How to conduct remote meetings more effectively (Part 1)
The value of a meeting lies not only in the exchange of information. In collaboration, people can initiate wonderful projects, improve products, learn from each other, motivate and inspire each other. But how can you have a good exchange when teams work across several locations?
Telephone and video conferences – What’s next?
Remote meetings are becoming more and more popular, but telephone and video conferences are not suitable for all types of meetings. This is changing now with virtual reality, because VR technology is enabling, for the first time, to conduct immersive meetings and workshops across large distances. You just put on your VR glasses and immediately find yourself in a virtual meeting room that feels as real as if you were right there with your coworkers. No flights, no commutes, and no jet lag.
Virtual reality became known through the gaming industry, where immersing yourself in virtual worlds is done more for fun. But WeAre is using immersive VR technology to enable encounters in virtual meeting rooms. This way, meetings can be held in the virtual space regarding of location and numerous interaction possibilities can be used.
Advantages and disadvantages of VR conferences
As with any tool, there are advantages and disadvantages of virtual reality conferences.
Advantages of VR conferences
- Boundless collaboration: Everything you need for a good meeting can be implemented in virtual reality. Virtual whiteboards, 3D objects
andvarious import functions are available.
- Flexible environment: The meeting environment in VR can be adapted to the corresponding situation and the preferred meeting format.
- Avoid distractions: Distractions are kept out in VR. By using the VR glasses, cell phones and tablets are out of reach, snacks and drinks can only be consumed in the break.
- Versatile interaction: The interaction possibilities in VR are much more diverse than in a telephone meeting or video call. Head, body and mouth movements are made visible by avatars. Even the interaction with own 3D CAD objects is possible, which is particularly interesting for product development.
Disadvantages of VR conferences
- No keyboard: In a VR meeting, there is no entry using a keyboard, so you have to use speech and handwriting. Speech recognition enables the transformation of voice memos to text. This is already relatively precise and faster than regular keyboard input.
- No photorealistic participants: In VR, the users are represented by avatars. Voice pitch, head and hand movements are transmitted, but not facial expressions. Theoretically, there is the option of scanning one’s body for VR, but the result is sadly somewhat odd based on today’s state of the art. Therefore, WeAre has integrated an avatar kit that can be easily used to put together a likable avatar to represent you. In addition, your name can be superimposed.
Basic flow of a VR meeting
The flow of a remote meeting is not entirely comparable to that of an in-person one. Although the same basic rules apply, certain organizational shortcomings carry more weight in remote meetings. The presence of a competent moderator is therefore advisable. Punctuality is essential, because the duration of remote meetings is usually very limited. For the same reason, the participants should be brief and also try to let others speak. As obvious as that sounds, it can be difficult in practice. This is why it helps to define meeting rules. If the meeting rules are not pre-determined, but laid down together in the team, all participants could be supportive of them.
The participants should first get to know the technical requirements of a remote meeting. This also applies to the user interface of virtual reality.
This is what your next VR meeting could look like:
- Define topic and goal
- Invite participants
- Set the time and duration
- Define the VR meeting space*
- Send the agenda in advance by e-mail
*In virtual reality, there are various spaces to choose from.
- Upload documents (e.g. agenda in PDF)
- Sign in to the meeting
- Open meeting tools and files*
- Do the “check-in”
- Hold the meeting
- Summarize to-dos
- Do the “check-out”
*Virtual whiteboards, PDF and CAD files.
- Make photos in VR*
- Send photo log and to-dos
- Set a date for the next meeting
*Whiteboards and edited PDFs can be exported individually as images.
We will go into detail about preparing VR meetings in the next article. Until then: the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Good luck!