CorpVerse Series #2. Consumer Metaverse. The First Challenges
Consumers experience fragments of the metaverse in their everyday lives in waves of media interest and news flashes. They carry their own experiences into the work environment. But the more IT giants and technology consulting talk about the metaverse, the more resistance they meet from the conservative state. It becomes difficult to understand and distinguish whether these are the handles of the deep state, the fears of long-lived politicians, an attempt to redistribute global spheres of power reassembling the technological landscape, or whether these are all fictitious conspiracy theories.
🔮Insight. The first avatars-infused content
Employees as consumers explore the first massive media content created with avatars- framework (e.g, the first Netflix series or Coursera course produced with "Metaverse avatars").
As time goes by, platforms and engines for avatars (more on that later) develop and become mature. Your employees, as usual consumers, discover astonishing things: part of the content they consume is created not just using costly CGI, but using tools that are free or for a reasonable fee available to every novice Roblox-er or TitTok-er (or TV man, whatever).
Imagine that Coursera offers a course and its lecturer is substituted by an avatar whose lips and hands are moving simultaneously with the voice of the lecturer. And that technology will eventually become quite expressive with convincing emotions, as the new generation of VR headsets implements eyes and face tracking.
Or Netflix brings you a movie or tv series shot with such “cheap” technologies. Do you remember what kind of effect the "Blair Witch Project" had? It was shot with your usual CP-16 film and Hi8 video cameras. That’s it.
🔮Insight. The employees strike back to clean tables
Early experiments on augmenting office space using consumer apps (mobile AR).
Employees are partially back to the offline office from the COVID-19 isolation. Without a doubt, they begin using consumer apps on their iPhones and Android devices to digitally upgrade their environment, leave Easter eggs for co-workers, and simply indulge themselves.
Before they left office, as you might remember, you implemented a so-called "clean table policy" in your open space. Back then you forbade home plants, photo frames, and stuffed toys. Now be ready: employees strike back! All that personal trinkets and pets are going to be digital and out of your sight. Check, checkmate.
⚗️Experiement. The magic digital twin pictures
Advanced contractors begin using AR/VR and 3D modeling for office renovation, building, and maintenance.
You start noticing that the most advanced contractors and developers are using AR/VR to create models of buildings and offices for construction, renovation, and maintenance. The next electrician you called to fix sockets in your building will check the digital model of the arrangement of electric wires before opening the wall plates. The next ventilation consultant you asked to tune air conditions will first advise with its digital twin model connected to the sensors in your building.
For your consumer's eyes, it’s witchcraft! Magic pictures shown to us by Alex Kipman (before Microsoft allegedly fired him for misconduct), the man behind HoloLens, and the team finally come to life.
By the way, Alex's story told by media shows that there is more to the digital layer of reality, which you probably would like to avoid in your workspace.
🚸Risk. The fear of the Metaverse
Metaverse providers meet contr-reaction from government officials requiring proactive regulation.
One day you hear from TV screens and tabloids that some official in charge of children's rights protection (jokes aside - children's rights are damn important!) or a senator not having a clear understanding of how the Internet works ask Mark to personally keep his hands away from the nation’s children and do not let them join his social networks and metaverse. Because, you know, the Internet is crowded with pirates, pedophiles, Russian propaganda, North Korea's hackers, Chinese censors, and who knows what else.
It becomes clear that none of those in power wants a "new Internet" (paradoxically that is exactly how many experts frame the Metaverse), therefore it’s better to attack in advance.
Meanwhile, some metaverse services begin self-regulation and separate children and adults into parallel non-overlapping experiences.
📧 This is Human Spectrum Lab, a newsletter about Exploring the Human Spectrum and Shining through the Future.
In this series of posts, we will share pieces from our research around the Corporate Metaverse done by Constantin Kichinsky, Aleksei Kalenchuk & Ekaterina Filatova. For the context, it is more a future foresight, rather than a strong fixation on how things are today.