‘Metaverse makes cold technology human again’

Developments around virtual reality (VR) are moving fast, especially since Facebook has loudly reclaimed the term Metaverse with the name change to Meta. But Metaverse is much more than Facebook, and this virtual world also has enormous business potential. Rocking Robots spoke to GovXR’s Robert Mekking about this. “Humanity is coming back.”

“To me, the thinking behind VR and the Metaverse is similar to how we viewed the World Wide Web in the 1990s,” says Robert Mekking of consultancy GovXR. “At the time, we had no idea how big the impact would be. That also applies to virtual reality. We are now in a phase where there is a great diversity of ideas about what it could do for business, and now we are seeing the first companies really starting to think about what it could mean for their strategy.”

He sees one element as essential to developments around virtual reality: “The Metaverse humanizes the technology of the last twenty or thirty years. An email, app, or social media post lacks almost all of the senses we normally use to communicate with each other as humans. We’ve learned to deal with that cold technology, but it’s still a limited form of human contact.”

Senses

With virtual reality, on the other hand, and in particular the social component of the Metaverse, this is about to change, according to Mekking. “Now we are on the eve of developments where more sensory experiences are added, such as photorealistic images. It seems like technology has gotten ahead of us before, and humanity is now closing in on that technology again.”

He doesn’t see the Metaverse as a world exclusive to Facebook: “We’re in our own reality, and with the Metaverse you can add layers of reality. They are interconnected spaces built in the virtual world. Within that you can have scenarios that are important to you and communicate with others in them. The name has been around for several decades, and although Facebook now claims that name, virtual spaces may exist outside of Facebook as well.”

law enforcement

According to him, there is also an analogy with the WWW. The world wide web only became really interesting when we could access each other’s pages and communicate and interact with each other there. So you could also build a corporate private space in the Metaverse, for example to train employees or provide information to customers. These could also be temporary spaces that could be used, for example, during an investigation. The latter is already happening, for example with the police, who sometimes build a virtual version of the crime scene”.

According to Mekking, the reason for the adoption that can already be seen lies in the human side: “Those human aspects make it much easier for people to adapt to virtual reality than it was to the internet in the past. It is much more intuitive. That’s why I’m very optimistic about it.”

wildest

In your daily consulting practice, you see that business and government are open to discussing the strategic application of VR in your organization. “The ideas they bring to the table in those conversations are sometimes even wilder than I could have imagined as a consultant,” she says. “The technology is now good enough to convince our brains that you are in that virtual world. That only gets better if you have a photorealistic environment.”

“Again, we are at the beginning. But I see developments going even faster than with previous technological innovations. Very few restrictions remain, and those that exist will be resolved shortly. Therefore, I see many potential social applications, for example in the field of education and training, or sustainability. That potential is much more positive than many Internet developments.”

killer app

In the short term, he expects the flagship application for virtual reality to be in gaming and social applications. “That will ensure wider adoption. After that wave of entertainment, the turning point will come to realize what virtual reality can mean for your day to day, for example, when shopping. It is not a replacement for reality, but an addition to it. At best, it will replace the web store, which is already digital anyway. After that, the business will be bigger and bigger. The big breakthrough will come when retail becomes so big, leading to a kind of 3D internet.”

See also

Heineken opens virtual brewery in metaverse

and

Trade mission to France leads to intensive AI cooperation

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