The metaverse is a rapidly changing tech sector, and there has been a lot of excitement for its potential in many areas of work and life. But, organizations considering implementing these new technologies as pilots or at scale must consider the potential pitfalls.
As future-focused as it sounds, the metaverse already has practical enterprise applications. When considering the fundamentals of how we already create, communicate, and collaborate in the digital world, the metaverse simply offers a more immersive and personalized version of how we operate in our daily lives.
The potential problems of metaverse technologies include hurdles such as regulatory issues, skills bottlenecks, and also consumer and client skepticism. For example, 55% of adults reported having concerns about the use of their data by third parties in the metaverse, according to a recent Morning Consult survey.
Proactive planning can allow organizations to take advantage of metaverse technologies as they emerge to help their operations. It will also make sense for those same organizations to avoid some of the many pitfalls that the technologies present.
Not all enterprises need a virtual presence to implement their marketing strategies. Yet, as the hype train is very real, many enterprises do not think through the possible issues before jumping on the bandwagon.
Metaverse Technical Problems
As much buzz as we see around the sector, at this point, metaverse technologies are still fairly limited. This means that many enterprises wanting to explore the potential of this sector will have limitations due to its status as emerging tech.
The metaverse is only in the early stages of development. It can be tough to find skilled developers familiar with metaverse platforms. Additionally, only a small number of tools and resources are available to help IT professionals manage and optimize the virtual infrastructure within the metaverse.
Executive reluctance to invest heavily in this emerging tech sector reduces the demand for skills development in related areas such as virtual reality. However, The World Economic Forum expects a majority of companies to have adopted metaverse-related technologies by the end of this year. These include machine learning, cloud computing, and alternate/virtual reality. Nevertheless, nearly three-quarters of respondents to a survey by Salesforce reported that they don’t have the digital skills they need for the workplace.
Metaverse technologies may alleviate or exacerbate issues related to remote and hybrid workplaces. On the one hand, virtual reality can make situations such as virtual employee meetings and digital walkthroughs of a workspace possible. This can be particularly valuable in the first months of employment. These tools help colleagues connect and become familiar with particular workplace cultures. Attaining familiarity with your surroundings quickly is key. It makes you feel more connected with your colleagues, which is all the more important when the default pattern is remote or hybrid working.
Ultimately, an enterprise’s decision to invest in metaverse technologies should be balanced with its overall IT needs as well as the available talent and resources in key operational areas.
Ethics And Privacy In The Metaverse
VR has long been used in training and simulations, and emerging tech makes this approach increasingly valuable and accessible.
The aerospace industry has pioneered this field for many years now with flight simulators, and we now have multiple use cases of virtual reality used in training for hazardous work environments like construction, nuclear energy, and field workers operating in challenging societal and political environments.
Metaverse technologies open up new educational opportunities, protect employees from dangerous environments, and allow them more training virtually before they go into hazardous situations.
Companies already collect, store, and use a vast amount of data about employees, clients, and internal operations. This will only accelerate as the adoption of metaverse technologies increases. IT professionals will need to plan for factors such as staff expansion, upskilling, and data storage with increased investment.
Some metaverse technologies require the user to provide biometric data like fingerprints or facial scans. Employees and clients will likely express legitimate concerns about whether its collection is necessary at all and, if so, how this data is accessed and stored. Also, people may have physical health concerns related to metaverse technologies – for instance, motion sickness or mental health issues.
An enterprise adopting metaverse technologies, or any tech collecting potentially sensitive data for that matter, must be aware of the laws regarding data collection and use. They should also have internal policies that are transparent and available. Even so, it is important to consider alternatives to metaverse tech in case employees or clients cannot or do not want to use it.
Metaverse Regulatory Concerns
Some privacy-related problems of the metaverse only exist because of the fact that the technology is advancing more quickly than regulations. Data collection and storage, cryptocurrency, and also geographical jurisdiction are all metaverse-related areas that policies and regulations must address.
Just as with data collection laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), one of the main metaverse-related problems for enterprises is solving the issue of jurisdiction. For instance, it is not always clear from a legal perspective where digital spaces such as branded domains or “properties” in the virtual world are truly located.
With the amount of virtual space available to users around the world constantly expanding, determining the ways that the subject of jurisdiction should be applied will become increasingly crucial. Successful metaverse communities would attract individuals and organizations from around the world. The lack of traditional boundaries is an advantage in many ways but a liability in others.
Identifying the jurisdictions and regulations necessary to ensure that virtual environments remain safe and secure for users will be difficult.
Enterprises will have to consider internal policies concerning jurisdiction and existing legislation in the same way they do for physical spaces or the more established digital spaces. At the same, they will need to be aware of the shifting legal landscape within this sector.