“We fashioned this city on stolen memories: different eras, different pasts all rolled into one. Each night, we revise it, refine it, in order to learn.”- Dark City
The sepia-tuned hues of the winter sun rising against the oasis in Dubai is a sight for sore eyes. But, there’s no time for sight-seeing is there? Even though the panorama there is arresting. Jameel is an engineer and a possible malfunction at the desalination plant in Dubai must be identified immediately for the fault lines run deep. While Jameel is actually continents apart in Los Angeles, the ocular inspection that he is carrying out via his virtual headset in a dimensional live replica of the facility (with real-time data) has made it possible to mitigate any potential breakdown. Today, this avatar like scenario is no longer the staple of science fiction and is set to become a stark reality. Then again, the lines between reality and the virtual world have become increasingly blurred. The question remains, what does the metaverse hold for our immediate future? A golden utopia of possibilities or a grim dystopia.
The metaverse’s potential is that it can help us create a world where we can all be our best selves. Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s Founder and CEO, exemplified what the world may be like if virtual and augmented reality were an everyday part of our lives. Based on insights from Forbes, let’s garner some immediate insights.
Retailing on the metaverse?
Imagine being in a mall of your choice where you can touch, feel, and sense your choice of apparel and accessories. However, this experience is being driven from the confines of your home or favourite coffee shop via an advanced virtual headset (Yes, you will eventually be able to garner smells that can help weave in a more immersive experience). Over the last few years, important augmented/3D/AR/VR parts of the metaverse have made huge strides, allowing shopping capabilities that were previously only shown in Back To The Future Part 2 to become a reality. A number of well-known retailers have developed apps that allow customers to see their garments (or products) on them or in their homes.
A good example of this is the Gucci exhibit, where the company teamed up with Roblox to develop Gucci Garden, a unique and interactive virtual exhibit, to coincide with the launch of Garden Archetypes, an immersive multimedia experience. As visitors entered the Gucci Garden, avatars became neutral mannequins. Wandering through the different rooms, each visitor’s mannequin absorbs elements of the exhibition. With every person experiencing the rooms in a different order and retaining other fragments of the spaces, they emerge at the end of their journey as one-of-a-kind creations.
More immersive and collaborative work environments
Imagine going to work one day and teleporting to Shanghai to meet with your lead engineer, the Poconos to meet with your boss, and an imagined Fairy Tale land to meet with a vendor partner. The capacity to teleport between vastly different real and imagined worlds for meetings will give our days a creative twist.
In the metaverse, work environments will take on a whole new meaning. The environments we can design will be limitless. Because we can effortlessly change between environments, there will be no barriers between them. Imagine a future where businesses of all sizes can compete on a level playing field to provide a desirable employee experience. This will have a significant impact on employee happiness and working conditions. The prosaic and dull board rooms of the past could soon become history unless someone chooses a dull board room because of nostalgia.
An imagined cognitive dissonance?
The metaverse is a harbinger of a period where the lines between what we perceive as reality are set to become increasingly blurred. It will be a shock to the system to return from a Metaverse constructed around a real-time experience to reality, where things tend to manifest more slowly. So much so that it may cause people to disconnect from their real lives in favour of the Metaverse world they’ve built. Or it could simply be disorienting to bounce back and forth between the two experiences. We are going to have to learn how to navigate both worlds at the same time.
-By Lionel Alva