I think the better question is ‘can’ and ‘will’.
Can hifi ever going to grow and get like secondlife or sansar ?
Very much. A bit like Neos, all the tools are sort of already available, but unlike Neos, the amount of content is absent and the fact that servers cost money to operate. While in the past, one could just spin up their own domain server on their PC, it was so unstable that both the Oculus and Steam editions pulled the server out entirely.
I mean, look at the recent videos for the ‘business’ edition of Hifi: pretty much everything in it is nothing special. If anything, it’s just a reskinned community edition of Hifi, with different apps and just being a different world. I think what hurt Hifi in one respect was charging for preset worlds at a super high rate which was previously free. If people could spin up a quick server and throw in a world from the marketplace, it could have changed things a bit. This could beg the question if the island they’re using now will fall into this respect since business will just see it as a means to avoid having to hire an artist and meet minimal requirements for operation.
Overall, High Fidelity’s capabilities are top-notch and is very open for expansion.
Will hifi ever going to grow and get like secondlife or sansar ?
Honestly, this depends. The problem is that Hifi changed their scope and has pretty much left the community version they started on as just the ‘open source VR’ project. So all the features requested like shaders, voxel octree (though that was THEIR idea so…), and domain zones to name a few are now honestly on the community to create, and that community is small. VERY small. In comparison to other platforms, Hifi is a breadcrumb at a picnic.
As for the virtual workplace project, so far from what I’ve seen, no current company I can think of would be interested in what can be offered from the videos presented. I’m sorry, but all I’ve seen is IMVU with voice support… or just Second Life with Vivox. Considering we’re now going back to Mixamo styled avatars again (remember that phase?), anything unique or special is kind of gone. I know it’s early, but the app can only do so much right now, and you can only get so many combinations before it feels like you are dealing with a clone army.
So, why would a company not use the Virtual Workplace system? A few major points from the standpoint of my current company:
What does this offer that Skype doesn’t? I know the blog posts have all pointed out a few things, but lets be real: what does it offer that Skype doesn’t? Virtual pressence? While a good point, a company is not going to care. You have to convince people who are used to just standard telephone conferences that a 3D model on a screen that somewhat looks like them that requires learning to play what is effectively a non-objective game to navigate is somehow an improvement.
On a more serious note, things like improved audio quality don’t really work either since most things are about the bottom line and just enough to work. Not to mention, the cost is just cheaper as well to just use a phone. What could be offered is improved latency, which could be shown to reduce talking over eachother in error due to the telephone latency. That could actually be pushed as a good reason for the system, yet nothing has really demonstrated this.
How does using a virtual workplace improve the workflow of a common job? How does Hifi make my job easier? In some respect, my job would be a Customer service representative with some administration work. How does being in a virtual world help me answer phones and relay important and sensitive information to another person on the other side of the country? Mind you, I work remotely and nothing Hifi has to offer would improve my job in the slightest except for maybe allowing me to move windows around in 3D space if I was in VR. As much as I love VR, I can’t imagine transcribing information with a flight recorder on my face for 40 hours a week.
If we take a look at some of the most common jobs out there, according to a few sources:
Retail Salespersons: Uh… no. Nothing in High Fidelity can help this job.
Cashiers: Again, nothing.
Food preparation and serving workers: Nope.
Office clerks: This one depends, but honestly, most information or questions would be done via IM anyway, so not really. So far, this is the only one that ‘could’ have something but there are better alternatives.
Registered Nurses: Actually, yes! Online doctors are actually becoming a thing that helps screen out weaker cases that just require something simple so physical doctors can focus on cases that do require more attention. While a remote nurse is stretching things a bit, some information like varying scans could be viewed by multiple people at the same time in the same virtual workplace, and even point things out in realtime.
I know this is technically for a nurse and not a doctor, but I’m sure that some similar use for when a nurse can’t come in for the day could provide assistance in monitoring something and still collect pay.
Customer service representatives: Not really. Even as a remote worker where this is the closest thing to a job description, having a constantly active voice channel where my avatar is most likely going to be in a virtual cubicle will not really do much more than what I already have now. In most cases, the idea is to get a customer’s problem resolved as quickly and accurately as possible, and while having the possibility of yelling at a worker to save something I was working on instead of IMing them where they can just ignore the IM, that’s the best I can think of and even then, the fact I work remotely means I don’t have to listen to the bantering going on around me. So why would I subject myself to the exact problems most call centers have for a more authentic experience when that experience sucks?
Waiters and waitresses: No. Not at all.
Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers: Maybe. In this one’s case, it’d be a like a giant radio system that all employees in the same area could be connected to so they can remain in constant conta- oh wait, that’s called a Radio and we all now have things called cellphones. Not to mention, the idea is to keep driver’s eyes on the road, so having anything visual isn’t helpful. Pass.
Administrative assistants: Yes! This is where I can see this working, where varying assistants can talk with eachother and their primary contacts. The problem is again that something has to be offered that makes Skype inferrior. Perhaps try demoing where conferences can be modulated in real time.
Janitors: To clean up this mess? Otherwise, no.
So the software is only partly usable by administration users, which is a very small market. Sure, we can talk about the sunshine and daisies about more independent companies, where the group is smaller and thus doesn’t really fall under the list above, but that’s an even SMALLER group at that!
Of course, it also begs the question: is the virtual workspace supposed to work as a background system? Back when I did greeter work, I was considered online when I was in the domain and in the proper avatar (later changes would then also require a unique account). When I do work with my current job, the login time is based on my sign-in email, whereas back as a greeter, it was via IM. This was just to timestamp the arrival more formally. In all these cases, some kind of software runs in the background, be it a VPN, a phone system, or High Fidelity itself. So that’s my question: Is High Fidelity supposed to be an active application like a phone system or a temporary like a video conference?
This is where the concern basically comes in: While the limited scope of the virtual workplace is more manageable, I don’t see where it can actually provide active improvements that would be adoptable. Not to mention, my current machine for work is a Dell PC from 2012 and that isn’t very uncommon to have older machines in active use in offices. Hifi would have to run pretty much on integrated graphics, and considering how much they kept pushing for the latest bleed edge stuff, that ship set sail by their own hand ages ago.
Will hifi ever going to grow and get like secondlife or sansar ?
Not unless a lot of crap changes or a miracle happens.