Digital conferences offer many advantages that entrepreneurs can attract long after the quarantine.
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The opinions of the employees of s You are personal.
I am in Los Angeles. My new friend Grégory is … somewhere in France, I think. Together, our avatars explore a business conference on a virtual island. The day has just ended, so let’s go down to the beach and wait for a speedboat tour. Then we realize that a boat is not necessary; The water is passable. So go ahead, two digital avatars that are dipped in digital blue.
When our professional lives become more digital, it is worth asking: is that the future? Can human connection of pixels thrive? Virtual conference rooms seem to offer an idea because, while they were a niche before COVID-19, they are in high demand now. VirBela, which creates the virtual space I am in, has seen a 600% increase in sales since March. According to Mozilla’s VR Hubs platform, users are doubled every few weeks. The augmented reality startup Spatial recorded growth of 1,000%.
Reality versus augmented reality
Skeptics could say: “Virtual spaces are not like real life!” That is true, although in my experience some things are strangely the same. A conference room still looks like a conference room, and there are still a number of chairs in a panel. (Your avatars can be as boring as in real life.) In one session, other avatars’ heads even blocked my view, so realistic! But there were also a lot of digital updates: person biographies and LinkedIn profiles are just a click away, I was able to find someone right away without wandering around, and I never bothered to forget someone else’s name. it shines on your head.
But the reality is not what these spaces are really looking for anyway. “Trying to fully reproduce the offline experience in a digital world is like taking a carriage and replacing the horse with a motor,” says Andrey Lunev, who produces virtual events with XR Crowd. Instead, the developers seem to start with another question: How can this new experience certainly feel familiar? VirBela environments look a bit like Fortnite, and company president Alex Howland says this is intentional. The most realistic graphics require powerful hardware, and you want users to have access regardless of whether they’re using an Oculus or an old PC.
In any case, users say that storage space is not what is valuable. It is the real people who inhabit it.
This is how Ashley Huffman felt. He lives in Toronto and heads up marketing for technology company Nano Magnetics. He recently attended the virtual version of a conference, which is usually held in China. I was amazed at how human she felt. “When you’re in an event within 10 feet of HTC President Cher Wang,” says Huffman, “it feels like I’m talking to you.” Alina Mikhaleva, a Moscow-based virtual reality developer, likes to hear that. She is the founder of the Less Media Group and hopes that more people will try the new technology now. “The crisis allows us to take a break, reflect on our old habits and rethink what we want to build in the future,” he says.
Back to the new normal
But if COVID-19 is included, will we leave virtual spaces and go back to the real world? It can’t be that easy. The education industry offers a case study: the average graduation rate for online courses was in the single-digit range. That is why some institutions introduced virtual rooms a few years ago. Stanford University started using VirBela for parts of an online executive program called LEAD and achieved excellent results. “We could bring the community together in a way that you can’t reach in a video conference,” said Peter DeMarzo, program director. He plans to continue.
Then maybe the future is a hybrid. For example, the event I attended was called Laval Virtual 2020; It is the digital version of an annual event in Laval, France. The organizers want people to come in person, but they loved that the digital version attracted 6,600 people, many of whom will never make it to France. Now they are exploring how both versions can be offered at the same time, as a meeting of people with two levels of existence: the real and the virtual world, which have their advantages.