- Vision Pro is the latest tech from Apple, and it has powerful augmented reality capabilities.
- It has many features that can potentially transform hybrid meetings, such as making everyone in the meeting appear as though they’re in the same room.
- Its superior audio and video specs eliminate the frustrating technical issues that plague hybrid meetings.
Apple’s Vision Pro is a spatial computing headset that combines physical and digital environments to create an immersive augmented reality. This technology opens up opportunities for improving the hybrid meeting experience, which is fraught with challenges ranging from poor sound quality to inequitable experiences between remote and in-office workers.
Challenge 1: Equity of participation and recognition
A traditional hybrid meeting has in-office employees meeting together in a room and remote employees attending via a video conferencing platform. This setup comes with challenges.
In-person colleagues are more likely able to benefit from the camaraderie that physical proximity engenders, while remote employees may feel excluded from the trust and culture that in-person attendance can build between colleagues.
In-person attendees also tend to dominate these hybrid conversations, leaving remote participants feeling ignored and unable to contribute.
Some companies address this equity issue by having in-person employees attend hybrid meetings from an isolated location within the office, such as a phone booth or office pod. This ensures that everyone has the same meeting experience; however, it comes with its own issues, such as subjecting all users to technical difficulties like audio hiccups and video lag time.
Vision Pro solution
Vision Pro uses augmented reality to create a lifelike meeting environment. Whether users are attending from home or the office, the headset projects their life-size image to the other attendees, making it appear as though they’re in the same space together. This allows a hybrid meeting to function like an in-person meeting for everyone, erasing the inequities that typically plague mixed meetings.
Challenge 2: Miscommunications due to a lack of nonverbal cues
Nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions are essential to human communication. They convey just as much information as the words people use by providing additional context, and they can be difficult to see or interpret in hybrid meetings.
For instance, a deadpan delivery of a sarcastic comment can come across as serious to someone who can’t see that the speaker is rolling their eyes as they say it. Situations like this can lead to misunderstandings that negatively affect collaboration and morale.
Solutions such as having a stationary camera in the room or one that tracks movement may not suffice. Non-moving cameras capture a fixed point in the room, so hybrid attendees can’t always see the person that’s speaking or even make sense of who is coming and going. Movement-tracking cameras aim to fix this, but they tend to lag behind real-time actions, so remote viewers are ultimately left with the same incomplete experience.
Vision Pro solution
During hybrid meetings, Vision Pro can create life-size projections of everyone on the call and interpret physical movements such as hand gestures and eye movements. This allows for more precise communication since remote participants can see who is speaking and the nonverbal cues they use.
Vision Pro can even make it clear when a meeting attendee is looking at you and wants to interact, which simulates real-life interactions in a way that meeting room cameras can’t provide. Overall, the Apple headset brings communication clarity to hybrid meetings and allows users more control over their experiences.
Challenge 3: Technical issues with audio and video quality
Technical issues are the bane of hybrid meetings, both for remote and in-person attendees. Audio tends to be unbalanced, making some participants impossible to hear while others seem to be shouting. Audio hiccups are also a problem, leaving attendees to puzzle out what someone is saying because they can only catch every other word.
Video also leaves much to be desired in hybrid meetings, with issues such as grainy quality that makes it difficult to interpret nonverbal cues.
These issues can lead to issues ranging from miscommunications to digital fatigue. Employees begin to dread attending hybrid meetings, whether they’re joining remotely or in person, because it adds unnecessary stress and confusion to their work days.
Vision Pro solution
The Apple headset offers exceptional audio and video quality that eliminates the frustration of unbalanced audio and fuzzy displays. In addition to crystal clear audio, Vision Pro also provides spatial audio. This means it projects sounds within the environment rather than being limited to a right or left speaker, so a person’s voice seems like it’s coming directly from their position.
The Immersive Video feature delivers crisp, 4K-quality video and creates life-size personas of everyone in the meeting. It conveys hand gestures and eye movements in real-time and uses the natural light and shadows within a person’s real environment to make it easy to understand an object's distance and scale.
Combined, these audio and video capabilities remove common issues that employees have with hybrid meetings, allowing them to function just like in-person meetings.
More workplace opportunities with Vision Pro
Improving hybrid meetings is just the start of what the Vision Pro headset can do for the workplace. Density Workplace Innovation Lead Nellie Hayat predicts that Vision Pro will become as ubiquitous in the office as a laptop.
The modern workplace has become a product that must suit employees’ preferences in order to compete for top talent. The headset frees workers from the confines of a desk, and its spatial computing capabilities allow users to transform their digital workspaces into whatever best suits their needs in the moment. This ability to create a custom experience could be a huge draw for employees, setting the headset up as an essential tool for recruitment and retention.