Project Management and Virtual Reality

Is your next meeting going to combine Project Management and Virtual Reality?

I get really excited looking at Project Management and telling myself “What’s the next angle a PM would be interested in?” I’m a great lover of technology (I know many other PMs are too) and I enjoy finding out how new things work.

My latest foray into technology has been Virtual Reality or shortened to VR, in fact I purchased my first headset back in 2014, an Oculus Rift, that required a massively fast computer to work, and sensors around the room to detect movement. It was pretty good as well, but lacked real software, just lots of 3d style games. So I have had quite some time to see how the technology has evolved.

So now we fast forward a couple of technology jumps, past the Oculus Rift S, which still required a very powerful PC, to a new stand alone headset the Oculus Quest 2. Suddenly we have a portable headset, that has the processing power, memory and sensors to work anywhere that you can get a WIFI signal, the garden, your desk, even at the office.

And Somewhere along the way Facebook acquired Oculus, and starting investing billions of pounds in the technology and software, and with the recent release of Facebook’s new Horizons Workrooms, suddenly using VR headsets to sit and work with your colleagues in a 3D VR Project meeting across the world becomes reality.

Project management and virtual realityWe can lose the casual dress, wonky lighting, and occasional bad hair day, and we choose our own Avatar, or upload a photo, and you get a sort of cartoon version of yourself, dress in a suit of your choice, or choose a casual dress approach. What’s not to like!

The future of Project Management and Virtual Reality

Facebook has invested heavily in VR, and with Horizon Workrooms, the VR market is now making the move from gaming to business, and they forecast that over half its meetings will be in VR at some stage soon. That’s quite a statistic. It also means that a world where Project Management and Virtual Reality go hand in hand can’t be far away.

I have set up a number of team meetings with Horizon Workrooms, and the ability to share my desktop, my files and presentations, get feedback, create and use whiteboards with multiple pens, between the group is a definite glimpse of the future of meetings. Little things like multiple room layouts, and the ability to share your computer and keyboard, so you can actually type on them in the VR world work really well

For those team members without a VR headset, they can still join in from a PC, or a mobile device, so the whole team can combine media interfaces to meet and chat.  Using video based chats will never quite seem the same, although like all technology, everything has its place and time.

The Quest headsets are around £299 pounds or dollars, and give a run time of around 2-3 hours between charges, although you can extend battery life quite easily.  The downside is that they are only comfortable for short periods, so maybe an hour at a time, as they can get a little hot, not something you would want to keep on all day as yet. Maybe the Quest 3, when it comes, will be even lighter and faster, bring down costs even further.

As a Project Manager it helps to stay knowledgeable in new and emerging technology, and I hope this brief overview gives you a taste to find out more, and when you get asked to join a VR meeting and a Headset arrives in the post, you at least know what to expect.

At our next APM PMQ and APM PFQ training review, we are going to trial Oculus Quest 2 headsets and will report back and update the blog at a later date. The Project Management and Virtual Reality combination truly has arrived!

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