The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday launched a metaverse platform Global Collaboration Village, in partnership with Accenture and Microsoft. The platform is a working prototype where organisations can convene on the metaverse and learn about, create solutions for some of the present pressing challenges.
The village has been built using Microsoft Mesh, which is an immersive upgrade of its collaboration software Teams, and harnesses the power of the metaverse to create co-presence and connection for a more diverse and physically dispersed audience.
The immersive nature of the Global Collaboration Village has the potential to create a powerful and efficient means to drive global progress. Inclusive and responsible by design, it will be a creative place to imagine alternative futures, explore ideas and systems transparently and safely, and envision what the future of engaging multistakeholder collaboration could be, the WEF said.
“With the Global Collaboration Village, we are creating the first public purpose-oriented application of the metaverse technology, building a true global village in the virtual space. Supported by a unique range of partners from the public and private sectors, the Village will use the frontier capabilities of the metaverse to find solutions for addressing the big issues of our time in a more open, inclusive and sustained way,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the WEF.
The virtual village includes a set of initial immersive spaces that can be accessed by a VR headset or laptop device. These include:
A town hall: The Forum’s “Virtual Congress Centre” for future sessions or meetings, such as plenaries, workshops and bilaterals.
Collaborative centres: Virtual collaboration spaces for immersive storytelling and the Forum’s thought leadership, intended to inspire collaboration, experiential learning and real-world impact on global issues. For example, in a virtual ocean hub, participants can dive into the ocean’s depths and explore why and how marine ecosystems must be protected to preserve both life on land and in water.
Stakeholder campuses: Forum Partners can shape their presence, convene their stakeholders and partner with others to innovate and find solutions to global challenges.
Julie Sweet, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Accenture, said: “The metaverse will profoundly change every part of every business, bridging our physical and digital worlds, and over time will enable companies to create innovative new consumer products and services, transform their manufacturing and operations, and reimagine the way we collaborate and work.”
“We believe the metaverse has the potential to fundamentally change the way we communicate and collaborate, overcoming limitations of the physical world to deliver enhanced connections for everyone. The Global Collaboration Village, powered by Microsoft Mesh, is a prime example of how we can use metaverse technology to bring people and communities together in new ways," noted Brad Smith, Vice-Chair and President, Microsoft Corporation.
WEF and metaverse
The WEF has said that the metaverse, which allows people to interact with others in a computer-generated, multidimensional and multisensory virtual environment, can have a multi-trillion-dollar market impact, with billions of users in the coming decade. This new form of technology-enabled human interaction is on track to become ubiquitous in our personal and professional lives. Billions of dollars are being invested into developing the metaverse, which is projected to become an $800 billion market by 2024.
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