By Tobin Harris
Managing Director, Pocketworks
January 11, 2022
Updated September 18, 2022
We've been talking a lot about the Metaverse recently. Probably more in a "this is a bit silly and over-hyped" kind of way. But then Anna here drew my attention to Noel Mack's video showing him having a short meeting in the Metaverse.
The idea is that you and your teammates wear a VR headset and, rather than meet on a regular video conferencing tool such as Zoom, you meet in a virtual meeting room to have your conversation.
Strangely, this makes a lot of sense.
I'll cover why in a moment. But first here are the steps showing how you hold a meeting in the metaverse. It's surprisingly straightforward.
Note: also see: Is meeting in the metaverse worth it?
Here's all you need to do:
I was surprised at how low the barrier to entry is for this. Once we try this out, I'll post some more details and updates on our LinkedIn feed.
Allow a slightly longer setup time as people get their headsets on. The Oculus Quest 2 is pretty fast to switch on and set up as it's standalone. However, loading the room takes a minute or two, which is slower than Zoom or Google Meet.
We've explored a number of alternatives to Horizon Workrooms, but this still remains our favourite.
We find these Metaverse meetings a refreshing alternative to Zoom, especially if you're doing a session where you talk through a slide deck. So do try out connecting your laptop screen and then selecting the option to project it on the wall. There's something good about feeling like you're in the room with people.
Similarly, if you have to brainstorm some ideas on a whiteboard, then this works quite well. It's not quite as fast as using Figjam, but then again you could just project a Figma file onto the virtual wall.
For 1-to-1 meetings, some folks here have tried playing mini-golf whilst they chat. Apparently, that's quite a nice way to hold a meeting when you don't need to show people files or use a whiteboard.
At a time when we're all fatigued from video conferences, could a Metaverse meeting be a nicer solution?
For a start, you can restore some of the dynamics of a real meeting. For example, you can see who's looking at how when they talk. And who's looking at the "TV". And you can see some of the body language, at least head, arm and hand movements.
Also, a video conference is mentally fatiguing, partly because you're on-show. We're just not meant to see ourselves on camera mirrored on our screen for 3-5 hours a day. A Metaverse meeting space gives us an avatar to hide behind, so there should be less stress.
It could be all hot air, but it's intriguing to think about how this technology could affect creative work.
Would it be easier to showcase app design work? Could you actually hand someone a phone with an app running on it with a virtual prototype?
Could you conduct qualitative user research in a virtual setting? Would there be any merit in observing participants' body language?
What about whiteboard sessions, dot voting, or card sorting? Would it be more "interactive" doing this in a virtual world?
Watch this space, and let us know how you get on!
P.S - The Oculus Quest 2 is still a good bargain on Amazon.
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