Last year, Google shocked the world by showing the Google Assistant AI make a phone call and schedule an appointment without the recipient realize it was talking with a robot. The result was a whirlwind of conversation around the ethics and implications of technology replacing how humans, and businesses, interact in a world progressing ever forward.
While AI isn’t a threat for many of us now, the presentation did demonstrate one of the many ways that modern technology has fundamentally shifted the working world. And Google isn’t the only one trying to push the envelope with tech. The VR firm High Fidelity, led by Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, recently announced that it was shifting its focus on creating virtual offices using VR technology. The hope is that VR can help create the office environment and personality that can lead to productivity, while still giving workers all the flexibility and rewards of telecommuting. High Fidelity isn’t the only one in this market, either: The Glimpse Group is actively attempting to recreate the modern office on a virtual landscape, using 3D renderings of conference rooms and skyscrapers to give it that “authentic workplace feel.”
Companies that utilize these types of offices have had major success, too. Realty giant eXp has all of the companies 13,000+ employees work on a virtual “island resort”, and that hasn’t stopped it from seeing a market value of $610 million and being ranked one of Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work”.
Realistically, the video-game style of office might be a way away for the vast majority of businesses. But there are reasons to be interested in VR development, with more companies moving to virtual-only presence with great success. French companies like Whodunit are making the leap to 100% virtual employment to save money on travel and physical offices, and it is estimate that nearly 1 in 3 workers in the US now work remotely.
With the days of card punches behind us, getting to work may soon be as simple as putting on a headset.
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