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The Microsoft Metaverse & Hybrid Work: What To Expect? A webinar with Marilyn Zakhour & Vesa Nopanen

Marilyn Zakhour, CEO & Founder of Cosmic Centaurs, hosted Vesa Nopanen, Principal Consultant working on the Metaverse & The Future of Work at SulavaOy. In this webinar, Marilyn and Vesa discussed how the metaverse can provide opportunities for hybrid work as well as new business services and models, and the more “human” aspect of that space beyond the technology that makes it possible.

Watch the full webinar here.

About the Topic

The metaverse to facilitate hybrid work, and Microsoft is very much aware of this opportunity. In fact, it developed Microsoft Mesh for Teams, which enables people to collaborate remotely, in a metaverse space. Microsoft understood how much people are able to collaborate in gaming settings, and recently bought Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion last month, in order to fully leverage the gaming and building aspects of the metaverse, and enhance the capabilities of their metaverse for work.

About the Speaker

Vesa “Vesku” Nopanen is a Principal Consultant working on Metaverse and Future Work on Microsoft Cloud. He is also a Microsoft MVP. Vesku is extremely passionate about Metaverse and how it - with Microsoft Teams - enable to change how people work together now and in the future. You can read Vesku’s thoughts and insights about Metaverse from his blog:

Marilyn Zakhour, CEO of Cosmic Centaurs, and Vesa Nopanen, Principal Consultant working on Metaverse and Future Work on Microsoft Cloud at SulavaOy.

Webinar Summary

“The metaverse enhances our ability to create, learn, and collaborate in hybrid work. The metaverse is part of this big digital fabric, connecting people to application, physical and virtual spaces, digital twins, and content with the help of AI and other services. In other words, the metaverse enables us to bring the real physical presence to any digital space and vice versa, bringing computing and ABA intelligence to the physical world”, said Vesa.

The metaverse is heavily going to change our personal lives as well as the way we work, and according to Satya Nadella, we will be seeing more digitalization in the next ten years than we have seen in the past 40 years (most of our digitalization has happened during this past 40 years).

As much as it will help accelerate chains at work, the metaverse will also have its own set of challenges, as well as organizations. But according to Vesa, these challenges can be compensated with the number of opportunities and possibilities that come with the metaverse.

Vesa believes that the future of work is mostly asynchronous, especially in global team settings. Nowadays, people have lots of meetings, which are often back-to-back, which makes them want to have less amount of synchronous work time. The metaverse is one of the ways we can keep adapting our ways of working, to keep up with how people (and the next generation of workers) want to work. Vesa also believes that the metaverse will help make the workplace more inclusive, and have employees feel more comfortable in sharing their thoughts and feedback with those who are higher up in the organization. The 3D nature of the metaverse is going to increase employee engagement, because it’s much easier for people to understand content that is presented visually, and also because it facilitates collaboration. “We can learn through videos alone, or we can learn and train in groups together. That's a big thing”, said Vesa. The metaverse brings back what people liked about working in offices (for example, being familiar with each other and offices, how easy it is to meet people). “You can do a lot of things like training, learning, and onboarding in the metaverse, in a more visually appealing way. That brings us to companies, spaces, rooms, and offices, where we can drop in to have spontaneous interaction. Then besides working, we can have events, and even hang out and simply have fun”, said Vesa.

The metaverse will benefit organizations by saving costs as well. Aside from having to travel less, there are also other aspects of work that won’t have to be constantly repeated, such as onboarding, and other business processes. Vesa shared an example: “When you have a metaverse presence, you might be able to have an AI avatar there which can answer customers' questions and take orders 24/7. This might sound a bit futuristic at the moment, but there's lots of that stuff we already do with chatbots.”

Vesa believes that Microsoft teams and Mesh will be the common user interface for the metaverse, as they will allow people to experience it very easily. There is a lot that people can experience already: with Azure services, Microsoft Mesh can enable immersive experiences, through HoloLens and other mixed reality devices. Power Platforms can help with low-code customizations, integrated, and automated processes, and Azure services facilitate digital twins and extended customizations. “Microsoft Teams is not going to require you to have a headset, and most people probably will not have a 3D headset anyway, so you can join the metaverse’s immersive experience through teams on desktop, on the web, and even on mobile”, added Vesa.

The metaverse can help the hybrid workplace, for example by having a whiteboard in the physical office which is connected with cameras as well as a virtual room, for those who are working remotely to collaborate on the same whiteboard.

Marilyn shared her thoughts, “I think the real key thing is on the enterprise side. It’s about how you work better in a hybrid workplace with your colleagues, and it is truly a hybrid meeting experience where you have virtual rooms, physical rooms, online, people attending in the same meeting, and everybody can participate, everybody is included.” Stay up to date with content about the future of work and sign up to the Cosmic Centaurs newsletter here, and follow us on LinkedIn!

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