Will AR replace the physical meeting space?

The advancement of Augmented Reality (AR) devices, like Apple’s Vision Pro, and other emerging technologies are raising questions about the future of the physical meeting space, as online collaboration takes another huge leap forward.

The question is what does that mean for end-users and the AV industry, and how can we manage that effectively as remote collaboration technology continues to develop?

People first, technology second

It can’t be denied that the combination of an AR device with AI support can create a realistic and highly engaging collaboration environment for those joining remotely. It further reinforces the ability to work from home and encourages a level of meeting parity for remote participants which has, since hybrid working, been a real concern.  And with embedded audio, speakers and cameras, we could see the traditional integration workspace left behind.

A focus on emerging technologies that make remote collaboration an effective (and positive) experience could also mean that people become more physically disconnected in work communities which presents a challenge for businesses and employees alike.

The steps businesses should take to avoid disconnect

Businesses will need to give AR devices careful attention, to decide how the adoption of these consumer (no doubt prosumer, in time) devices will impact company culture, relationships and return-to-office initiatives.

As an industry, we should be adapting to the evolving technological landscape and the changing preferences of consumers. However, the way we do that is likely to be less about the technology and more about enabling collaboration and ensuring first-class user experiences, responding to those initial pain points and having a user strategy in place.

Businesses need to consider support models for roll-out, asset management, training and adoption. The need for a structured managed service approach will be essential for end user support, hardware management, data collection and concierge assistance. And with the impact on physical spaces of new technological developments like the Vision Pro, we might want to consider how we futureproof our office spaces to make them attractive destinations and ensure that returning to the office provides valuable and relevant interactions that can’t be replicated with virtual reality.