What does metaverse mean in terms of collaboration?
The Metaverse refers to a virtual world where identity expresses itself beyond the confines of the physical body, being an extended projection of one’s digital perception. The Metaverse compliments the real world by offering not only individuals, but businesses alike endless possibilities for self-expression, development, and outreach. While the concept behind the Metaverse is not entirely new, its implementation is.
The Metaverse brings together in a virtual, augmented, avatar-based reality people that share the same interests. The Metaverse also bridges the gap between people and businesses, goals and resources enabling users to construct a shared reality where goods, services, and property can be owned and transformed, and where innovation is recognized via NFTs. The Metaverse is a collaborative community of interchange which drives value in both the real and the virtual world.
Metaverse tentative definition If we were to scroll social media and the web for the term, we would conclude that the Metaverse is already here. That is when you start wondering how you could have missed something so influential from your tech radar. These are some of the most common questions you may ask yourself.
What is the Metaverse?
- The Metaverse is meant to be an immersive, 3D environment which compliments real-life experiences.
- The Metaverse aims at being a communal virtual space of shared experiences where avatars are natural continuations of real-life personas.
- The Metaverse is thought as an extension of our identity and of the space we co-locate.
Has it already arrived?
Yes and no. There are currently attempts at building and maintaining metaverse experiences, some of the most popular being those entertained by the Roblox and Fortnite games. Users of these games can create online personas, worlds, or games that other users can tap into and co-build or contribute to.
However, the Metaverse is supposed to surpass gaming and change the way we buy things and the way we work and interact daily.
Are we using it without knowing? Not yet, or at least not as extensively as its theoreticians from Facebook Meta and Microsoft envision it. The world is currently heading towards and planning towards the Metaverse.
How does it help us improve the way we live and work?
The Metaverse will help us setup immersive learning experiences and help us collaborate in virtual-like environments we can integrate with via avatars, holograms. These developments will require VR, AR apparel that is less chunky and intrusive as it is today and other devices that can help us tap directly into metaverse experiences without having to explicitly log in. In this respect, the Metaverse will be a locus of intense collaboration and knowledge generation. Remote collaboration will be truly seamless. Our identity and belongings will bridge the physical-virtual world continuum naturally.
The Metaverse has many similarities to the web and virtual reality concepts, but a couple of interesting addons.
Metaverse vs. connected experiences
Many technological advancements have benefitted from connectivity via sensors, 4G/5G, GPU, cloud conversion, and many other facets. Many of the applications require users to log in or authenticate through various mechanisms. The Metaverse promises to offer even more connectivity and capitalize on all the technologies mentioned above. But how?
The Metaverse is meant to be ubiquitous, not bound to a particular device or software application. People will walk around, enter a store, or drive their car as they do know, but at the same time have a Metaverse overlay which automatically tells them how long they have until their destination, what entertainment activities await them at their destination or whether they can simply pick up their standard grocery list, as their bank account has already been checked and cleared beforehand by a myriad of rich APIs.
Metaverse vs. online experiences
Online experiences originate in a strong Internet connection which ties individuals, infrastructure, and services in powerful ways. The online environment has helped us:
- Work remotely or in hybrid setups
- Collaborate on projects and content despite physical distance
- Attend events across the globe
- Access information and make businesses known world-wide
- Sell and purchase goods and services in a few clicks or swipes
Online experiences have delivered on our need to stay connected to what matters to us in meaningful ways. So, can the Metaverse deliver even more on top of what we already have?
The Metaverse will transform online experiences into persistent ones which define us just as much as our physical reality does. The Metaverse promises to give us the means to build, buy and own digital assets, currency, and be rewarded for the services and creative work we produce.
Metaverse vs. virtual reality
Virtual realities are accessed via AR, VR, PC, headsets, or sensor-laden suits. Many of the current virtual worlds serve purposes such as gaming and entertainment, teaching and training, or simulation. Virtual realities help us experience the same set of conditions as the ones in the real world.
The Metaverse is more than a virtual reality we can access. We will live in the Metaverse rather than access it, which means the devices we currently have will become more subtle and more connected than they are. The Metaverse will not be bound by the companies that service the AR or VR set for instance, as the Metaverse will be built or generated by users during their daily activities.
Metaverse for collaboration
Since the Metaverse seems to enhance every aspect of our lives in a seamless manner, businesses may benefit from it by offering their employees and customers Metaverse-like experiences. In essence, the Metaverse will make life and work more efficient and more straightforward in several scenarios where collaboration is a MUST:
- Training and onboarding
Imagine that you want to train people to weld under water. The Metaverse could offer a simulation which replicates all aspects of the experience from breath rate and floating to working under water pressure.
- Project management and development
Imagine that you need to pitch an idea to a client. Instead of connecting with the customer via Teams, you and the customer can meet and greet in the Metaverse as holograms and have more personalized interaction.
- Customer support
Imagine that a customer experiences a problem while using your product. A customer agent pops up as an avatar to check the issue directly and troubleshoot it in real-time in the Metaverse.
- Advertisement and product trials
Imagine that you have a new product. Advertise it in the Metaverse and let future users experience it as they would use it in real-life. Help them calibrate their customizations in the Metaverse, so that there are no complaints when purchasing the actual product.
Metaverse platforms and usage
The Metaverse is still in its infancy, but many technologies seem to converge in this direction. As a complimentary reality, the Metaverse is supposed to offer you the means to own your very own chunk of the Metaverse.
Ownership in the Metaverse will require the evolution and integration of several current technologies:
- Blockchain for recording all transactions onto an immutable ledger
- NFT (Non-Fungible Token) for marking assets as unique entities
- Smart contracts for setting legit agreements between users
Are there platforms that already offer Metaverse-like experiences? Yes, but either in a limited or Beta-like form:
- Epic Games / Fortnite / Roblox for co-creating games or sharing game experiences
- Facebook Meta for social interaction
- Microsoft for immersive remote work
- Somnium Space for real-estate trading
- IMVU for hanging out and creating virtual products
- Decentraland for buying virtual land
- Superworld for experiencing real geographical locations as virtual ones
- Nike for digital trademarks
The Metaverse promises us that we will interact in ways we are just beginning to grasp. The Metaverse aims at helping us do a lot of things better, faster, and more meaningfully:
- Experience services
- Own work
- Share work
- Define who we are
While the Metaverse still has a long way to go in terms of legal aspects and interoperability, one thing is for sure – the Metaverse will help us collaborate and maximize our results.