“The Role of Immersive Technologies in Promoting Social Connectedness” – Special Track organised by the Immersive VR Lab for ERPBSS 2022

The Immersive VR Lab is organizing a special track for the Sixth International Conference on Emerging Research Paradigms in Business and Social Sciences

Special Track – Organised by the Immersive VRx Lab

Topic: The Role of Immersive Technologies in Promoting Social Connectedness

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of immersive technologies, such as Virtual and Augmented Reality. With people staying at home and remote work becoming a viable option, the role of this technology in letting us stay connected with each other has become even more critical. When compared with more traditional forms of online communication, VR/AR devices allow users to have a much more immersive experience. Several applications and experiences have been developed, for professional interaction as well as for entertainment purposes. It’s increasingly clear that VR/AR appears to provide a viable platform for promoting social connectedness. Given the availability and convenience of accessing this technology, there is great potential in developing such networked experiences, with multiple people interacting with each other in the same virtual space.

While these applications allow people to connect in a virtual space, several aspects of this interaction need to be understood better. In this context, this special track welcomes submissions on the use of immersive technologies, such as VR and AR, specifically related to their role in advancing social connectedness. This multidisciplinary track focuses on various factors, including, but not limited to:

Potential Applications

  • Multi-user applications in VR/AR for specific use-cases, such as education (virtual classrooms), professional interactions, recreation, etc.
  • Cross-platform applications, which allow multiple users to connect via VR/AR devices, mobile devices, and desktops/laptops.
  • Potential applications of single-user VR/AR experiences that facilitate social connectedness.

Technical Challenges – Hardware, Software, Networking

  • Approaches for tracking user movements in VR.
  • Methods for ensuring a smooth visual experience – Focusing on graphics quality, variability in hardware, network latency issues, etc.
  • Design and evaluation of consistent user interfaces and user interactions in VR/AR.
  • Design and evaluation of virtual characters that represent the users in VR (e.g., animation, perceptual evaluation)
  • Methods for synchronising various sensory streams (audio, visual, haptic, etc.).

Human Factors and Psychological Impact

  • Theoretical perspectives of understanding the use of VR/AR for social connectedness.
  • Potential impact (socio-economic, cultural, environmental) of using VR/AR in the workplace.
  • Challenges in applying VR/AR in the workplace (employee motivation, cost-effectiveness, productivity, and efficiency)
  • Methods for measuring and understanding the impact of human factors for interaction in VR/AR.
  • Approaches for tackling issues related to biases, diversity, and inclusion with user representation in VR/AR.