Interviews & Opinion

The Importance Of Collaboration In Virtual Reality

The Importance Of Collaboration In Virtual Reality

One of the most common objections to VR is that – rightly or wrongly - it’s seen as antisocial. Tom Symonds, CEO at Immerse explains that not only is that a misconception, but why collaboration in VR is crucial to its success.

There are many potential reasons why VR hasn’t been as successful for the consumer market to date as originally predicted. One of the main reasons is that VR has been a mainly solo endeavour; one person enters the VR world in a headset and has no interaction with anyone who isn’t animated and offering only pre-recorded retorts. The 3D content within these games must be attention grabbing and fun to keep users in their headsets and not running back to their Xbox or PS4 to play with a wealth of real people online.

When it comes to business uses of VR however, multi-user capability is not just preferred but essential. Without being able to discuss and collaborate over 3D models and virtual worlds, there is very little that VR can add to a business. With full multi-user capability however, the possibilities are almost endless.

The term ‘collaboration’ has many different meanings in the VR world. Many tech companies offer solutions for more than one person to discuss a 3D model, where one person is in a VR headset and another is watching and conversing via a web browser. This in itself adds a great deal of value. The people are both viewing the model, albeit one in 2D and one in 3D, and can have an educated conversation about what is in front of them. Far more value can be derived from this experience than can be had without a model to discuss, using just 2D diagrams through a web browser.

What brings real value however is allowing multiple people to interact in the virtual world in real time. With that functionality, two or more people can not only discuss a model, but interact with, point at, highlight and even alter the 3D environment during their conversation.

This changes the VR world from just being a stage to showcase models, to one where real work can take place. Concepts can be explained easily by physically demonstrating an interaction, or by giving instructions within the VR world as if you were in the same room.

This real multi-player virtual reality can be used for employee training, allowing a teacher to give instruction on how to use a physical item, or how to act in a specific scenario. The full immersion of all VR members allows for much more realistic, easily retained and therefore useful experiences. These features facilitate more meaningful learning, such as health and safety training where users can be exposed to dangerous situations without real risk.

Full collaboration also allows VR to act as an effective sales tool. Where large budgets, intense competition or complicated concepts are involved, inviting a prospect into an immersive world with a sales team can convert a drawn-out sales process into an almost ‘love at first’ sight endeavour. A prospect can not only see the product, but interact with it in any given environment and be guided on a journey that demonstrates the main USPs without wordy explanations.


About The Author

Tom Symonds is the CEO at Immerse. He's gained a reputation for innovation and the creation of disruptive new business models following eight years at GE Capital and a further 12 years at leading internet companies. He led Sky’s internet business through the dotcom fall out, transforming the way in which the company interacted with its customers and prospects and establishing it as one of the UK’s major internet players. Tom has since worked with start-up businesses within the field of e-Learning and technology, lending his vast expertise to fundraising and strategy.


For expert insight into the future of VR, AR and MR from more than 60 speakers, register now for XR Connects Helsinki 2017, 19-20 September. regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.