Immersive Video Is Reconnecting Us More Authentically!

Startup innovations are bringing back the missing ingredients to socializing and learning.

Mar 22, 2021


Immersive Video Is Reconnecting Us More Authentically! | Startup innovations are bringing back the missing ingredients to socializing and learning.

As this year has been a lesson in the value of connection with others, and how it’s at the heart of wellbeing for ourselves and the people around us, here’s some good news!

Immersive video software, now used by several startups, has rushed to ensure that virtual connectivity has grown up fast to catch up with our need to reach out to others in a more real way.

So what is immersive video? An immersive viewing experience pulls us into a new, online reality via technology in a way that enhances our experience, a bit like gaming. Immersive video meeting experiences look and feel different depending on how they are applied. But however this is done, you are no longer a face in a static box, as with classic video meeting programs.

Refreshing Kumospace
Tried meeting anyone in Kumospace yet? One of several new video meeting apps, Kumospace has some appealing features that make you feel you are really present online, and being brought closer to other humans. Your square video is your avatar,  and you get the freedom to move around.

Kumospace offers well designed rooms that you enter and move around in. You can talk to others, and then move on to catch up with more guests in separate conversations.

This is made possible by a really innovative feature, spatial audio, also called proximity chat. This new development, used by several startups since 2020, allows you to hear conversations more clearly as you move near a group of people. The hum fades as you move away, just like in real life. This means that simultaneous conversations are happening in the same online rooms.

Why is enabling multiple conversations in the same space so great? Well, as Brett Martin, one of the Kumospace founders explains:  “This humanizes your virtual events and increases engagements amongst your guests and enables online relationships to form naturally.” Think the mingling part of conferences, the informality of a party, or just hanging out in a corner to chat with friends.

Immersive experiences are ones that are engaging and satisfying to users, and Kumospace ticks these boxes. As Martin also observes, these are rooms that appeal: “Whether you’re catching up with friends or networking in a trade show, Kumospace provides virtual spaces that you’ll actually want to spend time in”.

Inviting features include baby grand pianos or speakers that play music when you’re nearby, colorful bar, lounge or poolside spaces, virtual wineglasses that can be filed and refilled, and, of course, the reality that you can leave chats when it’s time to move on, just like in a real event or party: “That’s one of the best things about Kumospace. If you don’t like your conversation, you’re free to leave it,” Martin observes.

Online learning is leveling up!
Proximity chat is perfect for virtual classroom situations too. Just listen to second grade teacher Kerry Marshall sharing “this awesome new thing I just learned about” as she enthuses about teaching her kids in a Kumospace classroom. She gets to walk around the tables and join in the conversations at each of the tables she’s assigned her classroom groups to, knowing that the background hum of the other conversations won’t disturb groups outside their range due to spatial audio (clicking on the range button shows her the range of each). And Marshall uses the  megaphone function to yell across the room when necessary!

Similarly, teacher Paul Allison of Teachers Training Teachers, invites educators with “Zoom/Meet/Team fatigue” to check out these new alternatives. He asks: “Do you wish there were other, more human ways to interact with your colleagues or students in online video chats?”

Virtual reality weddings
The pandemic has made tech-driven weddings much more commonplace. The Global  Covid-19 Weddings Report focusing on weddings originally planned to happen between September 2020 and January 2021, reveals that 43 percent of US couples tying the knot recently used virtual add-ons. A company called Save the Date VR mails virtual reality headsets to wedding guests allowing them to see the full, 360-degress livestreamed wedding from a particular location with return postage repaid.

Playful gathering software is being used during weddings too. Gather is one of the veterans of the new crop of immersive video options. It combines elements of retro video games with video chat. And wedding guests can mingle in spaces like the moon, a faraway beach or New York’s Times Square.

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Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.