Metaverse and coworking spaces in 2022. A bright future ahead?

Feeling under strain with too many meetings booked today? Instead, why not send your AI-enabled digital twin to lighten your workload. Metaverse is becoming an interesting conversation allowing us – the spectators – influence it the by real life user experience.  The term “metaverse,” was first introduced by novelist Neal Stephenson in 1992 to envision a future virtual reality world, which offers only a little insight into the future vision of employment.  According to a recent online survey, about 50% of organisations are considering including an online virtual office in their mix of hybrid workspaces. Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft are already there. Next step is to take a look at how coworking spaces are preparing for the novel metaverse move, but first let us start from:

What is metaverse?

An announcement made by Mark Zuckerberg’s in late 2021 that Facebook would transition to become a metaverse company and the company’s rebranding to Meta generated headlines as well as left millions of internet users wondering, what is metaverse? Although his actions and statements helped to draw attention to the metaverse, Facebook is not the only created metaverse out there. Multiple metaverses exist in a virtual world accessible via the Internet that are created for users to join the space for various reasons. The metaverse is a place where people gather to socialise, play, hang out, and of course work. It is intended to be the virtual reality experience that will become the new normal for the evolving Web 3.0. 

Picture of a virtual avatar looking at metaverse

With its promise of an immersive, cross-platform compatible, virtual reality where we hang out as 3D digital projections called avatars and essentially live our lives Ready-Player-One style, the metaverse is, in short, the next big step forward in the way we communicate and interact.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) can be exchanged for goods at Metaverse storefronts. Currently known examples of virtual spaces are Meta Horizon World, Sandbox, and Microsoft Altspace. In addition to NFTs and avatars, Metaverse technologies include cloud computing, blockchain, AI, 3D, visualisation, digital twins, smartphone apps, network/connectivity technologies, and as mentioned above – Web 3.0 architectures, which decentralises the internet from its current domination by a few platform companies. 

A first – mover advantage

Forbes in their article mentions that the competition in the metaverse world is fierce and intensifying. According to a 2022 research by McKinsey & Company titled “Value Creation in the Metaverse,” investment in the metaverse has already grown more than twice an overall investment for 2021. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 epidemic sped up interest in the metaverse due to the increased need for online tools in professional contexts. 

The primary reason for various companies’ rapidly growing interest in the metaverse is that it is a more compelling form of business value than investing in technology to increase efficiency. Businesses see the metaverse as a new way to engage with customers and create new growth opportunities.

Another reason why companies consider creating an appearance in the virtual world is the fear of missing out (FOMO). In general companies tend to follow their competitors in the same industry in order to glimpse at what others are doing and build new ideas from it. If it is possible to discover what kind of successfully performing their competitors are executing, then these companies are aware that at a very least they should be a “fast follower” in order to seize development possibilities. 

Coworking spaces are on the way

Since remote work and freelance economies continue to grow, coworking spaces wonder how their business could bring a shared working environment into the metaverse. Despite the benefits of meeting in the Metaverse, we have not yet been able to replicate face-to-face communication. However, it can be enhanced by coworking spaces implementing a hybrid workplace toolkit where members could join the metaverse not only from a physical coworking space, but also from the comfort of their home or other locations. 

The metaverse can influence coworking architecture and even its interior design leaving more space for a wider range of people to join in. 

Networking events with a field specialist sounds reasonable? What about having people joining a conversation from different parts of the world and yet feeling closer than ever. Coworking spaces from their own experience of handling such events could have a fun practice to connect interested members and let them share their own experience with others. 

So how exactly could coworking spaces achieve such goals? As you might imagine, this can take a place at already existing virtual offices and metaverses such as Decentraland or Bloktopia . On the other hand, coworking spaces could benefit from creating its own metaverse, which replicates the look of its physical space. Building infrastructure, which allows users to feel like they are in their familiar environment would make them more comfortable, as well as invite new members from different locations to visit the actual coworking space in reality and say hi to its already known members. 

One other possibility is that coworking spaces could serve as hubs for “trades” or “guilds” of creative professions to form in real life, allowing them to connect and share ideas – leaving the office space to be the virtual one where they collaborate with colleagues from other fields towards one organisational goal.

Interested in creating the future of coworking within the metaverse?

Come and chat with us. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Our space CoCreate in Portimao is a home for creatives and everyone who is interested in design and technology. If you would like to hang out with us and join the topics like these you are welcome to visit us at our coworking space. 

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