- This regular digest brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the development of the metaverse.
- Below, you’ll find ideas and opinions on how this emerging technology could transform the way we work, shop, and spend our free time.
1. Business schools venture into the metaverse
The M in MBA doesn’t stand for metaverse, but soon you’ll be able to study for an MBA through a virtual reality (VR) headset. That’s because more and more business schools are moving from traditional classrooms to pixel and MR (mixed reality) classrooms, with French institutions leading the way, according to Harvard Business Publishing.
Say what ESSEC introduced VR-based classes last year, INSEAD is using virtual reality in its degree and executive education programsand NEOMA has created a completely virtual campus.
“To transform the MBA now, it has become necessary to experiment with learning experiences outside of traditional formats and campus settings,” says Vijay Govindarajan, Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School. “The goal is to learn how to use digital technologies in innovative and targeted ways to foster deeper learning. The goal is not to replace traditional courses with virtual reality courses, but rather to explore how these emerging technologies can augment the learning experience.”
WU Executive Academy in Vienna, Austria is working with edtech startup Tomorrow’s Education to develop a Professional Master’s program in Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Technology that will be delivered entirely on a virtual campus. “We have to think about the next generation that will grow up in the metaverse”, said the dean of the institution, Barbara Stöttinger, to the financial times. “Eventually, it will be imperative for us to be there. This investment makes us future-proof.”
Milan’s Polimi Graduate School of Management is working with another edtech startup, Fadpro, to develop virtual reality business travel. He also plans to teach students on his International Flex Executive MBA about business opportunities in the metaverse.
What is the World Economic Forum doing about the metaverse?
Experts believe that the metaverse will come to represent the next great computing platform, transforming the consumer experience and business models across industries.
Fashion brands are an example. Over the years, clothing companies have refined the design, manufacture, and distribution of clothing to anticipate consumer wants and needs as the seasons change. But today, the lion’s share of its revenue is outpaced by sales of $3 billion worth of digital Fortnite cosmetic items, which have cultural significance that spills over into the physical world.
This is one of the economic opportunities of the metaverse: the possibility of “valuing” digital content, creating a framework of digital ownership for users. If replicated at scale and across sectors, entire industries will be reshaped through changes to their traditional value chains.
However, the promise rests on the advancement of several key technologies, including augmented, virtual, and mixed reality (collectively known as XR), as well as blockchain, connected devices, and artificial intelligence. How should these be governed in a way that promotes their economic benefits while protecting people’s security and privacy?
The World Economic Forum is bringing together leading voices from the private sector, civil society, academia and government to address this precise question. Over the next year, it will build a multi-stakeholder community that focuses on governance of the metaverse and creating economic and social value.
It will recommend regulatory frameworks for the good governance of the metaverse and will study how innovation and value creation can be strengthened for the benefit of society. The updates will be published on the website of the World Economic Forum on a regular basis.
2. Gender inequality is happening in the metaverse.
The metaverse may barely exist yet, but gender equality is already a fact of life there, according to McKinsey. He says the the gender gap in the metaverse is similar to that of Fortune 500 companieswhere less than 10% of CEOs are women.
This is despite the fact that more women than men visit the metaverse and women spend more time in the virtual world. McKinsey says that 35% of women surveyed are “power users” of the metaverse, meaning they spend more than three hours a week there, compared to 29% of men.
On top of this, women are leading more initiatives related to the metaverse at the companies they work for, with 60% of the 450 female executives surveyed having driven the plans, compared to 50% of men.
“The reality is that women spend more time in the prometaverse than men and, based on our data, are more likely to spearhead and implement metaverse initiatives,” says McKinsey. “However, just like in the tech sector in general, women represent a minority in the metaverse economy.”
Male-led companies have also received 95% of the total funding secured by metaverse companies in the past five years, according to McKinsey.
3. Do you want to be a metaverse director? This is what the job looks like
We reported in October that more non-tech companies are hiring metaverse directors (HOW). But what do they really do?
US news website Axios she spoke to three to find out, two of whom are women (as is Cathy Hackl, who has been labeled the “world’s first metaverse director”), and summarized the CMO role as a mix of research and strategy.
Talent agency CAA CMO Joanna Popper says she has been helping clients understand and find investment opportunities in the metaverse: “[We] I very much see this as a time to align, test, learn, experiment and grow with the industry, but also make bets that will pay off over time.”
Sebastian Brauer, director of Metaverse and Web3 at furniture retailer Crate & Barrel, has been learning about the space so he can educate his team on its potential. “I see metaverse and web3 technology not only as exciting consumer applications, but also as an important part of creating value within organizations,” he says.
Meanwhile, consultancy EY has been working with disabled, blind and neurodiverse people to try to understand how to make the metaverse as accessible as possible for them. The metaverse and virtual reality are seen as having the potential to elevate and expand “virtual mobility” – the ability of the Internet to provide accessible alternatives to activities that normally require physical mobility.
4. Motion Trackers Could Make Metaverse Avatars More Realistic
We will all have our own avatar in the metaverse, and making them as real as possible will be key to increasing user interest and engagement.
Sony’s new Mocopi motion tracking system promises to do just that. It consists of six small tags for the head, wrists, ankles, and hip, and will copy the user’s movement to their avatar in real time.
The sensors weigh 8 grams each and the The Mocopi system is wireless and has a 10-hour battery life. It is expected to cost around $360.
Such realistic mapping of human movements in the metaverse will mark a huge leap forward from current avatars, which don’t even have legs. However, Meta has been working to rectify this, with a AI platform that reflects tiny musculoskeletal movements.
More about the Agenda metaverse
Most Internet users do not have their own digital identity. However, metaverse users will need one that allows them to move across multiple platforms. This means that it will also be necessary rules and regulations around the creation of digital identities.
How can companies make the right investment decisions in the metaverse? They will need to understand the competing visions of the metaverse being built, and closely monitor the key triggers that will determine whether a particular virtual world is gaining more traction than others.
The the metaverse could be transformative for education. The World Bank outlines 6 ways you could have a positive impact on learning.