If you’re reading this at work, how’s your tech looking? If your daily log-in, conference calls and processes are… less than optimal (you can insert your own air quotes here), then you’re not alone. If you’re looking for evidence, KPMG’s 2022 Global Tech Report makes for an eye-opening, if contradictory, read. On the one hand, businesses report that investing in technology helps them to be more productive and efficient. On the other, they are constrained by budgets and skills shortages. Same as it ever was, you might say. So, even raising the question of how the average workplace might leverage the metaverse is likely to be met by a raised eyebrow or two.
In the fourth of our explorations into the metaverse, we look at the ways businesses might approach this brave new immersive world – as well as some of the very real challenges doing so might present.
Firstly, it’s important to say that there are already plenty of businesses either springing up or gleefully pivoting to meet the metaverse. Fashion immediately comes to mind, with NFT collaborations, digital fashion weeks and brands like Gucci, Burberry and even Clarks shoes taking the plunge into Roblox and Minecraft experiences. Plenty of metaverse-first event management, real estate and digital assets businesses are already thriving – who knew you could make so much money out of custom nail art in a virtual world? At this stage, pretty much all of them are operating in the same way that any other business providing digital goods and services might – from desks. Some are in offices; others are working from home.
Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that, like the education sector, the standard workplace is slow to catch up. Today, you can still find companies who are only just embarking on their own process of digital transformation, and plenty is still being written on the subject to guide nervous CEOs through the choppy waters of technology and change. So, can we even begin to talk metaverse in such a culture? “If you’re asking whether there are no-regrets moves that can be made today around the metaverse, the answer fundamentally is yes,” said Venture Altruist Richard Ward, speaking to McKinsey in March 2022. “In every single company, there are people who draw for a living, whether that’s graphic designers, marketing people, engineers, product designers, or process engineers.” He is, of course, referring to the kind of three-dimensional tools that are both welcomed and familiar in these spaces. Taking a leaf from traditional transformation programmes and making headway to improve specific working practices using 3D solutions is a really good place to start.