Innovation Opportunity: Virtual Reality In Web Conferencing
In my previous article I had described the limits of current video conferencing systems. You can find more in
In particular I had mentioned that one of the limitations are:
b) Escalate verbal communication to visual communication
(You are thinking of the annotation package, don’t you? They are no good!)
How many times it occurs in a conversation, especially the ones that are more technical in essence, that you need to draw a scheme on a piece of papers or a blackboard? How long does it take to you to do so when you are in the same room with your counterpart?
Now consider the limitations that you have in using a WCs for this specific purpose: Time to set up the blackboard, availability of design tools , rendering your wrist gestures on the screen ….. and more…
Even worse, if the visual communication entails solid 3D objects there is no way in WCs to render the same experience of real life communication.
This Friday I have had the fortune to attend one of the silicon valley more interesting meet ups that is the SV Virtual reality meet upto my surprise what i thought was a futuristic concept was demonstrated right in front of my eyes!
Let’s keep the focus on escalating verbal communication to visual. Virtual reality allows to do this beautifully and at no much cost for the web conferencing user.
The availability of time of flight camerasallows a precise and accurate, near real time , detection of body and particularly hands movements. As a result the hand can be utilized in the free 3D space to grab, shape and move virtual objects as you speak. This is quite close to reality.
Additionally the combined progression of math models and CPU processing power, allows now to project 3D objects completely integrated into the video , that is the depth, size, shape and movements of the object are such that the object becomes part of the video and can even be used to interact with 3D objects inside the video. If you do not believe in this, please take a look at this spectacular video
With these two pieces of technology, we possibly have solved the problem of escalating verbal to visual communication. The client in a web conferencing system can be equipped with one of the time of flight cameras (have faith that 5 years from now they will be on a mobile device) and VR software and thus now with the movement of the ends each participants can project an object inside teleconference space. The object can be rotated in all directions, stretched, modified by other participants and all of the can actually become co-creators.
Another aspect, although subtle, of escalating verbal communication to visual is the ability of offering an acceptable representation of one self. No one would like to go in front of others looking possibly fat, with messed hairs, non shaved , with no make up and inappropriate clothing.
Yet not always we have the time or yet the will to dress our-self up properly before appearing in-front of the camera in a web-conferencing system.
Once more virtual reality, or perhaps more properly, augmented reality has a solution to this problem.
Looksery has developed, what I believe is really breakthrough technology that allows real time modifications of a person facial expression. And again it is time for a truly breathtaking video demonstration
The range of facial features that can be altered real time go from the shape of your checks to the color of your eyes to a complete alteration that utilizes an avatar following your expressions, facial gestures and head movements in real time. Of course all of this anytime anywhere, yup..it is mobile.
In this piece I wanted to demonstrate that virtual reality has actually the potential to solve one of the problems in collaborative remote interactions, I hiligheted in a previous writing. Some of the technologies, I mentioned here, cannot be used as they are and would require adaptation to WC. Nevertheless the building blocks are ready.
Innovation is usually the result of several combined factors, an important one is that the building blocks of a new solution/idea/discovery are ready.