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Exploring the metaverse - literally

Empowering communities through tech

Sometimes, the best way to understand something, is to immerse yourself in it completely.

As a firm, we’ve been talking a lot about technology and how we can use it to make a positive difference – from inclusive design to using augmented reality to encourage more kids to pick up a tennis racket.

One of the topics we explored this year was the metaverse. Whether you’re a cautious sceptic or an excited optimist, one thing’s for sure – there’s been lots of buzz about it. And often, a buzz can turn from a vision held by a few to something that shapes our world in ways we could never imagine.

So, we decided to find out for ourselves – with some expert guidance from our Deloitte Digital teams and our client Meta. Here are the things we learnt about the metaverse and the journey to get there.

Let’s start at the very beginning

Back in 2015, Ed Greig, our chief disruptor at Deloitte Digital, had his first experience of the metaverse when he stepped inside a Tuscan villa – from the comfort of his desk in the UK.  

Since then, his team has been exploring the possibilities of virtual reality to understand not only where the metaverse can take us but where we can take it too.  

From virtual hugs with long-distance loved ones to learning how to fight fires from the safety of an office, we discovered that the metaverse has a lot to offer. But our favourite quote is this: “The metaverse isn’t here to replace the real world. It’s here to make it better.” 

We asked Ed to share five things you should know about the metaverse to spark our thinking about how we can use this new technology for good.  

 

Will the metaverse make work better?

Exploring the metaverse with clients

If it matters to our clients, it matters to us. It’s been great to discuss all things metaverse at industry events over the past year. For example, panellists from companies like Meta, Improbable and ScienceMagic.Inc, as well as our own experts, shared their thoughts at our annual Media and Telecommunications Conference (sessions are available to watch if you’re interested). 

Our teams at Deloitte Digital have also been experimenting with our clients to explore some of the potential of this new technology – from helping stroke patients recover faster by recreating physical activities they enjoy to soft skills training in virtual environments which provide a safe space.  

It’s early days, but there’s no substitute for learning by doing. 

Time to see it for ourselves

What better place to discuss what the metaverse means for the world of work than in the metaverse itself? That’s exactly what we did for episode #39 of The Green Room, our podcast tackling the big questions about the world around us.  

We invited Aigerim Shorman, general manager, Product + Engineering, Avatars & Identity at Meta and our expert Ed Greig, to join our hosts and discuss the topic of the day: will the metaverse make work better?  

The conversation opened our minds to the positives the metaverse could bring to our working lives. The caveat? Making sure we’re thoughtful about using the technology in an inclusive way, that it allows colleagues to show up as their authentic selves.  

Watch the full video recording to take in the views from the virtual lake house and see our hosts and guests’ avatars chatting in the same room. You can also read a reflection from co-host Ethan Worth, on his first visit to the metaverse – and his delight when he discovered you can high five your colleagues.

 

Learn. Explore. Repeat.

It’s still early days for the metaverse, and there’s a lot more to learn. But the technology is coming into focus, and we can see some exciting possibilities in the future, such as the ability to improve collaboration and connections with remote working. 

Our main takeaway was that our direct experience of what the metaverse actually is was invaluable in helping us understand its pitfalls and opportunities. Only by speaking to our experts and clients, doing our research and eventually putting on a headset ourselves could we start to understand its potential.  

It’s a project that made us think, and we’ll be taking the lessons we learnt – not just on the metaverse itself, but how we explored it too – into the future. Because one thing’s for sure, there’s a lot more technology out there, but it’s how we use it that matters. 

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