Most people still think of Mark Zuckerberg’s comic book characters when they think of the Metaverse. When Facebook adopted the Meta moniker, the move sparked a land rush into virtual reality. This Web3 area is becoming more and more diverse in what it offers, ranging from video gamers to sellers of NFTs, builders of buildings, buyers of real estate and practical applications that are difficult to carry out in the real world.
In conversation with VRdirectHe shared his vision of a more practical, business-centric Metaverse with co-founder and CEO, Rolf Illenberger. His group builds solutions. He sees the metaverse beyond gaming and into marketing, human resources, manufacturing, training, security planning and offering 360 degree virtual showrooms. Basically, VRDirect helps Fortune 500 to do business in the Metaverse.
The three-year-old startup software company provides intelligent solutions to some of Europe’s largest companies. VRDirect’s software tools help big name organizations by selling the modern version of pickaxes and shovels to California’s new virtual gold rush miners.
VRdirect delivers virtual reality solutions for companies such as Siemens, Porsche, Deutsche Telekom and Nestlé. Its white label technology ranges from interactive showrooms, staff onboarding programs, safety protocols and museum tours. The serious Illenberger focuses on practical solutions to urgent business needs – and not on games or bored apes.
A Study by PwC predicts that virtual reality and augmented reality will increase global economic output to over 1.5 trillion US dollars by 2030. VR offers companies added value by making processes more efficient and cost-effective. For example the Use of VR and AR helps design vehicle concepts at BMW.
VR and AR make it easier to train and learn how to successfully operate and work with sometimes dangerous machines. Workers can safely conduct tests in VR first before doing so in real life. The same applies to delicate operations. Imagine how productive it would be to simulate delicate operations in VR before slicing open a live human. A study shows that VR training for surgeons leads to a Performance increase of over 230%.
There are a number of practical applicants. This includes VR-first work to maintain systems and machines, factory production lines and bringing all the required staff together into the space.
Forward-thinking companies are now preparing for the Metaverse, Illenberger said. Instead of flying to trade conferences, VR showrooms can highlight a new truck, car, or recreational vehicle. Engineers, marketing, sales, finance, and creative professionals can all work together on a new product under development.
The health and safety of employees is an important issue for companies, especially in industrial plants with complex systems and heavy machinery. Employees must be continuously made aware of plant security and occupational safety. Environment, health and safety training in VR and AR gives a better insight into processes and safety measures.
For example, Siemens has developed a virtual tour of an industrial plant together with VRdirect. Workers can explore the interactive training environment and actively engage with the realistic factory environment.
Illenberger’s vision is that virtual and real goods will merge and be used equally in everyday life. He believes that we will look at virtual images on the wall through AR glasses. People will participate in social activities as realistic avatars wearing VR glasses and collaborate as if they were in the same place.
Illenberger says that by the end of the year, no leader can afford not to have an opinion on VR for their organization, for their business, for their HR, for their marketing, for their diversity and inclusion. He equates this period with the beginnings of the Internet. Back then you needed a website – now it’s VR. Illenberger advises business leaders to pay attention so as not to fall behind.
He’s confident that VR adoption will be rapid and explains that we don’t think about how exponential technology is growing at a parabolic rate. Billions are spent. This space has evolved from the “nerdy” corner to a fashionable place. Illenberger thinks we’ll soon be seeing people on trains playing with their glasses — and they’ll be cool.
Now that gas prices are through the roof, that alone makes the Metaverse more appealing as individuals have an alternative to their daily commutes, business trips and vacations.