The XR collaboration space is full of apps that seek to take advantage of the decrease in human interactions within organizations in the wake of Covid and the accelerated growth of remote working. Many XR collaboration tools seek to bring teams together and increase staff cohesion through more realistic interpersonal engagement and common spaces. I’ve seen this desire to provide something more engaging than Zoom or Microsoft Teams many times even before the pandemic, and there’s no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of some of these apps.

Many of these apps are trying to bring together teams that might be geographically dispersed and are looking for a better way than Brady’s Bunch– style group calls to interact with each other. This is where Morpheus XR comes in. Morpheus is a rare company that not only creates virtual experiences, but also enables others to do so; it also provides premium services that include VR headset installation and configuration.

The turnkey difference of Morpheus XR

One of the main differences between Morpheus XR and most other enterprise collaboration apps I’ve seen is that the company has a headset rental service, which includes setup and support to give users faster and easier access to more VR apps. This means that Morpheus has already taken care of one of the biggest sticking points for the adoption of VR headsets for remote collaboration, training or workshops. In fact, by offering the white glove service – and the headsets themselves as part of the service – Morpheus removes several friction points. This could serve as a gateway for XR applications in some organizations that have struggled to adopt it.

In addition to offering the headset preloaded with the Morpheus XR app, Morpheus also offers its platform to businesses that want to offer XR training, workshops, or collaboration as a service to their customers. I saw this in action recently when I attended a workshop on Morpheus XR led by one of its partners, Blue Sky Training, which I will discuss below. Morpheus has designers on its team, and in fact one of the co-founders, Mikhail Krymov, is a former architect who has played a crucial role in helping to shape the different experiences that Morpheus can offer customers. Additionally, co-founder Jennifer Regan is a longtime expert in change management and has extensive experience with entertainment brands. So she understands the adoption issues that companies moving to XR are likely to face.

From what I’ve seen, I consider Morpheus XR to be a complete solution in some ways that other apps aren’t simply because it integrates content, hardware, and services into one solution. Even the way Morpheus XR uses AI to generate new custom spaces is both cutting-edge and unique. At this stage of industry development, many companies are still looking for complete, turnkey solutions and not piecemeal applications, hardware and services that they have to hire a consulting firm to integrate.

Collaboration, training and workshops

My training in Morpheus XR was different from other experiences I’ve had on VR collaboration platforms. Sure, I’ve gotten plenty of pitches on other platforms, but ultimately what a lot of them were missing were specific customer use cases showing what kinds of results the platform can provide. Blue Sky Training’s workshop, which was run by CEO Chris Hawker, provided a welcome contrast. He knew clearly from the start what he was going to do with the space he had created with Morpheus XR; more than that, it was obvious that his company has a lot of experience in maximizing interpersonal connections within these virtual spaces. It was clear to me that he had a lot of experience in these kinds of in-person presentations and was able to easily translate that into an XR environment.

Human connections

I’ve long heard that personal connections in XR are one of the most powerful ways to build engagement, which means social experiences in XR are going to be what ultimately push the industry toward mass adoption. I’m a firm believer in that, and I believe that’s why my experience in Morpheus XR has been powerful and engaging. I really felt like I was able to connect with complete strangers on a personal level that I might not have been able to reach any other way, including even in person. There is something special about media where you are somewhat vulnerable, but also not fully exposed because you are represented by an avatar; it allows you to connect with strangers in a way that feels meaningful and productive to you.

Avatars and Ready Player Me

Morpheus XR avatars are powered by Ready Player Me, a fast avatar creator. I was impressed with how the app generated a mostly accurate avatar of myself based on a single recent photo and had it usable within seconds. Even better, it gave me control of this avatar for other platforms of my choosing in the future. I will say that the lack of legs on the Morpheus XR avatars was a little disappointing, but the experience was still very grounded. I believe the company understands that realistic avatars aren’t necessary and that there’s a certain “good enough” line they have to walk, which Ready Player Me achieves for them.

Wrap

While I don’t think Morpheus XR is going to completely change the XR collaboration space overnight, I think it’s a pretty good indicator of how the industry is changing. The company brings together the best components available to developers today to enable meaningful interpersonal interactions between people who otherwise could not meet in person, and it does so very effectively.

I think there are some limits to what can be accomplished in Morpheus XR, but I think it could be very powerful for workshops and trainings that otherwise could only be done via video. I think Morpheus will continue to iterate on its app and improve the capabilities and reach of its platform while looking for ways to improve the enterprise collaboration space. Hopefully we’ll see more competition in the space, leading to even stronger innovation and better engagement. Morpheus is still a very young company and I expect to see it continue to grow as a platform, especially as the need to bring together geographically dispersed teams continues to grow.

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Patrick Moorhead, Founder, CEO and Chief Analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, is an investor in dMY Technology Group Inc. VI, Fivestone Partners, Frore Systems, Groq, MemryX, Movandi and Ventana Micro.

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