From the beginning, we have eagerly championed Glue as a way to boost productivity across dispersed teams. But as remote working accelerates during the COVID-19 pandemic, our mission feels more important than ever.

Happily, immersive virtual collaboration has never been more attainable than it is now, with recent technological advances and increasingly favorable economics putting our platform within reach of enterprises everywhere. In this post, I take a closer look at some of the trends that are driving adoption.

The technology: new hardware delivers untethered immersion

To start with, a lot has happened in the world of virtual reality hardware in the past two years. The general direction has been towards more compact HMDs, higher resolution screens for clearer details and text, and a wider field of view for a more immersive experience. The improved specs have brought performance to a level that provides an excellent foundation for a variety of VR applications, not least virtual collaboration in Glue.

But arguably the biggest development is the arrival of high-quality standalone HMDs like the Oculus Quest 2, which starts shipping on October 13. Even lighter than its predecessor and with improved resolution (50% more pixels per eye), the Quest 2 offers users the untethered freedom to move around. “The Oculus Quest 2 improves on the original in every way,” Engadget wrote in its review, highlighting the device’s sharper screens, more comfortable fit and more powerful hardware. “It’s truly the one VR headset that can do it all.”

Elsewhere, The Guardian extolled the Quest 2’s “console-like simplicity” and called the device “genuinely great”, while Pocket-lint noted its improved faceplate design that “appears to let less light in…resulting in a much more immersive experience.”

We tend to agree as we also did our own testing with the Quest 2 with great results. It is truly taking the virtual collaboration to the next level.

The economics: greater affordability unlocks the business case

How much does a good headset set you back? Well, not much, it seems. The enterprise version of the Oculus Quest 2 costs just $799, which is less than the lowest-spec Apple iPhone 11. And as a standalone device, no other hardware is required. With the Quest 2, businesses have a new, more affordable and low-friction way for their employees to use the Glue platform.

The changing workplace: the need for richer collaboration between remote teams

Such developments will be helpful for organizations looking to navigate the biggest workplace challenge in a generation. The practice of remote working is already ingrained in modern business culture, reflecting the spread of agile working methods and enterprises’ desire to access a wider talent pool. But in the COVID world, the trend only looks to be accelerating.

Globally, some 69% of CEOs polled by KPMG this summer said they expect to reduce their office footprint in the future. Among Nordic CEOs, the number is even higher – at 92% – reflecting strong support for remote working. As the Washington Post said recently, “the coronavirus has abruptly changed the way we work — and some of those changes may be forever”.

But the trend towards more remote working also raises questions about how dispersed teams can continue to be creative and innovative. Another recent survey from BCG found that while most newly-remote workers reported increased productivity on individual tasks in the early months of the pandemic, a majority also said they became less productive on collaborative ones.

Access to the right remote collaboration tools will be crucial in the future of work. Many forms of collaborative work, such as daily scrums, workshops and brainstorming, are hard to replicate using video conferencing applications because they require frictionless interactions between participants. This is why Glue has focused on harnessing VR to virtually mimic the experience people have when they go into real-world meetings.

Glue is ready for prime time

The pandemic has catalyzed a deeper discussion about where and how we should work, which plays into virtual collaboration. From our customer engagements, we’re seeing that enterprises are today much more inclined to embrace the idea of building virtual extensions of their workplaces than a year ago. Organizations recognize that dispersed teams thousands of miles apart need access to the right virtual spaces to maximize creativity, innovation and productivity.

As a fully-featured platform, Glue is ready to support businesses with secure, scalable and customizable virtual environments for a variety of remote meetings. To enable an optimal experience, Glue leverages advances in cloud architecture to enable real-time collaboration with low-bandwidth data transfers: a standard 4G/LTE connection is sufficient for a smooth user experience.

Glue is ready for prime time, The technology pieces are all in place, while the new Oculus Quest 2 is further unlocking the possibilities of immersive virtual collaboration through Glue. We encourage businesses to explore the benefits of Glue at a time when effective remote collaboration is needed more than ever.

You can request a demo of Glue here.