How does the future look for collaboration in the metaverse?
These days it’s hard to ignore the word “metaverse” which keeps popping up whenever we browse through tech websites or flip through tech magazines. so, what is the metaverse and how do you define it?
if you do a google search, the first result you come across is the “dictionary” meaning of the word metaverse which states, “a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users”.
According to the Metaverse Roadmap, a 2008 initiative by the Acceleration Studies Foundation (ASF), the metaverse is defined as “The convergence of 1) virtually enhanced physical reality and 2) physically persistent virtual space. It is a fusion of both, while allowing users to experience it as either.” ok so far so good. The problem with defining the Metaverse is that nobody has really created one. Of course, we can argue that it's nothing new and has existed in one form or the other for a long period of time. platforms like Second life attempted to develop fully-fledged virtual worlds in the early 2000s but those worlds are still very much work in progress.
Metaverse has a long way ahead of it. We are going to witness a lot of new development in this area thanks to the efforts put in by industry giants such as Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, etc. who are pouring billions into the development of their own metaverses.
That brings us to the topic at hand - collaboration. what is collaboration?
Collaboration happens when a group of people works collectively to accomplish a common goal. Most collaborative projects aren’t collaborative at all, they are often the blending of work by a bunch of largely independent workers.
Often, when we embrace a new concept, we just rename something that was already in place to make old things look current. When we first started talking about collaboration platforms, we were basically talking about older video conferencing efforts that, over time, got “features” that made them seem collaborative. But efforts to connect teams to remote meetings, initially to reduce travel expenses and lost work hours due to that travel, largely failed over the years. Few of us ever collaborate long-term in meeting rooms because collaboration happens dynamically. It’s often asymmetric, with people working on different parts of a project, on different timelines, and needing to be near their personal tools and desk.
Teams that don’t trust each other because they’re afraid someone is taking too much credit or not putting in their fair share of effort are common and often underperform. Now, with many employees being remote, it’s difficult to build a relationship with teammates because we don’t interact outside of work. One other problem which might sound a bit weird but is of real concern with videoconferencing and video collaboration is that if you pay a lot for a great camera that tends to benefit the people who see you. But it doesn’t improve your experience, and these high-definition cameras show pretty much everything: a receding hairline, your complexion problems, wrinkles, any hair out of place, and any messiness in your clothing or office.
This is where collaboration in the metaverse might make a difference. We all agree that trust is paramount to effective team collaboration. The Metaverse as it stands is an open world, which people can explore using their “avatars” and take part in multi-player games. With the addition of a multiplayer game that everyone likes, you could team up and collectively build that critical trust and affection productive teams all seem to exhibit.
Perhaps with real-time photorealistic rendering and someone with the appropriate skills, you could not only create a realistic avatar of yourself time-frozen in perfection and not have to bother about a high-definition camera picking up details of how you look during collaborative team meetings. Just recently Nvidia showcased a ray-traced avatar of their CEO Jensen Huang with very high resolution that could make hand movements, move around a virtual room on legs, and has facial expressions.
We need a platform that more effectively blends collective and secure game playing — you don’t want employees discussing proprietary projects in open environments — both to take breaks and to build trust within the team. One thing to consider would be blending collective and clearly collaborative game elements with our current video conferencing capabilities. The metaverse for collaboration using a fully rendered avatar is a possibility soon or perhaps even closer than we think.
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