Working through the Metaverse isn’t cool, at least for now

metaverse It has become a new product explored by many companies, and in various interactions with the public, it is not limited to leisure, games and content consumption. Meta and Microsoft already have advanced solutions to explore remote work in a virtual environment and have made their platforms public, from avatars in Teams to Horizon Workrooms.

But not everything is flowers. Ironically, a recent study by researchers from several universities in collaboration with Microsoft Research suggests that using VR to access work environments in the Metaverse does not necessarily benefit users and companies. on the contrary.

Horizon Workrooms is Mark Zuckerberg’s bet on virtual work environments (Credit: Disclosure/Meta)

The research (warning, PDF) was carried out by the University of Cambridge, UK, the University of Applied Sciences in Coburg, Germany, and the University of Primorska, Slovenia, as well as by Microsoft’s Applied Research Unit. The experiment had 16 participants for two weeks, with observations divided into the following parts:

In the first week, users used regular PCs to work remotely through curved monitors to perform tasks; second, they started using Meta Quest 2 VR goggles to access the Metaverse from (apparently) Meta, formerly Facebook. In both cases, the keyboard provided was a Logitech K380 with a built-in trackpad, and the remote access tool was Chrome Remote Desktop.

According to the people who led the study, no one currently knows what the consequences of long-term use of VR devices are for telecommuting, in which users have to spend several hours a day with the device over a period of several days. weeks, in order to perform the tasks they do today in the Metaverse in a non-virtual environment.

Precisely to test this effect, in both cases, the volunteers followed their normal work rhythm while working 5 days a week, 8 hours a day with a 45-minute lunch break. For those who see the Metaverse as the “future of remote work,” the results are far from encouraging.

According to the team’s study, which classified the results as “expected,” the use of virtual reality in telecommuting was worse in almost every way than the traditional method of using a monitor.

Metaverse x Productivity

Some participants had to stop using the Meta Quest 2 immediately after the first day because they suffered from nausea, migraines and anxiety, although some of them overcame those symptoms during the experiment.

In the first image, the user is working remotely in the traditional way; in 2, she is wearing a Meta Quest 2 VR headset (Image credit: Coburg University of Applied Sciences/University of Cambridge/University of Primorska in Slovenia/Microsoft Research)/ metaverse

In the first image, the user works remotely in the traditional way; on the 2nd, she wears a Meta Quest 2 VR headset (Image credit: Coburg University of Applied Sciences / University of Cambridge / University of Primorye Slovenia / Microsoft Research)

Others have raised a condition called “simulator sickness” that affects people who experience virtual activities in first person and is not limited to VR headsets; some people don’t support FPS games because they feel very bad.

In personal assessments provided by study participants, all rated VR kits as a poorer experience than monitors; 42% felt more stressed while using the Metaverse, 19% felt more anxious, and 11% reported other negative influences. Still, the Meta Quest 2 saw a 48% increase in usage time compared to a week with a monitor mounted at a greater distance.

Finally, the feel-good mark during Meta Quest 2 was below 20% and productivity through the Metaverse was 16% lower, which is clearly going to happen in the big picture.

Of course, there are some warn. First and foremost is the required hardware, many of these experts consider the use of a VR headset to be a primitive solution, but in defending the study, the goal was to simulate a standard work environment, so it made sense to use the device The masses and companies buy relatively affordable rather than more modern and comfortable gadgets.

Second, this is only the first study, and while it observes a reasonable period of using the metaverse in working relationships, it should not be seen as a definitive answer to anything. To be sure, more research is needed to assess whether adopting a virtual work environment would be a fruitful solution, and results may and will vary, with more data peer-reviewed and confronted.

Additionally, this research is a warning to those keen to work on the Metaverse that it may not be the best idea for the company, at least at first.

refer to

Bina, V. Wait. people. Quantifying the effects of a week of work in VR. arXiv (Cornell University), 11 pages, June 8, 2022. Available here.

Source: ExtremeTech

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