Today’s remote/hybrid workplace already stands in stark contrast to the one we had pre-pandemic. It is yet light years away from where it will be in the metaverse, a term initially coined by Neal Stephenson in 1992 to draw a future world of virtual reality.
The metaverse is a network of three-dimensional virtual worlds where people conduct business, transact and create social connections through their virtual “avatars”. While the metaverse is still in its infancy in many respects, it’s getting a lot of traction in terms of investment in technology, people and strategies working toward it.
The market opportunity in the metaverse is estimated at $1 trillion, and every sector will be impacted by its realization.
Like everything else, working in the metaverse will be quite different from today.
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Possibilities in the Metaverse
Meetings and Collaboration
Employees will meet and collaborate at any instant by transporting themselves into the virtual world, eliminating the need for travel and even a walk across the workplace. These meetings will be more collaborative than those conducted over video conferencing today.
For instance, design teams can closely collaborate on products or software designs using appropriate tools. Metaverse believers also say that the cool-down time between meetings will be more fun with watercooler chats and bowling competitions alongside well-being spaces such as a forest trail or aquarium tour.
Since the metaverse gives a sense of presence, it will accelerate product collaboration and development cycles. NextMeet is an India-based immersive reality platform that enables avatars to interactively work, collaborate and learn in a less isolated environment.
When the internet was born, it led to several jobs that look commonplace to us today but were unimaginable only decades ago. For instance, a digital marketer’s job was unimaginable in an era where social media didn’t exist. Similarly, experts suggest we be ready for new jobs to emerge from the metaverse.
As businesses set up shop online, use AI-powered bots as customer agents and deliver experiences virtually, there will be newer jobs we can and can’t imagine today.
The metaverse will also hold a special space for individual creators who make and sell their own virtual products in the metaverse- art, outfits, music, make-up, furniture, stickers and more.
As the metaverse eliminates the need for employees to share a physical workspace, it opens up hiring avenues globally. According to Jared Spataro, corporate vice president of modern work at Microsoft Corp., at least part of the interview process will take place in the metaverse, where candidates will need to be mindful of their attire.
“How you represent yourself in the virtual world will be just as important as how you represent yourself in the real world”, he says.
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Upskilling and Learning in the Metaverse
The metaverse has the potential to cut back the time needed to acquire new skills, revolutionizing training and development. AI-powered digital coaches would assist with employee training and offer personalized career advice.
Training can be made highly immersive and interactive in the metaverse to accelerate learning with practice.VR role-play scenarios can enable exercises and simulations to help employees learn to negotiate, deliver a sales presentation, perform complex surgeries or anything in between.
Virtual Reality technologies are already employed by the likes of Bosch and the Ford Motor Company to train technicians on electric vehicle maintenance. With the potential of gaming already evident in the metaverse, companies can also gamify learning experiences for higher learner engagement and boosted ROI.
Accenture PLC already runs its own VR environment for training courses. In a conversation with HBR, Satya Nadella remarked, “Accenture is basically building what they describe as the Nth floor in Altspace where literally anybody across Accenture globally can any time drop in on the Nth floor and meet other Accenture employees.”
Eventually, employees may be able to enter VR to practice their skills in sales, give managerial feedback or engage in simulated training.
Challenges to Working in the Metaverse
Despite all of its promises, the metaverse is in its nascent stage. Significant hurdles line the path to the successful realization of the metaverse and its many workplaces.
Let’s look at a few of those challenges:
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How Startups Can Bag the Opportunity
Bill Gates predicts metaverse will change the way we work faster than we imagine. On his blog, Gates writes, “within the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars.”
Startups are always ahead of the curve and move quickly to break the long-standing status quo in industries. Interested startups can look to solve a niche problem in the metaverse or introduce a new paradigm of working differently instead of recreating the physical workplace virtually.
No matter what stage you are at with your software or product idea, KiwiTech consultants can help. KiwiTech offers a suite of services and opportunities for startups to scale and succeed.