The promise of virtual reality has been a staple of science fiction – think The Matrix or the holodeck from Star Trek – an exciting yet elusive vision. While we are nowhere near having a holodeck in our homes, VR has the potential to be big. Right now, most applications focus on gaming, but that’s just a starting point. I see a possibility where VR could become a professional tool with practical applications for engineering, the travel industry, sports, education, and collaboration.
Here at Cisco, we started thinking about the possibilities for VR in the business world – and ways to integrate that with our best-in-class collaboration technology. People are using VR for rich, fully immersive, gaming experiences. And naturally, as avid gamers themselves, our Cisco Emerge team started thinking about the practical applications of VR, specifically in meetings using the Cisco Spark platform.
Cisco Spark is built around the concept of virtual spaces, where all your work lives, like messaging, files, whiteboards, etc. It is designed to allow people to work and meet together, effectively, no matter where they are. And VR headsets let you go virtually into new worlds, rooms, and spaces. You have new ways for people to connect, even though they are thousands of miles apart. Bringing these two together has the potential to create an amazing work experience.
Which is why I am excited to introduce Cisco Spark in VR, a new experiment with the potential to improve team collaboration. It is available for download today from the Oculus Store.
According to the Oculus store description of this app:
Virtual Reality offers new ways for people to be present within the same room even though they are thousands of miles apart. With certain work streams moving into VR, such as design & content creation, the Cisco Spark in VR concept is the latest example of how Cisco is experimenting with collaboration tools that work the way people work. People are now able to interact, collaborate and be together in ways never seen before. With the Cisco Spark in VR app, we are testing how people can start to collaborate in a virtual world.
**REQUIRES A CISCO SPARK ACCOUNT. SIGN UP FOR FREE AT WWW.CISCOSPARK.COM**
This app is a beta and an experiment offered by Cisco and is not considered a final product.
Well, so much for all the glowing corporate-speak. I created a Cisco Spark/WebEx account using the website, then downloaded the client software to try it out. The first time I tried to get in, it got stuck at the “Cisco Spark: Logging in” screen. I had to close the app using the Windows Task Manager, and then I tried restarting the software, to no effect. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get past that “Logging in” screen at the starting point:
So, I’m afraid that I have to give Cisco Spark in VR a one-star review in the Oculus Store. It’s definitely not ready for use yet. I’ll try it again in 6 to 12 months, to see if anything has changed. I’ll leave you with a brief promotional video. It looks great—if I could only get the damn thing to run!
Also, the URL given in this YouTube video gives a 404 error—page not found.