Despite recent advances in technology, we still spend a lot of time and money travelling around the world for business. Phones, emails, collaboration tools and even video calling have all been useful to connect, but none of these developments have put people in the same physical space. A new type of technology was needed to allow us to collaborate in a more human way, and BNP Paribas Real Estate is pioneering the solution. In partnership with two tech firms, we’re revolutionising remote working with DARE—Digital and Augmented Real Estate.
DARE—enhancing the virtual experience
DARE is an innovative new form of meeting through the use of holograms. One person could be in an office in Hong Kong SAR China (Special Administrative Region China) and the other in a café in London; as long as there’s a good Internet connection, both people can not only see and hear each other, they can also sit at the same table, interacting and collaborating together. This year, thanks to state-of-the-art technology, a virtual exchange once relegated to science fiction has become an exciting reality for the business world.
Holographic technology is relatively new, yet it has come a long way in recent months. Just at the end of last year, augmented reality was hailed as a revolution in the world of video calling.
How does DARE work? The answer is in collaboration. BNP Paribas Real Estate teamed up with Franco-Belgian start-up Mimesys to develop an advanced technology that is tailored to our sector. Using augmented reality headsets and depth cameras, participants are captured on video and the footage is transmitted in real time to create the 3D hologram of a real person. In the past, dozens of cameras would have been needed to diffuse this kind of ‘volumetric’ video footage. Now, thanks to compression algorithm developed by Mimesys, we’re able to produce the same high-definition result with between two and four cameras.
As pointed out by Kevin Cardona, Chief Innovation Officer at BNP Paribas Real Estate, "Given our strong international presence across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, these new challenges are at the heart and focus of everything we do at BNP Paribas Real Estate. We need to be communicating and collaborating closely with our clients abroad and yet saving time on embarking on long business trips is crucial. This is where "DARE" comes in. This innovative technology brings the human dimension back into the workplace - while at the same time providing key tools for collaboration. This is why we are so actively engaged in developing new tools to enhance the new ways of working that we are seeing in companies across the world."
This innovative technology brings the human dimension back into the workplace - while at the same time providing key tools for collaboration. This is why we are so actively engaged in developing new tools to enhance the new ways of working that we are seeing in companies across the world
Real-time body language
Some BNP Paribas Real Estate employees and clients will soon be able to conduct holographic meetings. Each person becomes a lifelike, three-dimensional hologram and their body language and reactions are conveyed in real time.
By allowing personalities to be expressed in a more authentic way, DARE brings our people closer and thus fosters stronger relationships. At a time when digital messages can easily be misinterpreted and emails have become generic thanks to features like predictive type, this ‘human’ interaction is increasingly important. After all, no number of emoticons can get across the same message as an in-person conversation.
According to Davy Loots, co-founder and CTO of Mimesys, the technology allows a type of interaction that “greatly improves the feeling of engagement while maintaining all the nuances of body language”.
Hands-on collaboration with 3D content
We all like to get to know our colleagues and clients, and this solution facilitates that. But DARE meetings go beyond a ‘nice to get to know you’ experience. The technology also has a tangible impact on our ability to collaborate at a distance. With DARE, meeting attendees can use hand-held controllers to interact with virtual objects at the same time—for example, a model for a new building, or an item that is difficult to transport. They could pass a document around the table, just as they would in real life. Or bring out a whiteboard and fire up a brainstorming session. As an added bonus, holographic meetings are also an opportunity to improve our efficiency. A recent survey from Adobe found that the average person spends more than three hours per day checking their work emails.
In touch with the innovations people want
Holographic meetings are dynamic and, dare we say it, fun; but it is not about novelty or the new fad. It’s about responding to a distinct societal shift.
In a world of flexible work and globalisation, employees are prioritising work-life balance and employers are looking to increase remote working opportunities. This has always been a point of friction, until now.
BNP Paribas Real Estate is introducing this technology to the real estate sector, not only for use with its own employees in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, but also by hosting DARE meetings with clients, wherever they are in the world. They can now take a virtual tour of a new building without stepping through the door—or peering at an architect’s drawing on a computer screen. For BNP Paribas Real Estate, our DARE solution allows us to push boundaries and respond to a world that is no longer confined to a physical building.
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