Aptero : Manage your own Virtual Office to track remote work and do virtual coffee breaks!



The outbreak of the COVID-19 changed today's work organization. With no physical office available, managers and enterprises have their daily schedule and meetings messed up. Talking to someone is always a task with scheduling a call, while it used to be natural in any physical office.

During this pandemic crisis, a lot of companies had to rapidly adapt to the new approach of working remotely. However, even with the support of several tools, we are all human and are still facing the lack of real contact with others team members. With that in mind, and as we already won multiple contests in Virtual Reality (including the Facebook Developer Circle Challenge ) we created the solution of a Virtual Reality Office with Meetings.

We want to break the digital barriers by allowing any companies affected by the COVID-19 to own a virtual office with many virtual rooms and spatial sound. Get some digital coffee breaks, virtual meetings and virtual teambuilding with the same level of interaction as in real life, from any device.

By combining the convenience of online meetings with the interactivity of face-to-face meetings, our solution provides virtual workspaces to see where your employees virtually are, to collaborate, to create and feel truly together with colleagues.

What it does

We've built a Virtual Reality Office where you can see where everyone is in the virtual office. This allows you to track remote work, enable wide spread teleworking by allowing the employees to be virtually present in the company. We created multiple rooms in the office with their own themes:

  • A Business&Marketing meeting room with the main KPI's and data
  • An interview room as a private room to interview candidates or private meetings
  • A coffee break room, with a virtual coffee machine
  • A teambuilding activity room
  • A main open office room where everyone can collaborate and have meetings.

Within our solution demo from this hackathon, you can:

  • Import 3D Objects from any angle, expand them and do conception meetings with your engineering team
  • Organize virtual events in your office, or somewhere
  • Use a 3D pen with a whiteboard, to draw and sketch in 3D within your meetings. With these tools, improve your productivity working at home.

The environment is fully customizable! Create your own virtual office, your office environment could be in Bali or in the mountains, especially useful during these lockdown time.

Without forgetting the importance of social engagement and its impact, employees would enjoy and benefit from the experience of virtually meeting with other peers remotely located.

A question we’re often asked is, if we use a virtual reality solution, do every employee need a virtual reality headset? With our unique solution, the answer is no. We’ve developed our solution using the experimental and innovative *WebVR allowing you to join the VR meeting from any device and with a single link. * It’s also very secure as we can install our solutions on premise within the company’s servers. With user experience first, this is bringing added value to your company’s current stage with the COVID-19.

Ensure business continuity , improve productivity, communication and track remote work from a virtual office available anywhere.

How to use, the onboard?

User experience is one of our main drivers, and this is being translated in two directions:

  • Our solution can be fully integrated in your existing platform. From your Application Tracking System for scheduling (EA: interviews/assessments…) to other platforms where to meet with managers, mentors, employees, ... everything can be integrated with one click.
  • Our solution is also a standalone application available on any browser in one click. From any browser on any device (phone,computer or VR headset), you can collaborate virtually. The feeling of seeing and having the person in front of you ease communication and employee experience and is greatly different than traditional Zoom/GoToMeeting solutions.

With nothing to install, everything can be joined with one click.

The Features done during the weekend

Within this weekend, and thanks to the hackathon and the feedback of the mentors we've done many new features such as the livestream of 360 videos using LHLS. You can with our demo do meetings in interactive VR spaces, enabling remotely to review products and 3D models, brainstorm, sketch, mind-map, prototype and have team-building activities.

Moreover, the portable and easy to use oculus quest now allows anyone using Aptero to join a VR meeting from wherever you are, in the train, plane or just your office desk. We've built Aptero using a very experimental and new technology called WebVR. This technology is fairly new and most of the current virtual reality solution companies do not use it due to its experimental state. However WebVR, browser-based VR does bring a lot of advantages from many perspectives. It allows any devices to join the VR Application from any device on any browser.

WebVR is an experimental JavaScript application programming interface (API) that enables applications to interact with virtual reality devices. We used the WEBRtc library to manage the sound and direct connection in order to create optimal chat rooms. We then used Aframe for the front end, that connects to a nodeJS backend server managing and generating meeting rooms.

Challenges we ran into

With plenty of challenges in the last days, the main challenge in building this prototype was the audio. We’ve had lags/delay with the audio or sudden disconnection and we have tried many different patterns to keep the audio streams stable. We also redesigned, customised many entire 3D scene to make them user friendly. We believe connectivity and fluidity is very important for meetings.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of the 3D environment we’ve developed through this hackathon. With many features done in the MVP, we’re developed the ability to create 30 virtual spheres allowing you to visit any place in a virtual sphere.

What we learned

We learned a lot about the RMTP and HLS protocols (live videos). We also learned how to optimize a 3D application for the web. The next technical big step for aptero.co is new features such as custom libraries and improving the reality of the avatars.

What are the necessary resources and plan to implement the product?

To allow our solution to be available during the COVID-19, we are eager to let any company/manager use for free our solution if it can help during the COVID-19. Please contact us if you would like to use/Try our solution.

The Value of the solution after the crisis

Our Virtual office will and can be used after the crisis. This ensures a sweet transition and enable wide-spread teleworking. Our solution solves most of the current face to face requirement needs and remote tracking for any organization. You get to be more productive!

The prototype is completed and ready to use. What's left is to spread the word around us to let everyone know that a solution to boost remote productivity is here.

Built With: Three.js, Aframe, React, Typescrypt, Erlang, Elixir, Phoenix, Oculus, Sketchup

Try it out: https://alphahub.aptero.co/room/euvsvirus-hackathon/ https://github.com/worph

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