Into the Metaverse: Making the Case for a Virtual Workspace

There will not be ‘one size fits all’ for devices used to access the metaverse; each will be particularly well suited for specific use cases and not so well for others.

Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer

November 1, 2022

5 Min Read
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AnnaIvanova via Alamy Stock

As the technology and hardware improve, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)-based solutions will become critical components for businesses, including those offering employee access to virtual collaboration spaces.

Workers could power on their headsets anywhere in the world and be fully immersed in that work environment while having the benefit of networking and connecting with others as if they were in a typical office.

A recent study from KPMG indicated these technologies could provides new business opportunities to meet and connect or network and help bridge the gap between remote and physical collaboration.

However, the infrastructure required by virtual reality -- from hardware such as headsets to backend systems -- presents challenges for businesses, and there are important inclusion and data security issues that remain to be addressed before adoption becomes widespread.

Billy Huang, CEO and co-founder of Insomnia Labs, says while there is a lot of hype around metaverse and VR, the current core use case for it is for work meetings.

“For example, the most recent partnership between Microsoft and Meta mostly impacts office and remote-work,” he says. “However, I do believe that the metaverse is still not here yet, from a tech standpoint, and there is much more work to be done.”

Benefits for HR in a Distributed Workforce World

EY Americas Financial Services Innovation Leader David Kadio-Morokro points out the metaverse could give HR leads around the globe an ability to reinforce company culture and establish shared values by building consistent shared employee experiences around the globe.

“For instance, all global employees could benefit from consistent onboarding experiences if part of the onboarding is done in the metaverse where shared practices, corporate values, and mission get reinforced consistently for new employees, regardless of which location or which market they serve,” he says.

This could be particularly useful for organizations that are growing very rapidly in different locations or that have had to replace many people in their workforce.

For Huang, there are key technological issues to resolve for this to become widely accepted.

“Challenges such as fixing file size issues to improve the experience of VR as a whole are more important than team members being left out,” he says. “If companies want their employees to be a part of this, they themselves will be the ones to provide the tools and the tech.”

This is another big investment that the companies will need to make to make sure the infrastructure is there for all employees.

Kadio-Morokro agrees there will certainly be an accessibility issue or digital divide as many consumers still do not possess VR headsets or will not have access to the necessary ultra-fast bandwidth.

“On the other hand, the metaverse could democratize access to company experiences and events and connect previously isolated personnel far from corporate headquarters or major sites, especially as we move toward more hybrid work locations models, reduced travel budgets,” he says.

Potential in Sales and Marketing Use Cases

Jordan Edelson, CEO and co-founder of TradeZing, calls marketing and sales the core viable business cases for technologies such as the metaverse and VR.

“The ability to market and educate through the metaverse and VR is extremely important because businesses are able to represent their products in a different way and touch their consumers on a new level,” he says. “Additionally, consumers will have social experiences that are frictionless, particularly as technology improves.”

As the technology becomes more intuitive to use, it’ll be easier for consumers to get involved and discover things for the first time through the metaverse.

Edelson says from a marketing perspective, the metaverse allows brands to implement creative marketing strategies that they could not necessarily do if they had limited real estate or shelf space in a store.

“From a sales standpoint, the metaverse provides additional digital touchpoints and KPIs,” he adds. “Businesses have the ability to judge and understand consumer sentiment around how they are interacting with a virtual product or good, providing key and valuable data.”

He adds that TradeZing is a content-based business, so the company examines and seeks content through a different medium such as VR or the metaverse.

“If we are using a VR headset, we can use it for fast prototyping a concept and make any changes to an application,” Edelson says. “We can also use these new technologies to network with a client, such as presenting a pitch where we can track what they are looking at and what they are interested in.”

Ensuring Inclusion in the Virtual World

Huang explains the companies that are building the VR/metaverse environment need to figure out how to build a safe environment that includes diversity and inclusion, from a tech standpoint.

Some ways that could help is by defining individual characteristics using AI and machine learning.

“Another important way is educating employees and sharing the perks of what VR or metaverse environments will do for their work experience,” he adds.

Kadio-Morokro says it's important to caution organizations about trying to do too much, too soon with the metaverse and not helping their employees or customers overcome the steep learning curve associated with any new and revolutionary technologies.

“It took decades for some of us to get comfortable with the idea of shopping online, banking online without the support and comfort of a human being, paying bills online,” he explains. “Like any transformative technology, the metaverse should solve unmet needs for consumers and employees better than previous technologies.”

He advises organizations to take a human-centric approach toward the needs of their consumers and employees first when deploying metaverse use cases, progressively introduce key features, and at the same time educate users on the problem being solved, not the technology.

“In time, all the layers necessary for the metaverse broad adoption will progressively fall in place, from technological advances and better and cheaper devices to social acceptance and familiarity with the new medium,”

Kadio-Morokro says. “The most important thing now is for each firm to start their journey by exploring the use cases that add value and remove friction in their specific customers and employees’ journeys.”

What to Read Next:

How to Tackle Cyberthreats in the Metaverse

Understanding Metaverse’s Potential Business Opportunities

How Executives Are Investing Now in the Metaverse’s Future

10 Ways IT Can Get Ready for the Metaverse

About the Author(s)

Nathan Eddy

Freelance Writer

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin.

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