Posted on January 27, 2022
The metavers is a contraction of meta and universe. It represents a virtual world, a 3D universe in which a person can interact thanks to an avatar or a hologram, can play, buy, build environments, visit places, meet other people. The real world is incorporated into a digital environment. As Jon Radoff says in his article “the value chain of metavers ”It includes 3D games like Fortnite on our game consoles, Beat Saber in our virtual reality headsets and Roblox on our computers. It also includes Alexa in our kitchen, Zoom in our virtual offices, Clubhouse on our phones, and Peloton in our home gyms”(1).
Photo: metavers campus designed by Immersive Factory
Metavers is an extension of the Internet, the next generation, currently less well understood than virtual reality. Inspired by multi-player games and their real-time features, the metavers is accessible with a VR headset (Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift...) and also in augmented reality when the Internet is available. These technologies represent a huge stake of which a market is estimated at 1.8 billion dollars in 2020 (according to a PWC study).
Virtual reality, through its 3D design, allows you to experience a real situation while being immersed in a virtual universe. The images, the sound, the space in which the person must move allow him to be projected into a virtual environment. This technology is experiencing steady growth in several areas, excluding digital activity, including occupational health and safety. As virtual reality allows to create users' experience by appealing senses and emotions and immersing users into virtual settings thanks to helmet, glasses, and sometimes a screen on which the image is projected, the technologie is suitable to raise awareness of occupational risk.
Scripting stimulates the person's commitment through virtual play. However, VR technology can increase risks of visual fatigue, stress, and accidents (2) and must therefore be supervised by expert trainers in virtual reality unlike the metavers which, if not used with a VR headset, will not be as restrictive.
For a company, offering “hybrid” work represents a significant competitive advantage. According to Microsoft research conducted in October 2021, for many employees, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted hybrid working from “nice to have” to “must have.”And More than half (59%) of HR decision makers (HRD) respondents agree that hybrid working has had a positive effect on the mental wellbeing of their workforce. (3) .
On the other hand, the organization of meetings or events has become very complex. The metavers opens up the field of possibilities by creating a multitude of virtual socialization experiences that make it possible to offer new experiences to users, by combining the real world and virtual environments.
Photo: informal talks in the lobby of the metavers campus
Virtual reality or the metavers make it possible to develop new skills, sometimes in niche markets such as for VR training in health and safety at work, and which, in the long term, strengthen the employability of employees. Thus these technologies will attract new talents, young or less young, seduced by new working methods.
In addition, the onboarding of a person into a new company is a key factor in the success of employee retention. According to the Microsoft study, more than a third (36%) of British workers who have started a new job since the start of the pandemic have gone through their entire onboarding process without ever setting foot in their workplace. job. (3)
Photo: an avatar of an EHS manager in the metavers campus of Immersive Factory
More and more companies are therefore tempted to create a virtual onboarding where each person joins the community on the Internet with an avatar. Experts from MURSION company found that the avatar removes a number of barriers such as shyness, fatigue, disability, and allows people to be more authentic and express more honesty unlike the real world.
The covid crisis has forced employees to review their mode of communication and fall back on technology. Instead of using more time-consuming writing, video meetings have been multiplied. This type of communication, which is essential for managing hybrid teams, has also struggled to find the right mix with poor management teams, not attentive to the difficulties of each other. Unlike traditional training where information is top-down, virtual reality and the metaverse place the person at the heart of the action.
The person is no longer behind a screen, she/he is in a workspace with her other colleagues. Thus, exchanges, feedback, and solutions are stimulated, in particular through the use of serious games and all kinds of ludopedagogical training. It also plays a role of exchange multiplier, with formal and informal conversations, and is easier to adapt to cultural language barriers.
Although traditional so-called “passive” training generates a high satisfaction rate, the impact on the business is difficult to measure. However, companies are looking for efficiency and return on investment even if it is difficult to identify the most efficient actions in terms of results. Training is a tool for achieving a concrete result, it is no longer a question of “knowing” or “understanding” but, for example, of no longer having work accidents in your company. Ford has succeeded in introducing virtual reality into the manufacturing process, which has resulted in a 70% injury reduction rate thanks to the various data collected.
Virtual reality and the metavers help companies deploy new ways of working, exchanging, and training thanks to digital, for example by simplifying the implementation of training programs or meetings with 20 different nationalities without investing enormously in translation and organization, all thanks to access to a dedicated digital platform. However, the level of maturity of the markets in relation to these technologies should not be overlooked.
With the GAFAMs, investments are sustained and suggest substantial progress, thus making it possible to democratize these tools and remove the obstacles. On the other hand, as in any launch, we must not follow fads, and a more or less long acculturation phase is critical. In addition, it is essential to set the project objectives from the start with all the stakeholders, from the CEO to the head of the academy or internal school, including the support functions (innovation, digital, IT, HR, HSE, marketing etc.). Support and training are key success points for deploying the metavers in the company, as SUEZ presents to us in this testimony.
Virtual reality raises the question of the protection of users' personal data. Biometric data, facial recognition, IP address... In Europe, there is the GDPR which governs data protection. The collection and processing of these various personal data is a major issue because it raises many questions: who processes this digital data? what use is made? are they transmitted? Virtual reality can jeopardize the privacy of users if it is not framed properly. Fortunately, France has established a clear and precise legal framework for the use, consultation, modification and deletion of the digital data collected.