Since the dawn of the internet, communication has always been the main goal; whether communicating with friends and family, businesses, and customers, or consumers and providers. The communication that has become second nature to many of us in the modern digital landscape is only getting more immersive. With the continued development and improvement of metaverse technologies, the way that we will be able to communicate with collaborators is getting more and more immersive.
So, what does immersive collaboration look like for businesses of the future?
Horizon Workrooms by Meta
Virtual reality has always been perceived as something for the technologically advanced individual because it required a strong and expensive PC not typically accessible to the general population. However, since the release of the Oculus Quest, costing about $400, Virtual Reality has begun to enter the mainstream.
Meta has taken many steps toward implementing VR into the business environment, and with their new Oculus app, Horizon Workrooms, companies can take remote working to a new level. With the ability to communicate in a simulated space, share your desktop screen and even track your keyboard, you can conduct office operations in “the metaverse.” Although the “true” metaverse will look much different once developed, Workrooms provides a great glimpse at what business operations might look like in the metaverse. Horizon Workspaces allows team members to have meetings, work privately, or hold collaborative working sessions.
Mesh by Microsoft
While Meta may be the most vocal about driving the implementation of metaverse systems into the mainstream, Microsoft, who’s operating systems account for more than 87% of machines in all of business, is developing a service that could put Meta on their toes.
Their service is called Microsoft Mesh and it will replace workspaces after the service is fully developed. Although Workspaces is still in its beta stages, it provides a preview of how it will be experienced before really getting into it, like training wheels. Mesh will be the Trek 2-wheeler you take to the streets and mountain. Mesh will be much more than a VR office.
Microsoft Teams is a service that helps organizations instantly collaborate from anywhere in the world, which has empowered today’s remote workforce. Teams has a plethora of valuable features such as chat/instant messenger, cloud-based file/document management, Video calling, and dozens integrations with email and several other business systems. According to UC Today, over a million companies worldwide use Microsoft Teams, and within 3 years of implementing Teams those same companies recorded taking 150 less overnight trips a year and saving 45 minutes a week on collaborative tasks. Although these numbers may not seem significant when thinking of a single company, when considering the aggregate million+ companies using MS Teams, a substantial amount of time and money is being saved. Employee travel trends were at an all-time high in 2019 at $1.2 trillion worldwide, however, in 2020, that number fell to only $504 billion. This change can in part be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, however the trend toward remote work is a much more cost effective and seamlessly productive way of working, and the pandemic helped bring that to light for many companies.
Find more statistics at Statista
With Microsoft Mesh, companies will be able to link their Teams data and enter their own customized VR office space which will be managed by one of the most proficient collaborative tools on the market. Imagine having the organization and effectiveness of Teams, paired with a platform that will bring more depth and technologically advanced features into a virtual meeting, giving it the look and feel of an in-person interaction, rather than meeting via a little window on a screen. Although many of the details are not finalized yet, with Microsoft’s emphasis on business, we at Black Line IT are compelled to assume their platform will be the closest thing to perfect for remote working teams in the metaverse.
In addition to the VR office space, Mesh will also have an app for the Microsoft HoloLens, Augmented Reality Goggles. The HoloLens allows users to bring digital assets with them into the real world and many businesses already use these devices for several tasks. This app will allow users to connect and collaborate with team members using Augmented reality.
Lastly, Mesh will also connect users to Altspace VR which hosts virtual events like seminars, showcases, or even conferences. Larger companies like Accenture are finding value in using Metaverse spaces to host events for collaborative activities and even training.
Here is a list of some companies that are also developing Metaverse Technology.
Collaboration between team members is at an all-time high since the COVID-19 pandemic forced teams to work remotely. Now that teams are back in the office, they can utilize a hybrid method more effectively using collaborative services like Slack or Teams, and these technologies are evolving with technology as it becomes more immersive. These technologies will be only some of the ways that businesses incorporate Metaverse technologies into their interactions, and only time will tell how much farther we will push to become more proficient collaborators.
Stay tuned for part 3 of the Business in the Metaverse Series: Communication