The Metaverse has taken the world by storm. But what exactly is the Metaverse, and how will its adoption change the world of work? The opinions on what the Metaverse is vary, mainly because the idea is still evolving. However, the time is right to explore how this technological revolution will reshape the way we work.
Industry-leading analyst firm Gartner, defines the Metaverse as “a collective virtual space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality.” In simple terms, the Metaverse leverages new technologies to enable the movement of people and objects across the real and digital worlds.
Although still in its infancy, the Metaverse will profoundly impact virtually every aspect of business operations, including recruitment, employee meetings, strategic marketing, manufacturing, and account and asset management. Ultimately, every asset, process, or person within and related to an enterprise will be replicated virtually – and connected. Gartner estimates that by 2026, 25 percent of people will spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse, using metaverse platforms and technologies.
The Metaverse is backed by the convergence of technologies such as Web3, VR/AR, AI, blockchain, spatial technologies, social media, digital currencies such as NFTs, and connectivity technologies like 5G, IoT, and cloud. It is also device-independent, meaning the Metaverse can be accessed from a PC, Mac, tablet, TV, smartphone, or any other digital device.
The Metaverse will bring significant changes to the workplace. For instance, immersive environments enabled by augmented VR and AR, that will allow employees to manipulate 3D digital replicas of equipment from their desks, providing them with practical product design experience and training. Another example is the use of mass simulations and AI technologies, which will leverage data streams from across and beyond the enterprise to help senior executives predict future trends with high precision.
As remote and mobile workforces continue to rise, the workplace is rapidly revolving. In reimagining the future workplace, businesses must prepare for what lies ahead. Now is the time to harness the power of new and emerging Metaverse technologies. The potential benefits include improved collaborations, human resources, support operations, and asset management, among others. And this is just the beginning.
Discovering innovative models for communications and collaboration
A productive workplace must be engaging and provide a sense of belonging and community. From this perspective, the Metaverse is a game changer that can boost meeting effectiveness with unprecedented flexibility and new immersive experiences. With the help of AR and VR technologies, employers can improve hybrid workplaces by bringing in-person and remote teams together.
Employees can collaborate in virtual meeting rooms on virtual objects such as 3D models of new designs. In addition, organizations can create realistic 3D avatars that mirror the body language of employees. Businesses can even set up virtual campuses, enabling employees to move around and interact freely through their avatars.
The Metaverse offers a vast environment with a range of shared and immersive experiences that enable all kinds of collaboration and co-creation opportunities for users. This unlocks new ways for customers and enterprises to interact. For instance, clients can customize a jacket to see precisely how it will look on an avatar that resembles their shape and size. Remote coworkers can also work together to create a new product in a virtual design studio.
The number of interesting use cases for the Metaverse is practically infinite. Here are a few examples across industries.
Thus, the Metaverse will significantly influence both physical and social interactions, and its impact will be driven by the integration of key technologies such as AR, VR, and AI.
Fostering talent via virtualized training, onboarding, and recruitment
Virtual environments will facilitate more effective talent identification and acquisition to keep pace with the hybrid working model. By embracing the Metaverse, organizations will take their employee onboarding and training processes to the next level, accelerating skills acquisition, and creating new opportunities for career advancement. Organizations will hold events that let workers experience physical office onboarding from the comfort of their remote offices. The Metaverse will also provide an immersive, interactive, and safe environment for equipping employees with the right skills, helping them be better prepared to face real-world scenarios. This will be done using AR and VR technologies that enable simulation-based gamification and product usage training.
Reinventing support operations, improving support quality
Companies across industries will be able to improve brand identification by leveraging the Metaverse for innovative approaches to large-scale events, holding product launches and customer meetings in virtual expo halls.
For manufacturers, on-site data visualization and remote access to operational information will introduce a multitude of productivity and efficiency gains. These gains will range from real-time maintenance monitoring to providing assembly instructions on the equipment itself. Organizations will establish virtual assembly lines for employees to follow. This will lead to increased efficiency, optimized workflows, fewer errors, and decreased need for physical manufacturing facilities.
Through VR, companies will be able to create virtual prototypes of products, accelerating testing before items are manufactured. Virtualization for quality control will allow manufacturers to slash downtime and enhance the accuracy of their inspections. Data collection from various sources like IoT sensors, PLM, ERP, and MES will make it possible to generate digital twins of factories.
Powering risk management with blockchain capabilities
In the Metaverse, a blockchain ledger facilitates the recording of transactions and the management of tangible and intangible assets. Through blockchain technology, tasks like reporting, balancing P&L statements, and cash flow management will become easier, besides saving time for companies to focus on their core businesses.
Blockchain makes transactions secure and reliable by ensuring that each transaction is validated. It also reduces the risk of virtual assets or vulnerabilities, resulting in more robust workflows.
Inventory management using blockchain
When managing inventories in large warehouses, the main aim of enterprises is to find opportunities to reduce costs. With blockchain, it becomes easier to achieve this since it ensures complete transparency in the network, helping employees keep track of any product’s exact path.
Since everything is made visible in real-time in the Metaverse, controlling surplus inventory, clearing out stocks, managing stock-outs, and reducing employee errors are all made much easier. Further, inaccuracies can be easily corrected, leading to reduced costs and increased revenue, helping achieve the primary goal of all businesses. Also, blockchain helps enterprises plan necessary implementations and changes by keeping track of the production and sales cycle daily, helping the business in the long run.
Leveraging Spatial Computing in the Metaverse
Our lives have already been made easier and inextricably linked by spatial computing. It accelerates the idea of a parallel, three-dimensional virtual reality that engages with the real world. It never shuts down, as it fuses AR, VR, and MR to realize the Metaverse concept. It enables real-time simultaneous interaction between the virtual and physical worlds.
Through virtual meeting rooms, the spatial computing component of the Metaverse makes conferencing and presenting more convenient and exciting. As avatars, you may work, converse, and socialize in a detailed, three-dimensional digital environment that closely resembles the actual one.
Spatial computing has developed into a significant class of technology by enabling us to manipulate and access 3D spaces for better experiences.
Spatial computing has many applications, which is conclusive evidence that it will be the next phase of digital transformation. It will affect almost everyone, including retail customers, patients, doctors, employees, and CEOs. Additionally, it will be crucial in enhancing the efficiency of machine-to-machine communication.
Humans are powerful because of their capacity for collective thought. The same will be made possible by spatial computing, which will enable millions of people to communicate without using words. To power this, the collective human knowledge about every person, place, and thing will be captured graphically. Additionally, the use of AR cloud infrastructure will ensure this capability is accessible instantly to everyone.
Whether it is the digital twin concept or the Metaverse, along with a gamut of other opportunities, the possibilities for spatial computing technology are limitless, implying that exciting times are ahead.
The time is here for the paradigm shift to an enterprise Metaverse
It can be said with certainty that the Metaverse is here to stay. The potential is enormous, and companies must start evaluating how to leverage these technologies. Wipro has already begun to offer its Specialized Metaverse Value Proposition to organizations keen on leveraging this technological revolution. The service is based on a futuristic approach, XLA-based design, AI and IOT integration, and is driven by ensuring equitable experiences to employees. Furthermore, by leveraging capabilities from partners like Virbela, Wipro is building world-class immersive virtual worlds engineered to meet an enterprise’s exact needs and redefining the future of work.
Global Practice Head of Wipro’s Digital Workplace Services
Sidharth Mukherjee (Sid) is a dynamic leader and a true technology enthusiast at heart. He has more than 18 years of rich, holistic experience in driving digital sensitivity with cutting-edge cloud and infrastructure service transformations for Fortune 500 organizations.
Sid has a passion for delivering “what’s next” and technologically improving “what’s now” for enterprises while keeping a keen focus on employee experience and sustainable innovation. He is currently engrossed in harnessing the power of AI, cognition, blockchain, and analytics to create an intricate workspace Metaverse aligned with the future of work. He is an alum of IIM Ahmedabad and specializes in Business Strategy, IT, and Management.
President & Co-Founder, Virbela
Alex Howland, Ph.D., created Virbela, a virtual world for work, learning, and events, and one of the pioneering Metaverse companies in 2012. Virbela was later purchased and made public by eXp World Holdings in 2018. Alex leads the development of Virbela’s products and services — continuing to expand the platform to accommodate not just business workspaces but also classrooms, event spaces, and recreational areas. Prior to co-founding Virbela, Howland was an instructor in the Psychology Department at the University of California, San Diego, where he taught Industrial and Organizational Psychology to undergraduate students. His expertise in organizational psychology gives him a unique perspective on creating virtual work and education spaces. Howland has a bachelor of science in psychology from Providence College and his Ph.D. in organizational psychology from Alliant International University, San Diego.