Jussi Havu, CEO of Glue Collaboration in Helsinki, opens his workweek immersed in a virtual-reality meeting room with 30 colleagues. Glue Collaboration’s mission is to integrate VR into conventional knowledge-work office settings, presenting a compelling business case for the transformative technology.

While initial expectations of XR (extended reality) revolutionizing knowledge-work offices on a broad scale haven’t materialized, XR tech companies like Glue Collaboration emphasize the continued relevance and potential of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in the evolving landscape of hybrid work.

A significant application of XR is seen in training, with PwC reporting that VR-based instruction enables faster learning and increased confidence in applying learned skills compared to traditional methods. XR companies envision broader use cases, including enhancing meeting experiences, particularly in small groups requiring distraction-free environments.

Companies like Naer and Arthur Technologies are leveraging XR to simulate personal interactions, allowing users to collaborate seamlessly, read body language, and engage in side chats, ultimately improving the overall meeting experience. This single-minded approach helps eliminate distractions commonly found in video calls, providing a more focused and immersive environment.

Despite the potential benefits, widespread XR adoption faces challenges. Cost remains a barrier, with high-quality headsets being a significant investment for companies. Comfort is another consideration, as some users find extended headset use unpleasant. Issues like cybersickness and the uncanny valley effect in AR add complexity to the technology’s acceptance.

While XR is viewed as supplementary to existing communication tools rather than a complete replacement, the potential for a more substantial impact is anticipated. Apple’s upcoming Apple Vision Pro headset is seen as a potential catalyst for mainstream XR adoption, presenting a more seamless and user-friendly hardware option.

The journey of XR in the office is expected to evolve with advancements in technology, offering a seamless and immersive meeting experience without the challenges associated with traditional bulky headsets. As the hybrid workspace continues to shape the future of work, XR remains a promising player in enhancing collaboration and redefining the virtual office experience.

By Impact Lab