Spinview: A Brief Introduction (Yet Another YARTVRA)

Yawn. Here we go again…

YARTVRA: Yet Another Remote Teamwork Virtual Reality App. 

And yet another boring, cookie-cutter corporate website where it appears the owners haven’t even bothered to swap out the lifeless, generic default clip art. And yet another platform which is only nebulously described by its company:

You can use Spinview’s social VR space to immerse your team in a real-world learning environment for effective and engaging training without them leaving their desks, let alone their city. In our environment up to 8 people can focus and communicate with each-other in real time. They can work together, train together, research, plan and more. You can create a workspace designed to encourage a culture of sharing without the cost and time taken to get people physically in the same office. With Spinview, 8 heads can easily be better than one.

Again, absolutely zero technical details of their platform, and no mention of which VR hardware is supported. Just a lot of handwaving, and a cookie-cutter contact form, complete with more uninspiring clipart and vague suggestions of possible corporate uses for the Spinview platform:

VRFocus reported in November 2018 that the company acquired Agority, another social VR platform I had never heard of before:

Spinview, a company that concentrates on VR for business use has purchased immersive social platform Agority as part of its continued expansion.

The aim of the purchase is to offer businesses a new way to communicate and collaborate, letting teams inhabit a virtual area together, even if they are miles apart.

And Spinview’s corporate blog has not been updated since October 2018 (no news of the acquisition). Since then, radio silence. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Spinview, like all the other YARTVRA I have covered on this blog, is having some trouble signing up paying customers. The list of companies who want to sell VR products supporting remote workteams is getting rather ridiculously long (you can see a list of other YARTVRA platforms in this earlier blogpost).

Let me say this again: High Fidelity has already decided that there’s not enough corporate interest in a remote workteams app to continue operations, and they are essentially shutting down as of January 15th, 2020. If a company that has raised $72.9 million in venture capital and has an actual working platform can’t make it happen, companies that can’t even bother to keep their websites up-to-date and demonstrate to their potential customers that they have any sort of deliverable product are doomed to failure.

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Flowtropolis: A Brief Introduction

Flowtropolis is YARTVRA: Yet Another Remote Teamwork Virtual Reality App. (Yes, I am still trying to get the acronym to catch on!)

On their website, there’s lots of handwaving about the benefits of remote teamwork and various applications of virtual reality to the office, but precious little detail about any actual products. According to their website:

We are currently building the Flowtropolis platform and will soon open up for our wider community to take it for a spin during the fall of 2019. Please hold on, it´s going to be worth it!

Well, autumn has come and gone, and there’s still no concrete details on what this platform is all about. Absolutely zero information on what VR headsets it supports, for example. The company does offer a link to a form to fill out, for customers interested in what they call “co-creation opportunities”. Hmm.

It all sounds rather suspiciously like “contact us with your ideas, and we will build it for you”, as opposed to an actual deliverable. If you’re interested, you can contact Flowtropolis, but be sure to also check out my list of other YARTVRA platforms before you make any decisions.

This is still a nascent, rapidly-evolving marketplace, and High Fidelity has already decided that there’s not yet enough corporate interest for it to market a product for remote workteams. I suspect that we are at least a generation away from the more widespread use of remote workteams in VR/AR/MR/XR at most corporations. Most companies still expect their employees to commute to a central, shared office space to do their work.

Mixtive’s VR Conference: A Brief Introduction to a Social VR App for Meetings

Mixtive is a Swedish company which has partnered with Telia Company and Sony Mobile and create a 3D meeting service called, simply, VR Conference. Yep, another example of YARTVRA: Yet Another Remote Teamwork Virtual Reality App.

Here’s a few videos of the platform in action:

Note how awkward the hands on these avatars look! Using Telia VR ConferenceSony 3D Creator, and Shadow Avatars, users can create a 3D avatar that resembles them, although the results do have that creepy Uncanny Valley aspect to them (there’s no audio on these two videos):

According to their website, Mixtive’s VR Conference app supports the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets, as well as iOS and Android apps. You’ll have to contact Mixtive via their website to obtain a copy of the software to test, and to get pricing information.

Arthur: A Brief Introduction

Arthur is another social VR platform I discovered via Immersivt’s report, from a German company called Arthur Technologies GmbH. It is YARTVRA: Yet Another Remote Teamwork Virtual Reality App. (And yes, I am going to keep using that acronym in hopes that it catches on among the rest of the population!). There’s a fifty-second promo video (no audio), to give you an idea of what the platform looks like:

Frankly, Arthur’s avatars leave a lot to be desired. To avoid having to rig eye movements, the avatars all wear black sunglasses like Corey Hart (“I wear my sunglasses at night…”). To avoid having to rig the mouth, they all wear wraparound black microphones that cover the avatars’ mouths so closely, they look as if they are being gagged! And the avatars’ arms fade out to controllers instead of hands. The avatars look extremely off-putting, and it’s a definite strike against Arthur.

Also, there’s really not a lot of information about Arthur on their website. Arthur is quick to tick off the benefits of remote teamwork: lower carbon emissions, less staff commuting, financial savings.

There’s really nothing here to make Arthur stand out from the crowd, as far as I can tell. It looks as though you have to get in touch with the company via their website in order to try out the software, and there’s no pricing information available. So, if you’re looking for a social VR platform to support remote workteams, you can take a look at it. I will be adding it to my comprehensive list of social VR/virtual worlds, along with all the other YARTVRAs.