Metaverse and Phygital have suddenly become a hype in recent months. Rightly so, because they open doors to the learning organisations that already see the future at a higher level. However, the use of technology to bridge the digital world and the physical world is nothing new, yet we see that the pandemic was a catalyst and that both tech vendors and organisations have to let go of silo thinking from the old world.
Meta, which from ancient Greek means ‘after’ or ‘beside’, is now commonly used as ‘beyond’ or ‘at a higher level’. This is what Marc Zucherberg, among others, sees for the world. For him, we are not made to communicate via small luminous rectangles, and certainly not to learn. Zucherberg sees the world on a higher level where lifelike avatars meet in 3D and virtual reality environments. However, he was by no means first in coming up with this idea. Neal Stephenson was already several decades ahead of him by introducing “the Metaverse” in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash”. He is also far from unique as a provider as many other companies have been building the Metaverse for years.
Microsoft, game developers Epic Games of Fortnite, Roblox and Upland are just a few players who have already made great progress towards the real Metaverse. These hyperreal alternative worlds where we can live, work and learn together combine technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars and video with NFLs and blockchain. As I describe in my book The LearnScape, bringing these new digital innovations together opens up unprecedented combinations that offer possibilities beyond our imagination. Soon we will enter the virtual world through advanced VR and AR glasses, digital contact lenses or even brain implants like the ones Elon Musk’s Neuralink is already experimenting with.
The Metaverse for ultimate engagement
Returning to the present, we see that game developers and commercial companies have huge opportunities to reach an often young and trendy audience in the metaverse. This opportunity to connect new ‘players’ with brands and companies has grown tremendously due to the limitations of the real world during the pandemic. Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, for instance, saw the ultimate experience in photorealistic digital people that he develops with his MetaHuman Creator. With this he creates your digital double. That this virtual world is a lifelike new dimension for many became apparent with the concert series he launched in the meta-world of Fortnite. Stars such as Ariana Grande and Travis Scott gave concerts via their lifelike avatars that could never be sold out. For example, Travis Scott’s first virtual concert on the gaming platform reached no less than 12.3 million people, and he accounted for a total of 48.5 million engaged visitors over five concerts who were only too happy to pay for it.
This Metaverse is going to be far more pervasive and powerful than anything else. If one central company gains control of this, they will become more powerful than any government and be a god on Earth.Tim Sweeney
Back to an example a little closer to the realm of business and employee engagement. Here we see that Microsoft has plans to bring this infinite virtual world within the company walls. By 2022, the tech giant wants to bring mixed and extended reality (XR) applications including holograms and virtual avatars, to Teams for the ultimate collaboration and learning experience. In addition, they are already working with the US Army to train soldiers physically and cognitively through an augmented reality hololens.
Metaverse as the ultimate learning experience
Besides Microsoft, game developers and social media companies realise that the demand for learning-supporting technologies offers a huge new market.
The synergy between marketing and learning, which is also an important part of my book The LearnScape, becomes even more apparent with the Metaverse. Silos that still think from their own limited knowledge catalogue technology into pigeonholes like EdTech or MarkTech. Yet, in the near future, learning technology will no longer be managed by HR or L&D. It will be part of the bigger picture to engage employees and ecosystem stakeholders in a persistent, digital world that is connected to many aspects of the physical world.
Learning organisations are already looking to the Metaverse to build their LearnScape (learning ecosystem) from the symbiosis of man and machine in a cross-departmental collaboration with cross-functional teams. This LearnScape that partly exists in the Metaverse will be the place where innovation, data-centricity, ecosystem thinking, growth mindset and employee engagement meet. Business leaders who are already taking steps in this direction will, in my opinion, build the only conceivable organisation to stay afloat in these unpredictable times.
New Article: The Metaverse as inspiration for the Learning Economy
Metaverse may be hype to many, but this creator economy is inspiring learning. The Metaverse as inspiration for the Learning Economy Organisations that consciously use creator tools to unlock the untapped knowledge potential of their employees will have an edge. Now that these strategies are easier than ever to implement, it’s time for you to jump in
Executive workshops and inspiring keynotes are the ideal starting point for change and create the desired sense of urgency in your organisation. Katja Schipperheijn helps you to identify the levers for change in inspiring sessions that get you started on a habit of continuous improvement.
In this workshop We will use reverse engineering processes to capture an opportunity we want to capture with technology and how this solutions would integrate with your culture and other technologies to become increasingly nimble.
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