. Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 5.21.29 PM
  9. Top remote work industries for the US: Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 5.21.37 PM
  10. Top remote work industries around the world:
    Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 5.21.42 PM

For more statistics and data regarding remote work please visit OwnLabs.

Why We Should Start Working Remotely Using AR/VR

  • Remote training and conferences have shown a 30% improvement in retention learning in comparison to meetings that don’t use AR/VR tech. Being free of distractions allows you to enter deep-work mode (a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time). In fact, some research has shown that those who are easily distracted improve their performance when using AR/VR technologies.
  • Portability enables you to work wherever you like (for example, on the couch or the porch, at the airport, etc.) while still having your entire workstation with you (i.e., multiple monitors, whiteboards, etc.).
  • Costs are an important factor; many people go to their workplace every day and go back home maybe twice a day (in the worst-case scenario), so working remotely will save on transportation.
  • Customizing your virtual workspace exactly to your specifications (and imagination) is possible since everything in VR is just virtual software (as opposed to physical objects).
  • Remote collaboration is more effective when you are sitting side-by-side with your remote team virtually. Sometimes chat and video conferencing just do not cut it when you need to screen share (pair program) or whiteboard together.
  • Remote teams around the globe sleep at odd hours of the day in order to wake up with their team. VR users have claimed to reprogram their circadian rhythms more effectively using artificial sunlight in the virtual world; this also contributes to increased remote team productivity.

Start Remote Work Using AR/VR

Mimesys

It’s probable that most of you have never heard of Mimesys, but it is the best-in-class spatial co-presence technology for AR. The Mimesys platform enables volumetric telepresence for real-time collaboration and communication. It has created the first holographic meeting platform that allows teams to access a meeting where virtual reality and augmented reality merge to create a truly mind-blowing experience.

Spatial

Spatial is another AR software that transforms any room into an infinite workplace. It turns the space around you into a shared augmented workplace. Remote users can collaborate, search, brainstorm, and share content as if they were in the same room. Here’s an awesome demo of Spatial.

Connec2

This is great software for immersing yourself in remote work using VR. Connct2 enables users to collaborate with others in the same virtual space, from the comfort of their own living room or workplace. Sounds and voices are spatial and help the human brain filter relevant information in a natural way. Non-verbal communication through intuitive hand and head gestures grant greater expressive possibilities to users.

MeetingVR

This combines the convenience of online meetings with the interactivity of face-to-face meetings: rendezvous in virtual workspaces where you can collaborate, create and feel as though you’re truly there with your colleagues.

MeetingVR allows your company to have powerful meetings in interactive VR spaces. It enables activities that are impossible or very difficult to accomplish remotely such as presentions and reviews of products and 3D models, brainstorm, sketch, mind map, prototype, and team building activities. You can do all of this while interacting in a way that’s natural and easy-to-learn.

Immersed VR

This is really good remote collaboration software with great features like multiple screens showing virtual monitors and multi screen sharing, a remote whiteboard for brainstorm ideas, and capacity for 7 users in a meeting. Immersed VR can be very helpful when starting your great adventure with VR tech. People that use it say they work 8 hours a day without any headaches or eyestrain and that it heightens productivity. Here’s an awesome demo of the product.

Conclusion

The future of meetings, trainings, and daily work could drastically change with AR/VR helping companies become more energy-efficient, making time differences irrelevant, and creating seamless collaborations no matter what place in the world remote team members call home.

Although the most common usage of AR/VR technologies still centers around entertainment in mainstream media, AR/VR is expanding into some of the longest-standing industries and impacting the daily operations of today’s most crucial fields.

The future of work is undoubtedly remote, but this does not mean it will be less connected or less human. Several companies are ahead of the curve, creating dynamic technologies that use VR and AR to enhance and revolutionize the way teams are structured in a work environment and how projects are completed, while at the same time saving vital office or on-site expenses.

About Avantica

If you are looking for a software partner who will work towards your business goals and success, then Avantica is your solution. We offer dedicated teams, team augmentation, and individual projects to our clients. We are constantly looking for the best methodologies in order to give you the best results.

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