Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) have been receiving a lot of press lately, and for good reason. Not only have costs come down, but real-world applications beyond video games are becoming more commonplace—and they’re business-altering. Take for instance, retail, where store brands are attempting to give customers an improved shopping experience by providing virtual fitting rooms—customers can see what clothing looks like without having to put the clothing on.
Similar concepts can and will be used in the UCC space soon. When designing conference/huddle rooms and collaboration spaces, you’ll be able to use virtual and/or augmented reality to see the space and how it functions before making any investments. Virtual reality involves the user putting on goggles that take them into a computer-generated world with which they can interact. Augmented reality uses glasses or a screen to take computer-generated content and place it over or within the world we see.
Videoconferencing is just as much about collaborating with the people in the room as it is with collaborating with the people on the other end of the video connection. We’ve all been in conference rooms where the line of sight to the participants on the video side is horrible and it creates a fragmented experience. In addition, most conferences today aren’t just centered around video communication, we’re also sharing content. How effectively the content is shared and viewed by both sides makes a dramatic difference.
Virtual reality can address these problems in advance. It’s possible to design the conference room and then sit in each virtual chair to experience the view and ensure lines of sight are adequate. Oftentimes, we can affect the experience of people in the conference room by simply moving the screen or placing an additional screen. It’s even possible to virtually control the room to see how all the systems work together. With VR, unwelcome surprises and mistakes can be avoided.
In fact, VR and AR can help solutions providers with training and installation. Rather than preparing for a complex job by studying steps in writing, it will be possible to walk through the process in a virtual setting. For solution providers doing a lot of custom work, leveraging such technology can eliminate trials and beta periods since the glitches can be identified and adjusted virtually.
We recently talked about some near- and far-future trends in the UCC space. VR and AR are tricky to place in either category. For mainstream solution providers, such applications might seem like far-future. However, all it will take is for one company to do it right and prove the value for such an application to become mainstream overnight.
VR and AR aren’t just for video games and aren’t just for clever retail applications. Nearly every industry will be impacted, including ours. Rest assured, Ingram Micro will be there to help you when the time is right.