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Is The Meta-World Our New Reality? In Depth Look At Each Metaverse

metaverse blog header

The term Metaverse has been around for years, but its only now that the term has become as well known as it is. Facebook has been the giant of social media, with the app running miles ahead of the other platforms with 2.80 billion active users – as of January 2021. It Is no question that Facebook rules. But with Facebook now changing over to Meta, the Metaverse was introduced soon after. A mixed reality world for you to roam around, hold business meetings, meet friends, and play games. The possibilities are endless.
However, with the term ‘Metaverse’ becoming the staple way to describe this mixed reality world. Other companies soon jumped on the bandwagon and created their own augmented reality. From Microsoft Mesh, to Bluejeans: Spaces, mixed reality is slowly becoming our new reality. But is this really the right way to go?

Facebook Metaverse  

Facebook introduced Metaverse to the world only last year in October, but it has already taken techy people by storm. A whole new world through just a headset. Mark Zuckerberg has created a whole new world, a world for friends to hang out, businesses to hold meetings and for family to play games. This open world lets you create your character and join others in roaming the world. With no limit.

Facebook Metaverse

This augmented reality uses the Oculus Quest 2, and other headsets, to transform you into the new world. A world with no limits, on what you can do or where you can go. This open world lets you meet as many of your friends as possible, in any shape you want. From the first teaser of the Metaverse, wee see Zuckerberg meet his friends up in space. Friends consisting of normal avatars and robots. As weird as this may seem, it shows the creativity and the lengths the Metaverse will let you go. The lengths, of which we said before, that you can travel the Meta-world without limit and meet other Metaverse users in the world. 

What Can You Do? 

There are so many things to do with the Metaverse. When using the Meta-world for corporate, it changes the way hybrid and home workers join their colleagues. Simply pop on the headset, grab the controllers, and sit down at the meeting table next to your work colleagues – in the Metaverse. Move your head left to right, up and down, and you will see a virtual reality that feels like you are actually there. To enhance this effect even more, the controllers allow you to move you arms and hands around during a conversation. Just as you would normally, if you were in the real world. 

But what is the Metaverse really there for? Well from what we have been shown, is a virtual way for friends to hang out. If you have friends all over the globe then the Metaverse can bring you together in an instant – in whatever form you want. The Metaverse is integrated with many features, so if you are sat around chatting with your mates and you get a Facebook message. You can still be present in the Metaverse and check your message. The same thing goes with a phone and video call. Pick it up right there in the Metaverse with the video call being shown in front of you. 

Essentially the Metaverse is an open world for people to showcase their creativity and to meet their friends, alongside others in the Meta-world.

Horizon Workrooms

If you just read that paragraph about the Metaverse and still didn’t really see the point in the Meta-world, then Horizon Workrooms may seem more your idea of a beneficial augmented world. Horizon Workrooms is apart of Facebook’s (Meta) Metaverse, a more secure way for teams to collaborate and hold meetings. Workrooms lets you hold meetings to the most realistic way possible. Bring your keyboard and desktop into the Horizon meetings, scroll and type on your desktop as you would normally in the meeting without any lagging or disruptions.  

Metaverse - horizon workrooms
facebook - horizon workrooms

Imagine this you have a big meeting coming up with a company across the world. Which you just cant travel to. So you have planned and set out a presentation for your meeting, using Horizon Workrooms. With Horizon you have the chance to be with the across-the-world company, a chance to stand in front of a virtual display and present your PowerPoint. Share your files and your  screen to the Metaverse and let your animated self lead the way. Plus, like we said before you can bring your desktop and keyboard into the Workroom. Simply scan your desk area that you want the Metaverse to pick up and your actions will be copied by your avatar. This gives you a set area of where you want the Oculus to pick up. So if you are typing on your laptop, the Metaverse you will also show your typing.

How It Feels Real

Just by looking at images and videos of Horizon Workrooms, it shows that meetings with remote members of a team can be made as easy as a meeting with everyone in the office. Plus more beneficial, making you feel as though you are there together. Okay, most people probably look at it and just think of it as a little game. With creating your avatar and workroom to your liking. But with video calls becoming a bit stagnant, a change up is what people need to revive remote meetings. Including spatial audio, expressive avatars and hand tracking, all this bringing a real life feel to your meetings.

If you sitting around the table and someone to your left speaks up, their voice will come from that area. The volume adjusting to their location. With inclusive features, every avatar will look different and true to them. Not only this but give non-verbal ques to other members in the team with nodding and turning to include other employees in a conversation. Alongside head nodding, you can point, raise a hand or give a thumbs up to your colleagues with smart hand tracking technology. Promoting collaboration, employee communication and relationships.

All this technology bringing Horizon Workrooms to life and functioning just like a real meeting.  

Microsoft Mesh

Avatars and holographic content is what makes up Microsoft Mesh. Whether you want to fully immersive yourself of mix real life with holograms, Mesh can bring a whole new reality to your world. Its up to you. Using the Microsoft Hololens you can project your work colleagues, a zoom call or a model right in front of your eyes – as a hologram. Yep, a hologram. There was a time that holograms were something of a reality in the far future. But now it is a reality. On the other hand, if the thought of using a hologram doesn’t suit you. Then, just like Horizon Workrooms, you can wear the fully immersive headset and bring your avatar self to life and sit across from your work buddie. 

Holographics

Lets dive into the holographic content just a bit. With the Hololens glasses you can project a zoom call or a model in front of your eyes. Lets say you were at a construction site on a job. You come across a problem that needs to be dealt with that day but a phone call to your boss won’t really do any good. With the Hololens glasses you can stay on site, Zoom call your boss and while seeing their face in front of you (as a hologram) they can see the problem at hand and guide you through it. Its as simple as that. The Hololens is designed for this type of work and his type of problem. A separate Hololens Glasses with ruggedized features to withstand an dropping on construction sites.

Immerse Yourself

Holoportation sounds good right? But Mesh doesn’t stop there. With a whole new headset, Microsoft Mesh brings a new world to life. You can fully immerse yourself into a 3D world, full of your colleagues – as avatars. Just like Horizon Workrooms, you can hold meetings, brainstorming sessions and one-to-one meetings in the Mesh world. Build your avatar, pop on your VR headset and join or host a meeting.  

microsoft mesh

BlueJeans: Spaces

Not much has been spoken about Spaces recently. But joining in the Metaverse world, Spaces is a place to huddle, share files, brainstorm, organise, and socialise. Roam the virtual Spaces office and see who is available to talk. Or if you want to set up a meeting with a certain colleague, you can do so by booking out a meeting room for your meeting. Just like Horizon Workrooms, you can customise you huddle space to your needs.

With the vice president of product management at BlueJeans saying that hybrid work is here to stay, BlueJeans has worked hard to bring a place for remote workers to walk around and feel as though they are back in the office. With the ability to hold 1,000 person meetings, Spaces is the way forward for hybrid or remote workers. 

Spaces isn’t just a video calling application though. Unlike the Metaverse or Mesh, Bluejeans offers a more office feel. Not just a space for meeting rooms. You can walk around a virtual office and join in with others conversations, bringing back casual talks with other colleagues. Sparking new relationships, leading to new and fresh ideas. Using the collaboration board, users can draw and share ideas to your team. You can access drawing tools to bring your plan to life, add sticky notes and images to the collaboration board to fill out you idea. Plus if you want to stay present in your meeting, giving the presenter or presenters your full attention, you can take screen shots of the collaboration board for later use and note taking. Alongside this, you can hold Q&A’s, polls and chats during a meeting.

How Does It Look?

Spaces has an easy look, quickly join meetings and see who’s available for a chat. Without having to hunt for codes or for the colleague you need to talk to. All the names of the meetings happening in Bluejeans are shown on the side of the screen, simply click the meeting on the side and join straight away. When you join one of these meetings you will be placed around the meeting room table. Now Spaces may have a lesser reality feel than the others, but that doesn’t mean the experience is any lesser. You still get a real feel when using Spaces, with spatialised audio and head movements.

The difference that makes BlueJeans stand out is that it gives way more of a social feel. Letting you walk around the office and chat with people at their desks. Setting up a meeting in real time. Something that remote workers must miss. Well, not the meetings but that office feel of walking to your desk and chatting to colleagues along the way. With the 2D view, you can easily see the floor plan of the virtual office and see where everyone is. Or to get more of an immersive feel, you can switch to a 3D view and actually go into the virtual office. 

bluejeans spaces - 2d , 3d

Is The Metaverse Actually Beneficial To Us?

With technology becoming more and more advanced, addiction is getting too real. With phones consuming our adult life and now tablets consuming children’s lives, is the Metaverse really a good platform to introduce to children. To children it must feel like a whole different world when using their tablets and gaming stations. So with actually introducing a new world to them, it could have damaging effects. Damaging effects that see people become addicted and only want to live within the Metaverse, preferring the augmented reality then to actual reality.

Zoom usage skyrocketed, with pretty much everyone being a regular user daily. With so much time looking at people through a screen, Zoom call fatigue was prominent as people where using the application regularly. Leaving people feeling drowsy and run down throughout the day. With evidence like this, if the Metaverse takes over, and like Zoom, skyrockets with users. A Metaverse fatigue could definitely be on the horizon.

Although this doesn’t relate that much to a ‘Metaverse fatigue’, there are already problems popping up with the Metaverse world. Unfortunately, harassment has already made its way onto the Metaverse. Now this is obviously a worry, especially to children, so digital safety is something that needs to be discussed within the Metaverse. Facebook (Meta) have already come up with the idea of personal bubbles to stop anything like this happening further.

Even though the Metaverse is having problems, Horizon Workrooms dedicated for meetings may actually become beneficial for your once in a while meetings. Meetings with team members working from home, team members who are international and meeting with companies who are international. It brings everyone together in a way that heightens your meeting to a level that you may not of thought it could. Dedicated for only meetings, Horizon can be a better way for people to use the Metaverse – leading to potentially less ‘Metaverse fatigue’. 

 

 

Is The Metaverse Important To Have? 

The big question around the Metaverse if its going to land. There have been mixed reviews with the virtual world. Although its a great opportunity to push the boundary’s on technology and open worlds. Its more an importance to companies than to just people. And even then, work from home isn’t mandatory anymore, which means fewer video calls with colleagues and less of a reason to use Horizon Workrooms. Even though it might not be that important for work from home people that much, the Metaverse can still be a fun tool to use for gaming.

Natalie Horn

Natalie Horn

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