Immersive technologies like Second Life in the enterprise have often at best been perceived as a distraction or just too complex to deal with. But a great way to understand these computer-generated collaboration and productivity environments is as the front end of a unified communications strategy, said an analyst.
Sam Driver, principal with Little Compton, Road Island-based analyst firm ThinkBalm, said that while an enterprise’s unified communications strategy may live in the back office, immersive technologies is what delivers that experience of voice, text, presence awareness and a sense of connection.
“Immersive technology is a great mirror of (unified communications) because it provides that same unification that you would expect … but in a very consumable way,” said Driver.
ThinkBalm recently released its latest report, The Enterprise Immersive Software Decision-Making Guide, the goal being to help enterprises identify and procure the technology that works best for them.
Immersive technologies has garnered a bad reputation in the enterprise for various reasons, including public marketing failures in Second Life and a lack of experience among employees with 3D environments, be it 3D business apps for data visualization or 3D games, said Driver.
And, Driver added, the fact that immersive technologies have their roots in video game culture “automatically puts the questions in the mind of senior management that we don’t want people playing games at work.”
But that’s been changing in the past three years, said Driver, as success stories emerged of businesses that found value in immersive technologies even if they didn’t fully understand how it worked.