Doodle is all about great meetings, no matter where they take place. As a tech company with offices in Berlin, Belgrade, Zurich, and Tel Aviv, we embrace remote work and think collaboration knows no borders.
If you ever wore summer shorts during a business meeting, hoping you won’t need to stand up and reach for anything, then you’ve definitely done video conferencing. Remote work and remote meetings are nothing new nowadays, and, if done right, they can be both efficient and fun. At the same time, it is interesting to predict how new technologies will affect our meetings and our communication at work in general. Can they make it more personal, personalized, and more efficient?
See you(r hologram) later!
The usual suspects here are virtual reality (VR) technologies. As promising as it is for the gaming industry, VR can be used to enhance video conferencing, too, or, rather, to completely change the way we have been thinking about it. The idea here is for all team members to put their VR glasses on and meet in a virtual space. Instead of seeing your colleagues from shoulders up, here facial recognition and body tracking technology would project holograms of each member to replicate his or her movements and facial expressions, allowing the holograms to move with relation to each other. This is essentially what Microsoft has been developing: it calls it Holoportation technology, and it is definitely a highly awaited piece of technology in many workplaces and households.
While virtual reality allows our future meetings to take place in the strangest – or most plain-looking, depending on your preferences – places, augmented reality (AR) technologies can add visual elements to our video conferencing experience. Whether they are projected on the computer screen or through AR glasses, these visual elements could then be seen by all the parties involved. Remember all the craze about Pokémon Go? Basically, imagine seeing documents or 3D designs (like the ones already helping medical and engineering students) instead of those little creatures themselves. A quick video by Zugara, a small LA-based company, allows you to better imagine what AR streaming would look like.
Virtual reality of virtual insanity?
So, how likely are we to see these technologies become inseparable from the very concept of remote meetings in the near future? The efficiency and the success of such meetings will probably depend on the precision with which holograms are generated, and the speed at which 3D environment and other visual elements can be rendered. Also, the very popularity of using VR and/or AR for remote meetings partly lies on the assumption that more companies, rather than fewer, will be choosing remote work models. Interestingly, in the US the trend seems to be more companies offering at least some remote work arrangements while the big ones are reconsidering the benefits of telecommuting.
Naturally, there are skeptics, too, raising important questions about the potential intentions behind VR and AR technologies. Just like with the rise of any other type of paradigm-shifting innovation, there is definitely an array of debates to be had.
The future is definitely exciting, and let’s hope that the way these or other technologies are used will only bring people closer together, which has been the case with video conferencing technology. And if we could keep our sweatpants or shorts on while talking to colleagues, that would be just perfect.
By Justina Poskeviciute
Justina is an awesome writer living in Budapest.