Not so long ago in the early 2000s, true, quality video conferencing was still the stuff of dreams. Today, we have a variety of options available to us for collaborating remotely in business. Apps including Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet give us relatively robust ways in which to conference virtually. Tech has kept up in terms of hardware, too. The video conference camera of today provides a clear picture and pure audio that gets as close as possible to facetime.
What’s more, modern conference cameras also come with accessory features that further enhance the video conferencing experience, including ring lights and rotating lenses. These add-ons ensure that the experience of conferencing virtually is as responsive as conferencing in person.
Have we reached the apex in video conferencing, then? How much further can video conferencing go? Are there possibilities on the horizon that will further enhance the video conferencing experience? While tech has brought us to a place where the virtual can be almost as vital as IRL, there is a next step, and one that is quite exciting—the metaverse.
The Collaborative Space of Tomorrow: The Metaverse
While the concept of the metaverse has been in the mix for decades, it experienced new momentum in the summer of 2021 when Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that Facebook would become a ‘metaverse’ company.
In this new vision for the social media giant, Facebook will be an all-encompassing virtual experience. Instead of engaging with Facebook on a device screen, users will step into Facebook to participate in a metaverse version of the platform. What does that mean, exactly? Think of the metaverse as a secondary reality— a manufactured reality that reflects the outside world. Facebook’s recent acquisition of Oculus is of course helping this along, as the VR startup has made many inroads into the hardware necessary to drive the virtual reality of the metaverse.
The transition to Facebook as a metaverse will take some time. Until then, Zuckerberg also announced the launch of a portion of the metaverse that would facilitate a new way to conference virtually— Horizon Workrooms.
Video Conferencing in the Metaverse
In this new iteration of the remote, “virtual” conference, up to 16 individuals can participate as avatars of themselves at a virtual reality conference table. This entirely immersive experience will create the experience of being “in the room,” albeit in a room where one interacts with animated versions of other human beings.
While not quite the metaverse promised in the near future, this innovation is a key step in the process, and a boon to businesses around the globe. As options such as Horizon Workrooms evolve, businesses will have more and more viable ways to meet without commuting or travelling. The experience of conferencing in the metaverse will be equivalent to IRL conferencing in every detail, allowing participants to read and react to others in a way that feels intuitive.
Technology will provide spaces that deliver as much interaction and collaborative capabilities as working together in-person. For now, the advanced tech of the video conferencing world will continue to serve businesses more than adequately.
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