Science fiction author Neal Stephenson described the metaverse as a metaphor for the real world, as the embodiment of the internet – an escape from reality. But as it evolves, the metaverse will become more than just an escape from reality. Since it transcends the limitations of time and space, the metaverse will change the future of work. When it comes to working, metaverse has implications across every sector, not just for white and blue-collar jobs.
Before we discuss how and why the metaverse will change the way you work, let’s first discuss what the metaverse is.
The metaverse is often described as the next version of the internet, creating a virtual ecosystem allowing users to interact with each other in a three-dimensional space. It is represented as persistent virtual worlds brought to life with virtual reality, augmented reality, and the internet.
In a virtual world, the possibilities are limitless; and developers can create any space they want. Employers can create virtual offices for their employees; manufacturers can create unadulterated simulations of work environments to train employees, and so forth.
How the metaverse could change work
Admittedly, the metaverse is still in its infancy; but if history is anything to go by, the evolution of new technologies is exponential. And that is why the metaverse will change the way you work, sooner rather than later. Here’s how the metaverse will change the future of work.
Immersive training and learning
It goes without saying that the best way to learn is through applied learning – learning by doing something. Virtual worlds offer significant advantages over traditional instructor-led or classroom training.
Training with VR has been around for some time. However, the use was limited to very few specialized tasks like astronauts, pilots, race car drivers, surgeons, etc. Role-playing exercises and virtual reality simulations will become commonplace.
For example, the surgical technology company Medivis uses Microsoft’s HoloLens technology to train medical students through interaction with 3D anatomy models. Metaverse harnesses the potential of playful learning technologies for easier and faster skill development.
Companies can create unadulterated simulations of work environments to train employees in a safe and controlled environment, especially in high-risk industries where such training would have an adverse physical impact.
Improved research and development
Metaverse simplifies the process of 3D modeling, guaranteeing that anything can be modeled in 3D and tested with real-world variables. Solving tasks in 3D Many tasks are visually easier to complete. But in the real world, we are often tied to our spatial conditions and budget constraints. For example, if an architect wants to design a model larger than what would fit into a room, they could do so in the metaverse and create models to scale if they wish.
Boeing announced that it wants to build its next airplane in the metaverse. Manufacturers can design, build and test prototypes within the metaverse before proceeding with real-world production. Sensors and robots can test software in the metaverse and simulate real-world physical integrations before finally implementing them in the real world. It ensures optimization of the production processes such as line assembly to ensure the manufacturing becomes more efficient, innovative, and profitable. More so, consumers will be integrated into the product development process from the start, allowing them to provide feedback on new products without any risk to health and safety.
Work from home
The boundaries between the real and virtual worlds are disappearing. Immersive remote working will be the first step in how the metaverse will change the future of work. Working in the metaverse means no more commutes to the office.
Although the current remote working environment involves teleconferencing, employees miss out on human interactions of being at the office. As the metaverse continues to evolve, employees can use holographic avatars with haptic feedback. This means workers can interact in their virtual workspaces, just as they would in the real-world office.
Microsoft Mesh allows people to collaborate as if they were physically present in the same room. Mesh allows team members to gather as 3D avatars or holograms in a virtual world. It mimics your real-life facial expressions from your webcam. It allows users to walk around the workspace and interact as though they are physically present. This will make collaboration more immersive.
New jobs in the metaverse economy
It’s common knowledge that new technologies tend to make some jobs obsolete – like how automation killed manual labor. The silver lining here is that new technologies also create massive new employment opportunities, ranging from tech-based software engineering roles to creative and admin opportunities.
The internet brought an entire digital economy with new jobs, so too will the metaverse economy. Look at Decentraland, for example. It has created a thriving virtual real estate economy and the role of metaverse realtors – a job description that didn’t exist a few years ago. Another example is the avatar-based social network IMVU. It has thousands of creators and developers for various virtual products.
It’s accurate to say that the coronavirus pandemic permanently changed how we view work – remote working became the norm. As we’ve seen, the evolution of the metaverse promises to revolutionize remote working across all industries and change how businesses operate. The rise of the metaverse economy will create new work roles and a more collaborative and engaging workforce with real-time feedback, better than the current remote teleconferencing. It will also provide an immersive environment for training and learning and seamless design and testing in manufacturing and production.