Metaverse is the world beyond reality. A world that operates away from real elements and yet seeks to achieve real objectives. It is not a parallel universe having zilch consequence to the world that we live in. It is meant to help one succeed in the real world – one might say – more efficiently,
The term ‘metaverse’ is a combination of two words – ‘Meta’ meaning beyond and ‘verse’ for Universe. The key enablers for a Metaverse are the technologies, as follows:
- Extended Reality – the play of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the Mixed Reality.
- NFT – Non-fungible tokens
- Artficial Intelligence
- Industrial Internet of Things
The Metaverse concept is going to have a huge impact on who we work.
A company can organise a large conference with members participating from far and wide geographies and interacting with fellow participants as if they are in the real world (well almost!). The afore-mentioned technologies make this a seamless event.
Likewise, a department can organise a virtual meeting for the executives across time zones who sign-in to the virtual environment and make presentation, demos using 3D objects, in their 3D avatars. The idea is to give a completely immersive experience, promote collaborations and yet eliminating the hassles of travel and physical interactions (social distancing achieved!).
The covid-19 protocols have moved the Metaverse from being a fantacy to being a reality (pun intended). And a necessity going forward.
Zoom and Slack kind of applications made work from home easy even for the non-tech workers. The metaverse for work will make it a routine feature not just for people interactions but also for commerce via cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
Workers can interact with co-workers using facial expressions, eye contacts, and gestures. The technology is expected to go to the background and the ‘realness’ takes over the foreground. Creativity gets a boost despite the distance because the creators are better placed well to see, share and collaborate unhindered.
Retailers are be able to create an immersive in-store experience for its customers. Apart from exploring 3D products, the customers are also capable of making purchase decisions by ‘trying’ out the products.
Blockchain-backed cryptocurrencies are ensuring the safety of financial transactions.
Several large and startup businesses are entering this space. Microsoft’s Mesh and Meta’s (earlier Facebook) Horizon Worlds have launched their virtual world app in the US market. Meta hopes to have a whopping one billion customers in the next decade. Gucci has already sold a virtual handbag at a price higher – pocketing about $700 more – than its physical version on a video game platform.
Metaverse has certain aspects that need to be addressed before mainstreaming it. There is the fear of identity theft in the virtual world. Technologists will need to build strong verification systems to counter this issue. Deepfakes will need to be detected and eliminated in real time before they cause loss of reputation to the company/employee. Data and privacy laws will need to be revisted in view of the evolving technologies in the metaverse says. Online trading will required strong verification methods.
Metaverse at work is here to change the game or shall we say ‘Metaverse is here to change the way we work, forever’.