During the pandemic, video conferencing became the go-to for many companies, as work moved from in-person to online. Millions of organizations turned to the video conferencing app in a time of need and Zoom delivered a temporary solution. However, that temporary solution began to sour very quickly, as people at home began feeling drained from tired of sitting at a desk watching a 2-dimensional screen. Many users missed the elements of in-person interactions, such as shaking hands, hugging, and having a conversation on the side. It became apparent that video conferencing was a great tool for smaller groups, but for larger groups, people spent much of the calls apologizing for talking over someone else.
Virtual reality manufacturers and app developers saw a unique opportunity. Apps like ENGAGE XR and headset manufacturers like Meta realized that the worlds and digital environments they were already building could give everyone an opportunity to experience the elements of in person communication that Zoom lacked. Haptic feedback on a controller allowed us to feel someone shaking our hand, and advanced avatar technology in ENGAGE allowed us to create digital versions of ourselves that we could use to enter these beautiful and immersive environments.
The apps and headsets that brought us into these environments continued on, making many professionals realize that not only was virtual reality a positive alternative to Zoom, it could create complete experiences, allow better communication remotely, and allow users to live out real life scenarios from anywhere with an internet connection.
- User Experience: ENGAGE is a dynamic platform in comparison to its video conferencing counterparts. The most obvious difference is that video conferencing only offers flat, 2D screen-based experiences, whereas virtual platforms such as ENGAGE offer a style of communication that allows you to move in a 3D space. This mirrors the way in which we communicate and interact in the real world. Once people are logged in as avatars, there is a sense of proximity and presence that cannot be achieved with screen conferencing.
- Features: ENGAGE also offers spatial audio. One of the biggest drawbacks of video conferencing is that multiple people cannot talk at the same time. This leads to people talking over each other. When spatial audio is active, the volume of a person’s voice reduces as you move further away from them. When you get beyond a set distance from the person, you can no longer hear them. This feature makes smaller break-out sessions within one location easy to coordinate. When combined with a sense of presence and avatar social cues, users can have much more natural conversations.
- Customization: ENGAGE has the potential to offer both private spaces, where companies can host workshops and conferences internally, and public spaces for customer-facing events. These spaces can range from ready-made locations, with the only addition being company branding, to unique environments that are created specifically for the purpose. In comparison to video conferencing, this offering gives a more molded experience for employees, customers, and the wider population.
- Cost: Similar to many video conferencing platforms, ENGAGE uses a subscription service pricing model that ranges from a simple-fixed range per user to more complex tiers based on number of users.
- Security Audits and GDPR Complaint: ENGAGE undergoes regular security audits and is ISO 27001 certified as well as GDPR compliant.
- Secure Access: Our platform requires user authentication to gain access to the event and will be more secure than those that can be joined instantly by an accessible link.
- Event Set Up: There are multiple options with our event setup that give the user the ability to keep their meetings secure. Hosts can make the event private to only those within your network, have final approval over the guestlist, and password-protect their events. All of these key features help create more security than shareable links provided by many video conferencing platforms.
- Privacy Features: ENGAGE has the ability for hosts to enable personal space boundaries for users within a session. When enabled, if two users enter close proximity, their avatars become invisible to each other. Features like this can result in a better experience for all.
- User Roles and Session Moderation: ENGAGE also has the ability for event organizers to have moderator permissions within the event. This ensures that only authorized personnel control the events and have the ability to remove users if they are disrupting others or the event. Platforms may also offer technical support for bigger events. It is beneficial for bigger or public events to have someone very familiar with the platform moderating for disturbance.
- Platform Guides: Platforms should provide feature overviews and provide advice on best practices. Research these ahead of choosing a platform and see which features best fit the purpose of your event.