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May 13, 2022

The New Virbela Campus: Your Guide to the Next Generation of Remote Work

The new Virbela Open Campus is live. Created to look and feel like a modern city, this virtual world is the most advanced enterprise metaverse available for remote work today.
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Virbela’s new Open Campus is now live. This transformational redesign advances the experience and capabilities of remote work and education for everyone.

By working in the new Virbela, organizations can evolve alongside the widespread social and economic shifts that are redefining global culture. These shifts continue to inspire us in the development of stunning new work spaces that feel large, true to life, and easy to adopt. 

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Tour the New Campus Sign up for a group tour of the new Virbela Open Campus. We’ll be walking around in small groups, checking out new scenes and giving you the lay of the land. If you’re new to XR, this is an easy, no-pressure way to gain familiarity and help lead your company into the future of remote work. Come on your own or gather a few of your colleagues to join us.  

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A Virtual World That Feels Like a Modern City

Created to look and feel like a modern city, the new Virbela Open Campus features expansive spaces for work, learning, and building community. Teams of designers, developers, and organizational psychologists have crafted a virtual world that ensures companies and institutions can thrive far into the future.

Within the new Virbela Open Campus, anyone can walk, run, teleport, or enter a subway station to travel throughout the world. Subway station names are configurable for users with upgraded permissions.

Hop aboard the Waterfront subway station

The outdoor environment connects buildings with paved and natural paths, dotted with trees that rustle in the breeze. Grass crunches when you walk on it.  A waterfall cascades by the mountain. The sound of rushing water is realistic enough to inspire a restroom run for at least one recent tour guest. Light moves as it does in the real world, flickering or casting shadows.

Additional outdoor spaces include a campsite and hiking trail to the top of a mountain where you can see views of the entire Open Campus. An outdoor amphitheater can host large meetings, concerts, DJ events, movies on a lawn, and other presentations or entertainment. 

The natural landscape leads to a hiking trail and a campsite
Socialize at the latest art installation in the gallery
Dance the night away at a party in The Speakeasy

A Cultural District features galleries with interactive, museum-style exhibits for inspiration and relaxation, plus a Design Showroom and theater. A Library Complex makes space for additional exhibits focused on diversity and inclusion and houses a Community Center, where monthly experiences promote togetherness and camaraderie in virtual worlds. 

Across Open Campus, each building type is designed to follow the latest trends in modern architecture. They’re also modular and scalable, so that organizations can design a Private Campus that satisfies their exact needs. 

Indoor spaces from Virbela’s original campus are still live, now updated to match the aesthetic and higher quality rendering of the new Open Campus. Step into a fully updated lounge club in The Virbela Speakeasy or visit the small aquarium across the street. Attend events in the Auditorium or Pavillion, wander the Black History Library, and visit the Virtual Sento for a few minutes of relaxation. 

Each environment is created so that organizations can optimize team engagement and opportunities for individual wellness and a feeling of connection at work. 

Virbela tower
Rooftop vistas from Virbela Tower

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Join the Conversation Follow Virbela on LinkedIn to learn about the latest developments in virtual reality and share your insights and opinions. 

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The Most Advanced Enterprise Metaverse Yet

As companies adapt to the rapid changes of the present, the ability to collaborate and innovate from anywhere has become more pressing than ever. 

New paradigms are being formed everywhere we look. Social matters like diversity and inclusion, mental health, and work-life balance demand our immediate attention. Economic issues like rising operational costs, limited or uneven commercial real estate supply, and the availability of qualified workforces squeeze bottom lines. Impending climate catastrophe asks us to limit emissions in our business decisions.

These are hard problems to solve without new ways of working. In designing the new Virbela Open Campus, organizational psychologists, led by Virbela co-founders Alex Howland, Ph.D., and Sheldon Brown, surfaced insights around how people engage at work in physical offices and in virtual reality. These insights are the main drivers behind the new Virbela Open Campus.

First, social interaction is key at high-functioning companies. The nature of these interactions may change, especially as more individuals prefer to self-direct their schedules, but some interaction remains essential. Group conversations, casual collisions in common areas, and the ability to access leadership are vital to company growth.

Then, the traditional remote work processes, like video conferencing, long email chains, and in-depth project documents, don’t actually work all the time. In fact, over-reliance on these methods can create silos, blocking teams from understanding company-wide objectives and performance indicators.

Finally, as remote work and XR technology evolve, Virbela’s original look and feel needed updating, too. The sensory immersion of virtual worlds is an important part of empowering individual staff members to feel like they ‘went to work.’ The psychological impact of feeling like you’re sharing space with colleagues aids in focus, productivity—and overall personal well-being when the work is done. 

Virtual worlds are still highly novel experiences, so we focused on tapping into everyday emotional and cognitive responses for familiarity and ease of use. We drew upon the breadth of use cases Virbela has supported over time, reflecting on which shared aspects were most valuable. We also looked at the urban design of major cities around the world.

Open Campus Map

Accordingly, each space in the new Virbela campus facilitates different states of mind, similar to what we all experience throughout the day. For instance, you might gaze across a landscape for a moment of reflection, walk down a city street for inspiration, or sit with colleagues in an auditorium to gain insight from a presentation.

The result is a virtual world that is always on, accessible from anywhere via desktop with wifi connection, and highly scalable for companies of all sizes. 

At the enterprise level, this scalability translates to tens of thousands of employees working in a customizable shared space at once. For companies making the transition to virtual offices, it’s possible to turn recruiting, learning, and social programs on and off, quickly and cost-effectively. 

Avatars facilitate natural interaction by giving individuals a vehicle for connection. Presently, avatars can be changed in a matter of minutes, pulling from an extensive library of body, face, and hair types with multiple seasonal outfits and accessories.

Designers are currently putting the final touches on a new avatar system, which allows any individual to express themselves using billions of appearance combinations. We expect to roll out the next generation of avatars by the end of 2022.  In the new Virbela Open Campus, avatars already have a sharper look and feel to match the layout and architecture of the world.

Technology for a Remote Work Revolution 

Working in Virbela feels like working in a traditional office, only better. Strip away the stresses of commuting or looking and dressing a certain way, and you’re left with a lot of good stuff: Camaraderie. Collaboration. A renewed focus on the merit of your ideas and accomplishments.

These are cultural gains that can directly impact your company’s ability to produce, innovate, and grow. 

A shared office space preserves and improves work-life balance, so individuals are energized and empowered to complete tasks, hit milestones, and achieve objectives. As collaboration becomes tighter and more natural, multiple viewpoints can lead to groundbreaking ideas for new products and services. Leaders benefit from greater connection to teams, allowing everyone to focus on the deliverables of their roles. 

The new Virbela campus continues to build upon these growth drivers. For instance, transitioning to a virtual Team Suite allows some companies to extend private office space to staff for the first time. 

  • Offices are equipped with furniture options that you can quickly change, depending on who is in the room. Choose desks, group tables, and various seating options.
  • Web boards function as browsers and presentation screens. You can browse by URL or upload files from a server or drive to display on the wall.
  • Anyone can enter an individual office, but if you need privacy, you can lock the door. Conversations inside offices are private. No one can hear from the hallways. 
  • Each office is loaded with opportunities for personalization. Add or take down boards. Put images on the wall. Use virtual sticky notes. 

The experiential enhancements of the new Virbela Campus come with technical improvements that further your company’s ability to work and grow in virtual reality:

  • Virbela uses the Universal Render Pipeline (URP) in Unity, supporting performance optimizations and more realistic graphics. This technology gives the new Virbela campus greater visual appeal. 
  • Stability enhancements increase the integrity and availability of your virtual world. Fewer blips and glitches keep your teams working seamlessly, immersed in the tasks at hand.
  • Localization improvements include expanded support for more geographies and languages, including Japanese.

This improved level of integrity and availability is crucial in today’s business climate. If you’re a Private Campus or Team Suite owner, you can move forward with confidence that the new release won’t disrupt your day-to-day operations. The new Virbela campus is your next step in leading the next generation of remote work. 

For more on how virtual reality worlds can support your company’s long-term growth, follow Virbela on LinkedIn. We’re always sharing the latest in tech advances, opinions,  and features you can use right away. 

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Sign up for a group tour of the new Virbela Campus now. Join other business leaders, build your VR skills, and get answers to any questions about how virtual worlds can help your company thrive.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled this addendum for quick answers to the questions we get the most.

When will the new look be available to campus owners?

You can experience the new Virbela by  entering Open Campus now. Private Campus rollouts start June 30.

How do I get the new release for my Private Campus?

The new Virbela Open campus will be rolled out in a patch. Your Account Manager will provide more details on how to complete the switch.

How does the new campus impact advanced troubleshooting for my Private Campus?

It changes the name of log files which are required for advanced troubleshooting. You can locate log files in the same location, but it the file itself is now called player. The Player file is your most recent or active session. Player-prev is your previous campus session. Player_[Date] is a session file for a previous date/time but only up to the most recent 10 sessions. You can review how to obtain log files on our support article.

How do I access my Team Suite now that the new Open Campus is live?

You can access your Team Suite the same way you always have. From Open Campus, use the Go-To Menu to select Private Team Suite and enter your password.

Will my Team Suite change?

There will be no changes to Team Suites. Log into the new Virbela campus and use the Go-To menu to select your Team Suite. 

Do I need to download Virbela again?

No, the rollout happens via a patch. Nothing is required of you to experience the new Virbela Open Campus. If you’re a Private Campus owner, you can work with your Account Manager to deploy the patch whenever convenient for you. 

Will Virbela’s architecture change?

No, all APIs, data flows, voice servers, and world servers will remain the same. Private Campus owners may hear from their Account Managers about firewall updates. 

Will my login credentials change?

No, you can use the same login credentials as always.

How do I manage permissions now?

User permissions are still managed in http://app.virbela.com, the same way they’ve always been managed.

Will my avatar change?

Avatars may look slightly sharper as a result of improved rendering in the new release. A new avatar release, offering billions of appearance combinations, is planned to roll out later in 2022. 

Will the current campus go away?

Eventually, yes, but we will support the existing campus scene for long enough to  give users a chance to switch at their convenience. 

Can I tour the new campus?

Yes, please sign up for a group tour, happening every Friday at 12:30 PM Pacific.

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