As the name suggests, collaboration tools play an important role in helping organisations bring together their teams for working towards a common goal in a more effective manner. We can also call it the project management app, which helps individuals work together in a meaningful way. Different collaboration tools come with different features but ultimately work towards fostering communication and creativity among the employees of an institution. Various features of a collaboration tool might involve the following-
- Text messaging for exchanging creative ideas.
- Project management collaboration for assigning tasks to team members.
- Video calling for face-to-face interaction.
- Document and file sharing for effective collaboration between various teammates.
- Allow real-time collaboration while saving time and effort.
The adoption of collaboration tools has vastly increased after the arrival of COVID-19 because offices were closed as a result of the lockdown and people were forced to work remotely. Some offices have even considered keeping hybrid work environments even after the pandemic. Whether working from the office or not, it is extremely crucial to perform effective collaboration because communication is a must when gunning for success. Collaboration tools can help businesses by solving complex problems, fostering creativity, improving communication, and enhancing productivity. Collaboration, in general, is helpful while working in a team, and online collaboration tools enhance the effect of collaboration more. These tools allow real-time collaboration in which teams can assign tasks, give updates on projects, share work reports, and track project workflow. They can be used to collaborate internally with other departments as well as externally with clients and other organisations. Types of collaboration tools commonly used by businesses include– remote conferencing platforms, project management apps, digital asset management systems, web-based tracking tools, and messaging apps.
Benefits of Virtual Reality Collaboration Tools
Virtual Reality (VR) Collaboration tools offer several advantages to businesses, some of them are discussed below. VR Collaboration tools allow communication and collaboration in virtual reality with people living in remote locations. They provide digital avatars that enable users to communicate on virtual platforms through audio, video, speech, and text. Users can customise avatars to make them look like themselves and design a virtual meeting environment according to their likeness. Virtual Reality Collaboration tools offer several advantages such as virtual meetings, presentations, designing, and collaboration on a project. They have additional advantages over simple collaboration tools including the freedom to design in 3D spaces and collaboration in a hyper-realistic way. Virtual collaboration allows teams to connect in an upgraded way to hold meetings, design and edit in real-time, visualise 3D models, and socialise better. In addition to the great features of virtual reality, they also impart creativity and productivity to the users. Such software is meant to be deployed among multiple members of a team, this collaborative feature helps in saving time and efforts of employees.
There are certain features a VR collaboration platform must possess in order to impart maximum benefits to a user–
- Ability to manipulate virtual spaces according to one’s needs
- Allows the recording and playback of virtual meetups
- Selection of an Avatar to represent a user
- Freedom of editing a meeting environment
- Provide participation of other users through speech and text
- Allows real-time collaboration
Best Collaborative Design Tools in VR
The use of Collaboration tools in VR is a trending example of immersive technology. A report by XR Association suggests that collaboration tools are being used in 47% of AR/VR organisations and the top 5 organisations of AR/VR technology are using collaboration to bring together professionals to work in 3D photorealistic environments for developing new ideas. It helps developers in visualising blueprints and prototypes of designs in detail, thus easing the process of product development. There are various photorealistic VR solutions that are promoting a collaborative environment–
NVIDIA has its photorealistic VR collaboration platform Holodeck which provides a virtual environment for users. It allows them to develop 3D models of their designs with exact minute details. To justify its authenticity and working, this platform was tested by designers, architects, and NASA engineers before the launch for product development. This platform can primarily be used for designing products in sectors such as transportation, manufacturing, defence services, and the aerospace industry. Following are the features of this platform–
- Developing photorealistic graphics
- Artificial intelligence tools to test the products
- Allow design import and export from Autodesk and SOLIDWORKS
Unreal Studio is another photorealistic VR platform. It was launched in 2019 with the aim to help engineers, architects, and designers to make their design process easier. It was designed to allow the users to have access to the VR development tools including Unreal Engine and Unreal Editor interface. This platform can generate images of real objects and 3D designs in a realistic way through a VR environment. Following are the features of this platform–
- Interoperability with CAD and 3DS Max data
- Pre-designed industry-specific templates
- Videos for learning and understanding
- Mesh editing
- Metadata exposure
- Non-destructive import of data
Trezi is also a VR design software specially designed for people belonging to the architecture, engineering, and constructions industry. Mainly, it has two products– Lens (for designers and architects) and Showcase (for manufacturers to show their products). It also allows Non-VR users to attend Trezi sessions for collaborating in a virtual environment. Recently, it has also launched Trezi Academy for designers and aspiring students to learn and create using this platform. Following are the key features of this platform–
- Users who do not have a Trezi account can also access the platform
- Helps in visualising designs in real scale, colour, and texture
- TreziViewer provides an immersive user experience
- Allow designing and collaboration to a team in real-time
It is an immersive and interactive AR/VR platform that allows creators to design without code using a cloud-based design environment. It is primarily used by designers, retailers, and marketers. This company is part of the AWS partner network. Brio is widely used for creating 3D products for e-commerce instead of creating plain 2D catalogues. It shares a connected workflow to provide designers with a collaborative environment. Once a model is designed, it can be published on the web or any other social media platform from Brio only. Its key features include:
- Drag-and-drop feature for designs
- Advanced technical skills are not required.
- Good compatibility including all file types and major software
- 3D model viewing without the need to download or install any plugin
- Template library designed by professionals
VR technology has developed immensely over the last few years. Further, there is a wide scope of collaboration tools in virtual reality platforms; it will assist people from various sectors to develop skills including designers, architects, scientists, manufacturers, and engineers. Moreover, the introduction of collaboration will transform the way we use VR platforms, resulting in enhanced creativity and improved communication among the designers.