We were thrilled to be interviewed by the VR/AR Association recently to talk about vSpatial and the future of work. You can listen below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2018
The “Father of VoIP”, Richard Platt, worked in enterprise communications for over 30 years. He played a critical role in the creation of the first commercially available IP phone in the mid-1990s which triggered the evolution from traditional phones to the next generation of internet-connected phones. His company, Selsius Systems, was acquired by Cisco and with Platt at the development helm this IP phone and Call Manager software became a full-fledged communications product which today is a multi-billion-dollar business for Cisco.
A departure from Cisco and one networking company later, Platt, always one to look toward the future, was following what was happening with VR in 2015 and saw the potential for another evolution – this time not just an evolution in communications but an evolution of the entire workplace. He foresaw a future where the immersive nature of virtual reality would transform the way people work. No longer would a person be limited to the 2-D world of a phone, tablet or laptop screen. No longer would conference calls immediately lose every bit of their productive steam with questions like, “Can you stop sharing so I can share?” Leveraging the immersive magic of VR, a remote worker could have as many monitors in their VR office as they’d like – no physical monitors required. They wouldn’t be reading their data on a 2-D screen, they’d be swimming through it in 3-D, completely immersed in its intricacies like Tony Stark in Iron Man. They’d do all this while 100% engaged in conversation with spatial sound and a feeling of presence that would have users convinced that they were in the same room with their co-workers.
With these ideas in mind, Platt got together with Selsius co-founder, David Tucker, and started talking with the some of the most experienced and passionate people he knew as well as the next generation of creative minds. Today he has assembled a dream team with over 200 years of collective experience in telecommunications, networking, cloud and virtual reality – a level of experience unparalleled in the VR industry, even at the largest companies. Together they are bringing you vSpatial, the workplace of the future.
vSpatial CEO, John Sallaway shared his excitement about the future of work and the role virtual reality will play in the professional lives of the up-and-coming workforce:
“Young professionals place a high value on the ability to work flexibly and remotely but also in having a sense of purpose and connection with their co-workers. In virtual reality those two priorities are no longer in conflict. The future of work will allow people to have immersive collaborative experiences with a tangible sense of presence from anywhere in the world and we are excited to be a part of bringing that opportunity to the workforce of the future.”
Imagine a young rural family physician who could use the 2nd opinion of another practitioner, but time and distance make that possibility little more than a phone call or at best a 2-dimensional experience with a legacy video conferencing solution. In virtual reality, because sharing is not limited to one screen at a time, these two doctors can now instantly and simultaneously share multiple patient charts while they also interact with a 3-dimensional image, perhaps an MRI or CT scan. Meanwhile, they are experiencing immersive spatial audio that complements the interaction perfectly. In this, and thousands of use cases just like this, the immersive nature of VR will revolutionize how we get work done – we will be quicker, more profitable and most importantly better at our jobs.
Like every truly revolutionary idea, it will take a legendary team to make it happen. The vSpatial team, with their experience, passion and creativity are perfectly poised to lead the way into the future of work. The future is now!
Interested in learning more? Check out https://vspatial.com to see demos, join the beta group, join our announcement list, or even hop in a VR meeting with a member of the team and talk about how you might introduce VR conferencing to your organization.
vSpatial is thrilled to announce the addition of Michael Sharp to its Board of Directors. Sharp is a co-founder of Jive Communications and as its Chief Operations Officer and Chief Product Officer helped guide it through startup to a successful acquisition by LogMeIn. He is known as a brilliant and committed innovator in unified communications. Michael has a knack for quickly analyzing complex problems to determine what’s at issue and then making decisions that bring positive change in the future.
Sharp joins John Sallaway (CEO and Co-founder), Richard Platt (President and Co-founder) and David Tucker (Co-founder) on the board. His experience adds to the already extensive unified communications experience that has vSpatial poised to be a disruptive force in the industry.
Revolution (noun): A sudden, complete or marked change in something.
The book Ready Player One presents a fantastic future where students learn almost exclusively in virtual reality. An educational shift has already taken place with the introduction and proliferation of distance learning in the past few decades and there are now over 6 million distance education students. This educational transformation will jump into high gear in the next few years as virtual reality classrooms make education more accessible, affordable and effective than any other time in human history.
Many of our core vSpatial users are educators. Our VR connected office is perfectly suited as a virtual reality classroom. With that in mind, we felt like it was important to outline some of the limitations of the current distance education model, as well as the benefits we expect to see among educators that embrace VR classrooms.
Virtual Reality Creates an Immersive Learning Environment
When students attend traditional online classes, the distractions of social media, smart phones and the general commotion around them are pervasive. In addition, opportunities for interaction with classmates or professors are limited and awkward. Needless to say, distance education is very one sided.
Virtual reality classrooms present a starkly different experience. For those that have never been in a VR classroom it is difficult to describe. It is a lot like being in a traditional in-person classroom… but better. In a VR classroom, students are immersed with the other students and the teacher. Life-sized profile pictures or avatars help students feel like they are together. The immersive nature of VR puts you squarely in a classroom and the real world seems to fade away. Because students cannot see the world around them they are not distracted by phones, friends or people watching. They are focused entirely on the class during the class time.
Spatial audio gives the class participants a full stereo experience such that if a classmate talks on your left you hear it in your left ear, and vice versa. The audio is also integrated directly into the headset so you don’t have to deal with all the “Can you hear me now?” questions and technical issues that go along with traditional distance learning solutions. Students speak and everyone can hear them loud and clear.
VR Classrooms Allow Students to Synthesize Multiple Points of Information
In a traditional distance classroom when participants share information it is limited to one person sharing one thing at a time. This creates the information bottleneck we have all become accustomed to. We’ve all heard, “Can you stop sharing so I can share.” What’s more, anything that is shared is difficult to read because you are looking at it on a small screen. In VR, each and every screen can be supersized. Interacting participants can grab shared screens, move them around, and make them like giant movie screens. There is no more squinting and trying to read the text of a document or the details of a graph.
In a virtual reality classroom, teachers can share multiple screens at once. They can share an article and reference it, and also share a PowerPoint at the same time. They could even be working on an article and typing it during the class and share all three screens with the students. In addition, every student can take advantage of the unlimited virtual space and share their content with the class.
Learning is not single threaded. With the world’s information at our fingertips students are processing information from multiple sources at once. The classrooms that are most effective are those where students are getting to the higher level of Blooms Taxonomy and are analyzing and synthesizing what they are learning. Current distance learning systems make this very difficult. As a result, distance educators shy away from that type of collaboration. VR classrooms turn that logic on its head and make this even easier and more productive than an in-person classroom.
VR Classrooms Make Non-Verbal Feedback Possible
One of the benefits of in-person classrooms is the ability for the teacher to gauge how well the class is responding to a discussion. With distance learning, educators have to ask if there are questions and wait for students to type or click a button to raise their hands.
In a virtual reality classroom, it is possible for teachers to see head and hand movements just like you would in a traditional classroom. It is amazing how big of a difference this can make. As students understand this they pay better attention. Many will unconsciously nod their head and this can come across in virtual reality classrooms. Students can raise their hands when they have a question. VR classrooms introduce non-verbal feedback back into remote education.
VR Classrooms Give Us Immersive Searchable Data Rich Recordings of Classes
One of the benefits of a fully immersive learning environment is the ability to record information. While it has not been released yet, vSpatial is working on a detailed recording of meetings that will allow students to go directly to a part of the class to review what was said as if they were in the classroom.
In a VR classroom, teachers also have the ability to record and gauge the engagement of the students. It is possible to track how many students have headsets on, for how long, what they were looking at, and even what they were doing while they were in the class. This can be tremendously helpful for a teacher to review the effectiveness of a lesson (even during the lesson) as well as for training purposes.
VR Classrooms Lower the Technology Cost and Difficulty
Virtual Reality hardware has come a long way in terms of both cost and quality of experience and is poised to make huge strides in the next year. Most agree that the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are currently the best experience. Those headsets currently run between $400-$500 and also require a powerful computer to run them. For some, this represents a barrier to entry to the VR experience, but that barrier is rapidly disappearing.
The Oculus Go is set to release in the next few months at $200/each. Oculus Go will be a stand-alone VR headset meaning it does not require a computer at all. Later this year (or early next year), Oculus plans to release a higher end standalone VR headset codenamed Santa Cruz – again no high-end computer required. Many predict that these devices, and others like them, will become the computers of the future. They will be fully integrated computing devices. Students will just put on their headsets and be ready to learn.
In a typical VR class, we expect that teachers will host the class using a higher end VR headset and students will join the classroom with a stand-alone VR headset like the Oculus Go. In a class with ten students, here is a one-time cost comparison:
|Current Distance Education||VR Classroom|
|Teacher Computer||$500||Teacher VR Setup||$1,500|
|Student Computers x 10||$5,000||Student VR Setup x 10||$2,000|
Prices will continue to drop as they always do with technology, but even in this situation a single class would save $2,000 using a VR classroom over a traditional distance education solution and have a superior experience. That is a recipe for disruption.
Multiply that by 10 classes or 100 classes and you begin to see the possibility of bringing more education to more people.
Are You Ready for the VR Classroom Revolution?
vSpatial is looking for educational partners as we start this revolution. There are many that have foreseen the day when this will happen. vSpatial has the expertise and experience to make it happen. What a time to be alive! You can download a free version on the Oculus store right now if you have an Oculus Rift!
If you would like to beta test the educational version with your school please reach out to us on our beta program page. We can have a meeting in VR and talk through all the details. J (Or just a phone call of course.) We’ll see you in the OASIS soon.
For Immediate Release:
vSpatial, a Utah-based tech startup that brings productivity and collaboration to the immersive world of VR, has raised $2,500,000 from angel investors. The financing has fueled the launch of vSpatial’s new virtual reality app and will be used to further enhance the development of the product and grow the company’s talented team.
vSpatial connects users with their computer applications and coworkers in an amazing way that makes their jobs easier and more delightful. Have you ever been in a web or video conference and heard, “Can you stop sharing your screen? Do you see my screen?” Rest assured that those days are coming to an end. vSpatial leverages the magic of VR and makes it possible for all participants in a meeting to easily share multiple applications with each other all at the same time. This all happens simply and seamlessly, with the voice conversation moving to the next level with intuitive controls and crystal clear spatial audio. Collaboration has now become more efficient and effective saving our users time, money and frustration.
Key benefits and features of the app include:
- Team meetings in virtual reality
- Eliminates the need to travel & commute (green)
- Immersive presence similar to real life meetings
- Eliminates the need for expensive physical office and conference room space
- Delightfully use and share applications with infinite windows
- Slack Integration (and more coming)
- Alleviates complex setup and network constraints needed for legacy telecommunications solutions
- Connect, collaborate, and create like never before
John Sallaway, vSpatial co-founder and CEO, expressed excitement about the company’s direction.
“Not a single legacy solution today comes close to balancing the three legs of collaboration nirvana; namely, a) the natural feeling of an in-person meeting, b) the simplicity and efficiency of the telephone, and c) the unfulfilled promise of effective remote working. When we’re not saying, ‘Can you hear me?’, or ‘Can you see this?’, we’re complaining about the waste of time and high cost of travel, bad networks, and resource constraints (‘Who forgot to book the conference room?’).”
“vSpatial the Company is a team of telecommunications, network cloud, and virtual reality experts who have felt the pain and are passionate about healing the communication wounds. vSpatial the App is our creation and our cure. No more video conferencing snake oil! vSpatial is the delightful melding of immersive virtuality, spatial sound, and a network cloud that actually works—from anywhere—for free. We don’t settle for legacy solutions and neither should any business.”
Download vSpatial for free from the Oculus Store. Support for additional platforms of the app are currently in development.
vSpatial is a Utah-based tech startup and our mission is to bring productivity and collaboration to the immersive world of VR. vSpatial connects users with their computer applications and coworkers in an amazing way that makes their jobs easier and more delightful. The application is currently available for free in the Oculus Store and support for additional platforms of the app are currently in development. For more information about vSpatial, visit www.vspatial.com.