While the world waits for younger generations to grow up to see how they’ll take to the metaverse, what about the current crop of adults? Could something drive them to take up headsets and enter virtual realms the way that tablets and mobile phones opened the doors for Boomers to take to Facebook?
Business-to-business brands might just be the key. They are emerging as catalysts with the ﬁnancial means and business acumen to carry the metaverse across the chasm of fantasy to reality, infusing the necessary hardware into the daily routines of 1 billion knowledge workers around the world.
When the world stopped and employees everywhere were sent home, it ignited a revolutionary change to how the world works. B2B brands stepped to the plate offering Web 2.0 solutions to maintain productivity everywhere. Through this experience, organizations and knowledge workers recognized that the idea of spending 40 hours in an ofﬁce environment needed to be re-imagined. But for hybrid or remote work to main, solutions that enable greater presence and collaboration that sustain attention are critical. With their HoloLens and Meta Quest headsets, Microsoft and Meta are two brands emerging as catalysts for mass adoption.
Mesh for Microsoft Teams combines mixed-reality capabilities enabling people to share holographic experiences, and Meta’s Horizon Workrooms lets people come together to work in the same virtual room. While each solution will be initially available in both virtual reality and web experiences, VR’s ability to immerse users into virtual environments can eliminate the countless distractions remote workers face daily.
Another driver is the virtual workspace environment, from workspaces with unlimited monitors to customizable virtual ofﬁces with water features that may or may not include Niagara Falls. Our need for laptops, monitors, and countless other accessories, not to mention commercial real estate, could be made obsolete. The opportunities are endless and create a rich environment for B2B creators. Although success is contingent on experience, if Microsoft and Meta can successfully deliver the hardware into the hands of millions across the globe, B2B may very well be the source of the metaverse’s next growth cycle.
(Author: Joshua Eubanks, associate director of strategy, Essence)