At today’s start of the first in-person World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting since the beginning of COVID, the WEF announced a metaverse partnership with Accenture and Microsoft for a Global Collaboration Village.
Today sees the announcement, rather than the full launch of the initiative, although a proof of concept will be available. But make no mistake, future meetings will take place within immersive spaces. While the metaverse is a very broad and somewhat undefined term, 3D virtual environments work best for events. Otherwise, in large spaces it’s like visiting an empty mall with no atmosphere.
Additionally, the WEF is launching an initiative with 60 companies on the topic of “Defining and Building the Metaverse.”
“The metaverse will influence the way people, governments, companies and society at large think, work, interact and communicate for the purpose of collectively addressing issues on the global agenda,” said Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman. “The Global Collaboration Village will be an extension of the World Economic Forum’s public private platforms and in-person meetings and will provide a more open, more sustained and more comprehensive process for coming together.”
The Global Collaboration Village has four aims, cooperation, interactivity, inclusivity and impact. On the topic of inclusivity, there’s a plan to encourage broader public participation through virtual public spaces. The reality is it may be a different set of participants. Because for some, the metaverse may be seen as technically challenging, especially for those with weaker network connections. For others, it will seem like a natural extension of online meetings that have become so prevalent during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, numerous brands and corporates are embracing the metaverse concept. Italy’s Serie A football has started to broadcast games in virtual environments. And several financial firms have set up a presence, including JP Morgan, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Fidelity Investments.