VR Was Supposed to Help Us Work Remotely. So Where Is It?

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Overview

Technological advancements related to remote work have been notably slow, and have informed many of the common pain points of work from home. Things like VR, which, only a couple years ago, was hailed as the future of remote collaboration, have not existed in this remote reality. Perhaps it’s because there’s not actually a need for that, and maybe VR is simply a solution looking for a problem. 

Key Takeaways

  • The technology promised to bridge the gap toward remote work has been largely overpromised and underdelivered. Why?
  • Perhaps the reason things like VR Workplaces don’t yet exist is because there is actually no pressing need for them. There is no market that demands the technology in this application.
  • Is VR a complex solution looking for a problem? It often seems so. Is remote work the right problem? Which problems within work are more pressing?

Excerpts

  • Everyone’s talking about Zoom and Microsoft Teams and Hangouts. We all know these tools don’t work that well.
  • We’re in the midst of what appears to be a profound shift in how we work; and yet decentralizing technology like VR hasn’t yet progressed past the point of giving us slightly-less-annoying conference calls.
  • Zoom’s primary innovation is the one-tap dial-in that actually enters the conference code so you don’t have to.
  • Some training and support programs are happening digitally, for instance. HTC, Google, and Facebook-owned Oculus are all selling or developing VR headsets for the workplace.
  • The internet era was supposed to free us from drudgery of all sorts. We wouldn’t have to cluster together in increasingly expensive cities on the coasts.
  • It’s possible that we can never replace the simple face-to-face meeting; the sharing of pheromones and eye contact; a meal; a coffee; a walking meeting. 
  • But whether it’s on account of the novel coronavirus or just the housing crunch in a few overcrowded and absurdly expensive cities, we’re going to need something better than a better conference call.

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