How to Design Your Metaverse Office and Using the Metaverse for Business
If you’ve been following emerging technology at all recently, you’re probably hearing a lot about the metaverse. From Facebook changing its name to Meta, to JP Morgan building a waiting room in the metaverse, the news is riddled with examples of businesses, pundits, and content creators discussing, decrying, and, sometimes tentatively, embracing the metaverse.
The metaverse is more than a buzzword; it’s a complex and evolving virtual environment and an exciting new frontier of development and design. What are the rules of the road when it comes to using the metaverse? This blog post will give you a tour of the features and limitations of the metaverse for your business.
A Quick Primer on the Metaverse for Business
What is the metaverse, exactly? It’s important to understand that the metaverse is not one specific thing. In its broadest sense, it is an interactive and social virtual environment. However, different platforms allow for different designs and functionality, and no one platform represents the entirety of the metaverse.
Does your business need a metaverse office?
You can liken asking whether your business needs to be in the metaverse in 2022 to someone asking whether their business needed to be on the internet in 1992. At that time, the business capabilities of the internet were very limited, but with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that eventually, a web presence would be essential to a modern business. In 1992, it may have been uncommon for a business to have a website, so it may not have seemed critical, but at the same time, having a website may have helped businesses stand out from their less tech-savvy competitors. All that is to say, whether your business needs to use the metaverse depends on a variety of factors and that the metaverse has a long way to go before it’s considered de rigueur for all modern businesses.
How to Design a Metaverse Office Environment and Conduct Business in the Metaverse
Designing a Metaverse Office
As noted above, design in the metaverse depends on the metaverse platform you use, but in this article, we will begin with Horizon Worlds, the platform Meta itself uses. After discovering, like everyone else, that your avatar in the metaverse has no legs, the next big adjustment designers and developers have to make in the metaverse is the difference in devices and peripherals. Rather than a tablet, a mouse, and a keyboard, you will do everything with your VR headset and remotes.
By combining simple geometric shapes, designers can build virtual environments, from office spaces, to restaurants, to haunted houses. Some of the elements in the metaverse are interactive, meaning that another user with a Meta Quest headset and remote can manipulate them as though they were physical objects. For example, in Online Optimism’s under-construction metaverse version of our New Orleans headquarters, visitors can hold a coffee cup or even toss a tennis ball past one of our metaverse office dogs!
The current design limitations of Horizon Worlds include the inability to import images or control the transparency of objects, fairly typical operations in digital design. Additionally, while Horizon Worlds may enable you to dazzle your customers with an impressive virtual office, its functionality for actually conducting business is currently very limited, so you may want to use a companion platform, Horizon Workrooms.
Virtual Conference Rooms in the Metaverse: Horizon Workrooms
Whereas Horizon World allows you to have a lot of design control but has low functionality as relates to conducting business, Horizon Workrooms provide the opposite. In Horizon Workrooms you have limited design freedom (adding your company logo, for example) but high functionality. The premade conference room environment lets your employees sit down at a table together for the feel of an in-person meeting, from any distance. In addition to the “in-person” virtual participants using their headsets to type on their virtual laptops and draw on the virtual whiteboard, participants without headsets can call into the meeting. This may seem strange, when it is likely that none of the participants are physically in the room, but having an avatar whose movements mirror the movements of your physical body can truly make you feel much more present. So, as happens when you have an in-person meeting in a conference room in your office, employees in other locations can call into the meeting and participate in the meeting.
What can you accomplish in a metaverse office?
When pondering the value of a metaverse office, keep in mind that plenty of alternatives to Horizon’s platform exist, and designing and using these platforms may provide a different experience than Horizon Worlds and Horizon Workrooms. However, Facebook’s transformation into Meta has brought these two platforms a lot of attention, and thus they may be a good example of what you can do in the metaverse. At present, Horizon Worlds mostly has entertainment value, and for your business, the best use case may be positioning yourself as an early adopter and impressing your clients with something they may not have seen before (imagine showing off your cutting-edge website in 1992).
By contrast, Horizon Workrooms may not allow you to put much of your stamp on its mostly premade metaverse conference rooms, but they will allow you to conduct remote meetings in a way that feels more real, a useful human connection in a time when such connections have become increasingly rare.
The bottom line about the metaverse for business is that it remains in development, and its value will likely grow over time, possibly very quickly. For example, Citi Bank has calculated that by 2030, the overall revenue opportunity of the metaverse could be between $8 trillion and $13 trillion. If true, does this mean you will find yourself wishing your legless avatar had explored the metaverse a bit further back in 2022? As with any nascent technology, only time will tell.
Take Your Business into the Metaverse and Beyond with Online Optimism
Online Optimism is a digital marketing agency that leverages proven marketing techniques as well as cutting-edge technology like metaverse design platforms. Get in touch with us today to learn how your business can grow and thrive as the digital landscape changes.