The metaverse and virtual reality headsets: a new trend in the corporate world

If there’s anyone out there who still hasn’t heard of the metaverse, they’ve probably been living off grid or under a rock for the last three years… the metaverse is undoubtedly the next big thing in the world of technology, communications, devices, as well as the internet more generally. And everything points towards the corporate world also taking a major interest in the metaverse, albeit with a greater focus on a recent trend that remains somewhat tentative for the moment.



Just what on earth is the metaverse?

This fundamental question – seemingly simple and straightforward enough – is one that’s leaving many people scratching their heads still. In short, and simplifying it down to the bare bones, the metaverse is a three-dimensional digital environment, very similar to the “real world”, where users – in the form of characterisations of themselves, known as avatars – can connect with one another.


Diving a little deeper, we can also say that there isn’t just one metaverse, but several, and in future, it’s likely that all of them, or many of them, will end up interconnected with one another. There are plenty of examples of virtual worlds that have been replicating reality online for many years now. Video games are perhaps the clearest example, although they’re not the only ones. Second Life was probably the most well-known attempt at creating a proto-metaverse in the early 2000s. But the modern concept of the metaverse aims for a much more immersive experience for users via a dedicated peripheral device: virtual reality headsets.



Zuckerberg’s metaverse and the role of business

It was Facebook’s founder who decided to change the name of the company to Meta and invest almost all of his corporate holdings in the metaverse in 2021. Since then, digitalisation processes have focussed on virtual reality. Other giants such as Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have followed Meta’s lead, alongside major players in digital entertainment, such as Riot Games and Epic Games. They’re all developing their own strategies and implementing different initiatives aimed at the metaverse ecosystem, but it’s still Mark Zuckerberg setting the pace and putting all his eggs in this particular basket.


The corporate world wants it, but…

According to McKinsey, in 2022, $120 billion was spent on developing the metaverse, and that figure will only continue to rise in the years to come. Companies from all different sectors are seeing which way the wind is blowing and want to get on board before the ship has already sailed. But not all companies understand quite what’s involved, or where to invest.


A recent report from ISDI Business School on the development of the metaverse in Spain revealed that digitalisation processes are still behind schedule in many sectors. 50% of those surveyed in the report say they know “very little” about the metaverse, 40% don’t know how they’d integrate it within their organisations, 23% acknowledge difficulties understanding the term, and 14% don’t know what it is, or how it could be applied in their sector.



Did someone say metaverse? Introducing VR headsets in companies

Despite the difficulties – which all technological paradigm shifts have suffered in the past – the benefits of the metaverse and virtual reality for the business world are clear. They’re already being applied primarily in terms of brand development and remote working dynamics, backed up by positive experiences during the pandemic.


But there are more. And the fact that virtual reality headsets are so much more accessible and functional today than in the past could open the door to companies introducing them in everyday situations, improving internal and external communications, adapting personalised processes in specific departments, creating dedicated spaces, developing innovative customer relationship strategies and combining the metaverse with artificial intelligence, to name just a few potential benefits, which – at least on paper – are endless. Tourism, health and education are the most active and restless industries when it comes to exploring the potential of the metaverse, but they’re not alone, nor will they be the last.

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