While video chat is better than no face-to-face interaction, it’s too easy to multitask and not be fully present when the participants in your call are just boxes on a screen. The Room3D video chat service changes this 2D dynamic by placing a cutout of your live video headshot into a virtual 3D space. You can pan around the environment to see yourself and the other participants or view the room from your virtual seat at the table. Either way, the feeling of being present is much greater than you’d have with a traditional video chat service.
When you first enter a Room3D virtual space, the platform places you into a seat, and you can see yourself within the room. If you don’t like your seat, you can pan around and select any open seat. Whenever you choose a new chair, you’ll see the room from that seat’s perspective. Likewise, you can pan around the room and click on another participant to have them in the center of your view. And you can always see how you appear on camera, even if it’s just in a small circle at the top of the screen.
Room3D removes the background in your live video feed to make it look like you’re present in the room. And like any video chat platform that lets you use a virtual background, Room3D can have difficulty separating your headshot from your background. The other challenge is scaling your video so you appear to be a normal size in the room. It takes a little work to find the proper distance from the camera, so you don’t look like you’re a giant or sitting in an oversized chair with your chin almost resting on the table. If you turn your camera off, you become a big black blob.
For meetings, Room3D’s virtual spaces have whiteboards for collaborating and the ability to share your screen. You can view these from your seat in the room or enlarge them for better viewing and use the whiteboard tools.
I can see Room3D being helpful when hosting a book club or a casual team meeting when you want to be in the same space but can’t meet in person. It works within your web browser, so there isn’t anything to download or install. Participants just click on a link.
The Basic subscription to Room3D, which includes hosting meetings for up to 60 minutes with a maximum of four participants, is free. The Founder level, which is $6 per month, lets you host up to 16 participants and unlimited meetings for up to 24 hours.
[Image credit: screenshot via Techlicious]