Case ZOAN: Building a Virtual Head Office in the Metaverse
Taking a lead on the rollout of the metaverse, 3D content studio ZOAN is building their brand-new headquarters in a completely virtual environment.
With the release of the Varjo Aero, ZOAN is preparing to take office life online and harness the power of virtual reality for remote collaboration.
Companies and forward thinkers are already forecasting how exactly we will exist, work, and play in the uncharted new medium called the metaverse, which extends our existence into the virtual world.
So far, professional virtual collaboration has mostly been focused on improving the remote meeting experience. Understandably so; even post-pandemic, the rapidly growing need for remote communication is expected to increase as businesses aim to improve their sustainability. But what if companies unleashed the full power of VR?
Virtual reality will spark the next major leap in communication tech.
Existing VR solutions, such as Varjo’s own Teleport VR software, can already allow users to remotely join meetings as human-like avatars, and collaborate in a 3D virtual environment. This enables an immersive sense of presence, as participants can ‘step into’ meetings and communicate with the nuances and body language of physical face-to-face encounters – solving a major shortcoming of existing teleconferencing software.
ZOAN, the award-winning 3D content studio, saw the enormous potential of improving their remote working setups, but did not want to stop at revamping only meetings or select workflows. As early as five years ago, they set out on the radical idea of constructing a new 100% virtual head office, for employees and clients to visit, entirely within the metaverse.
Why the metaverse became such a desirable address.
The studio’s motivation to build a virtual office is clear. Their current HQ is in Helsinki, Finland, and they have local offices in Brazil, Japan, and the US. Like many global businesses, they were highly incentivized to tackle the frustrations of frequent lackluster teleconferencing, travel expenses, and their collective carbon footprint. ZOAN wanted to showcase to their clients and employees that a virtual office is not limited by the bounds of the physical world. Contrary, the virtual office enables immersive opportunities for collaboration and design workflows for all stakeholders globally.
As 3D asset and environment creation specialists, ZOAN was uniquely well-positioned to carry out such a project – but they were initially held back by their no-compromises ambition. ZOAN’s vision was for a near photorealistic simulation, with accompanying hardware that would do justice to some of their best work and be a pleasure to use for employees and clients alike.
Varjo Aero, the key to pixel-perfect virtual headquarters.
ZOAN gained early access to the Varjo Aero HMD months before its release in October 2021. Varjo Aero is a virtual reality headset that incorporates the world's most advanced professional VR technology into a commercially available device. It delivers ultra-crisp 35 PPD visual fidelity, via a groundbreaking combination of custom variable-resolution aspheric lenses, and mini-LED displays.
Its reduced weight and precision-engineered 3-point head strap improves the ergonomics to a point where long-duration usage is not an issue. It also comes at a more attainable price, opening possibilities for cross-team deployments.
With the knowledge that hardware had caught up with his ambitious vision, ZOAN’s CEO and Co-Founder, Miikka Rosendahl, was inspired to drive forward the virtual office project and aim for completion in 2022.
“With the Varjo Aero headset, we can check the smallest details from an actual human perspective and quality, which helps us to improve even more the realism of the projects.”
Rosa Emerson, Unreal Engine specialist at ZOAN
“As soon as I put on the Varjo Aero, I knew it was time to ramp up construction of our virtual HQ. It’s just so viscerally immersive to wear, ergonomically on point, and delivering photorealistic quality for our clients.”
Miikka Rosendahl - CEO & Co Founder at ZOAN
How does it feel on the virtual side of life?
Although opting for a photorealistic graphical design, ZOAN have chosen to take advantage of the lack of traditional real-world limitations for their new virtual office. The sleek and dark ultra-modern building merges seamlessly into an imposing cliff, looming over a restless sea. The design takes inspiration from the rugged landscape of Scandinavian coastlines, and minimalist Nordic architecture, but amplifies the scale to an awe-inspiring level.
Upon completion, users will be able to simultaneously navigate, communicate, and work within the environment via a laptop or desktop computer in a browser with the web interface version. To get the full experience though, employees and clients can put on a virtual reality headset and explore the office, interact with colleagues, work, and be inspired by their hyper-realistic surroundings.
Where to next?
“This is no longer a sci-fi dream, or a filler for an empty visionary presentation. We’re making this happen, now. I’ve seen the early builds with the Varjo Aero headset, and the combined effect is so mesmerizing, that I know working life is going to change for better, and I’m proud that my globally located employees will be amongst the first to experience it.”
Miikka Rosendahl, CEO & Co Founder, ZOAN
As the project approaches completion, ZOAN aims to give access to Varjo Aero headsets for their employees and clients to begin a new era of collaborative work, and co-working, in the metaverse. Their digital creations can be presented to clients within the virtual walls, or mid-project design reviews can be carried out. Minus the air fares, minus the emissions, minus the travel time and no matter the geographical location; ZOAN will be able to provide an equally engaging experience to all their stakeholders.
Get to know ZOAN, the award-winning 3D content studio, and learn more about their ambitious project in the metaverse.
Learn more about the Varjo Aero
Varjo Aero offers a generational leap in visual fidelity for professionals and leading-edge VR users alike.
With a future-proofed optical design and stunning dual mini-LED displays, Aero is the lightest & brightest professional-grade headset ever made.
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