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Come fly with me …

image_Kamil_Pietrzak

Author: Donna Bentley Image: Kamil Pietrzak 

Where did you go during Lockdown 2? I went sky diving, took a beach trip, met a friend for some training at a waterfront location and attended a conference in a state-of-the-art venue.

How?   Because the Future is Here!

Virtual Reality is well known for use in gaming and entertainment, but when friend and ex-colleague Simon invited me to see how it is being applied in business I just couldn’t refuse. I received a headset in the post, accepted a meeting with Simon for a bit of a chat about what would happen, then we donned our headsets and off we went.

At first, the fact that we were avatars took a bit of adjusting on my part. But not long! Our real voices and personalities came across and I unconsciously adjusted in minutes. We started at a waterfront venue and did a bit of good old fashioned/not old fashioned brainstorming with post-it pads and whiteboard. But because we were in VR we could also write or draw 3D objects, suspend them in midair, pull up photographs, presentations and much much more! Limitless in use of space, we jumped into the ocean for a bit of whiteboarding underwater, then back out around a firepit.

My creative inner child was in overdrive thinking of the very real possibilities…

A brief game of chess in which we could use our avatar hands to pick up and move the pieces, then it was time for a change of location…

Away we go from beach location into a large impressive, more traditional/not traditional conference venue. I could see where Simon and colleagues had already been working on a very much in-flight Kanban board just off the lobby. Able to move quickly around, we tried popping into break out spaces in which you don’t hear others outside of the room. And then my favourite, an arena-style space that could be decked out as pretty much anything you want, from car showroom to amphitheatre. Limitless in budget for audiovisual and props, the creative potential is just too much!

Time to go and my mind was buzzing with possibility.  But first I was struck by something unexpected.  

I had completely forgotten I was standing in a zoned-out area of my living room.  I had forgotten I was not really ‘with’ Simon.  I had totally accepted us being avatars.  And I was fully immersed in a way that made the meetings in my diary for the rest of the day feel dated, flat, mundane (no offence to any of the great people I was meeting online).

Wow!

As a Consultant, I can see so much potential. Workshops with global clients Events? Conference? Meetings? Not a problem. But what about beyond the corporate world? Imagine the possibilities in education, training, world politics and more…..

Back to that avatar. I now love it for it’s potential. For a start, all superficial judgement is gone and the personality prevails. It would not be too difficult to make real lookalike avatars, but I was left feeling I prefer not to. I wasn’t expecting that!

I want to go back to the future.

I want more and more meetings like that, to work that way. And all from right where I am. The future is most definitely here!

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