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Will The Metaverse Be The Future Of The Workplace?

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The metaverse, today, has become an exaggerated term, so it’s essential to know that it doesn’t yet exist. But those invested in the metaverse have little idea of what it will be.

Will we invest more time in the metaverse? Or will there be a need to set new rules to conduct in these spaces? These questions are yet to be answered, but there is no stop to it because it exposes a new way of profit.

Many businesses are growing in the metaverse, from Meta’s Horizon Worlds and games like Roblox and Fortnite as well as established lands like Sandbox and Decentraland. Currently, Nike sells virtual trainers, HSBC has landed in Sandbox, and Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton and Sotheby’s appeared in Decentraland.

About 30 years ago, author Neal Stephenson gave the term metaverse. In his book Snow Crash, the protagonist sees himself living in comfort in a virtual reality world.

A step closer to having this technology become real began in October 2021, when Facebook adopted Meta into its name. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, chose to invest billions of dollars to transform the platform into the first metaverse firm.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

But shareholders began raising their concerns as the firm was investing too much in virtual reality (VR).

According to a report by The Verge website, that claims to have reviewed exclusive Meta memos, which suggested that “the Horizon Worlds platforms had lots of bugs, and was not well used by employees.”

Herman Narula, the chief executive of Improbable, a firm that creates software to execute metaverse lands, and author of the book, Virtual Society, doesn’t agree with what Zuckerberg seeks.

Herman Narula, Chief Executive, Improbable
Herman Narula, Chief Executive, Improbable

He said, “Why would we want an office in the metaverse that looks like our real office?” He continued, “The whole point of creative spaces in new realities is to expand our experiences, not to simply replicate what we’ve already had in the real world.

“But I do think that there will be a lot of jobs in the metaverse – for example, we’re going to need moderators”, he further adds.

The administration of the metaverse is fussed because it is not only difficult to guide billions of potential avatars conducting live chats in the virtual world, but because of the enormous data the avatars create along the way.

As per a study from Stanford University finds, spending 20 minutes in virtual reality results in over two million unique body movements catalogued, a rich collection of data for firms.

Alex Rice, the co-founder of an online security company called HackerOne, views metaverse needs to be well-designed before the employees of any firm sanction it in the workplace.

“Imagine something innocuous like a water-cooler conversation in an office”. He continues, “Imagine that it’s happening in a fully-monitored metaverse environment – that is certainly going to have life-changing consequences. People could be fired outright for saying something they think is in a private, informal conversation with a colleague that is now subject to mass corporate surveillance.”

The editor of the newsletter Immersive Wire, Tom Ffiske, thinks it’s too early to consider metaverse a workplace. He said, “Discussing the metaverse is still mired by difficulties, and the definition is still tenuous and debatable”. 

“While the term itself is under discussion and ill-defined, it’s difficult to say whether we will be working in the metaverse in the future.”

At the moment, there is no way to know what metaverse is, but there are several positive projections of what it’s worth. McKinsey says “a market value of $5tn by 2030”. While management consultancy firm, Gartner, claims that one-fourth of the world’s population will have at least an hour per day spent in the metaverse by 2026.

Matthew Ball, the chief analyst at Canalys, is in disagreement with this tech and points out that current business projects in the metaverse will shut down by 2025.

He wonders whether the metaverse is actually required in firms or should be just used for the sake of its technology.

Mr Ball said, “Not every business needs a VR headset to remotely greet avatars of co-workers, or to visualize virtual models”. 

 “Nor would every business need VR headsets for meetings. As compelling as VR is, Zoom and Teams calls offer near-frictionless alternatives that can be less cumbersome.”

Tiffany Rolfe, the chief creative officer at a digital branding firm named RGA. She and members of her team have worked in the metaverse.

Tiffany Rolfe, Chief Creative Officer, RGA
Tiffany Rolfe, Chief Creative Officer, RGA

The firms built a virtual American football stadium in Fortnite, during the pandemic, for Verizon. With the help of Meta, they created a music world in the Horizon World.

She said, “People who typically would be on a computer designing things had to put on headsets and work with builders within the world. My team had probably two-hour stretches where they had it on”.

Though most believe that the metaverse is the future of the workplace, people have already worked in a virtual world. But jobs within the virtual reality world will likely differ from that of the real one.

Anyone with the hope of switching their trade for a headset will have to wait for it to become real in the virtual world.

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