Guided VR Co-Viewing: Why This New InstaVR Module is the Future of VR Collaboration

The world of VR is changing rapidly. There’s new content, new hardware, and new VR enthusiasts being created almost every single day. For the last 18 months, we’ve been incrementally improving the web-based InstaVR platform to make VR creation simpler, faster, and more effective. Every so often though, we introduce features or functionality that are not just an incremental improvement, but a giant leap forward.

Guided VR Co-Viewing is that leap.

To date, co-viewing has been possible for VR experiences if you’re in the same room as the person with the headset, and they’re either mirroring their Gear VR/Daydream to a tv via Chromecast, or have their Vive/Rift plugged into a tv. But that’s not guided co-viewing.

The two features that are most revolutionary about our Guided Co-Viewing module are that:

  1. You can co-view the same VR experience remotely. Either one-on-one or one-to-many, you can view the same VR experience simultaneously without having to be in the same physical proximity. You can have employees or clients all over the globe watching the VR experience at the same time, communicating easily as the VR scenes are synced up.
  2. You can manage the VR experience of your audience in real-time. Meaning as you co-view, you can change the angle the viewers see from, or add a hotspot on the fly, or take the users from scene-to-scene. All from your InstaVR web-based Console, as the administrator.

As you might guess, this radically changes VR from a more solitary experience to one fostering communication and collaboration. VR becomes practical at an enterprise level in a way traditional apps simply haven’t been to date, extending the value of VR.

Below we’ll take a look at some of the most popular use cases for Guided VR Co-Viewing we’ve discussed with clients.

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VR for Training

InstaVR has been a huge champion of using our VR platform for creating training applications. And training is probably the most fully realized VR use case for enterprises, presently. But there are some limitations to using 360 media for training purposes — namely that the users are immersed into the VR world alone, to do training in a solitary manner.

Not anymore!

With Guided VR Co-Viewing, a trainer can simultaneously lead all users of the VR app to see the same thing, at the same time, regardless of geography. The trainer can listen to questions or feedback, and adjust what trainees are seeing on the fly. The VR experience truly becomes interactive with Guided VR Co-Viewing.

For example, with the division of the Federal government using InstaVR-created apps… a trainer in Washington, DC can walk new employees in a field office in Kansas through their first day on the job virtually. The say 20 employees in Kansas will all view the same thing simultaneously. But if a user has a question on something they see, the trainer can adjust the view angle or highlight something using a Hotspot, and all users of that headset will dynamically see that change made in the VR app. That creates tremendous value as VR apps are no longer static — they’re able to be changed on the fly.

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VR for Sales & Marketing

One of the most important facets of sales and marketing is cutting through the noise to create memorable experiences for potential customers. VR applications do just that, creating a unique multi-sensory experience that can make products or services come alive. Guided Co-Viewing takes that idea, and makes VR even more dynamic and interesting, allowing the marketers/sales people to tailor the VR experience in real-time to their audiences needs.

For instance, our client Hello Kitty currently uses our VR platform to generate virtual tours of their Puroland amusement park, to be used on the Gear VR at global conferences for travel agents. In one part of the app, Hello Kitty herself takes the user on a virtual walking tour of the park. But what if the viewer has a question about something they saw?

In normal VR, the user would wait until the VR experience was over, remove the headset, and ask the question of the person representing the company. The problem their is two-fold: the person to answer the question has to physically be right in front of the person and the answer will just be verbal. With Guided VR Co-Viewing, the person administering the Virtual Tour to the audience can be thousands of miles away, but still seeing exactly what the VR user is seeing, making understanding the question easier. But more importantly, the administrator can adjust the view angle or switch to another scene in real-time, visually showing the answer to the person while they’re still in the headset. It’s dynamic and more compelling than waiting to answer after the headset is removed.

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VR for Real Estate

Using 360 media to create home tours has been one of the more popular use cases for VR to date. It’s a great way to showcase a home, without the potential buyer having to be physically present. The home purchaser may be geographically remote, or they may want to look at a large number of homes in VR to narrow the list to see in person. The only downside to this approach is the real estate agent generally has to sit idly by, versus their more interactive tour for in-person walk-throughs.

Guided VR Co-Viewing makes the real estate agent active, engaging, and more valuable in the VR home tour. For one thing, the real estate agent can see exactly what their client sees, answering questions in real-time. Secondly, you can have the listing agent administer the VR home tour from the InstaVR console, since presumably they’ll know more about the home than the buyer’s agents. This means a seller’s agent can show a house to 1, 2 or 100 people all at the same time, answering questions and dynamically changing the tour to meet the interests of the potential buyers.

More Guided VR Co-Viewing Use Cases:

VR for Education — Makes the VR apps interactive, with the teacher leaded a guided learning lesson. Also allows for guest lecturers from geographic far away locations.

VR for Entertainment — Since the administrator can see and respond in real-time, they can give what amounts to an interactive VR experience, making the experience dynamic.

VR for Hiring — Toyota’s office park tour built using our platform is really cool. But what if they took that same experience, and had employees from different divisions remotely walk potential recruits through the VR tour, answering questions and pointing things out the same way you would during an in-person visit to Toyota’s offices? I can envision a class of 30 MBA students at Harvard being able to go on a virtual walking tour of Toyota’s Southern California office park, all with the Harvard students not leaving the classroom, and the Toyota reps not having to fly to Massachusetts.

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Conclusion

We’re just scratching the surface with the above use cases for Guided VR Co-Viewing. The module really does take the premise of VR, and increase the ROI of it by making it dynamic and interactive. Co-Viewing also takes the one downside to VR — that it’s solitary in a headset — and makes it communal.

If you’re a Pro user, or are considering an upgrade, we’d love to discuss the benefits of adding Guided Co-Viewing to your VR applications. Reach out to our sales team now and we can discuss how you can make your VR even better!


Originally published at www.instavr.co on October 19, 2017.

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