Imagine a world where you could chat with colleagues by the sea, take meeting notes while floating on a space station, or teleport from your London office to New York, all without stepping outside your home. Feeling stressed out with too many meetings scheduled today? So why not dispatch your AI digital twin to take the load off you?
These examples are just a glimpse into the future vision of work promised by the “Metaverse,” originally created by author Neal Stephenson in 1992 to describe virtual reality future world. Although impossible to define precisely, the Metaverse is often thought of as a network of 3D virtual worlds through which people interact, conduct business, and build social connections through their virtual “avatars.” We can imagine the Metaverse as a virtual reality version of today’s internet.
While the Metaverse is in its infancy in many respects, it has suddenly become a big industry , with tech giants and gaming giants like Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft, Epic Games, Roblox creating their own virtual worlds or Metaverse. The Metaverse utilizes a plethora of different technologies, including VR platforms, games, machine learning, blockchain, 3-D graphics, digital currency, sensors, and (in some cases) VR-enabled headsets.
How do you enter the Metaverse? Many current workplace Metaverse solutions only require a computer, mouse, and keyboard keys, but to get a full 3D surround experience, you often have to wear a virtual reality device. However, computer-generated holography is also rapidly advancing, without the need for a headset, either by using virtual viewing windows to create holographic displays from computer images, or by deploying specially designed holographic pods to project people and images to events or meetings in the actual space. Companies like Meta are also pioneers in haptic (touch) gloves, which enable users to interact with 3D virtual objects and experience sensations such as movement, texture and pressure.
In the Metaverse, you can make friends, keep virtual pets, design virtual fashions, buy virtual real estate, attend events, create and sell digital art—all while earning money. But, until recently, little attention has been paid to the impact of the emerging Metaverse on the world of work . But that is now changing . The impact of the pandemic — especially restrictions on in-person meetings and travel — is prompting businesses to seek more authentic, cohesive and interactive remote hybrid work experiences. The Metaverse appears to be reshaping the world of work in at least four main ways:
- New forms of immersive team collaboration;
- Emerging digital, AI colleagues;
- Accelerate learning and skill acquisition through virtualization and gamification technologies;
- The ultimate rise of a Metaverse economy with brand new businesses and job roles.
- As Immersive: Teamwork and Collaboration in the Metaverse
The Metaverse promises to bring new levels of social connection, mobility and collaboration to the world of virtual work . For example, India-based NextMeet is an avatar-based immersive reality platform that focuses on interactive work, collaboration and learning solutions. Its mission is to eliminate the isolation and workforce disconnect that remote and hybrid work can cause. I interviewed Pushpak Kypuram, founder and director of NextMeet, who explained the inspiration behind their virtual workplace solution: “As the pandemic shifts to remote work, keeping employees engaged has become the biggest challenge many companies face. You can’t have 20 people on a video call in a flat 2D environment; some people don’t like being in front of the camera; you’re not simulating a real-life situation. That’s why companies are turning to Metaverse-based platforms.”
Through NextMeet’s immersive platform, digital avatars of employees can move in and out of virtual offices and conference rooms in real time, walk to a virtual help desk, give live presentations from a podium, relax with colleagues in a cyber lounge, or use a customizable avatar in a conference center Or take a stroll at the fair. Participants access the virtual environment via their desktop computer or mobile device, pick or design their avatar, and then navigate the space using keyboard buttons : arrow keys for movement, double-tap to sit on a chair, etc. Kypuram cites an example of employee onboarding: “If you onboard 10 new colleagues, show them or give them a PDF of the company, they lose focus after 10 minutes. What we do is let They walk down a 3D hall or gallery with 20 interactive booths where they can explore the company. That way, you can make them want to walk around the virtual hall instead of reading a document.”
Other Metaverse companies are working on workplace solutions to help deal with videoconferencing fatigue and the social disconnection of remote work. PixelMax is a UK-based start-up that helps businesses create immersive work environments designed to enhance team cohesion, employee wellbeing and collaboration. Their virtual workplace is accessed through a web-based system on your computer that doesn’t require a headset and includes the following features:
- ‘Encounter’ experience : PixelMax’s immersive technology lets you see avatars of your colleagues in real time, making it easier to stop and chat when you run into them in your virtual workplace. In a recent interview, PixelMax co-founder Shay O’Carroll explained: “Informal and spontaneous conversations make up a large portion of business communications — studies show up to 90 percent in areas like R&D — during the pandemic. During that time, we lost a lot of this important communication.”
- Wellness Spaces : These are breaks and different experiences dedicated to users of this virtual world. As Shay O’Carroll explains: “We create wellness areas like forests or aquariums. They might even be on the moon. These areas can contain on-demand content such as guided meditation and/or exercise classes.”
- Delivery to your physical location : Customers can add features like ordering takeout or books and other items in a virtual environment and have those items delivered to your physical location (e.g., home).
- Real-time status tracking : Just like in the actual workplace, you can walk around, get a panoramic view of the office floor, see where colleagues are, who is available, drop by for a chat, and more.
The ultimate vision, says PixelMax co-founder Andy Sands, is to be able to connect different virtual workplaces . The company is currently setting up a virtual workplace for 40 leading interior design manufacturers based in Manchester, UK . “It’s about community building, conversation and interaction. We want to have virtual avatars of our employees move between the world of manufacturing and the world of interior design, or watch a concert in Roblox and Fortnite.”
Working remotely can be stressful. Nearly a third of remote workers in the UK have difficulty separating home and work lives, with more than a quarter finding it difficult at the end of the day, research by Nuffield Health found a. A virtual workplace can better separate home and work life, creating a feeling of walking into the workplace every day and then leaving to say goodbye to colleagues when work is over . In virtual venues, your avatar provides a way to express your status – like in a meeting, leaving for lunch, etc. – which makes it easier for you to stay in touch with colleagues without feeling locked out of a computer or phone Bondage, which is a common source of stress in traditional remote work environments.
Better teamwork and communication are certainly key drivers for the virtual workplace , but why stop there?Metaverse offers new possibilities for rethinking the office and work environment, introducing elements of adventure, spontaneity and surprise. A virtual office doesn’t have to be a drab, uniform downtown office environment: why not a beach location, a sea cruise, or even another world?
This vision inspired Gather, an international virtual reality platform that allows employees and organizations to “build their own offices.” These dream offices can range from a “space station office” with a view of Earth to a “pirate office” with ocean views, a captain’s cabin and a forecastle lounge for socializing. For the less adventurous, you can opt for a virtual rooftop party or a meeting in a zen garden.
- Introduce new digital colleagues
Our colleagues in the Metaverse will not be limited to virtual avatars of our real-world colleagues . More and more digital colleagues will join us— highly realistic, AI-powered humanoid robots . These AI agents would take on the roles of advisors and assistants, doing most of the heavy lifting in the Metaverse, theoretically freeing human workers for more productive, higher-value-added tasks.
In recent years, there have been huge advances in conversational AI systems —algorithms that can understand both textual and spoken conversations and conduct them in natural language. These algorithms are now evolving into digital humans that can perceive and interpret the environment, display emotions, make human-like gestures, and make decisions.
One example is UneeQ, an international technology platform focused on creating ” digital humans ” who can work in a wide range of fields and in different roles. UneeQ’s digital workforce includes Nola, a digital shopping assistant or concierge at Noel Leeming stores in New Zealand; Rachel, an always-on mortgage advisor; and UBS chief economist The digital avatar of Daniel, who can meet with multiple clients at the same time to provide personalised wealth management advice.
Emotions are the next frontier of the Metaverse . SoulMachines is a New Zealand-based tech start-up that combines advances in artificial intelligence (such as machine learning and computer vision) and autonomous animation (such as expression rendering, gaze direction and real-time gestures) to create lifelike, Digital humans with emotional responses. The company’s digital humans are taking on a variety of roles, including skincare consultants, Covid-19 health advisors, real estate agents and educational coaches for college applicants.
Digital human technology opens up a vast realm of possibilities for employees and organizations. Digital humans are highly scalable—they don’t need a coffee break—and can be deployed in multiple locations simultaneously. They can be deployed to more repetitive, tedious or dangerous jobs in the Metaverse. Human employees will have an increasing number of options to design and create their own digital colleagues, personalized and customized, to work with them.
But “digital humans” also pose risks, such as increased automation, displacement of jobs by low-skilled workers who often have little opportunity to switch roles, or if humans are interacting with “digital humans” become more unfettered, potentially eroding cultural and behavioral norms. These behaviors can carry over into real-world interactions.
- Learn faster in the Metaverse
The Metaverse could revolutionize training and skill building, dramatically compressing the time it takes to develop and acquire new skills . AI-powered digital coaches are on hand to assist with employee training and career advice. In the Metaverse, every item—such as a training manual, machine, or product—can become interactive, offering 3D displays and step-by-step “how to” instructions. Virtual reality-based role-playing practices and simulations will become commonplace, enabling employee avatars to learn in highly realistic “game” scenarios, such as “high-pressure sales presentations,” “difficult customers,” or “challenging employee conversations.” “.
Virtual reality is already being used in many industries to speed up skills development : Surgical tech company Medivis is using Microsoft’s HoloLens technology to train medical students by interacting with 3D anatomical models; Embodied Labs is using 360-degree video to help medical workers experience AI The impact of Zheimer’s disease and age-related hearing and hearing impairments to aid in diagnosis; manufacturing giants Bosch and Ford Motor Company pioneer a virtual reality training tool using Oculus Quest Head-worn devices train technicians in electric vehicle repairs; UK-based Metaverse Learning has partnered with the UK Skills Partnership to create a series of nine augmented reality training models for UK frontline nurses, using 3D animations and augmented reality to test learners in Skills in specific scenarios and reinforce best practice in nursing.
As online gaming progresses, the Metaverse can also begin to tap the potential of gamified learning techniques for easier and faster acquisition of skills. PixelMax’s O’carroll said: ” Games become a learning activity . In medicine, we use gamification to train lab technicians; you’d split into groups and go to, say, a virtual PCR A test machine, where you will learn how to operate the machine in stages, and then record the results of your training.” Targeting the UK’s first responder community – police, firefighters, paramedics and more – PixelMax is developing a combination of physical training and immersion The game, combined with gamification, enables first responders to perform repetitive training, try different strategies, see different results, and observe different team work styles.
Research has confirmed that virtual world training has important advantages over traditional teacher- or classroom-based training, as it provides a greater scope to visually demonstrate concepts (eg, engineering design) and work practices, greater opportunities to do so by doing to learn, through game immersion and a “task-based” approach to problem solving, with higher overall player engagement.
Learning in virtual worlds can also use virtual agents, artificially intelligent bots , that can help learners when they get stuck, provide nudges, and set challenges accordingly. The visual and interactive nature of Metaverse-based learning may also be particularly appealing to people with autism, who respond better to visual cues than verbal cues. Virtual reality tools can also be used to eliminate social anxiety in the workplace, for example, by creating realistic but safe spaces to practice public speaking and meeting interactions.
- New Roles in the Metaverse Economy
The internet has not only brought about new ways of working: it has brought about a whole new digital economy – new businesses, new jobs and new roles . As the immersive 3D economy gathers momentum over the next decade, so will the Metaverse.
IMVU is an avatar-based social network with more than 7 million monthly users, with thousands of creators making and selling their own virtual products for the Metaverse – designer clothing, furniture, cosmetics, music, stickers , pets, and more—generating about $7 million per month. In addition to creators, there are “meshers”, developers who design basic 3D templates from which others can customize and customize virtual products. A successful grid can be copied and sold thousands of times, earning considerable income for its developers. For example, virtual world platform Decentraland is creating virtual real estate brokers, enabling users to buy, sell and build businesses on virtual land, earning a digital currency called “Mana.”
Going forward, as we talk about digitally native companies today, we are likely to see the emergence of Metaverse-native enterprises that are conceived and developed entirely within a virtual 3D world. Just as the internet has brought about new roles that barely existed 20 years ago — such as digital marketing managers, social media consultants, and cybersecurity experts — so too, the Metaverse could bring a host of new roles we can only imagine today: avatars Conversation designer, “holographic mobility” travel agency (to simplify movement between different virtual worlds), Metaverse digital wealth management and asset management, etc.
- Challenges & imperatives
Despite the promise of the future, the Metaverse is still in its infancy in many respects. Huge hurdles could hinder its future development: the computing infrastructure and power requirements of a mature, well-functioning Metaverse are enormous , and today’s Metaverse consists of distinct virtual worlds, not as unified as the original internet . The Metaverse also brings up a range of regulatory and HR compliance issues , for example, regarding the potential risk of addiction, or unacceptable behavior (such as bullying or harassment in virtual worlds), which have recently drawn some attention . While many questions remain, business leaders, policymakers, and HR leaders can start with the following prerequisites to successfully collaborate in the Metaverse:
- Prioritize portability of skills : For employees, they worry about portability of skills and qualifications: “Will experience or qualifications gained in one virtual world or business be in another virtual world or in my real life? Valuable?” Employers, educators, and training providers can create more mobile skills by agreeing on appropriate certification standards for skills acquired in the Metaverse and properly certifying training providers. This will help avoid quality dilution and provide the necessary assurance to Metaverse-based employees and future employers.
- Really mix it up: As the enthusiasm for remote work during the pandemic has shown, many businesses have been lagging behind in adopting true digital ways of working, with outdated policies, a lack of infrastructure, and a hard line between consumer technology and business technology . Businesses must avoid these mistakes in the Metaverse,creating integrated work models from the start that allow employees to seamlessly switch between physical, online and 3D virtual work modes using Metaverse-native consumer technologies : avatars, game consoles, VR headsets, manual orbit controllers with haptic and motion controls, that map the user’s real-world location into the virtual world (though some versions only use cameras). However, this is just the beginning. Some companies are developing virtual exercise technology, such as leg attachments and treadmills, to create a realistic walking experience. Nextmind, for example, uses ECG electrodes to decode neural signals so users can control objects with their minds.
- Talk to young people : The Metaverse will force companies to completely change the way they think about training, focusing on highly stimulating, immersive and challenging content. When designing their own workspaces, companies should pay special attention to the younger generation, many of whom grew up in gaming, 3D, and social environments. Reverse intergenerational learning—where members of a younger generation mentor and train their older colleagues—could greatly help spread Metaverse-based work across the workforce.
- Keep it open : Today’s Metaverse has emerged in an open, decentralized way , driven by the efforts of millions of developers, players, and designers. To fully harness the power of this democratization movement for workers, businesses must not only prevent control or domination of the virtual world, but must actively seek further expansion and openness, such as pursuing open source standards and software where possible, and promoting different “Interoperability” between virtual worlds – seamless connection. Otherwise, as we’ve seen in social media, the Metaverse could quickly become dominated by big tech companies, reducing choice and the potential for grassroots innovation.
The workplace of the 2020s is already very different from what we imagined a few years ago: the rise of remote and hybrid work has really changed people’s expectations about why, where and how they work. But this workplace transformation story doesn’t end there. While still in its early stages, the emerging Metaverse offers businesses the opportunity to rebalance hybrid and remote work, regaining the spontaneity, interactivity and fun of team-based work and learning, while maintaining the flexibility, productivity of working from home and convenience.
But three things are clear. First, the speed of adoption will be important. With most of the technology and infrastructure in place, large corporations will need to move quickly to keep up with Metaverse technologies and virtual services or risk being overtaken by more nimble competitors in the talent market. Second, the Metaverse will only succeed if it is used as a tool for employee engagement and experience, not as a tool for oversight and control . Third, Metaverse-based work must meet the expectations of employees (especially younger employees) about technology in their consumption and gaming lives .
Guided by these principles, business leaders can begin to imagine and create their own future workplaces.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/how-will-the-metaverse-change-the-future-of-work/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.