December 8, 2021
Multi-user feature in Virtual Reality
A great education is a solid base for a prosperous future. Human beings start learning at a very young age and this journey doesn’t stop once a certain level of school education has been completed. We all learn all the time by reading, watching videos, playing games, talking to other people, training or simply completing tasks at work. It is part of our design; we learn as long as we live. In a couple of previous blogs, we’ve discussed VR training. This time we will go deeper into this life-changing technology and discover the amazing multi-user feature of VR; a technology that exists today, right now, and could lead us to a brighter future.
Multi-user feature could be the one technology that will enable brighter future.
The multi-user feature
The multi-user feature is the key to enabling social interactions in virtual environments. This feature allows multiple users to join a project using their headsets, thereby interacting in VR while still working on the same project. Although VR-related social interactions have gained a lot of notice in the media in recent months, partly because of the metaverse, this does not mean that such interactions can only occur within one.
As an example, a couple of such virtual environments, focused on educating, training, and creating collaboration between users, have already been tested. These kinds of innovations really do make life much easier, especially in unpredictable times such as those we live in today. The multi-user feature addresses three common issues in any collaboration:
- It eliminates the need to travel to a certain place to attend an event,
- It streamlines review sessions, and
- It takes communication within the app to a whole new level.
VR uses numerous sensors, placed all around the room and built into the VR headset the user wears, which capture even the smallest movements and interpret them in the virtual world. If users are wearing devices such as Quest 2, their input devices are the controllers; in more advanced cases, a special glove can be used to track movements and copy them directly into the virtual space. Today the whole virtual world is easily accessible and stored on the cloud, unlike previously when it was only possible to use this technology if both users were in the same room, connected to the same server.
Multi-user feature allows multiple users to join a project using their headsets. This way they can interact in VR and work on the same project together.
Multiple ways to embrace multi-user features in your corporate culture
The greatest benefit of the multi-user feature in VR is the ability to collaborate with your team during operational training, discussions or working on a brand-new innovation. This can be done while the users are in different physical places, perhaps even at home. Given that multiple users can interact with the same object, the significance of multi-user technology in VR is unquestionably vast, especially for the oil and gas industry, where a team of operators might be practicing safe shutdown and preparations for good maintenance. The whole procedure could be practiced to perfection to enable the team to complete the task flawlessly in reality. It is interesting that there could be similar applications in healthcare, where several surgeons could practice how to proceed with the most complicated surgeries, such as heart transplants.
Today on the market there are various applications offering features like voice chat, spatial audio, virtual worlds and many more.
There are various applications on the market that offer features such as voice chat, virtual worlds, spatial audio, and the ability to create your own avatar, share files, collaborate in real-time and share desktops. While most of these apps use controllers to navigate through the virtual space, the search is still on for those that will perfectly utilize the power of hand tracking.
Few, but potentially significant, downsides
There are few downsides to the multi-user feature in VR if the technology is used responsibly. Developing the ability to be virtually present in a specific place during the pandemic might be the best thing ever in terms of the health and safety of people, but the question remains as to what will happen once the drama is over. If people continue to swap real-life interactions for virtual ones, society could be facing another crisis, this time a social one. Now, to address the one potential issue people are really sensitive about, privacy. Because of the way the whole system is built and the amount of data it shares with numerous data collectors to run smoothly, some might see it as a major threat to privacy. With the development of this technology, companies are taking privacy issues seriously, both by creating security procedures and protocols, and also by putting in place punishments for breaches of these protocols in order to prevent harmful, illegal or suspicious activities.
Although the downsides exist and they can be dangerous, the most important thing is that if used responsibly, multi-user features can greatly enhance our lives.
Last but not the least, there might be moral issues, where people who spend a significant amount of time in the virtual world might take their virtual power too far. We’re all aware of the fact that we do unspeakable things in video games but would never repeat such actions in reality. With that said, the moral barrier between the virtual and real worlds might become blurred in some minds, which could contribute to a negative state of mind. However, with the proper supervision, such extreme cases could be easily controlled.
Speaking of the oil and gas industry, we believe we are on safe ground here. Our industry is fairly specialized and the applications we use to train our workforce don’t give them superhero abilities. This is why we at Linde Engineering strongly believe that the multi-user feature is an amazing tool that can improve team spirit, speed up the rate of learning and strengthen the confidence of the workers at our plants.