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Group VR: the advantages of a shared immersive experience

Barco explores the pros and cons of VR head mount devices vs. multi-projected environments


by Barco

VR is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Virtual Reality systems use either VR head mount devices (HMDs) or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images in a virtual environment. Where do these two solutions differ?

We’ll compare the immersive, ergonomic and interactive aspects of both tools to determine the pros and cons for business applications.  


Virtual Reality is all about immersion. The individual VR head mount devices seem to be superior when it comes to that immersive feeling. The HMDs provide a realistic 360° simulation experience with a wide field of view in the virtual world. This individual type of VR is therefore most commonly used for gaming and entertainment purposes.

Man with VR headset
Individual VR with HMD

Throughout the years, usage of these VR headsets has been introduced in other sectors as well, like AEC or automotive design. However, the individual Virtual Reality experience does have its shortcomings for these business applications.

Group VR solutions use multi-projected environments to create a virtual world. These solutions offer immersion and simulation while also countering the disorienting and isolating character of the individual headsets.


One weak point of VR HMDs is comfort. VR headsets isolate the user from their immediate surroundings. Therefore, they can be disconcerting, disorienting and even frightening. In 2019, researchers gathered in Los Angeles to study ‘cybersickness’ and found that virtual reality headsets make between 40% and 70% of its users feel nauseated.

Group VR with glasses
Group VR with wide immersive displays using light-weight 3D see-through glasses

Although recent developments have improved the hardware devices, they still weigh quite a lot which makes it rather unpleasant to wear them for a longer period. And they also may mess up hair and make-up, making some people reluctant to put them on.

The multi-projected VR environments take these hurdles away. Group VR systems still give users the perception of being in a different reality when they focus on the digital image, but also allows them to remain connected to their physical surroundings in a joint immersive experience. In addition, the users can physically move in the virtual environment and control content movements themselves, which makes it all a less nauseating experience.

Human interaction

Research suggests that maintaining eye contact between 60-70 percent of the conversation is ideal for building rapport and trust. If one of the parties is wearing a VR head-mount device, that’s impossible.

Barco Group VR

The HMDs limit most human interaction during the VR experience. You’re fully embraced with all your senses in a virtual world with video and audio, without any notion of what’s going on around you. These headsets are, in essence, created for use by a single person. That’s great for immersion, but not so much for collaboration.

Group VR, on the other hand, is a shared experience. The see-through glasses are needed for 3D tracking purposes, but they don’t block out external inputs. Meaning you can still see each other’s facial expressions and body language while discussing prototypes in a group or interacting with stakeholders. These social interactions are valuable to reach consensus and convince prospects.


benefits of group VR Barco

Group VR solutions

With a track record of over 20 years in VR visualization, Barco is one of the most experienced players in the business. Whatever your professional group 3D visualization needs, its portfolio consists of different group VR solutions. From the traditional one-sized approach of a powerwall, over the flexibility of a Canvas to the totally immersive experience of a Cave.

You can choose between a variety of different components, including 3D-enabled projectors, high-contrast coated screens, screen management and service tools. And because Barco design sand manufactures all components in the VR system, it has complete control of the end-to-end quality!

To find out more, please click here.

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Barco designs and develops visualisation products – encompassing the entire visualisation spectrum for attractions, projection mapping, experience centres, museums, planetariums, retail, stadiums and arenas.

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