For example, in the pre-pandemic office, you’ll meet your coworkers and initiate random chats throughout the day – about your pet, about your boss, about whatever project you’re working on. Information will be disseminated, exchanged ideas, and scheduled additional meetings. But on Zoom, moving from meeting to meeting means selecting buttons to click. There is no buffer for chance and less chance for mounts. The sales representative who visited the customer before the pandemic had to walk through the office and say hello to everyone. The next time a customer needs to buy new customer relationship management software, she may not remember which product has the most security features, but she will remember that a charming sales rep has come to school. old her. Now sellers have to demo a product via Zoom. Because they have to share the screen, they cannot fully develop their charisma or poise. The best they can do to build relationships, pitch after sales, is to send out a follow-up email. Maybe a meme.
Before the pandemic, if you were a senior engineer or a scholar, you can count on attending several conferences each year with others in your field. You’ll walk around various corporate stalls, pick up some giveaways with logos, get a quick recap of the latest technology or articles during dinner, and end a couple of days off. In contrast, a pandemic conference is a series of 300-person Zoom calls, in which only one person can speak at a time.
That’s a testament to Silicon Valley’s prosperity as so many startups dedicated to combating restrictions like working from home have mushroomed in the last year. Hopin, founded in 2019, has gained traction as thousands of academic and corporate conferences move online; Customers have included United Nations and TechCrunch Disrupt. Compared to Zoom or Gather.town, Hopin requires more preparation and setup: Clients must design their virtual locations by deciding everything from color schemes and logos to sponsors and schedules. . Johnny Boufarhat, founder and CEO of Hopin, said: “The example I want to give is that you are renting a large building to host an event. “The office floor could have a meeting room, be video conferencing platforms,” like Zoom. “But then downstairs, on the ground floor of the building, there is usually a large site, and the location can turn into whatever you want – maybe you’re hosting a recruiting night; maybe we will watch a conference; Maybe you’re organizing a meeting. “
Each event starts at a Hopin profile page. The “enter” button will take you to the virtual conference homepage. On the right side, there’s a running group chat. On the left side, there is a banner for the conference and a list of all live speaker sessions. Clicking on one of them will take you into a Zoom-like room. In that room, the audience can vote on questions to ask the speaker. You can also search the complete list of conference attendees and invite any of them to a personal video chat.
While Hopin focuses on efficiency, there are other startups that are more aggressive looking to recreate chance encounters at work. Virtual offices created by Teamflow and Branch have personal desks, public areas and private meeting rooms. On Teamflow, your video appears as a bubble on a virtual office map, you can move around the office by typing on your keyboard. When you want to check on colleagues, you just need to “walk” to them. When you go to your next meeting, you can “bump” someone.
Much of the inspiration behind these space meeting platforms has come from video games. Yang Mou, the CEO of Kumospace, was a competitive StarCraft player at university and, once the course started, wondered why he could spend hours playing online. with your friends and don’t want to stop, Zoom meetings are just tiring. When creating Kumospace, he was especially influenced by online multiplayer role-playing games like World of Warcraft. “One of the jokes was that it was an honored chat room,” he said. “You play games, you have nothing to do and then you really just hang out with your friends.” He added, “It’s like going to the mall.”