In his famous "Year in Review ", an annual collection of ideas and predictions about what's to come in the future, Bill Gates made an important prediction about the metaverse and business meetings:
I predict that most virtual encounters will move from 2D camera image grids to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatarsBill Gates
The billionaire founder of Microsoft thinks that instead of meeting in person, we will soon be using avatars to interact in a similar way. We will employ motion capture and spatial audio technology to make the metaverse realistic. It is worth noting that Microsoft announced the launch of the Mesh, a platform for virtual teams to collaborate in 3D through their custom avatars. I talked about it here, when in March 2021 it took its first steps.
A metaverse (also) for business meetings
The metaverse is a component of the Internet that includes numerous platforms dedicated to the creation of the virtual realm. Many large companies have already started investing in what they believe is a probable evolution of the web. Just a few days ago Horizon Worlds, the platform of someone who believes a lot in the metaverse, entered the game (I translate: it was made available to the public).
Gates wrote in his forecast that it's not just about business meetings: there have been some surprising recent developments in our digital business, all spurred by the pandemic, and there will be more to come.
People shouldn't think that the quality of the software that enables virtual experiences will remain the same. Innovation is just starting to accelerate.
A keystone? The audio
For Gates, 3D audio is one of the most innovative technological advances currently underway to enable truly realistic business meetings in the metaverse.
One of the biggest improvements over what we are using now is the use of spatial audio, where speech appears to actually come from the direction of the person speaking. You don't realize how unusual it is to have meeting audio only coming from your computer speaker until you try something else
For advanced 3D interaction, then, motion capture goggles and gloves are the next step. Do you see industrialists dressing up for business meetings? I say no, but I also say that I have changed my mind about worse things.
Lo smart working as an accelerator
Gates' predictions come after Google and Meta they postponed their 2022 return to work dates due to the unpredictable Omicron variant. Spotify announced a permanent “work from anywhere” program last February: employees can choose where and how to work. Other companies like Upwork e Pinterest they are now completely "remote first".
In other words, however you imagine the next business meetings in the metaverse, there is a market: and companies intend to enter it. The world of work is in total turmoil, trends show that it will change a lot, from the propensities of workers (with the boom of YOLO economy) to the same workspaces of the future.
“While most companies are likely to opt for the hybrid approach, there is a fair amount of flexibility as to what exactly that approach could look like. The pandemic has revolutionized the way companies think about productivity and presence in the workplace, ”Gates wrote.
He's wrong? No. I think he's right.
We are only at the beginning of the changes that will make possible not only business meetings, but a whole piece of the world of work 'in virtual version'. The pandemic has forced us to rethink how we define what is "essential" to a workspace.