Bill Gates has made many bold predictions. From projecting the growth of personal computing to calling for better pandemic preparedness long before COVID-19, the philanthropist has been right on many counts. Recently, he offered another striking prediction: Within the next two or three years, most virtual meetings will take place not in video conferencing systems but in the metaverse.
It won’t surprise you that we at Glue share Gates’s optimism. As a virtual collaboration platform, we know that working in the metaverse – or 3D spaces with digital avatars – holds great promise for businesses and remote teams. Today, we see firsthand how the technology fosters close connection and collaboration in ways simply not possible in video calls. It’s equally gratifying that the technology can help executives cut travel costs and CO2 emissions as well as give time back to employees.
But our excitement grows further still when we think about what the future might bring. Aside from becoming increasingly attainable and affordable, 3D workspaces continue to evolve in interesting ways technologically, offering new possibilities for teams to boost productivity and efficiency.
I can see business meetings in the metaverse offering three distinct advantages over their 2D and real-world counterparts.
1 You’ll have the freedom to choose the best possible space for every meeting
The first relates to space. In a world of pixels there are of course no limitations. Already today, teams can gather in a virtual setting of their choosing, from large ‘open-air’ creative workshops with lots of breakout areas, to small rooms for group work. You might even create your own customized and branded space, as Salesforce did for a recent customer event we hosted. Either way, you’ll have a dizzying array of options when it comes to choosing the best setting for your collaboration.
2 Contextually-aware meeting environments will make you more productive
A second key advantage involves the use of AI and context awareness. What if your 3D workspaces intuitively understood and anticipated your needs during a scrum meeting or design workshop? In the future, contextually-aware meeting environments will help you to speed up certain tasks, such as preparing meeting notes, listing action points and transcribing live discussions. At the end of the meeting, an AI bot could also help you schedule a follow-up meeting, automatically finding a time that suits all participants.
3 Deep integration with your business systems will give you new superpowers
A third advantage is being able to seamlessly connect your virtual meetings to the rest of your business. Today, it’s already possible to integrate your spaces with enterprise applications like Microsoft 365 so you can perform certain tasks in-session. In future, deeper integration into your business systems will open up more possibilities, allowing you to bring all your favorite workflows with you. Wouldn’t it be cool if, after concluding a discussion with a prospective customer, your customer would push a button in the virtual space and your CRM system would automatically send out an offer? Or how about running analytics on your meetings to ensure future sessions are more productive and efficient?
What’s clear is that the shift to the metaverse has lots of potential for people to have better, more engaging and more productive meetings. And we here at Glue will do our part to make sure Bill Gates’s prediction becomes a reality.