Meeting remotely just became more personal with a platform called VirBELA. Unlike video conferencing apps like Facetime, Zoom, Messenger, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, this one really is different.
VirBELA puts you in a game-like 3-D campus environment where you meet by virtually walking around talking to each other, conversing the same way that you would if you were together in the physical rather than the virtual world. Unlike environments of adventure games or Second Life, the virtual world provided by VirBELA is business-professional. It offers a high-end corporate campus with offices, boardrooms, conference halls, an auditorium, and even a sprawling modern expo center designed with realistic trade show booths.
This 3-D gathering space was initially built by the real estate company eXp Realty as a way to secure a competitive advantage over rivals. As other real estate companies remained saddled with expensive physical buildings to provide staff and agents a place to work together, eXp saved a fortune by eliminating the need for commercial properties, travel time, fighting traffic, and the many other brick & mortar hassles.
VirBELA was the realty’s disruptive technology for an industry familiar with tech disruptions. Operating without actual buildings, eXp Realty grew from being a startup to having over 29,000 agents. For the most part, its staff, CEO, and agents are able to work from the convenience of home.
The compensation that real estate companies can pay their agents is capped by the fixed and variable costs of doing business. Empowering everyone to do their work within a corporate campus environment without leaving home not only slashed overhead expenses to boost agent income, it made training and team collaboration better and faster. They get trained sooner and have more realistic instant access to support personnel.
Even with video conferencing, remote teamwork can still seem socially isolating. VirBELA’s 3-D environment helps escape social isolation, making it feel more like being together in the same room, and it doesn’t require a VR headset. Using arrows on your keyboard you get to walk around, meet people, shake hands, converse, wander the campus together, and even bust some dance moves.
Amid the gamified appearance, the most practical purpose is one of productivity through improved communication. The conference halls, boardrooms, classrooms, and offices all have giant screens on the walls for sharing the contents of your screen, any websites, video conferences, or other team collaboration apps. What you experience is several steps closer to meeting face-to-face.
In much the way you do in the real world, people in VirBELA are able to build relationships through the kinds of social collisions that you would have in a corporate office or wandering through a convention center. It’s like you’re standing right beside others, meeting in groups. As an avatar with spacial sound you can be sitting at a conference table listening to the person on your right in your right ear, the left in your left ear with 3-D audio. You turn your head to look around the room, talking with each other the way you would if you had to trade in frequent flyer miles to be together.
After ordering a VirBELA Team Suite for my business, Douglas Karr was one of the first people who came to mind to introduce it to. Since Doug and I are both digital marketers in Greenwood we speak the same language of lead generation, and I know he, too, deals with digital project management involving remote clients and geographically dispersed teams. Screen sharing and webcams definitely have their place in our communication methods, although at times we avoid exposing our unkempt faces to a camera. With or without a camera, this enables you to simulate the social presence of being in the same room together.
When you need video to augment your words with facial expressions, VirBELA does it. You could say that much of what Zoom can do, VirBELA does, too. The experience of going into a room and chatting with other people in that room is one of the most inherent parts of the VirBELA social experience that was absent in other products. It could be a coincidence, but a few weeks after I noticed someone with Facebook in their avatar’s name wandering VirBELA’s public campus, Zuckerberg announced that the name of their new conferencing app was Messenger ROOMS.
While VirBELA has single-person offices, it’s larger spaces are impressive. It now has a gigantic Expo Hall built with trade show booths, private break-out areas, and more.
The best way to understand what VirBELA is and what it can do for you is to try it for yourself. Among the customer base are all sizes of organizations including top-tier universities, Fortune 500’s, Mom & Pop ad agencies, remote customer service centers, lots of training companies (since it also has classrooms), and coworking / shared offices. Whether it’s VirBELA or some other product platform that has yet to be released, I am convinced that 3-D virtual space is the direction that remote conferencing is headed.
VirBELA’s affiliate program allows Team Suite owners to receive commissions on new sales and provides a coupon for discounting the first month. If you would like to check out VirBELA, introduce yourself and we can meet virtually in-person on campus.
Disclosure: I am using my affiliate link for VirBELA