Accenture might be redefining “work from home”, find out how!
It is a universally accepted fact that we all have been struggling with working from home. Be it a struggle to balance work and personal life or just feeling lonely because of a lack of physical interaction, it has been a tough two years for a lot of us! All of this begs the question: Is the metaverse (or something similar to it) the answer to our need for a physical office?
Sure, Facebook might be one of the companies popularizing augmented/virtual realities (AR/VR), but they aren’t the only ones experimenting with such technologies. One of the companies out there trying to make remote work a more enjoyable experience is Accenture. To make that happen, Accenture collaborated with Microsoft and Altspace VR to create the Nth Floor. Let’s take a look at what the Nth Floor is and what it means for the future of remote working.
A peek into the Nth Floor
The Nth Floor is a mixed reality experience that can be used to bring a geographically distributed workforce together for coffee meetups, meetings, training sessions and everything in between.
This is more than just a Zoom call; it is like actually being in the same room with your co-workers. It’s kind of like being in a video game with them. If you take a look at Nth Floor’s introductory video, you see individual characters representing each person at the office. Workers can literally (or virtually) enter the space by putting on virtual reality (VR) headsets. Within this virtual space, they can play videos or even conduct presentations.
The characters representing each employee are capable of moving and looking around their virtual office. Besides that, they can also point at virtual screens and gesture to their presentations just like in real life.
How will this affect our lives?
Okay, so this sounds like great news for Accenture employees who will get to use this on a daily basis, but how does this affect you and me? Nearly 80% of all workers today say that they would recommend working remotely to their friends. With such a high demand for work-from-home jobs, it is only natural that offices would want to create comfortable spaces for their employees.
Microsoft, one of Accenture’s collaborators, has recently announced a new technology called Microsoft Mesh, which allows people to use virtual avatars instead of static images for video conferencing. This will make conferences more engaging so that the team will not feel awkward or self-conscious being on camera. Microsoft says that Mesh will be accessible to anyone, from those with smartphones or laptops to those using special VR headsets.
Mesh will help Accenture’s Nth Floor operate effectively. On what the Nth Floor experience feels like, Katie Kelly, Principal Product Manager at Microsoft working on Mesh, says, “After I’ve formed a relationship with you, I know your avatar, I go into an immersive space that maybe has 20 other people in it. I’m going to see you in a corner and go, ‘Hey,’ and be able to go have a conversation.”
While we might not experience the same feeling of turning to a co-worker and saying “Hey”, once the Mesh actually becomes operational, we will all at least get a taste of the metaverse.
Header image courtesy of Accenture’s YouTube Channel