The Metaverse is Trending: What Does it Mean for the Workplace?
The Metaverse sounds like an entirely futuristic concept, but it’s something that innovators have been dreaming about for decades. A term literally meaning “beyond universe,” the Metaverse asks us to reimagine a future where we’ll have a brand-new world to explore – one enhanced by the XR world, and the online environment.
The Metaverse is a trending concept as we look at the future of work for the post-pandemic era. Teams trying to overcome headaches like video fatigue and hybrid meetings are increasingly considering the possibilities of XR for future interactions. In this landscape, the Metaverse represents an opportunity for innovation unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
Though currently earning the focus of famers, art dealers, and real-estate moguls, the Metaverse could influence the way we do business too. Let’s take a closer look.
The Metaverse is essentially a term used to describe the future of what our digital lives might look like. Alongside the real world, we would have the “Metaverse” world – a shared virtual space that combines our physical reality with virtual content, using augmented, mixed, and virtual reality.
The current definition of the Metaverse is a little scattered, as it seems to differ depending on who you ask. However, for most people, the metaverse today is a shared virtual world, where digital avatars represent people, and the environment is capable of constant adaptation. The virtual world in a metaverse can change according to the decisions of the people within it.
You may have noticed examples of the Metaverse in the gaming environment, where people are beginning to build new environments for themselves in things like Fortnite and VR Chat. However, the Metaverse also has an opportunity to change the way we work too. Compared to things like video chat, a Metaverse would give us a shared environment where we can “share” presence with the people we interact with. Communicating through avatars could be the new alternative to video fatigue.
We’ve seen examples of the Metaverse brought to life for collaboration with the Virbela Open Campus “Future of Work in the Metaverse” panel. Going forward, the possibilities of this environment are incredibly exciting, representing a new meaning for “anywhere” work.
If you’re still struggling to imagine what a day in the life of a Metaverse employee might be, let’s look at an example. Imagine you wake up one day and you put on your smart glasses – empowered with AR or MR technology. You’ll instantly see your notifications, such as the emails you got when you were asleep, aligned alongside your schedule for the day.
Your voice assistant will then ask you whether you want it to switch the coffee machine up, now you’re awake, and as you walk into the kitchen, you grab a virtual document from your inbox to read while you sip your latte. After you get dressed for the day, you sit down for a meeting with your colleagues (Still in your house), who all sit beside you in your kitchen, represented by avatars.
Obviously, a future like this is an exciting concept. The metaverse creates an environment where we really don’t need any physical specific place for work. We can simply log into the Metaverse, and our office will be waiting there for us, complete with colleagues, content, and useful tools.
This environment is already in production. Companies are beginning to experiment with AR smart glasses capable of acting as a window into global offices or sharing video feeds with colleagues wherever they are. These glasses have the potential to replace cell phones and laptops, by giving us all the functionality we need in AR, instead. With Mixed Reality, we can take those virtual and real-world connections to the next level.
Haptic feedback tools, biometric sensors, and computer vision will all influence what we can do in the metaverse, and how much control we have over this world.
In this new age where “remote” and hybrid work ideas are becoming increasingly compelling, the metaverse represents a new age for truly hybrid interactions. With AR and MR technology, and the right smart glasses, we can transform the way we work and socialize on a fundamental scale. Video conversations will be replaced with the option to sit next to an avatar or hologram of the person you want to meet. Google Maps will guide you down the street with real-time arrows to your destination.
Being able to slip on a pair of glasses and enter a new world isn’t just an exciting concept for entertainment and gaming purposes; it’s the first step towards a new future for productivity and collaboration too.
Will the Metaverse redefine work as we know it? I certainly think so.