On Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg announced the name change of #Facebook, already known to insiders, into #Meta and gave insight into #Horizon’s vision of how virtual and physical worlds will be connected in the future. For me as a tech enthusiast it was great so see this things, but honestly not new.
Diving into artificial worlds is the wrong way to go, warns the head of “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic, John Hanke. I see it the same way; it’s about supplementing our physical world with virtual content. If you want to experience this, come to Jena and visit the “Saurierpfad” (https://www.saurierpfad.de – unfortunately only available in German).
The Corona pandemic showed our vulnerable side. Lockdowns all over the world brought the global flow of goods to a standstill, businesses closed, trade fairs were cancelled, sales representatives were faced with closed doors. Companies and government agencies had to adapt to the new situation within weeks, many of them at great expense, having not invested in a #digitaltransformation for years.
After more than 1.5 years of the first lockdowns, and now that large parts of the world’s population have been vaccinated, I feel this strong urge to go back to the “good old days”. This is completely understandable and legitimate – we humans are very social beings. But what makes a lot of sense for family, friends and local businesses is questionable on a global scale.
As a child, I was a big fan of circuses and animal parks. I was fascinated by the performances and watching animals. What I didn’t think about was under what conditions these animals lived. As a child, I was also as fascinated by great animal documentaries on television like those of Prof. Bernhard Grzimek, I didn’t have to be on the ground in the Serengeti, I could participate on the screen how the animals lived in the wild.
As an adult, I have had the privilege of traveling to many countries around the world, both privately and professionally. Although I had always been committed to environmental protection, it wasn’t until the advent of Atmosfair and the first emerging ecological footprint calculations that I realized my many travels had a massive impact holistically and that I was consuming many times more resources.
Professionally, I had a lot to do with global companies. When they weren’t doing so well or the quarterly figures weren’t right, travel was often banned- a sign of how much could be saved, these companies spent tens of millions on travel and expenses year after year. The following joke comes to mind: “Grandson to grandpa: And you used to travel for hours by car or plane just to show PowerPoint slides? Grandpa: Yes!”
For the last 10 years, I’ve been part of the large #Salesforce community. In 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to #Dreamforce, Salesforce annual customer conference, for the first time. San Francisco is worth a trip anyway and a very special city, but the positive vibe during Dreamforce, feeling the spirit of innvoation and inspiration, made the days very unique. At that time the Dreamforce already counted 120,000 visitors, one had already long ways to see certain sessions and had to queue longer for the keynote, but hey, for that one could experience Marc Benioff live (even if only as a small figure from the back rows perspective). With a lucky hand, you could still find an affordable hotel within walking distance, and you didn’t have to queue long for food in the evening either.
2019 was my last visit to the Dreamforce. The flight through stopover (to make the flight costs affordable for my employer) was long, the hotel prices meanwhile so exploded that a hotel within walking distance was no longer to be thought of and in the evening one was grateful to be able to eat at least a little finger food at the numerous parties, because the restaurants were hopelessly overcrowded. For the keynote I stood in line for over an hour, only to find myself in front of closed security gates (ok, I should have come without a backpack, Dreamforce professionals already knew that from the year before) and even the site program on Brain Health with Deepak Chopra, which is unusual for tech conferences, I could only experience remotely. In 2013, I was sitting up front as Deepak and Wayne Dyer discussed how we can improve our personal lifestyles.
All in all, it had been quite a frustrating experience and after Dreamforce 2020 more or less didn’t happen, this year I was able to join various sessions from the comfort of my own home.
So what do all these stories have to do with the #Metaverse, or rather, combined virtual and physical communities/experiences? The global community can come closer together via such virtual communities without harming the environment and incurring high costs.
Today more than ever, companies are required to be innovative, efficient and sustainable. The economy is undergoing a profound transformation.
However, companies do not have to wait a few more years, like Facebook – sorry Meta users, until virtual communities are a reality. Unlike otherwise, B2B can be pioneers in this environment, because 3D/VR/AR pioneers like rooom AG have already turned the vision of an enterprise metaverse into usable solutions before the pandemic hit and already offer a platform for the novel visualization of spaces, products and the combination in virtual events. More about this in my next posts.
Foto: (c) 2021 rooom AG