VR 2025: What will it be like to work in VR within the next decade?

VR 2025: What will it be like to work in VR within the next decade?

VR 2025

What will it be like to work in VR within the next decade?

business woman at office VR 2025

VR and Design

The in-coming collaboration request from Bangalore chirps off to the left. A smart watch tingles on Leslie’s wrist. Priyanka will surely want an update on the kiosk design.

woman-avatarLeslie looks right and focuses on the chirping collaboration request and moves slowly toward it. It dissolves into a perspective room. Front and center in the room is the kiosk for the upcoming conference booth.  Next to it stands Priyanka’s avatar, looking as well-rested and well-dressed as ever.

VR certainly doesn’t give anything away, Leslie thinks.

“Good morning Leslie. I brought a couple of prototypes I thought we would figure out how to integrate into the kiosk.”

“How many products are we planning to show. Last I heard it was three.”

“Five.”

“Ok, Five. So this design isn’t going to work at all. We’ll have to rethink the whole thing.”

“Not so fast. I like the original concept, it just isn’t right geometry. Let’s see, we are standing inside of a geometry app, so lets take a look.”

Priyanka reaches out toward a seem between the product display projections and pulls at it. The design splits open. She pulls her hands away from each other at arm’s length. Now a gap sits in the bent design. She places her hand on one of the adjacent display projections and says duplicate. She then drags the duplicate and drops it into the gap. The model reforms around the new side and becomes a four-sided kiosk.

“Repeat,” Priyanka says, “and without the simulated physical fanfare of the previous design change, the kiosk transforms instantaneously from four-sided, to five-sided.”

“OK, I get it,” Leslie intones. Not wanting to appear a mere observer, she then adds, “show the conference floor and the traffic. Camera, eye level from the main entrance.”

Leslie and Priyanka move to a vantage point where they can no longer see their kiosk. It is obscured by several other kiosks and various displays between their kiosk and the door.

“Raise the central cylinder 18 inches.” Nothing appears to happen. “24. 36.”

From the sea of kiosks their cylinder and company logo rises above the floor, visible to anyone 5 feet-seven or taller.

“Return us to origin,” Priyanka clips.

They are now standing back at their kiosk, looking up at its tall central cylinder and functional product display areas, all five of them, placed equidistant around the base.

“Nicely done,” Priyanka acknowledges. Now let’s take a look at what goes where. She sweeps her hand in a lateral motion over her personal accountability repository and a table of products appears. Leslie does the same. Signs and stacks of literature appear on her table.

The two women move their respective items to the various locations, Leslie allowing Priyanka to choose which prototype goes where before she places the product literature, the signage and the business cards.

One of the products is about ready to ship, the others are “vision” projects. On that side of the kiosk Leslie mounts a couple of button tags. When she touches them the face of the product designer appears, says, “welcome” and proceeds to explain the benefits of the product. People wearing AR glasses and sensor identifiers will receive a notification that more information exists at this station, and they will have the option of it playing inside of their UI. Those visiting in VR will see the button and push it. The video will only play for them. If they opt-in, they will be captured in the lead database.

Leslie looks up occasionally at the green hued center of the perspective room’s ceiling. It isn’t really green, but it is for her, which means her agent hasn’t identified anything more important than this task with Priyanka coming from any source.

This model synchronizes with the design files and executables. When they are satisfied, Leslie looks at Priyanka and just says, “submit.” One of their vendors has just received a fabrication and print request. The virtual conference team has received the files for the kiosk, the prototypes (all of which work in the virtual world much as they would in the real world) and the various documents that represent product literature. Regardless if a person shows up virtually or physically, they will receive much the same experience, less the handshake and the chocolate kisses, which Leslie will bring with her personally.

VR in Professional Development & Training

Looking up, Samuel  saw the sky was red. There was not sound, no interrupting pop-up, just a change in color that indicated a message of some importance awaited him. He finished his initial analysis of the latest manufacturing downtime details before saying, “retrieve messages.”

Circuit board VR 2025

Perfectly placed in front of his eyes, and filling his field of view was a message about training on the new pick-and-place machine for the printed circuit board manufacturing line.  This wasn’t a surprise, in fact, Samuel could see stacks of related messages behind this notice. Dim, and to the left, he saw his calendar with a note that this was the day to expect a schedule request for training.

Samuel simply said, “cool,” and the notice disappeared, zooming into his calendar and leaving its mark at 8am on the 16th. If he wanted a reminder of details, or access to reading material ahead of the class, he could tap on the calendar entry inside of the immersive experience, or on his wearable — or he could simply ask and the information would be delivered to, and appropriately formatted, to whatever interface he was currently paying attention to.

The day of the class Samuel put on his headset and navigated to the pick-and-place class. The Yamaha I-Pulse M90 class would be taught by Masato Tanaka.

Tanaka had created a learning experience, and would not be actually participating in the class until much later. Over 60 students were involved in this class. They were connected by audio so they could talk when Tanaka permitted it. Otherwise, they all saw and heard the same thing.

The M90 was installed in a modern surface mount manufacturing facility where it could participate in the manufacturer of virtual printed circuit boards. After reviewing board types in 3D ahead of the class, the majority of the students had selected an automobile audio amplifier as the example. Those who didn’t win the vote could later ask the simulation to make their board. Which board didn’t matter, the activity was really about getting students engaged before the class.

Tanaka wanted to cover four areas during this first session:

  • Capability and line balancing
  • Programming
  • Failure modes
  • Basic failure intervention

During the capability session, Tanaka walked the student in and around the machine, and through it. VR afforded the ability to inspect how the machine functioned without removing panels. The learners could simply walk through them.

They took a break. A few of the students saw that their sky had turned red, so they went off to answer messages. Others watched videos or played a game to pass the time.

At about 3pm, which was 8am in Japan, the real Masato Tanaka replaced his avatar’s programming. No one really noticed. The avatar simply stopped working via pre-programmed actions and now reacted to Tanaka’s actual movements, and most importantly, to his communications. It was time for questions and answers and no avatar was as good as the principal engineer at answering questions.

At about 3pm, which was 8am in Japan, the real Masato Tanaka replaced his avatar’s programming. No one really noticed. The avatar simply stopped working via pre-programmed actions and now reacted to Tanaka’s actual movements, and most importantly, to his communications. It was time for questions and answers and no avatar was as good as the principal engineer at answering questions.

Samuel was ready to get this machine up and running. Priyanka would want to turn her prototypes into production units if feedback at the show was good.

VR in Medicine

“It’s going to require a tendon repair,” Dr. Alvarez stated matter-of-factly. “See, this tendon pulled off the ulna. The bicep rolled up into your shoulder. Let me go from X-ray to simulation. See, how you can see the muscle in a wad up there. The is probably what it looked like when the tear happened.”

Hugo winced. He was sharing a very uncomfortable VR moment with Dr. Alvarez, but it was kind of a relief to be looking at something other than the real lump in his upper arm.

“Follow me Hugo.” Dr. Alvarez navigated to the lower arm, pulling back and out of the anatomy. He rolled the camera angle so Hugo could see the back of his arm.

“This is were I will make the new insertion. I’ll show you in a minute. The camera rolled again, and the inside of Hugo’s arm, opposite the elbow, lighted up. And this is were we I will pull down the tendon.”

“Now let me show you the gory part.”

In VR, it wasn’t really gory. It could have been, but that wasn’t the point here. Alvarez wanted Hugo to understand the procedure in the abstract, without the instruments, the suction or the sponges.

Dr. Alvarez reoriented the camera to the back of the lower arm, made an incision, exposed the bone, and then drilled a hole in the bone. There was a loud whirring sound. Hugo winced again. Alvarez quickly hit mute to kill the metal on bone sound.

Alvarez then flipped over the view, opened a large incision. He reached up with simulated forceps and dragged the tendon down, pulled it through to the back of the arm, pushed it into the freshly drilled hole and sutured it to the bone.

“See my friend, this will never happen again. At least not to that arm.” Alvarez smiled. The room lightened a little.

Because people couldn’t see each other’s faces in situations like this, the experience itself was designed to reflect the mood. When Dr. Alvarez smiled the room reflected a positive perspective, lightening up with Hugo’s favorite pastel, which ended up being a kind of lime green. Feedback sensors in his wearables, coordinated with moments like this reinforced that when Hugo saw the green light his heartbeat and breathing slowed ever so slightly.

Because people couldn’t see each other’s faces in situations like this, the experience itself was designed to reflect the mood. When Dr. Alvarez smiled the room reflected a positive perspective, lightening up with Hugo’s favorite pastel, which ended up being a kind of lime green. Feedback sensors in his wearables, coordinated with moments like this reinforced that when Hugo saw the green light his heartbeat and breathing slowed ever so slightly.

“So what about the scar?”

“Well, let me show you a range. I’m an orthopedic surgeon, not a plastic surgeon. You can pay extra for a different doctor to close. I use staples. We’ll go over how to care for those after surgery. But here, take a look.”

The camera moved out again, and there was Hugo’s arm, in its pre-surgery state, but with the rolled-up bicep temporarily relocated to its proper place.

“So this is pretty much worse case after a year These are big incisions,” Alvarez reminded Hugo.”

VR 2025“This is a typical view after a year. See the back is smoother. That inner arm takes a lot of stress so it tends to welt up more around the scar just from movement—and here’s the view if you bring in a plastic surgeon. Remember, you’ll have to get special permission from your insurer for that, and that’s not likely. Otherwise, it’s out of pocket.”

They discussed the fee and Hugo decided the scar made him look tough.

“You can just tell people it was a knife fight,” said Alvarez, “I even had one patient work it into a tattoo”

VR 2025A beautiful dragon formed on Hugo’s arm, the scar strategically worked into the design. He was intrigued and leaned in, seeing how the artist worked the minute bumps and ridges into the art.

I’ll have to keep this solution in mind, Hugo thought to himself.

Alvarez and Hugo removed their headsets.

“So, there you have it. In the past, I would have just told you about it, maybe shared a picture or two. We had video, but nobody who isn’t in medicine wants to watch a real surgery. I’ve decided this is perfect way to inform the patient without grossing them out.”

“Well, it worked for me. I don’t like that it has to be done, but I’m certainly comfortable that you know what you’re doing.”

Hugo and Alvarez shook hands, left to right, as Hugo’s right arm would remain in a sling until the surgery.

He looked down at his arm and thought: That damn new pick-and-place machine. If I hadn’t tried to be a hero — if I had just waited to get Joe to help push that crate up, this wouldn’t have happened.

Conference Day

VR 2025 - Vuzix at CES 2016Priyanka sits back in her chair and flips all the sensors on. She wants to be at the show as much as she can, without actually being there. Priyanka is actually attending at the end of a poll being carried by Leslie as she walks the floor. If the camera gets tussled though, Priyanka feels the bump in her chair.

“I want a close up of that one.”

Leslie, who is communicating to Priyanka via audio, is also seeing what she sees via AR glasses, kind of a window of reality in her own reality. That way Leslie can see where Priyanka is looking into to guide herself toward her manager’s interests.

“Yes, that one, please have them tell you more.”

Leslie looks around for a representative.

“While you are trying to get someone’s attention, can you flip around and point me at the booth, eye-high, so I can see what it looks like from there.”

Leslie accommodates. Priyanka is pleased that the logo and the new branding colors are easy to see, even from a couple of aisle over.

A voice says, “may I help you with something?”

Leslie says yes, and introduces Priyanka. The young woman in the booth addresses both Leslie and the camera as she explains the product.  Leslie and Priyanka ask a couple of questions, Priyanka as a disembodied voice communicates through small speakers at the edge of Leslie’s glasses as she switches from headphones to speaker.

Priyanka says “hold on, I’m going to take us vertical.” Leslie watches as the image of Priyanka’s first-person view disappears to be replaced by a map of the show flow from above, the booth locations and footprints aligned precisely with the actual booths.

The two women both thank the representative. Priyanka says “hold on, I’m going to take us vertical.” Leslie watches as the image of Priyanka’s first-person view disappears to be replaced by a map of the show flow from above, the booth locations and footprints aligned precisely with the actual booths.

“Over there,” says Priyanka. “Over there.” Pointing first, then highlighting a path that is rerouted immediately given congestion inputs from the floor sensors. The destination remains the same.

It’s another competitive product.

They circle back to their booth. Priyanka surreptitiously listens to several customers compare them to other products.

“I think we may have to rethink our rethink,” Priyanka suggests to Leslie. “We seem to be planning on making pretty much what everybody else is planning on making. Glad we didn’t send a big team. Our prep work is going to payoff, but it looks like we’ll need to work through some of the feature details over the next couple of weeks. We aren’t a ‘me too’ product company.

Leslie and Priyanka continue to explore the floor, looping in Edgar Martinez in editing, who is going to turn the little private expedition into a trip report that will help make the case for the need to innovate a little more before taking the new products to market.

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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