It’s a word that’s been hanging around for a while now. Most of us have a rough idea of what it is, but is it something that will impact our lives soon? Or is it being over-hyped?
What is ‘the Metaverse?’
We think Deloitte sum it up well when they say, “it’s a form of digital interaction where connected, virtual experiences can either simulate the real world or imagine worlds beyond it.”
The word ‘meta’ in Greek translates as ‘beyond’, so you could say it’s ‘beyond the universe’.
It’s not strictly ‘new’
Virtual worlds have existed for a long time, mostly in the gaming world. Fortnite, Pokemon Go, Roblox, the list goes on.
But what we haven’t seen yet is the big move to take the metaverse beyond gaming and the tech giants.
Is there a place for the metaverse in the workplace?
The move to hybrid / remote working could be the thing that accelerates the wide adoption of the metaverse.
How could it fit in to our working world?
Okay, let’s take the most obvious use first – meetings.
I think we could all admit we’ve sat on a Teams meeting before and have been working on something else at the same time. Some of us will have experienced the sheer panic when you’ve then been asked a question, and frantically tried to come up with an answer that made it look like you were paying attention the entire time.
We’re human and we’re busy, it happens.
But it is much less common that, that happens in a ‘real-life’ meeting.
Could the metaverse be the answer to keeping the engagement that comes with an in-person meeting without the need to travel to a certain location.
“We didn’t do away with radio when TV was invented. This is just another option.”
The introduction of the metaverse, doesn’t mean we never meet up in person or we never pick up the phone again, it’s another way of communicating.
Digital twin, now this is an exciting one.
The idea of a ‘digital twin’ is to replicate your physical environment in a virtual world. That could be, a retail store, a factory, a warehouse etc.
Why would I want a digital twin?
Imagine you own a factory, by creating a replica in the virtual world, you could simulate different scenarios and test the outcomes.
Let’s say you had a new piece of equipment and you want to figure out the most efficient place for it – you could test this in your digital twin / virtual world first.
Or let’s look at a retail store. You’ve been analysing how people move around your store and want to see if putting your new athleisure range by the top of the stairs is the most logical move. Before you spend time and money making changes, you can test it out in your virtual world first.
Your IT set up in the office is also a great example. The ability to test and trial new desktop setups, new meeting room configurations – all the things that typically take a lot of effort, and that you need to get right first time – by testing it out first with a digital twin you eliminate a huge amount of risk.
There are hundreds of use-cases for a digital twin, an idea worth following to see how it develops for other industries over the next few months and years.
Sounds exciting, but when is it realistically going to happen?
Despite all the hype, the metaverse is still in its early adoption stages. It’s clear that it has a lot of potential and there are some fascinating examples of how it could be used, but we’re a little while off it being mainstream just yet.
A big reason for this is the governance around how it will be used.
As Sir Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs at Meta, explains
“We must create thoughtful rules and put guardrails into place as the metaverse develops to maximise its potential for good and minimise the potential harms”
But, if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that predicting how quickly a technology will be adopted is near impossible.
So, buckle up and let’s see where the metaverse will take us.