March 15, 2022

Will Meetings Be Better in the Metaverse?

Will Meetings Be Better in the Metaverse?

This week, we chat about predictive digital workspaces, virtual meeting etiquette, and what the metaverse means for the workplace.

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  • Whiteboarding
  • Viva Insights
  • Windows 11
  • VR meetings
  • Do you always need to be camera on?
  • Meta vs Microsoft on the metaverse

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Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works Podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In the series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they're facing, how they solve them. The areas they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took that'll help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings. How's your day to?

Heather Bicknell 0:34
Yeah. All right. So far. Just getting into things really, how about you?

Ryan Purvis 0:45
Yeah, same. Same, really, with we're planning our trip back to the UK at the moment. So we're trying to figure out all the things we need to do, I've got a whiteboard full of stuff. It's funny how some things you just have to put on a whiteboard, you're trying to put it on. On a digital mean,

Heather Bicknell 1:03
I was thinking the other day how I missed having one. And I do have a good wall space where I could go get one and put one up. Just nice. Sometimes I do sticky notes. I just like to have visual reminders of this. Or you know, when you are thinking through sometimes sometimes it's just the tactile nature of drawing it out in a big marker is just more, I don't know, interesting, satisfying it. It kind of keeps you in the flow, I guess.

Ryan Purvis 1:34
Yeah, yeah. Well, I think I mean, we've talked about this before the tactile nature of it. But I think it's also that that join it big so you can see it every day. I was actually if we if we'd stayed in South Africa longer, I was planning a a wall mounted LCD screen that I can see all my tasks on and all the other stuff, like I've built a dashboard on my desktop that I look at. But I just want that screen to be up all the time. Because if you're working to get hidden behind everything as you're doing, and I was looking at YouTube videos to build my own one particular friend is quite a good, good with his hands as he attempted bolded for me, and you know that that would be like my way of using the digital way of doing it, but also having the whiteboard because I can draw on my iPad straight to it. Because then you can see the big picture while enjoying this whole picture.

Heather Bicknell 2:31
Yeah. It's nice to have those visual reminders, that kind of what I'm doing now, not that I don't want to get, well, we don't need to get too into it. But digital signage, software, so basically having screens, and they can be in a variety of locations, whether they're, you know, customer facing like an airport or employee facing like a corporate office where you would have digital screens that would that could display something like a dashboard with KPIs so that, you know, employees in an area or, you know, have that top line.

Ryan Purvis 3:13
It's interesting. Yeah, I think I think we'll see more and more of that. I'm reading a very good series at the moment. And it's my typical sort of book and sensitive to space opera, very Star Trek, sort of themes to it. Really, really well done, actually, I'm on my sixth book in the series, and I kind of effect them on my ninth book of this author in a row. And normally, by now I've been bored of the author, but he actually writes very well. So each book is different. But the piece that I was just that sort of made me think was the inside a vessel and they they talking about, are they going into deal with the enemy, and they're putting information on the screen contextually relevant to what they're doing. And I just thought, you know, that's, that's what's missing sometimes for what we do is, and it's quite easy to do if you know what the process is. So if you are not a loan originator, you would need to have the person's FICO score or credit score, you'd need to have their payslips, you'd need to have the earnings Id date, all that stuff on the screen. That's quite easy to put up because you know what you need to have in the process. But when you're doing a job that is very varied as a knowledge worker, you know, one day like today, I'm doing some financial stuff tomorrow, marketing, Project stuff, those screens are all different, and information need all different. And I'd love to see something and this is where I think Apple has got some of it right? With some of the stuff that you're on the iPad to predict the apps that you're using. any given time or you know, when you're at this location, you do your fitness stuff. So do you want us to Add your fitness activity. It's the same sort of thing. But now actually putting the stuff on the screen to say, you've opened up the spreadsheet. Whenever you open the spreadsheet, you always open this PowerPoint, or these PowerPoints which didn't like these opened. You know, you're spending way too much time your email, maybe you should spend less time to email that sort of think. Yeah. Just looking forward to that sort of stuff happening in the working day.

Heather Bicknell 5:25
Yeah, more kind of intelligent behavior based actions, because you can, I guess, sum up to that to an extent you can, you know, self automate some things. I've been experimenting lately with just the focus mode, on diamond. So I've program or focus mode, if I kick into a workout that blocks most of my notifications, and just kind of seeing what that does. Yeah, I guess that, you know, you can't automate, but it's not that the having a system do it for you, which I think Microsoft is actually the insights, you know, is it Viva insights now, do they rebrand to that, but the, you know, cumulative kind of suggestions on the way that you're working is maybe the closest thing that I've experienced to what you were describing, and the prompts to book, focus time and, and whatnot into your calendar, based on how it observes you.

Ryan Purvis 6:29
Yeah, because the one thing that I have found quite useful that is the every morning sends you that if that via email, and it says, Oh, you had this email with this, this this question? Have you done this? Yes or no. That's that sometimes can be useful. I mean, I'm trying to get, again out of email, out of email when you worked for lakeside. So you know, the culture has a lot of emails and flyer out. And, and for the most part, we into teams, and we're using teams. But there's still some, some conversations that start in email. And I try and move them across to teams, because it's a bit easier to keep track that way. And I was looking for something this morning, you know, wasted, like half an hour looking for this email. And I realized that the Outlook on Mac is not nearly as good as Outlook on Windows. So I've had to bite the bullet and open up to the Windows laptop to look for the email because I just found it quicker that way, which is very frustrating. So I'm hoping that there'll be some parity. In fact, I started looking for a new email client. I think that might be my solution. But yeah, the tools always the process.

Heather Bicknell 7:42
I've also noticed that Outlook on Mac seems to lack some of the features or things. I've had difficulty just with calendaring and adding calendars from my contacts and comparing it does not work. On Mac. It's not like it did I windows, I don't think it'd be there. I don't know. But little things like that. And outlook starts even on Windows is kind of notoriously not always that great. But they I'm right there with you in that pain.

Ryan Purvis 8:14
It does very strange. The search is very bad. I don't know what what they were thinking with that. And I haven't compared it to the iPad iPad version. But I do feel like the iPad version is better of outlook than or maybe maybe it's the phone experiences are somewhat more mature. But yeah, it's really could do with some work.

Heather Bicknell 8:39
So what do you say you open in Windows? Was that Windows? 11? Have you been using Windows 11? For anything?

Ryan Purvis 8:45
No, I've stayed with Tim. I refuse to to go that route. Until I'm forced to in fact, I was listening to Steve Gibson today on his security now podcast. I never never live in app. And I'm tempted to go that route. I just like with Windows eight, I just didn't see that I just don't see the point of 11. In fact, I was we were arguing about something last week and you're telling me about a customer that actually went into Windows eight. And under said what he did with it, like I've never heard of a customer going there. Like everyone stayed on Windows seven. And because when I said it actually was a very good operating system did everything right. It was good performance. Had good performance. It was really easy to maintain, and patch. And the UI wasn't wasn't bad. You know, like, everyone was happy with it. It was kind of the the Toyota Corolla of operating systems just just operated. Easy to keep, as I say it all the right things. Windows eight was like, I don't know putting a racing pack on it and all these other bells and whistles. She didn't really need the silly tiles. And I think it was it was a step backwards in a lot of respects. I know we skipped it for a lot of performance reasons. And in Windows 10 I didn't I didn't massively like it. But it's if you take away all the bloatware, it's not too bad. So Windows 11. To me, it's just more bloat.

Heather Bicknell 10:28
Yeah, it does have some parallels with eight in terms of it being mainly a design kind of focus and experiment in design, more of any kind of offering any new, really enticing feature, at least for business users?

Ryan Purvis 10:46
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. So. So yeah, so we'll see what happens, I've got to, when we get back to UK, I'm going to probably take the hit and buy a desktop for home. I want to start exploring the VR world. And I was actually chatting with one of the other CIOs that I know. And those I mentioned by title is as a few people that are looking at it from that, from that level, to help with in person meetings. So once once he formalizes the working group, have asked him very nicely if he wouldn't come on here and share the experiences, the feedback, etc. I think that's something that will be very interesting for the future. In a could you have a quest till it's a quest to? Which is the device that he is using? Could you have those four people work remotely working remote that want to do in person meetings, at least as a starting point? And then see from there? So the metaverse might be closer than we think.

Heather Bicknell 11:48
Now, that'd be great to have someone who's actually actually doing it. Because I think that's, that's the kind of the thing with a lot of the VR tech is that, you know, it has applications, it has ways of fused and, you know, mixed reality. And like, I always think of military examples, but actually getting kind of embedded in the office, I haven't feel like that is always more just kind of talked about that actually ends up happening, maybe because of the hardware costs, which I think have gone down over the past few years. In terms of Well, yeah, that's headset, yeah.

Ryan Purvis 12:31
Yeah, I couldn't believe the price to be honest. I mean, in my head, I was thinking like a couple grand. And then I and then I saw the price. And because I'm in South Africa, obviously, the search engine gave me the, the South African price, which is, like 5000 raise their copyright. That's like 250 pounds, that doesn't make any sense to me. So then we looked at the website, and the website was in US dollars, and that was 300. And something and I was like, Okay, so that's, that is actually the price, which then is doable, it really is doable, because that's cheaper than an iPad, you don't if you're going to use it, you know, the way I always justify purchase, if you're going to use it more than in, you know, 10 times, what's going to work out to you. And in this case, it's going to work out to 3030 pounds a time, which is cheap, because if you stop playing games on it, and using it for the odd meeting, I mean, I'd love to do a meeting in virtual reality where you go back to our whiteboard and energy, we are now moving objects around in your brainstorming. And you know, very much like, you know, Minority Report sort of thing where your hands out, you're doing things and and you're building relationships. That'd be awesome. I don't know how you could do it for I think you'd probably get dizzy after 2030 minutes. But But that'll that'll come with time they'll improve the technology, I mean that the best technology would be totally holographic where you don't need to have a headset and stuff in your hands.

Heather Bicknell 13:55
But yeah, I'm curious. Something you said around the the odd meeting, I think is what you said. I think, at least in that in the headset world that. Obviously the technology's not quite fit for the eight hour back to back meeting day. Can you imagine being in a headset all day, that'd be a nightmare. So it's almost has to be like a coordinated, intentional. This is a brainstorm session. This is the type of meeting that would call for us to put our headsets on otherwise, I just feel like yeah, the physical discomfort would start to come in. But then I also wonder if you know, Metta or Microsoft, the VR meeting rooms that they have, if they have a kind of mixed experience, or some people can have headsets and some people would just be looking at avatars on the screen if they wanted to take a break or if they didn't have a headset, that you were meeting with a vendor or something like that and they didn't have Tech?

Ryan Purvis 15:02
Yeah, I don't I don't know how that would work. I mean, I could speculate I can, I can imagine that. Much like today, if you want to have a meeting with someone that doesn't have it, you'd be doesn't have the same application needs to be going through browser, you'd have a third person point of view, you know, the cameras are pretty sophisticated nowadays. And if you look at the way, again, apples gone with their chipset, and machine learning on board is probably there in order to learn your, your facial responses, and all the rest of it. So it could, in theory, pick up what you're doing and translate that into your avatar. And and that would be fairly realistic. I mean, look at what they do with movies and with with games, right now, they are pretty realistic, not perfectly realistic. But the camera, as I say, is there, there's just needs to be that interpretation mechanism. Which took too large part I think, is just programming. I think the hardware is already there.

Heather Bicknell 16:00
Or maybe your your video would just be in the virtual conference room on the screen, and then the avatars are meeting? Or you have the Yeah, I just translate the conference room into the virtual conference room? I don't know. But yeah, those are the things that are coming to mind for me is, is how long? How much time in a day, can you really spend in that kind of environment?

Ryan Purvis 16:24
I'm actually backtracking to one of my things that I was quite adamant about, which is having a veto and all the time. I'm finding, if it's a one to one or one to three call, having my camera on, it's fine. But when your camera caught on a call, sorry, with, you know, 100 people, there's no point having your camera on. Yeah, and this is Alicia speaking, I think I think if you're speaking out, you know, you need to be a facilitator or something like that your camera should be on. But if you need just to listen, you know, have your camera off, you know, because it is exhausting every camera all the time. And I think it's important also just the cycle of the sub psychological thing where if your cameras on people automatically will listen to you. And if everyone's with the cameras on, they're going to listen to, I think that that might be one of the things that I'm going to change my view on. I know some people say, Well, if the cameras off, they're not paying attention well. So if you're paying attention, and you know, that's that's the only thing to catch up or focus to do the work that they missed out on. Everyone's adults. So

Heather Bicknell 17:34
yeah, I usually turn mine do the same thing, I turned my camera off in those very large meetings, unless I'm speaking at least some of the meeting. I haven't tried, I know where there's the Microsoft together mode. And there may be some views where you can actually see everyone on a screen. But I find it distracting if I can only see five people and there's, you know, hundreds of people on a call, I'm like, Well, I don't know who can see me. And something about that. I'm like, I like where is my video appearing? You know, in this mass meeting? I don't, I don't know, it's weird for me to just have my video on so other people can watch me paying attention? Or drinking my coffee? Or, you know, it's like, Why does Why does it need to be on in that case? And I guess, you know, I think there are some nice ways that people can multitask during those large meetings, maybe they get up and stretch and listen in or maybe they are eating lunch, you know, and neither of those things means that they're not paying attention. But they probably don't want to do for that.

Ryan Purvis 18:37
Short, I mean, I get my little space behind me and I walk around in circles sometimes. But I'm listening. And that's, that's something I'm changing my stance on it. Because I was very much cameras on all the time. But I worked. So like, like with my team, I've got two people that are taking on new roles in the team. And I said, look in this role, you've got to be seen as someone that they can trust, and the only way they're going to trust us if they can see you. So if you want to be in this role, that that's part of the role. Now, I'm not saying you always have to have it, I'm just saying a camera is important because people don't know what you look like they can't see if you're joking or not all those sorts of things. And, and, you know, in their defense, you know, they said, Well, I agree, you know, in this role, you know, I'm not just a contributor now. I'm actually a leader. I need to do it. So I think there's a natural sort of switch up, which I think is a good thing.

Heather Bicknell 19:29
Yeah, it's so there's so much kind of unspoken etiquette about those little things. But I think especially if you're Yeah, if you're on a one to one, if you haven't met before, I think it's almost day, a little bit of a sign of respect to just to show your face that I know it can be exactly we'll get used to not doing that and especially on tech teams I find is there's less, less people have their cameras on interface with as many people so

Ryan Purvis 20:04
yeah, like I think there are a level of what is that there's definitely a personality thing to it. And, and like I was one of those guys I didn't like to have my camera on. So it was like in Alcoholics Anonymous, and I was one of those people that drank too much, as long as I kept my camera off too much. And as I've gotten older, and it's and I've realized that actually having the camera on, keeps me involved in the call better, because what I would do, it was not in those meetings where I wanted the cameras off as I be doing 10 other things. And that's also not good. I'm not saying you have to stare someone down the aisle toggle the camera, but at least they can see if you're engaged or not.

Heather Bicknell 20:45
Yeah, for sure. Well, was there anything else top of mind for you today?

Ryan Purvis 20:51
So I'm just trying to think what I've sent you. There was some other stuff. I sent you the YouTube clip to have a watch. And the title was Microsoft just killed Zach's metaverse. And, I mean, it repeats what we what we said in in some respects, yet. Why not? Not really, besides, I'll talk about things that I thought were interesting. Sort of the one thing is, is what what I said in the last conversation was that the Xbox is going to be that device that gets you into the metaverse and the gaming companies further bolster Microsoft's ability to set up the metaverse. What I didn't mention which is in the future club, is the reason why Facebook or product meta will probably fail is they haven't done they haven't done the smart things they should have done. And if you compare them to say Google, where Google has grown up as a company where they're their biggest revenue search, that's the function that's the biggest capability. But even even so, they've still built out other pieces of the pie. They built out Android, they've got devices, they built out the chrome iOS operating system. So they got Chromebooks. So if they get into a pissing contest with Microsoft, and they leave the party, they're still got those platforms. The problem with Facebook is they haven't done those things. They kind of talked about it, they kind of tried it, and they pulled out. So they tried to build the Facebook phone that didn't come off. They talked about building a workplace. iOS, which they never built, but they did build the workplace for the corporate environment, which I don't know how many people actually use. And so they're very dependent on partnerships with the likes of Apple and with with Microsoft. I don't know if you saw that they are going to report a billion dollars or $10 billion, it might be $10 billion. Yeah. Because of IFT been switched on. And I don't think that's the problem. You know, why then why they were the revenue loss? I think the problem is that people actually don't have value for Facebook. It's actually becoming more and more of a negative thing, even in conversations. And I mean, I've been anti Facebook for a while, but I keep it unfortunate because I have to, for some of the apps that I use, even even in conversations now people are saying to me, you know, just like to get rid of it. But are you rid of it because of you know, two reasons that smile authentication for certain apps, or to only work in contact with certain friends. And even those things are trying to get them across to other platforms. Unfortunately, one of those items is WhatsApp, which is still Facebook. And that's kind of keeping them in the game. But the thing that Scott was saying, which I agreed with, so we talked about the platforms and the pieces they're missing is they don't have the critical mass to actually well, they tried to own the metaverse, but they don't have the critical components to make the critical mass to actually own the metaverse, whereas Microsoft does. And even Apple does to the extent. And that's where this will become very interesting. And without certain how far away we are from seeing these things. It all depends on what Apple presents as the approach the metaverse, but we know Microsoft's already working on it, because they've already got a HoloLens. It's been out they've got the second version of it, or third version of it. They've got the gaming engines now. They've got the desktops and in the business. So it's really a case of just tying these things together and putting something out there. But the problem with Microsoft and this is, you know, back to my opinion not because the video is their first version, second version tend to be quite bad. And I think they're going to be careful with this one. Because if the first two versions are bad people go somewhere else. And and that could be the end of it for them.

Heather Bicknell 24:46
Yeah, a few other interesting pieces of this in terms of, I guess the business side of things, thinking more broadly is that Microsoft as such a huge b2b level experience that Facebook doesn't have outside of workplace, you know, they've tried to make inroads. But obviously Microsoft is a giant when it comes to the enterprise. And that just because you're a visionary, you know, like Bill Gates was a visionary on a lot of future tech, like that turned into things like the iPhone, doesn't mean you are the one that captured the market. So I could I could see that happening with Matt, especially, as you mentioned, all the kind of negative feelings that the majority have towards the company. But the other thing that I thought about that didn't come up in that particular video was, you know, when really the conversation started to kick off heavily about the metaverse. Part of the conversation was that no, no one company will own it, you know, kind of will be this cross platform collaborative, you know, like the internet, like no one company owns it. But I think it's probably more about who is going to have the majority stake in it from a tech giant point of view, who's going to capture most of it, and I would agree that Microsoft seems pretty well set up to be able to do that.

Ryan Purvis 26:09
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Do I need to tie up, I've got my next next meeting to go to

Heather Bicknell 26:18
enjoy. Cool. I'll

Ryan Purvis 26:20
see you later.

Heather Bicknell 26:21
Okay, thanks. Bye. Bye.

Ryan Purvis 26:28
Thank you for listening to today's episode, and the big news app producer, editor. Thank you, Heather. For your hard work on this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW W podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www dot digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

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