Useful collaboration in Virtual Reality

Dream makes it possible to meet and collaborate in virtual reality. Have a remote stand up, present a PDF, conduct a design review with people around the world, or simply watch YouTube together.

Dream decouples where you work from where you live, and is now available for free on in early access on the Oculus Store.

Would you recommend this product?
4 Reviews5.0/5
Surprised I've missed this! I run the biggest Bigscreen community with over 300 users, but I am always looking for alternatives. This does look like its mainly built for a different purpose - collaboration, while ours is for media consumption. Curious to hear more details though: 1. What is the maximum room capacity? 2. What are the plans around environments? Are they going to be produced all in-house or you are planning to crowdsource it, let users make worlds? 3. Do you see yourself doing more in the media consumption space? Virtual Cinemas being the front runner I am thinking?
Maybe I need to tag @idanbeck to get him to see this 😵
@doutatsu Sorry for not seeing this sooner - Would love to support further if you want to try Dream out, feel free to direct message me on twitter - or if you email support@dreamos.com I will respond directly. Will try to answer your questions 1 - Dream currently supports up to 6 users. This is a bit of an artificial limit, as we just haven't done too much testing with more users in there. We use a real time peer to peer network that is trying to update everyone at 90 FPS so as you start to increase the number of users the upload requirement for your network starts to go up. 2 - With launch we only had the one semi-indoor environment, but we have two further environments in the works: one completely indoor, and one completely outdoor. Eventually we'd like to make it possible for people to create their own environments but we're not sure about the approach here. Most experiences that allow you to change your environment have an extremely steep learning curve, and generally don't please everyone. We try to make sure anything we build is really polished from an end user experience perspective, so this is one of the harder things we are thinking about. 3 - Our focus as a company is really on collaboration and productivity, but from a feature perspective there's a lot of overlap in terms of consuming media. For example, we ended up rebuilding some core components of WebRTC and making changes to Chromium just so that when a user streams a youtube video or other multi-media content, the audio comes through in a pleasing way and doesn't clobber the spoken audio. Also, we had integrated Plex because one of us is a Plex power user - so it was just for fun. I would actually love your feedback on one of the more interesting features that we're currently building. In doing the video for release, and some of the recent feature videos, we had built a in-Dream camera that has momentum like a crane-operated camera. It's been a lot of fun to use, and making these videos is a lot of fun - and we realized that if we could somehow expose this camera as a kind of virtual webcam to our integrated chromium instance then it'd be possible to use this feed as a kind of virtual webcam that could inter operate with anything that runs in a browser, like Zoom, Skype, live streaming on Twitch etc and would require no installation of drivers/software outside of Dream. So it'd be more of media production vs. consumption, since we've noticed there are a few examples of VR bloggers already using things like VRChat for example. It would also allow people to communicate with people that don't have a VR HMD, which I think is pretty exciting as well.
@dreamos @idanbeck Thanks a lot for a comprehensive reply! On that first point, that's exactly what happens with Bigscreen, streaming to 12 people requires big UL speed, which makes it hard to find people that can host such rooms. I'd love to try it out, but I just realised its Oculus only at the moment. On that note, what is the plan for the rest of the VR headsets? I'd imagine you plan to release on Vive, WMR, etc in the future? Any particular timeline that you could share?
@dreamos @doutatsu Dream currently uses a purely peer to peer networking model, so every user has a discrete connection with every other user in a session vs. a room hosted by a given user. To be honest, we haven't really tried more than six users, but even at six we start to see performance degradation on min spec machines and we start to get into 1 Mbps upload requirement. It's something we want to improve on, so if there's strong interest in larger rooms we would love to dig into it! We have a pretty strict performance requirements of 90 FPS with a YouTube video playing and another web page open in multiuser. In terms of supporting new platforms, we already got our Vive build in order and anticipate a release on Steam in mid November. This would work with any Open VR HMD but we haven't tested much outside of Vive. Separately we are working on porting for Android so that we can be ready for some of the exciting standalone devices next year.
@dreamos @idanbeck Gotcha. 1Mbps requirement sounds very low, as our streamers need to be in the range of 32-42 Mbps minimum to handle full rooms of 12 people. 1080p streams to 4 people need 14Mbps upload. So it sounds like your 6 people rooms are already miles ahead for the barrier to entry. I am excited to try it out when it comes out in November, will be keep an eye out!
This space is super interesting, although I can't imagine wearing a VR headset for more than an hour at work. I recently participated in a VR interview (using HTC Vive) for an hour and halfway through I started to feel super nauseous. I imagine it would be even more severe if I'm reading text. Longer term, I'm certain something like this will be a core part of the workplace and empower distribute teams to collaborate as well as centralized teams. But that could be a decade out. Curious to hear your thoughts on this, @idanbeck and @jason_israel. Also cc'ing @chrismessina as I'm sure he has an interesting POV on this too.
@jason_israel @chrismessina @rrhoover Thanks Ryan! Big fan of product hunt and long time listener of the podcast by the way! So it's a great concern, and one that we've had a fair bit of exposure to at this point. I think a lot of people are wary of VR in particular due to some pretty bad upfront experiences they may have had when first trying VR, or due to certain experiences that left them dizzy or nauseous for the rest of the day. However, we have had some pretty promising experiences as a result of shleping Dream out there to give demos to as many people as we possibly could - in particular investors and potential partners. Some of these people had prior experiences with VR, but a vast majority of them were given their first VR experience by us. In fact, we did this so much that we ended up building these crazy mobile VR rigs - effectively a high powered laptop in a James Bond suitcase, with the the cameras built in and everything pre-configured, so we could show up to a meeting, plug into power, connect to wifi and both plug into Dream together and be joined by another member of our team remotely. I was having trouble embedding the image, edit: here's a link to a pic I put up on twitter: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DowS... So I'll start with the extreme minority of people we came across that just immediately could not bear it. I think out of hundreds (150-200) pitches we did in Dream around 3 or 4 people I remember just couldn't bear it for more than a minute. These individuals also professed to me that they suffer from serious motion sickness, like having to take Dramamine to ride in a car - or had complex optical eyewear (like a progressive eyeglasses). I'm afraid that there will likely always be this minority, and they may always have to defer to 2D modes or wait for improved VR and AR headsets to come to market. However, with everyone else we were able to conduct long term meetings, often for 45 minutes to 90 minutes. A lot of these users initially gave me the "Idan - I'm excited to try this, but you need to know that I've never been able to use VR for more than 5 minutes. If I have trouble I'll let you know, and we'll switch to IRL/phone/video (depending on the context". All these other folks ended up being in Dream for 45+ minutes, and were surprised to realize it as what's really neat about being able to be in an immersive medium for meetings is that your sole focus is on what you're talking about and time seems to fly by. Eric Klein, one of our investors at Lemnos, and I would have weekly meetings in Dream and eventually we'd set an alarm so that he wouldn't go overtime and miss his later meetings - we're still exploring some good product approaches for time. I will take a small stab at trying to rationalize why this is, I think it comes down to the product decisions that we've made. For example, lots of VR experiences provide a teleportation mechanic that allows you to move around the space. However, if I could simply snap my fingers and be placed into a conference with my co-workers and never have to move - why would I? This isn't a fitness question, it's a product question - so we allow teleportation to provide freedom of movement in an environment, but it also results in nausea and negative effects that far out weight the positives. There are countless examples of this - for example, many VR apps require you to remove your HMD to set up a login/password since this is a really hard thing to do entirely in VR. Funny how the login flow, something we take for granted in nearly ever web/mobile app, is something we spent a ton of time on - by integrating chromium in a way with our platform that we could create web based views and log in flows, and so users are never ever asked to remove their headset. Text legibility is also a valid concern, and one of the things that Dream can really do here is control the resolution of the web view the user is provided - this is made possible by the fact that we integrated chromium at the core of our engine. As such, we can ensure you're provided a view closer to mobile resolution, and that will work both on your local as well as shared view for most content. In fact, the first thing most people do when they get into Dream is bring up their own website or something like CNN/NYT - and generally we've always optimized for text legibility, and people don't tend to have issues. However, I will say that Dream really shines when you're in there to talk to someone else about something. So you're not really staring at text all that much, the focus tends to shift to the communication between you and the rest of the people in the meeting. I agree that mainstream adoption of immersive technologies to the point where it changes the landscape of how people work in a meaningful way is some years out. I don't think it's as far out as 10 years, I'm slightly more optimistic - but I agree that it's definitely not next year. We feel strongly that some core issues need to be resolved to unblock this on the HW side, but we also saw that no one was really demonstrating deep product thinking on the software side. Collaboration and communication software is possible now, Sorry for the long post, but hopefully I've provided a bit of alternative thoughts on this space - we've always felt a bit like outsiders in VR. We are approaching this from a product first mentality, but matching that with building all of our technology from scratch to make the solutions we want really possible. We launched yesterday on the Oculus platform, but have up until that point been compatible with Vive - we may look to release on Steam as well in due time. However, if you have access to an Oculus HMD or want me to bus our mobile rig over for you to try sometime - would be more than happy to!
Hey @idanbeck & @jason_israel Can you tell us more about what you've built here and where you see it in 5 years?
@jason_israel @jacqvon Would love to! We launched Dream today to make it possible to meet and collaborate virtually with your team. We think that immersive technology like virtual reality and augmented reality could soon make it possible for people to work effectively from where they choose - regardless of where the rest of their team is based. The product that we're launching today allows you to jump into VR with your team and pull up any web based content and share it with them. We've also added a few integrations to make it even easier to bring in relevant content, like Dropbox and Google Drive. This opens up some pretty exciting use cases, like running a remote stand up using Trello, or doing a design review around a PDF pulled from Google Drive or Dropbox. Also, just for fun, we added a Plex and Youtube integration since we're fans and enjoy pulling up a fun video after a long backlog grooming. We're super excited to get people to try it out and give us feedback now that Dream is available on early access on Oculus since we think that immersive technology will soon greatly improve people's ability to interact and work together, regardless of distance. It's hard to predict 5 years out, so I'll first attempt to comment about the next couple of years. Just last week, Oculus announced the Quest which is going to be the first fully featured 6DOF standalone VR headset. At only $400, it's likely people will have their work computer, mobile device - but also a mobile HMD that they could use to immediately jump into meetings with their remote co-workers. Being in VR really adds a layer of presence coupled with nonverbal communication cues that is missing in current 2D form factors like voice and video, and it especially shines when there are three or more people in the meeting that are sharing content. In the slightly longer term, I think we'll start to see improvements in the mobile VR headsets around resolution and performance, which would unlock them as true productivity suites. Currently it would be hard to spend an entire day in a VR HMD to write emails or do any kind of creative work, but as resolutions improve and features like eye tracking are introduced, many things will be more appealing in VR. One exciting example of this could be in customer service, where instead of commuting to a call center they could instead opt to work from home and still have access to other customer service representatives. Customers wouldn't need to have a VR headset either, they would communicate over voice/video and the customer service reps helping them out would have access to the relevant dashboards and CRMs - as well as being able to call in senior representatives to answer tricky questions. I think that in the 5 year span, we will start to see viable standalone augmented reality headsets which would expand the use cases even more. We actually got to run Dream on the Meta AR headset and what we learned was really interesting. In short, going to AR makes real time collaboration / communication more into a co-working experience instead of a meeting. Imagine being at home, working at your laptop - but being able to look over and seeing the rest of your team working along side, and being able to talk to them or share what you're currently working on. If this is really going to work, the AR headsets have to be extremely comfortable and easy to use, which is why I think it might be 5+ years to get to a form factor not much more cumbersome than reading glasses. This is all pretty blue sky stuff, so we've tried to stay grounded in this initial release. We've tried to make Dream as easy to use as possible, especially for users that are new to VR. We hope this initial release will get us some good feedback so we can continue to make Dream better and better, and demonstrate how VR has the ability to make remote working and collaboration little to no different than being in the same room!
@spectreof it's been a wild ride!
This is the future! 🦖 Oasis coming soon!
@rezniklukas this is a slightly more obscure reference, but did you ever read that book Airframe? It talked about this crazy enterprise VR like mainframe thing that they would use to access documents, reminiscent of minority report style - but well ahead of that time. I was lucky enough to be alive and living in Silicon Valley in the mid 1990s during the first VR boom - and being 10-12 years old it formed a lot of my early technology interests for sure :) Also love the Ready Player One Book! But the movie was a bit of a disappointment to be honest.