Not everyone is a huge fan of the Zuck. Still, there’s no denying that when Mark Zuckerberg talks, people pay attention. And that was definitely true when the Facebook founder recently spoke about the future of working in the metaverse — one in which workers need not move to big cities to access job opportunities, but instead can “teleport in the morning to the office and show up as a hologram,” as Zuckerberg told Joe Rogan on his Spotify podcast in August.
We’ve discussed some of the virtual opportunities being created by Web3 technologies before, even asking if we are all going to be Sims one day. However, Zuckerberg’s comments were a reminder that our entire virtual reality is quickly moving toward remote and online collaboration methods — revolutionizing not just your boardroom meeting, but everything from the ways people are trained and educated to the very day-to-day of their present jobs.
Some hear about the metaverse and think Ready Player One — and then are disappointed when they see projects like Decentraland, The Sandboxx and Roblox emerging as the major metaverse projects of our time, giving that they more closely resemble 2000s-era video games graphically than truly immersive virtual worlds.
We do believe the graphics will come. But even putting that issue aside, those who overly fixate on what such community-oriented metaverse projects look like now are missing the very real innovations that are happening in metaverse training and education today.
For years, mechanics, truck drivers, and manufacturing workers have used virtual reality and augmented reality tools to remotely learn how to do complex physical tasks. Student welders can already use AR/VR blowtorches to practice their welds without having to waste precious metal, receiving real-time feedback rather than having to wait to finish and take off their masks before realizing they went totally off track.
Technology is making it possible for trainee surgeons to practice on virtual cadavers before ever getting close to actually living, breathing humans. Plus, virtual reality could empower students to learn from the very best doctors in the world without being limited by time and space constraints — imagine the progress that could be made if the greatest cardiologist could have 1000s of students with him while performing surgery, rather than just the handful that can currently fit in the room.
That of course leads to another point: that the metaverse could greatly reduce the need for work travel, especially as it becomes more immersive and incorporates greater ability to virtually perform the same actions one can already perform in the physical world.
Imagine an architect who has to occasionally be on-site with construction workers. Currently, those architects have to pay significant travel costs — it’s fairly common to fly out to a site and then fly back in the same day.
That stressful and exhaustive process could be rendered moot by a newly emerging metaverse of work that allows an architect to virtually join his team while seeing the site live with vivid detail. Perhaps future prospective hires will do their first interviews in the metaverse, taking tours of facilities and offices without having to actually set foot in them before they’ve accepted an offer.
Replacing most physical conferences with virtual ones could make a huge impact on reducing carbon emissions from flights and other forms of travel. Imagine if European Union or NATO meetings were held on Decentraland, which has hosted a number of events since 2020, and has upcoming ones with the Metaverse Spectrum Business Conference and the Metaverse Summit 2022, among others.
One of the biggest challenges of a working metaverse will be graphical quality and latency requirements that make it difficult currently to host more than a few hundred or thousand avatars at any one time (Intel recently suggested the metaverse may need 1,000X its current computing power to cope).
Finding ways to facilitate conversations between that many virtual actors could be challenging. However, that problem is already being solved in places like Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse, and other virtual gathering spots, which typically select a handful of “speakers” who can talk at any time — so no need to revive the talking “conch” from Lord of the Flies just yet.
Most of all, enterprises will need to determine how best to facilitate real, earnest relationships between coworkers in the metaverse.
Make the working metaverse too difficult and rigid, and employees aren’t likely to want to participate in yet another interface that potentially gets between them and doing their jobs sufficiently.
One early 2022 report found that a week of VR work actually lowered productivity. Study participants felt like they were more anxious and stressed while trying to do their jobs, leading to a 14% drop in self-described productivity and a 40% increase in frustration — with eye strain, visual fatigue, nausea and migraines being reported side effects.
Future work solutions can’t focus on innovation for innovation’s sake. If the potential metaverse of work is to be fully realized, user experience will have to be its top priority.
Still, just as computers were initially met with skepticism, metaverse technology will likely become more widely adopted as technology and experiences on it continue to improve.
Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, which pioneered the enterprise software system industry, announced his focus on an enterprise-style metaverse last year — one in which cross-disciplinary workers come together through a VR headset.
Sprinter is building a true operating system for remote work, one that tackles directly the biggest challenges that agencies face while working with distributed teams and companies across continents.
We do so with the help of blockchain-based technologies, including the RUN token and Member NFTs, taking the traditional work process and adding enhanced transparency, reputation, and user-governance over the network they do business on.=
Nobody knows what the future holds, but we do know that, whether it’s in the physical world or the virtual one, we will have to make it work.
We’re excited to be at the forefront of this evolution and it’s easy for you to join us — start filling out your profile today.