The Future of Work
Virtual reality technology in the context of work
It’s the start of a new day. For many Tokyoites, it is also the start of a new work week after three days of summer holidays.
Have you already arrived at the office after surviving rush hour or are you still hesitant to leave home because of the heat or drowsiness?
It’s a daily struggle to leave the comfort of your pyjamas and your freshly brewed cup of coffee to brave the work traffic. For many, this might be one of the reasons why they choose to work from home. After getting in the right mind-frame, they smartly begin today’s tasks on their laptop, in their own time.
These workers are generally known as digital nomads — working remotely by using telecommunications technologies. They independently choose the work space they want — it can be at home, in a coffee shop, switching locations on a local scale, nationally, internationally. They have more freedom to control their work environment to adapt to their needs, convenience and comfort.
This work style is becoming more and more well-accepted as a result of the growing gap between increasing demand for a larger workforce and the chronic problems brought about by urban development, such as traffic jams and congestion of public spaces which now occur in many cities. For example, a new report on remote work in the US shows that the time that employees work remotely is increasing, with more industries embracing this work style.
Currently, even more new solutions based on flexibility and adaptive work styles are being proposed to create a better quality work environment.
These improvements can be made possible with the development of technology: Beacon technologies, auto-facial access and remote devices reduce the distance between humans as well as between humans and their screens.
Working in Virtual Reality (VR) can be seen as the epitome of these advances.
Though the present technology is arguably still at the growth stage, there is no doubt that with the improvement of VR and AI applications, our life as well as work styles will be changed significantly. This is exemplified by the widespread interest in VR technology.
According to the 2016 Dell & Intel Future Workforce Study Global Report, 66% of global employees would be willing to use AR/VR products in their professional life, mostly as a training tool. Many high impact players have already dabbled in VR: Facebook, Google, Amazon and the New York Times are just a few notable examples. These contributions add visibility and credibility to the technology. Consequently, the projected economic impact of VR and AR is expected to amount up to a staggering 30bn US dollars by 2020, with key markets, such as China, booming… In the long run, it is not only the workplace itself (stay tuned for a more detailed analysis of VR against other office alternatives!), but also key modules such as market research with data visualization, advertising or prototype creation for research and development etc., that can be revolutionized by VR.
Yet, the fact that the most pervasive VR units are still Google Cardboards, the bottom of the VR product totem pole, shows that there is still a long way to go…
What could working in VR be like?
You might have seen it in movies… Wearing ultra-thin glasses to take part in remote virtual meetings just like in Kingsman: The Secret Service, interacting in real-time as if there is no restriction to time or space.
In the near future, we might be able to move anywhere we would like to work or otherwise interact with people. Work will not be restricted by the conventions of space anymore; the work environment as well as communication and interaction will become more flexible whilst staying controllable. Prototyping will be more palpable and less cost-intensive, advertising more immersive and interactive, travel time for meetings will be reduced to zero, industry-spanning collaboration and synergies can be fostered…
For the consumer, shopping will be an experience for all senses…
It is such a world that we are hoping to create.
Second Earth is devoted to improving the future of work to make it more worker-friendly, gentle to the environment and sustainable.The way we work will be defined by how we think and envision our work, not our circumstances.
We already have a blueprint for future work that we are envisaging, so watch out for more updates and don’t forget the most important thing:
Work hard, play harder!