Depending on his mood at any given time, Jeff Weiser may settle down to work in a café, a mysterious cave, or high above the Earth.
He lives in the Midwest, but works in a virtual world accessed through a VR headset.
For most people, the idea of a metaverse is something from science fiction. However, some people are already using technology to change how they work, socialise, etc.
Weiser, founder at a translation start-up company, spends 25 to 35 hrs each week working with Oculus Rift gear on his head in the city of Cincinnati
An app called Immersed allows him to sync screens such as his laptop and smartphone to his virtual reality environment, thus shutting out distractions around him when he’s at home.
Display screens hover where people can see them and can be changed to whatever size they want.
He taps on his keyboard without looking at it and appears from the inside to be talking to himself.
However, in his virtual world, the avatar of a colleague in Argentina or Ireland interacts with him.
The pandemic boosted use of teleworking technologies that made it possible for teams to collaborate despite being in different locations.
Metaverse proponents argue that virtual shared worlds are a means of better replicating the kind of personal contact possible in offices.
Who’s building the virtual office?
A growing number of companies are creating new ways to connect workers who might otherwise never meet face to face.
They’re doing so by combining virtual reality with other emerging technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
In this video, we look at five companies that are helping us get closer to our colleagues.
It’s an exciting time to be working remotely.
Companies have been forced into remote work because of the COVID-19 crisis.
But now there’s a chance to rethink what it means to work together.
In a way, you could say that the pandemic has created a whole new industry:
the virtual office.
So let’s take a look at five companies that have built their business models around this concept.
And if you think about it, the pandemic really did force us all into a very unusual situation.
You know, I was sitting here thinking about how many times I’ve had to go to the grocery store over the past few weeks.
I mean, just imagine going shopping for groceries with your kids.
That’s not gonna happen again anytime soon.
So instead of having to do that every day, I’m spending my days in a virtual office.
I’m meeting with clients online, and I’m also able to spend more time with my family.
This isn’t just a temporary thing either.
There’s no doubt that the pandemic will continue to affect the economy for months.
What does an office metaverse look and feel like?
We’ll explore this question in a moment. But first, let’s talk about how these companies are making money.
Well, one of the things that makes these companies unique is that they don’t charge employees per hour worked.
Instead, they pay them based on the value they create.
How does that work?
Well, they basically give people access to their own private workspace.
Then they provide them with a set of tools that allow them to communicate with others, share documents, etc.
Some of these tools include voice chat software, screen sharing apps, and even virtual whiteboards.
Now, because these companies aren’t charging employees hourly wages, they don’t need to worry about attracting top talent.
As long as someone can offer competitive compensation packages, then they’ll attract good talent.
And that’s why some of these companies are already seeing success.
For example, Zoho provides its services to small businesses free of charge.
But it doesn’t stop there. It also offers enterprise customers a subscription service that includes extra features like CRM software.
Zoho says that it’s currently serving more than 10 million users worldwide.
And according to TechCrunch, it’s projected to generate $1 billion in revenue next year.
Another company that’s providing a similar service is Slack.
Slack was originally founded in 2011 as a messaging app for developers.
But over the years, it expanded beyond that. Today, it serves as a collaboration platform for teams across industries.
And it’s estimated that Slack has served more than 100 million users.
The company recently announced that it’s raising $500 million from investors including Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Finally, let’s take a look inside the offices of these companies.
Here’s where some of the workers actually sit.
They’re using headsets or computers to connect to each other.
And they’re also connected to shared screens so that everyone can see exactly what’s happening in the room.
These are the kinds of spaces where people are collaborating right now.