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Davos 2023: How metaverse can eliminate barriers of the real world

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has said that the metaverse, which allows people to interact with others in a computer-generated, multidimensional and multisensory virtual environment, can have a multi-trillion-dollar market impact, with billions of users in the coming decade. One can define the metaverse as an unreal, immersive 3D environment, where one can feel events in ways we won’t be able to in the real world. Following Facebook’s rebranding to Meta, metaverse became the talk of the town in no time.

In its blog post, the intergovernmental agency noted that metaverse has the power to reshape the way that businesses and consumers engage, transact, socialize, work and learn together.

Many companies like Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is primarily focused on creating hyper-real virtual reality environments on the metaverse. Others such as Hyundai, Microsoft, Nvidia, Gucci, and Nike are trying to create Metaverse environments to collaborate and work on various digital transformation projects.

According to WEF, the real metaverse opportunity lies in creating meaningful and inclusive experiences at the intersection of the physical and digital worlds.

Giving an example of a metaverse in the working environment, WEF noted that the pandemic has given rise to hybrid working. With metaverse’s immersive technologies, companies can encourage new forms of virtual employee engagement and productivity.

It also allows employers to deliver lower-cost and higher-quality workforce education and training programs in simulated environments. In a construction setting, engineers can more easily collaborate around the world to accelerate the building of infrastructure in remote locations.

“Metaverse can open new ways to form communities, solve problems and create value. It can do wonders in on-the-job training, telemedicine, banking, or shopping. As organisations move to define their role in the metaverse, they should look beyond pursuing new revenue streams and understand their brand purpose of being there: to give consumers, employees and citizens a reason to join in,” said Lisa Heneghan, Global Chief Digital Officer, KPMG International, in the blog post.

What lies ahead
A recent survey by KPMG in the US has found that 38 per cent of consumers are concerned about affordable access to metaverse technology. Companies need low-cost connectivity to ensure broad adoption. As per the WEF blog, technology economics indicate that as adoption increases, costs inevitably drop, which is visible through today’s reality of $100 computers and low-cost software.

As the metaverse is at an early stage of its development, it’s important to recognise and incorporate foundational elements of inclusion, diversity and equity, such as broad representation and making experiences and opportunities relevant and valuable for all groups.

Heneghan of KPMG International added that organisations should work closely with disability experts and advocates to embed accessibility at the core of designing applications and services in the metaverse. This can help to eliminate barriers and level the playing field to build virtual-reality spaces that are open to all. BusinessToday

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