You’ve Zoomed. But have you gathered? Gather is an online platform where you can get people together virtually, as if at an actual event. There’s a map of the area that you can explore. And you can mingle with the avatars of other people there. When you get close to them, their video pops up and you can video chat with them.

For example, say you’re invited to a wedding. It begins with a ceremony in church, which you can see. You can also see who else is viewing/attending the wedding at the same time and even talk to the other people. For the reception, there’s a bunch of different tables on a virtual map of the place where the reception is held. Each table has ten places to sit. You can move your avatar around and sit at different tables. The video of each person sitting at that table would pop up when you visit that table and you can talk with everyone. The bride and groom are able to pop around to each table and join the conversation.

The same could be applied to a virtual office situation.

Gather is especially good for any kind of event where you have too many people to get together in a single conversation. For example, if you have a hundred people you’d like to get together with, you can all get together on Gather. You could have fifty different conversations going on simultaneously that aren’t disturbing each other. Whereas such an event would not be possible on a platform like Zoom.

One of the limitations of Zoom is the lack of ability to have side conversations. If you think about a physical meeting where you have people sitting around together and they’re all viewing a PowerPoint presentation or something, you can whisper to the person next to you at the table or exchange a glance with someone. On a platform like Zoom, you’re missing such personal nuances because everyone can only really see the main presentation. With a platform like Gather.town, it gets a little closer to approximating real life.

Perhaps Gather is not going to be the go-to platform for business meetings since it is probably more socially oriented. But it is a new step to approaching the reality of the work world that many of us have left behind. Something  people are missing, even in business, are the little walks between meetings where person connections with other humans are made. Also known as the famous water cooler conversations. So maybe the next time you want to have a fun gathering with numerous people, business or otherwise, and you’re not about to pop over as a group to your favorite bar or restaurant, try something novel and fun. A new adventure called Gather.

Pushing the virtual human connection even more is something on the horizon. A product from Facebook called Horizon. It will create a virtual world that will allow even more customization of the spaces that you want and potentially will integrate with virtual reality headsets so you are completely immersed in the world rather than just moving a two-dimensional avatar.

Who knows? Eventually, we may even be talking in person again.

This post provided by MDB Communications, a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

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