Posted on April 7, 2022, 13:01Updated on April 7, 2022, 2:12 PM
Paris, March 2022. With my virtual reality headset taped to my head, I join some of my team in our new virtual office, offering the team a beautiful view over Lake Annecy. In this metaverse, everything is in the colors of Ubiq and completely redesigned with our codes.
Every member of the team has created an avatar that resembles him, with the exception of our Head of Product, who has given himself a certain style, with hair even longer than the real thing and a ring in the nose. Because I couldn’t invest in paintings by masters for our (real) office, I bought the famous painting The Kiss by Gustav Klimt in NFT last week, which hangs in our “metaversian” office.
Working from the metaverse is possible
Immersive, reassuring and creating additional links, this is the first lesson we draw from this experience. The immersion is much more complete than during a simple video meeting. Although it is a beta version, the avatars are very realistic thanks to the facial expressions, the poses, the movements of the arms, the eyes, the eyelashes even and above all thanks to the facial expressions and voices of each, they are very real.
This total immersion ensures great concentration. The real world around you no longer exists. Crowds, hallway noises, close or distant conversations are completely erased when the immersion is complete.
Metaverse is the new telecommuting?
For all sectors, the metaverse opens up an incredible field of possibilities. The world of work is no exception. After two years of forced telecommuting, sometimes with a sense of isolation, the virtual office in the metaverse creates new territory, next to the home, third places, coworkings and other workplaces close to home. †
When telecommuting has become the norm, it is not always easy to create an inclusive space between the on-site employees in the office and the remote employees, especially during meetings and workshops. We can feel isolated from where we live. You have to constantly bring the microphone closer, speak louder, rotate the camera.
The metaverse allows everyone to be on the same level. We are in a virtual world, but connected to reality. This makes it possible to propose new hybrid collaboration models.
The limits of the helmet
The best way to take full advantage of the Horizon Workroom experience is to use a virtual reality headset. Apart from the fact that people might give you strange looks while you’re working with an Oculus Quest 2 headset on your head, it’s still too heavy (half a kg!), limiting its use to just a few tens of minutes because it can be annoying to the eyes, cause headaches or a feeling of discomfort associated with the loss of balance.
At a time when we work from everywhere, digital nomads tend to downsize their equipment and be as mobile as possible.
To access your virtual office, it is best to have a physical and sedentary office where you can leave your equipment and set up your play area.
Meta is watching you
Let’s not forget that Meta remains Facebook. It is now possible to enter the metaverse to access the Workroom Horizon application like the others, but only with a personal Facebook account. In a world where this usage is growing, will the helmets be personal or company supplied? What segmentation of professional and private use will they allow? And most importantly, what new types of data will they be able to capture (facial expressions, eye movements, etc.)?
There’s no denying that being seen from the outside with a helmet taped to your head makes you look ridiculous. But more than that, this experience leaves no one indifferent, because it is revolutionary from a social and psychological point of view. This prospect of a new world of work and a new way of living is as frightening as it is fascinating.
This forum was written by an employee outside the editorial board. Les Echos START does not pay him, nor did he pay to publish this text. The choice to publish it was therefore made solely on editorial criteria.