Video meetings in virtual rooms will make the likes of Zoom seem old-school

·2-min read
ROOM is shaking up videoconferencing with a solution that brings people together in virtual rooms.

The ROOM startup presented its brand-new 3D communication technology in a world premiere at the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival, running online until March 20. The concept aims to shake up videoconferencing by bringing participants together in a virtual, interactive room.

Helming ROOM is Cevat Yerli, the former video games industry CEO who co-founded Crytek ("Far Cry," "Crysis"). The idea being developed by ROOM is to virtually bring together several people in one same room, no matter where they are in the world, while reproducing real-world interactions.

In reality, the top halves of the various participants are integrated into the decor, generally around a table. ROOM essentially lets people "teleport" into either a simulated version of an existing room (like in a museum) or into a totally imaginary place. Once inside, the room can be viewed in 360 degrees.

Digital communication is usually quite impersonal and isn't a particularly human experience, explains Cevat Yerli, who is on a mission to change that. In front of each participant is a virtual tablet, with which they can consult and share multimedia content. At any time, participants can decide to change room and environment.

This solution has many potential advantages. First, it doesn't require a 3D headset. Plus, it can bring together up to 32 people in the same place, each with attributed seats, and in an extremely simple way, by means of a link to share (as with Zoom, for example).

The project is still in the stages of development, in collaboration with architects, designers and specialists in interactive experiences. Technically, this solution is, in fact, still in its infancy, and its first experiments only work in Chrome for the moment. Eventually, this application could be as useful for business as for home users, including gamers, who could come together in a virtual room reflecting the game they're playing.

Note that before SXSW, a first immersive virtual experience was previously organized by the Fondation Jacques Rougerie, under the patronage of H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Check out the ROOM concept in this video: youtu.be/GHKjJX8kpqg

David Bénard