What’s Next? Get Ready for VR Meetings and Presentations
Two years ago, before COVID forced the world into virtual meetings, an entrepreneur named Thong Nguyen unwittingly diagnosed what we know today as Zoom fatigue and, most important, what could be the cure: virtual reality (VR). Nguyen explained during a gripping 2018 TEDx talk that VR provides an emotional, immersive experience, one far different from a virtual call or Facetime chat:
“VR activates the motor cortex in our sensory system in a way that’s similar to a real experience. As an outside observer, you may not be able to see somebody experience presence, but what you can see are the physiological and emotional reactions that occur as a result.”
To illustrate the physiological power of VR, Nguyen showed a video of a woman wearing a VR headset walking on a narrow beam on the floor – and experiencing the terror of balancing on a beam placed precariously between two skyscrapers. The audience felt her fear of falling to her death. The potential for a harrowing demise was real, at least to the headset-wearing woman.
Nguyen’s demonstration hit on the fundamental shortcoming of Zoom and the utility of VR as an antidote. Unlike VR, Zoom is a 2D experience. It is inherently limited to the confines of the camera and screen. In contrast, we are 3D creatures who crave immersive, 3D experiences in order to be fully present and perform at our fullest potential. Zoom can never meet our physiological need to connect with our audience because it deprives us of the third dimension. Our current inability to be in a room with other people makes it hard for us to be emotionally present and, consequently, is a major cause of Zoom fatigue.
VR could offer a three-dimensional meeting venue that — similar to the balance beam example — physiologically evokes the dynamics of real-life experience. VR companies are rapidly developing technology to enable teams to “be together” in the virtual space. Although VR has been around for years, COVID is making the need for it much more urgent.
In my new series: “What’s Next?” I will share insights from VR leaders like Thong Nguyen who are bringing this exciting technology to the business world at a rapid pace. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and engaging in this discussion with you!