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What Is The Metaverse, And What Can It Mean For The Future Of Business?

Written by: Lotta Spjut, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

The way we work is changing. In my last article, I wrote about how the last two years of the pandemic has increased the number of people working from home and that the amount will probably increase also when the pandemic is over. More people are working remotely, more people want flexible work options, and more people are re-thinking what it means to be in an office. There are many positive aspects to working from home and at the same time, without the right connective tools, one of the biggest challenges is “real” interaction with business partners, colleagues, and friends. It just doesn't feel the same if you're not in the same room.

2 days ago, I had my first VR (Oculus) meeting in a beautiful virtual room with an amazing view, big whiteboard, my computer, keyboard, and the ability to collaborate communicate, and sit around the same table as the other business partners. I could even do a high five and shake their hands, without worrying about covid-19.


The metaverse is here to stay, and this seems to be the “solution" to interact with each other in a new dimension, even if we are still working from home. It is two years since Covid-19 was redefined how we gather, and we can see that business owners, companies, and communities are beginning to discuss the Metaverse as a potential primary destination for social and professional gatherings.


Bill Gates predicted, in his end-of-year blog post, that within two or three years, most Zoom meetings will migrate to the metaverse, a 3D space one accesses with an augmented reality (AR) headset and a digital avatar.


What is Metaverse?


For most people, the biggest questions are still; What is the metaverse, and what does it mean for the future of business meetings, events, and more. According to Roshni Raveendhran, assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and Cathy Hackl, a futurist and metaverse expert, Gates’ timeline may be a bit ambitious; they put the metaverse potentially becoming the dominant virtual meeting site at around 10 years out.


Meta in the term means “beyond” and verse refers to the “universe.”


Many people have today heard the word Meta(verse) because Facebook changed their name to Meta in Nov-2021. Meta is based on the sci-fi term metaverse, to describe Facebook's vision for working and playing in a virtual world. With Facebook's change of name, the word metaverse also entered the mainstream lexicon, even if the term 'metaverse' was coined already in 1992 by science fiction novelist Neal Stephenson.


Still, there is not one description given and there is no singular definition of what a metaverse is. We will probably see be many competing metaverses transforming our experience of social media, electronic commerce, and how we collaborate and transact online. One description is given by Binance (https://academy.binance.com/en/articles/what-is-the-metaverse): The metaverse is a concept of a persistent, online, 3D universe that combines multiple different virtual spaces. You can think of it as a future iteration of the internet. The metaverse will allow users to work, meet, game, and socialize together in these 3D spaces.


Some people have got interested and knowledge for Metaverse even before Facebook became Meta. For example, Metaverse has been connected to online games, including the ability to buy and sell digital inventory using tokens, NFT´s, and cryptocurrencies. Also, many of the world’s largest fashion brands are already actively experimenting with digital-only clothing collections which are “worn” by influencers.


For all of us connected to a business, we must start to understand the profound ways in which this new technological paradigm is set to radically impact the future of work. To do that, we need to start educating ourselves and understand how the internet is developing and thereby changing the very nature of work. Organizations and individuals will need to think about how we deliver value to customers in a world where ownership of music, art, intellectual property is distributed across members of metaverse communities.


What can be the advantages of metaverse for business?


Whether you want to meet with your team, customers, or friends, the latest innovation in virtual reality technology brings us a more realistic experience to meet and talk to people in an almost surreal real space through VR (Virtual Reality) or/and AR (Augmented Reality) headsets. It can even offer human interaction more effective than in real life by creating a new reality in a surrounding that You choose. One day You might have Your meeting in the big city office with a great view of skyscrapers and the other day You have Your meeting in an office surrounded by mountains. A highly interactive experience where You can move freely and participate without leaving your home. Metaverse's ability to transcend location and even languages is one reason it's so exciting and You don't even need to pay the office rent for these amazing locations. No longer will people need to travel great distances to gather.


I can agree that metaverse is a virtual world just as real and dynamic as the one we exist in, only housed entirely online. People have been attending live-streamed sessions and virtual online events for many years, also before the pandemic. Still, this is something You watch from “the other side" of the screen and You are not directly participating in it. Metaverse has the potential to bring us into the meeting, event, or seminar and take these experiences to the next level.


The metaverse's great advantage can be its accessibility. Imagine that You can meet people from around the globe in one space that was before unobtainable or too expensive. An expensive conference hall, arena, business office, or at a sunny island. No more travel budgets and less worry about who look after Your kids or dog when You need to attend. Also, groups of people that before needed special communication tools for regular meetings, for example, deaf people, could communicate via closed captioning or sign language (per their preference). People with limited mobility can now move more freely.


What does the future look like with Metaverse?


When we look at online industries, like for example the gaming world, we can see that millions of people worldwide have embraced three-dimensional, collaborative environments. There are hundreds of millions of people in this industry connected to the metaverses. Still, I don't think that Metaverse will stay only in the community of gamers. This just shows that people are willing and able to adapt, and some are faster than others. Bill Gates predicts the shift will happen in the upcoming 2-3 years, still, no one really can tell, only time can.


Still, the metaverse is at a very early stage so, the ones that will take time to understand and get the knowledge will have the opportunity to benefit from it, probably in more than one way. What took two years to develop 10 years ago, takes 15 minutes today. That is the speed of technology and the internet. Either we learn and adapt now, or we wait until we probably must do it. I prefer to be in the first group this time and I understand that the young generation understands this technology faster because they grew up with the internet and that alone is a strong sign that the metaverse will move faster into each home than the internet did.


I am enthusiastic about my VR- headset and the possibilities I see with the metaverse. I am sure that more and more people, especially the ones working from home will have the same excitement and feeling as me, especially after having their first VR meeting, even if that is just a “small" part of the metaverse. Real human interaction is what most people want, and I don’t see that it needs to be only one or the other. 20 years ago, neither smartphones nor the internet was something everyone saw any direct use for.


Today almost everything we do daily, spending hours with, is online and through mobiles. I believe the metaverse and the opportunities it brings for business people, companies, and individuals are development and the next step of internet and whom of us could think of a life without the internet today?


The metaverse can generally be divided into two "groups" or better-said platforms.


The first group uses the metaverse as I described in this article, like virtual worlds, where people might meet for business or enjoyment. In my next article, I will go into the second group that involves the blockchain, nonfungible tokens (NFT), and cryptocurrencies to create blockchain-based metaverse businesses opportunities.


To learn more from Lotta, you can visit her website and connect with her social media accounts; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. Read more from Lotta!

 

Lotta Spjut, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Lotta Spjut has a passion and drives to inspire and empower people around the Globe and to use the skills they have, learn new skills, grow themself and become successful entrepreneurs. She has made hundreds and hundreds of lectures, private and public training, always built on empiric knowledge. Only sharing what she has experienced herself and that inspires many people also to do the same. Not to compare with her or anyone else but to get inspired and understand that if she can, they can. Lotta has done it for one person, smaller groups, bigger groups, and she has done it for millions of people online. The amount is not important for her; it is what each person gets out of it. Lotta is a TEDx speaker, and she was nominated to one of 20 Global Women Leaders to Look up to 2021 by Passion Vista & Unified Brainz. She has today hundreds of thousands of people all over the world that she mentor and train in leadership, personal development, and entrepreneurship. Her background is as an Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working with leadership. She has a Master's Degree in Didactic and Bachelor of Education and many years of experience as a teacher in elementary school and at University. ICF Pro Executive Coach, coaching CEO´s in different businesses. Bachelor's degree as a health and nutrition developer. Worked and educated people in the health, nutrition, and fitness industry. Lottas main business over the last decades has been as a full-time Professional Networker & Business Coach, and Global speaker. Lotta is skilled in Leadership, Coaching, Entrepreneurship, Team Building, and Management. Strong business development, and from 2015, she has also developed good knowledge in the area of cryptocurrency. Her favorite quote is from Arthur Ashe: Start where You are, use what You have, and Do what You can! You don´t need to be great to start, but You need to start to be great, and Lotta´s mission is to help as many people as possible to convert their dreams and goals into action and to be the captain of their lives.

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