Much has been made of the “Metaverse” as the newest evolution of the internet and a milestone change in the very fabric of the digital world, enabling people to work, play, and do business in virtual spaces delivering personalized interactive experiences. While the concept of virtual spaces and individual digital avatars is far from new, this latest iteration promises to offer a more virtual-reality-centered set of worlds. As businesses continue to establish a digital presence on many of the competing platforms, an Accenture executive and two technologists recently sat down to discuss the emerging virtual world.
Titled ‘Metaverse: That’s so Meta’, the panel discussion featured Accenture Senior Managing Director and Global Digital Experiences Lead Jason Warnke, Metacity Head of Network Joe Hamilton, and Kyle Morrand, Chief Executive Officer of 302 Interactive. The group had a wide-ranging discussion, touching on key topics such as campus use cases, elements of a metaverse, human interactions, and building public comfort levels.
Accenture has a unique perspective on virtual worlds, having already launched One Accenture Park, an in-house private metaverse that provides a digital campus where staff from all over the world can interact, collaborate, and learn in a virtual space. The consultancy firm has onboarded more than 44,000 new hires via One Accenture Park’s mixed-reality environment, which can be accessed via VR headset or desktop computer.
The discussion also touched on leveraging Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and blockchain as a means of digital asset portability. “Just like you don’t leave all your clothes and belongings at the door when you leave a physical space, you’ll keep your digital assets and bring them to different places in the Metaverse,” said FILL IN NAME HERE.
Given that there is not one single “official” metaverse, portability and interoperability will prove to be a key driver in widespread adoption and avoiding the sort of Balkanization that current social media platforms often experience.
The group also talked about how human interaction and comfort will be key drivers of widespread metaverse adoption. Accenture’s own experience shows that people tend to retain learned knowledge better when it is delivered as part of a shared experience, and while VR technology can make a lot of exciting experiences happen, it’s building a more natural interface that will ultimately lead to greater use of the up-and-coming technology. The hardware will continue to evolve and shrink, and as people become more familiar with using it, they will be more likely to wade into the metaverse.
Ultimately, the magic of the metaverse is something that carries a lot of promise. But it will need continuing refinement to become widely adopted and utilized. Discussions among technologists and businesses will be key to helping define the latest step in the future of the internet, and will hopefully bring more people onboard as understanding grows about what - exactly - the metaverse is.