As a result of the pandemic, many businesses have had to rethink how they work with employees and customers, even if that means dipping their toes into the metaverse.
More tech-savvy companies are turning to the rapidly expanding digital universe powered by tool such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) (AR). The metaverse brings together teams in a virtual meeting room that aims to replicate the experience of being in a real-world conference room. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, employees of XpertVR, an education technology company, have been meeting regularly in the metaverse using a platform called Rec Room.
A “clubhouse” in the company’s virtual reality (VR) headsets is something that co-founder and CEO Evan Sitler Bates says happens every Monday morning.
As in any real-world meeting, the team has access to boardrooms and whiteboards, as well as a few digital extras.
Besides that, we have a poker table, a coffee bar, and a stage for charades,” he reveals. The hot tub was added “just for fun,” he says.
On the platform, the team also plays virtual paintball every week.
Since Facebook announced in the fall of last year that it would be rebranding as Meta Platforms Inc., more people have become interested in the metaverse concept. In the wake of the high-profile announcement, many have wondered just what the metaverse is.
VR and AR instructor Allyson Cikor of Lethbridge College in Alberta, Canada, says metaverse is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of immersive 3D technologies. It can be used for a variety of purposes, ranging from schoolwork to vacations to the workplace.
This layer of presence, Ms. Cikor says: “The metaverse adds that layer of presence, of being in space.” Being able to see yourself in a physical or virtual form.”
Clubhouse In VR (Virtual Reality)
Metaverse meetings can use a variety of tools, ranging from simple whiteboards to 3D models and even leisure activities like gaming, depending on the platform they use.
Mr. Sitler-Bates recommends focusing on the company’s needs and culture as more organisations look to offer an extended reality service for their employees. For example, XpertVR may benefit from a platform that includes games, but another company may not.
Toronto-based An interactive 3D experience web platform called MetaVRse uses platforms like AltspaceVR or Engage VR to facilitate meetings. Co-founder. On Monday mornings, the XpertVR team gathers in the Rec Room for their weekly meeting. When it comes to Alan Smithson’s company, the metaverse has proven to be a natural fit, he says.
Mr. Smithson reveals that he met a number of colleagues in virtual worlds during COVID. After that, it felt like we’d known each other for a long time.” Because it’s a real person behind [the avatar], we had built real relationships, virtually.”
However, holding metaverse gatherings costs money. Some companies may not be able to afford the hardware required to run these meetings. Mrs. Cikor says that the price of a good headset can range anywhere from $200 up. Not to mention the computers, platforms, and high-speed WiFi required to make the technology work at all.
As with any new technology, companies must train their employees on how to use it.
Smithson admits that “like everyone else, we had some difficulties at the beginning,” such as some features not working or a sluggish sign-in. In the beginning, “sometimes things worked, and sometimes they didn’t,” he said.
It is his recommendation that supervisors set aside a few hours to show their employees how to use the new technology. Smithson believes that the metaverse’s advantages far outweigh its disadvantages, but he also points out that new technologies always have room for improvement. There is a pressing need for a code of conduct in the metaverse to ensure that everyone can enjoy it in a safe manner.
Also, Ms. Cikor of Lethbridge College thinks that more training is needed to prepare people for metaverse interactions. As she puts it, “We’re all focused on the technology.” In terms of security, “I think we’re lagging behind a little bit.” She hopes that as the metaverse becomes more widely accepted, these discussions will be able to continue. According to her, “the metaverse will be a new world.” All of us are going to be a part of it, not just the developers or the gamers.”