Over the past decade, businesses have become increasingly reliant on technology to take their organisations to the next level. Many would argue that technology has been one of the biggest influences on their brands keeping ahead of their competition and relevant to the markets they serve.
At Habit Action, we are mindful that more big change is coming to the world of tech and the internet as we use it today. This is why we called on industry expert Nick Callaghan, head of industry, entertainment at Meta to talk us through how he sees the Metaverse shaping the workplace of tomorrow and indeed on how we conduct business.
As part of the discussion, we held a Q & A session on a few key topics affecting the Metaverse and workplace design, how it can be used to promote businesses and brands, and how it may affect in-person interaction businesses wise and socially.
Do you feel the Metaverse will change the way we use the physical office space and how they are designed?
Nick: Overtime, yes it will. A big caveat of this is that there will be a bit of a journey to get where we need to be with this in terms of the technology and all the developments that are going on. I’ve already seen internally the way Horizon Workrooms has affected the way we use the physical space, and as it develops we’re seeing more and more ideas of ways we can blend the physical and the virtual world through new iterations of the Workrooms technology.
In terms of the design process of workplaces, the Metaverse definitely has a role to play, helping architects, designers and planners understand how people move around and use the space. Whether this is things like heat mapping technology which monitors occupancy in a space, or even using AR and VR to walk clients through a space design before it takes shape – there are so many use cases for it.
Murray: What we’ve been seeing with our clients is that more and more, the technology in a space is doing the heavy lifting when it comes to the way an office is designed and used. We’re not seeing huge or drastic changes to office space design but we are seeing so many developments in technology and how it can be integrated within a space. With our clients actively trialling this new technology it’s clear to see that the Metaverse is here already, it’s not something completely new. What will be interesting to see is how quickly we see take-up of it by all companies.
At Meta we do fundamentally believe that there is going to be this web free world; the next iteration of the internet. We see at Meta that we are on the cusp of another big change in the way we use the internet and tech but just how soon this evolution will happen, only time will tell - Nick Callaghan, Meta
Are there any specific industries or sectors you feel would particularly benefit from using the Metaverse to promote their businesses and brands right now?
Nick: The main benefits for brands and organisations who’ve started using it is having that early movement advantage, taking a test and learn to approach it before their competition. Another advantage is using the Metaverse to reach a new audience or demographic who may be more familiar with AR and VR. It also can have a halo effect where it’s showing businesses and brands as being proactive and keeping up to date with the latest technology.
The sectors who are already doing it are largely from some of the high retail industries who are experimenting with anything from virtual try-ons right through to virtual fashion shows and catwalks. Other organisations who have been playing in the space for a while now are entertainment and obviously gaming. One example of another brand using this kind of augmented reality is made.com who have developed a filter where you can see furniture in your own room before purchasing it just by using your phone. Or even within the automotive industry where people can take a virtual test drive of a car.
Murray: This conversation has definitely broadened my horizon to see that the Metaverse is not just one thing, it is a combination of so many different component parts. This makes it more exciting in that it gives so many different entry points for different organisations and industries.
Nick: That’s a really important point, Murray. The key thing to get across is that the metaverse is not just about virtual reality and being fully immersed in a space by wearing a headset. It can be in how we shoot video content, making it more 3D, or having filters on our phones like our example of made.com. This broadens the possibilities for companies to start thinking about it because there are so many different entry points, not just high end VR headset experiences.
Do you think the Metaverse will impact on the level of face-to-face interaction people have both socially and in business? Will there still be the same need to travel for work for example?
Nick: Shortest answer is no, I can never see the Metaverse replacing in person human interaction. Where we see this playing into communication and interaction is enhancing some of the hybrid / virtual experiences. Nothing beats face to face interaction but having said that, in between not being able to see people who live / work a long way from you, it will help to bridge the gap. I think one of the biggest benefits in terms of communication is that, like with the presentation I gave to clients from 3 different countries, it is going to be able to break down some of those geographical barriers. It will help with this idea of inclusivity and making everyone feel like they can enjoy the same experiences as others without physically being in the same space.