Earlier this year, HTC launched the public beta for a virtual reality (VR) video conferencing platform called Vive Sync.
It’s similar in many ways to Zoom and Microsoft Teams, both of which have become mainstays of working life during the pandemic, but with one key difference – Sync meetings quite literally have an extra dimension.
The Taiwanese company – maker of the popular HTC Vive range of VR headsets – invited TechRadar Pro to sample the Vive Sync experience, hosted by President and GM EMEA Graham Wheeler.
- Here’s our list of the best video conferencing software around
- We’ve built a list of the best productivity software right now
- Check out our list of the best collaboration tools available
Less than an hour inside the headset was enough to show us precisely why HTC is so enthusiastic about the fledgling service and its place in the future of work.
The platform remains in beta, so is naturally lacking in polish in some areas, but we didn’t need bells and whistles to grasp the core concept: with virtual reality, remote working need not feel quite so remote.
What is Vive Sync?
Vive Sync is HTC’s first foray into the world of collaboration tools, although TechRadar Pro can confirm it won’t be the company’s last.
Sync has all the same features as a regular video conferencing service, but eschews the traditional grid of faces in favor of a three dimensional arena, where attendees are joined by the avatars of up to 30 fellow participants.
You can move about the generous space, turn your body and head to listen directly to whomever is speaking and also gesticulate with your arms, which are tracked by hand controllers.
Wheeler was even sporting additional peripherals that tracked his eye and mouth movement, which further added to the sense that we were having a genuine person-to-person interaction.
Crucially, Vive Sync is cross-platform service (unlike many virtual reality tools), meaning attendees can join via their PC or laptop too – just with limited functionality.
This will be the key to making virtual reality ubiquitous in enterprise. Of course not every business will have the depth of resources to arm all employees with VR equipment, but the cross-platform nature of Vive Sync means that’s not an insurmountable problem.
According to Wheeler, the arrival of the platform has coincided happily with a fundamental shift in the world of work, brought about by the pandemic.
“VR gives teams the flexibility to work successfully from anywhere in the world – an advancement that is prompting companies to rethink the way they operate,” he said.
“Before the pandemic, a lot of organizations were against working from home, but now business culture as a whole is changing and organizations are finally open to new ideas.”
Setting up and launching in
We joined our Sync meeting using the Vive Pro, HTCs premium enterprise-focused headset, which delivers the greatest performance available, but is also on the expensive side and requires a little more setup than some other headsets.
READ MORE: https://www.techradar.com/news/video-conferencing-could-finally-be-about-to-get-less-terrible