Senior Managing Director Jason Warnke, in a blog post about the move, writes that for Accenture, Nth Floor is "how we want to host a virtual coffee break, conduct training, or host important all-hands meetings. The Nth floor is a versatile, customizable and scalable solution for bringing a geographically distributed workforce together. In short, it helps our people to be there without physically being there—even when we return to our own offices." He highlights in particular that the firm feel the move puts the health and wellbeing of employees front and centre, with the inclusion of VR experiences like a physical and mental workout product called Supernatural.
Zuckerberg too, during a display of what the metaverse can do for workplaces, demonstrated a world in which anyone can be thrown into a virtual video call at any moment - something which evoked an instant reaction across the greater wide web. In his blog, Zuckerberg writes, "In this future, you will be able to teleport instantly as a hologram to be at the office without a commute, at a concert with friends, or in your parents' living room to catch up. This will open up more opportunity no matter where you live. You'll be able to spend more time on what matters to you, cut down time in traffic, and reduce your carbon footprint."
So, is the metaverse truly becoming more commonplace? It would seem so, although it is still very much early days. Indeed, for every Accenture, there are a hundred companies who have yet to even so much as consider it. As it stands, the workspace metaverse hasn't really caught on much - mostly because it's still so much quicker and easier to simply click a Zoom link.
Scott Wassmer, General Manager at Appnovation, writes that the metaverse in 2022 is reminiscent of "the internet in the late 1990s. It's filled with experimentation driven by the potential of long-term consumer engagement and spending. Don't forget, most people thought the internet was just a fad in the '90s, with very few truly understanding its long-term potential." Wassmer does also feel that, with the combined scale of digital connectivity in 2022 (as opposed to the late 90's) and the power of the way new technologies are able to talk to and interact with one another. "Ignoring the long-term potential of the metaverse could be catastrophic for companies in the not-so-distant future," he writes. "The growth of the internet led to 20 years of disruption in everything from entertainment to education, financial management, healthcare and more. That change isn't done yet, making it important to understand the next wave."
However, that doesn't mean it is imperative that every company joins the metaverse immediately. Indeed, Wassmer points out that many early adaptors of the interview were unable to grow long-term alongside it. Later adopters have the considerable benefit of being able to learn from the mistakes of those that adopt early on.
In 2022, the metaverse still has a way to go until it reaches maturity as a technology - however, with the speed of technological advancement in this current age, it is more likely that this means change will happen over the next few years, as opposed to ten years down the line.
The metaverse is here to stay, this much is clear. Next week, in part three, we'll be examining the future of the metaverse in more detail, and the changes we might expect to start seeing as the technology starts to mature.
'Exploring the metaverse' is a four-part series released by The Difference Engine over the month of June 2022.