Virtual Reality Vs Reality

As I rambled around the Exhibitor Hall at Autodesk University 2016 I was almost knocked over several times as individuals with large goggles were wandering from their booth into the walkway. They were just not cognizant of their surroundings as they were in a virtual reality.

The concept of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is becoming a big interest by many organizations as they attempt to enhance buyer experiences, improve ergonomics in design, and advance software usability and accessibility. I think this is all amazing and cool and certainly a good number of applications are going to take usability to the next level.

But most of the time we deal with the real world – reality reality. Finding a needed drawing or invoice, though it would be neat, probably does not happen any faster or easier if we add a 3D or augmented experience around it. (Though I know we are all looking forward to the days of hologram file cabinets, remember Minority Report.)

Surely, the efficiency and productivity of many of our everyday processes have improved through the application of technology over the years. And this will continue. But it’s important to pay attention to how to take many of our commonplace workflows and make them easier, and faster, for those who have to execute them every day as part of their work.

Many organizations have moved from paper documents to digital documents (though we’re still nowhere near being totally digital) facilitating more effective accomplishment of processes. The REALITY REALITY, however, means we are still dealing with paper documents, interoffice mail systems, and copiers. As much as it pains me, we still have to accommodate many older processes that are still in place. Boy would a 3D image of the file be cool, sure, but how realistic is this when companies still have rooms of paper file cabinets containing information that is needed and often critical. And the modern-day file room, the public share drives, are definitely reality.

So eQuorum continues to work on the mundane and some may say sublime task of making users ability to find, manage, and collaborate with digital files better, through the use of technology. Using HTML5 and Websocket technology puts ImageSite, our robust document management software, on the leading edge, but not on the bleeding edge. Virtual reality for document management software is a bit off in the future but we can take a cue from VR.

ImageSite incorporates the latest in searching algorithms and anticipates the reuse of files, searches, sets, downloads, etc. by keeping both recent and favorited activity and presenting options in a dashboard as well as in easy input search boxes. We know that identifying the correct file is as important as visualizing it. We provide popup file thumbnails when file names are hovered over, almost like augmented reality (but not quite).

Soon to be offered, eQuorum is in the process of developing heuristic algorithms for searching and collaboration. By using pattern recognition, historical auditing, and common action review ImageSite will be able to proactively suggest search criteria and even appropriate files. Good stuff, and it won’t lead you to wandering in the hallways. It’s okay to reach for the stars, but let’s keep on feet on the ground and our eyes on our monitors.

Scott Brandt