The Concept of the metaverse is quickly becoming a buzzword in technology and business. The idea of the metaverse is that it will create new online spaces in which people’s interactions can be more multi-dimensional, where users can immerse themselves in digital content rather than simply viewing it.
The term metaverse comes from Snow Crash, a 1992 science fiction novel by Neil Stephenson in which human avatars and software demons inhabit a parallel 3D universe.
We have all experienced something of the metaverse during the pandemic. Many of our workplaces shifted from the physical to the digital to cope with lockdowns. Zoom or Teams became where our companies lived. Imagine that expanding out to all areas of life. Now, you have just imagined the metaverse.
Next year, Microsoft will introduce its virtual collaboration platform Mesh into Teams to merge the company’s mixed reality and improve meetings. Microsoft entered the metaverse chat through its Teams app just days after Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta.
The metaverse is a virtual world that blends aspects of digital technologies, including videoconferencing, games like Minecraft or Roblox, cryptocurrencies, email, virtual reality, social media and live streaming.
The key difference between the internet and the metaverse is the idea of presence. The internet is something we access, and the metaverse is something we can be present within. And that’s the big change.
Widespread metaverse usage could impact how companies and organisations operate in future. Platforms like Microsoft’s Mesh for Teams are making 3D metaverses seamlessly accessible for businesses. People can be present together in virtual spaces or rooms, rather than on-screen conferencing in 2D. Meeting participants can move freely between people and groups, collaborate, participate in workshops, have side conversations, and learn together as if in a physical space.
As the metaverse grows, if it does, it will create online spaces where user interactions are more multi-dimensional than current technology supports. Instead of just viewing digital content, users in the metaverse will be able to immerse themselves in a space where the digital and physical worlds converge.
There’s a window of opportunity right now, and we need to take advantage of it. Start planning, and you can both carve out your corner of the metaverse and prevent other companies from becoming gatekeepers between you and the next wave of digital.
We can expect the competition to be intense, with many interesting partnerships and alliances, epic failures, and spectacular developments that could challenge and change every aspect of human activity. Perhaps the metaverse will be the defining platform for interactivity as we move forward.
Time will tell whether we move from hybrid working to a permanent future in the metaverse. But until then, we know that offices companies and organisations must be ready to facilitate the modern workforce’s technological flexibility.
The metaverse will redefine what businesses are and how they should operate. Some companies are watching and learning. Those that don’t will be left behind.