Replicate the physical office to Virtual Space – Cosmos Videos

By Srikanth
8 Min Read
Replicate the physical office to Virtual Space - Cosmos Videos 1

Brief introduction about Founders .. Journey behind the idea

We have known each other for 13 years – we met at BITS Pilani and then completed our education at London Business School. After working in finance, we got together to build a consumer startup, and successfully exited.

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For two years between the ventures, we worked as product leads at two of Europe’s best consumer products, Citymapper (Rahul) and TransferWise (Karan).

When the pandemic hit, we were all thrown into remote work. With entire companies working remotely, we noticed that the teams were increasingly missing the context of what others were working on. In the office, you’d overhear conversations among other teams, and jump in when you wanted, which meant always having a good idea of what the rest of the company was doing, and how your work fit into the bigger picture.

Without the office, work had become an endless series of slack threads and zoom calls. In the office, it was easy to tap someone on their shoulder and ask them a question. This now required back and forth scheduling on slack, and then a video call. Spontaneous discussions and creative brainstorming had come to a halt.

We needed a way to bring back the same speed and energy of working from an office, and teams feeling connected, and wanted to do this while our teams worked remotely.

We needed a way to replicate an office environment, and have all the benefits of an office, while being in the comfort of our homes.

While returning to the office was an option, there were too many benefits to working remotely to dismiss it – companies can hire across the globe, and no leases result in huge cost savings. For employees, there are time and financial savings on commuting, and freedom to live outside the city centre.

Can you explain about Cosmos Videos

Replicate the physical office to Virtual Space - Cosmos Videos 2

Cosmos has built virtual spaces that replicate the physical office by combining a Minecraft like game with video chat.

Each user in the venue has an avatar and can walk up to other people’s avatars to instantly video chat with them. When users move their avatars away, the video chat ends automatically. Essentially, every user in the same venue can walk up to someone to start a conversation, just like in real life.

The use of avatars means there is the same ‘flow’ of people walking in corridors and passing each other in common areas, which creates opportunities for bumping into each other.

The way it works is simple:

  • Users select a virtual office based on the size of their team.
  • They invite team members into the venue, which exists on a permanent weblink – their virtual HQ.
  • The team uses cosmos like an office, they co-work and hold all meetings in the same place.

How companies like Apple, Amazon, uses Cosmos videos

20-30 people teams within these companies are using Cosmos as their virtual office. It is being used by sales, operations, customer service and tech teams.

They use Cosmos as a virtual office, it’s the place where the entire team comes together. They sit next to each other to work, have meetings and play games to unwind.

It is simple to start using Cosmos within a new team, just create your cosmos venue and change your meetings link with the Cosmos venue url.

Cosmos helps get the benefits of an office while being remote:

  • Walk up to people to ask a question without back and forth scheduling on Slack and Zoom
  • Bump into others to have a casual conversation
  • Overhear conversations around you and gain context of what is going on

Challenges faced in creating virtual work spaces platforms

We’ve built our tech in-house from the ground up.

We are building tech to bring video calls inside a Minecraft like game environment that looks like an office. Game and video servers need to work together to start video calls when people are close to each other inside the office, and stop when they move away.

The video is self-hosted and built using Webrtc. The virtual office is run on a game engine we’ve built in-house, which is designed to use low bandwidth and power. The game engine can support  up to 1000 people inside the same virtual office, and runs smoothly even on older machines.

Avatars and virtual offices have all been created by a team of designers.

Impact of Covid pandemic on virtual work spaces?

The pandemic pushed all knowledge workers to work remotely for the last 18 months. We believe that a large proportion of these companies will continue to work remotely because it is just a better way to work and run a company.

For companies, being remote enables them to hire the best talent regardless of location, saves expenditure on real estate, and is good for the environment.

For employees, there is no commute so time and cost savings, cheaper housing, and more time with family.

We believe as Cosmos continues to improve the experience of working remotely, more companies will adopt us and go fully remote.

Funding

We have raised pre-seed funding of $2.6 mn. (Rs. 20 crores) from Europe’s best early-stage funds LocalGlobe and Entrepreneur First in December 2020.

User base they have achieved till now .

10,000+ users across 100s of organisations across the world are using Cosmos as a virtual HQ. They range from small five person teams to large corporations.

New Areas for expansion

We are being used by companies across the globe. We are currently focusing on entering the Indian market to serve the needs of companies who are trying to figure out solutions on how to bring  their team work together during the pandemic.

Future plans

We plan to start generating revenue later this year, and expanding our team as our user base scales. Longer term, our hope is to disrupt the $32.9bn global commercial office market.(Source: Businesswire)

Few Words About Techiexpert

Techiexpert can help reach readers working remotely and show pictures of the product to help create a good understanding.

Cosmos brings back the energy of working with others in the same space:

  • Walk up to people to ask a question without back and forth scheduling on Slack and Zoom
  • Bump into others to have a casual conversation.
  • Overhear conversations around you and gain context of what is going on Ultimately building a stronger culture and sense of belonging within teams.
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