Impact of Metaverse in Education, Business & Training
The future iteration of the internet is here – the Metaverse. The term gained popularity in October 2021 when Mark Zuckerberg announced that the name of Facebook will now be changed to “Meta.
“Some people are unaware of it, but Meta is a short form of Metaverse. Facebook was announcing an almost multi-billion dollar investment in the technology.
Is Metaverse a new term for you? For many it is, only because they are not aware of the term. Have you ever played Roblox? Did you watch Avatar, Matrix, Gamer, or even Ready Player One? Do you play games in 3D technology? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you are already aware of the metaverse technology and are familiar with it! So, what does this buzzword mean? What is the Metaverse, and what is its impact? Before we understand how the Metaverse impacts education, business, and training, we need to better understand what is meant by the concept.
“What Does Metaverse Mean?”
Even though it seems like Metaverse is a new concept, it is not. The term first appeared in Snow Crash. It was a fiction novel based on science. The novel depicted a virtual world that represented the real world in the book. People created different avatars. Interactions were performed through these avatars in the virtual world. This was the first time the world came across the term “Metaverse.”
The simplest definition of Metaverse is that you can think of it like an umbrella under which all the technologies comprise a digital universe. Think of it as a digital universe for different virtual worlds, of which there are now hundreds, but it is larger than that including game worlds and various virtual communities. The Metaverse is the mothership of all these technologies combined. Let’s understand it with an example.
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, etc., will reshape how we know life (they are already reshaping it as we talk). Future meetings will be held in virtual offices with VR headsets. As soon as you get over with the meeting and are done with work, for your relaxation you can begin playing a blockchain or VR-based video game. You can invest in blockchain or update your crypto wallet for investment purposes. All this will be done in the Metaverse.
Do some of these ring a bell? Bingo! We can already see many aspects of this Metaverse today. Games using this technology are already becoming popular, like Fortnite and Second Life. You can’t label them as Metaverse, but they are parts of the Metaverse.
The best thing about the Metaverse is that its impact will not be restricted to games only. It is a platform that will combine decentralized governance, a digital identity, digital economies, and much more. The impact of Metaverse is much greater than anything we have seen so far. It extends to business, training, education, finance, and the world.
Impact of Metaverse on Education
COVID-19 has given birth to a new learning concept: Remote learning. The ease of use has made it become the norm. Even with life coming back to normal, remote learning is here to stay. From college students to nursery kids, everyone is zooming in to study. Remote learning is affecting children of all ages. Socialization has also taken a complete U-turn. No more swinging and chatting around during recess, socialization is all about texting, social media chatting, playing games online, and video chatting. This is leading quickly to the Metaverse, a virtual universe powered through the internet.
Virtual Reality allows students to experience and explore realities that could never have been possible traditionally. You can get 3D visuals and representations you would never imagine through a VR headset. It is no hidden secret that images, graphics, and presentations leave a positive and long-lasting impact on students more than textbooks. Regardless of how old children are, they would always prefer to watch something rather than read about it, right? Experiences that can’t be felt in real life can be introduced to children through VR.
The new generation is growing up in the age of the Metaverse. They can’t be taught as effectively through the old classroom. A new generation requires new teaching methods, and virtual Reality fulfills the cause. The many advantages of VA in education are:
- It removes any language barrier
- Many errors can be detected beforehand
- Concepts can be taught better
- You can experience what is being taught
- People from all over the world can connect
- Physical restrictions and geographical barriers are removed
Virtual campuses are an excellent way to connect students from all over the world. Even schools are using VR to teach in schools. Who doesn’t remember the classic dissection of the frog in their biology class? Virtual labs eliminate the need to get your hands dirty. Through VR headsets, you can even travel to Mars or Jupiter; medical students can perform complex surgeries, and what not? Once the Metaverse is in full swing, the education sector can be revamped. These technologies can extend to other subjects, and a safe and sound learning environment can be provided to students worldwide!
Impact of Metaverse on Business
Trust entrepreneurs to find an opportunity to make profits. With Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) making it big in the gaming industry, business giants like Gucci saw a new target market. Almost 20 million users were recorded in May as they visited the virtual Gucci Garden in Roblox. It hardly took 14 days for thousands and millions of users to buy limited edition items from the virtual store. Surprisingly, the Dionysus bags were sold at a much higher price in the game than their physical counterparts. This is just ONE example of the impact the technologies which come under the metaverse umbrella are making in the business world. Balenciaga released its spring/summer collection of 2022 in the form of a video using only one model. The clothing line released by Ralph Lauren also has the same concept as Gucci and Balenciaga.
If the Metaverse comes in full existence (which it will), businesses will have a huge impact. The brick-and-mortar stores will become almost non-existent. Only the brands that will be agile and savvy enough to move on to the Metaverse will exist in the competition.
Impact of Metaverse on Training
We think that each company has its training criteria. We don’t understand that most of the learning objectives of one company overlap with the other. What is it that companies and organizations want? Better performance, higher profits, agile and skilled workforce, team players, barnstormers, innovators, etc. Customer experience with protocols of most organizations are the same too. As the learning objectives are the same, one can visualize an app that different companies and organizations might share in the near distant future.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are already making training easier. Through virtual Reality, special training can be given to employees. Skilled workers can learn so much through VR without using any resources. Safety training can be given without harming anyone.
For the organizations, Metaverse promises so much more than we realize. The meetings can be more constructive and immersive. This will result in productive teams. Microsoft is already taking the lead and has introduced Mesh for their Microsoft teams. Through this, all online collaborations will be effective and fun. Mesh allows people to connect in interpersonal ways, like sharing body language and having tangible and authentic conversations even virtually.
People argue that the Metaverse is good for the environment as well. Here, I beg to differ. For me, it is a double-edged sword. Yes, the physical footprint will reduce manifold. Printed paper and travel will reduce.
On the other hand, more use of computers uses a greater amount of electricity. This will increase the digital footprint of businesses. Just as technology is evolving and molding into something new, these questions will also be answered.
In short, the Metaverse promises to be a very creative and powerful canvas that will allow organizations and businesses to offer new products/services for consumers. It will also make working productive, unique, and fun. Only those organizations are going to flourish, which will keep a balance between their workforce and technological advancement. The need of the hour is to engage new talent like trans-disciplinary metaverse experts. The focus should be on the technology as well as the human dimension. The approach to work should be increasingly humanized, and innovation should be placed as a priority during its development and implementation.
As I sum up this article at the beginning of 2022, this is not the year of the Metaverse. Even though the coming years are going to see a lot of noise about the Metaverse, you will see new devices for immersive technologies. Organizations and businesses that embrace XR will increase; we are a few years away from building the Metaverse. So, do your homework, conduct research, and try a few different beta versions of the Metaverse to get a grasp on its potential before it hits home! Well here is our beta Metaverse that we had developed for Oman Cancer Association (OCA) as we plan to continue building it. In addition, we will be launching our own Metaverse by 2024