Metaverse – A Primer for the Enterprise CIO

Metaverse – A Primer for the Enterprise CIO

In the world of technology, change is probably the only constant. Just as organizations were getting comfortable adopting AR and VR technologies and delivering real-world-like virtual experiences to employees and customers alike, the latest kid on the block – metaverse – is taking the business world by storm. 

As Microsoft, Nvidia, and Facebook announce significant investments in this technology, the pressure on CIOs to understand the concept, implement it across the enterprise, and leverage its benefits in the long term is extremely high. 

Here’s why CIOs should have metaverse on their bucket list! 

Metaverse is a technology that combines the physical and digital worlds

If you thought advancements in the mixed reality space had hit a roadblock, metaverse is here to prove you wrong! As a technology that combines the physical world with the digital world, metaverse is touted to be a persistent and collaborative technology that creates (and maintains) 3D virtual environments of the Internet. By layering immersive 3D on top of existing 2D environments, metaverse is paving the way for enhanced enterprise-wide collaboration while also allowing organizations to create digital twins and enable simulations. 

For instance, metaverse will allow employees to create digital avatars of themselves to enter virtual rooms, collaborate with peers, and walk around virtual models – thus augmenting the 2D video conferencing experiences they have with peers across the world. At the same time, metaverse will also allow enterprises to create virtual warehouses, create virtual simulations, and visualize the impact of optimized routing. 

For CIOs, the long-term benefits of adopting metaverse are far too many

That the world is getting increasingly digital, cannot be disputed. But no one imagined the accelerated pace at which the physical and digital worlds are being merged to create a multi-reality world. By 3D modelling almost anything, metaverse, the virtual internet powered by AR and VR, is set to be persistent, real-time, infinite, and self-sustaining – meaning it is interoperable, always available, constantly live, and supports unlimited users and virtual worlds. 

When a technology like metaverse emerges in the digital world, CIOs cannot stay far behind in adopting it. CIOs can use metaverse to create virtual workspaces, overcome the challenges of remote work, and visualize and solve problems virtually, and in real-time – without complex hardware implementations. No wonder the technology is currently a top priority for enterprises big and small: 

  • Facebook rebranded its name to Meta in a bid to drive its continued focus on metaverse technology, building an interconnected set of virtual experiences – instead of focussing on developing a handful of siloed social apps – and bring physical reality to (virtual) life. 
  • Microsoft launched Mesh for Microsoft Teams that uses metaverse technology to allow people in different physical locations to be part of collaborative virtual meetings – and enjoy higher levels of communication and engagement. 
  • NVIDIA is applying metaverse concepts to its Omniverse platform, and connecting physical worlds into a unified virtual universe – allowing for 3D simulation and design collaboration. 

But the journey needs to begin with careful planning

Although CIOs must consider having metaverse on their tech roadmaps, they should do it in a careful and well-planned manner. Here are some tips: 

  • Instead of simply jumping onto the metaverse bandwagon, CIOs must ponder over the several use cases and carry out a detailed study of their tech environment to see where and how they can implement metaverse into their everyday operations. 
  • They need to evaluate the skill set of their current IT workforce and uncover if they would need to either 1) onboard new hires with specific skill sets around metaverse or 2) upskill existing employees, so they can work their way around metaverse and related concepts. 
  • In addition to understanding the benefits, CIOs need to weigh the risks involved in implementing metaverse – from employee resistance to infrastructure modernization, budget, skill gap, process changes, security implications, privacy ramifications, and more. 
  • They also need to stay updated with the legal and regulatory landscape in metaverse to ensure they define the right boundaries and jurisdictions and not overstep on legal domains

From virtual workspaces to 3D avatars of people communicating with each other – metaverse is quickly encapsulating the world as we know it, propelling humans into a virtual ecosystem, thus significantly changing the way we live, work, and play. With Facebook investing in metaverse and Microsoft adopting it for better employee engagement, metaverse is paving the way for an always-connected and persistent virtual universe where people can meet, interact, and collaborate – 24×7. 

For modern CIOs, the concept, although still vague, holds several promises. By bridging the physical and digital worlds, metaverse opens up endless possibilities for communication, transaction, and business – especially in the world of hybrid work. Understanding the benefits of metaverse, and uncovering how their organizations can benefit from it is the only way CIOs can make the most of this new, virtual universe. 

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