What about the Metaverse, space reserved for geeks or commercial eldorado?

There is currently a lot of investment in the Metaverse, this alternative world where you can work, play and meet other people without leaving your home. But will the emergence of this vast virtual space blur the boundaries of reality and redefine the way we consume and communicate?

What is the Metaverse?

Everyone only talks about the Metaverse and the concept may seem recent, but in reality the idea appeared in a 1992 science fiction novel. It’s hard to define exactly what the Metaverse means because the technology behind it is constantly evolving and encompassing many aspects of virtual reality. Simply put, it is a global digital world that coexists with the real world.

Somnium Space is one of the first “open source” Metaverse platforms to hit the market. We video chatted with founder and CEO Artur Sychov to learn more about what it’s like to live, work and play in this alternative environment.

“When you’re in virtual reality [comme c’est son cas au moment où il s’adresse à nous]you are totally connected to the environment: I am here mentally and have the physical experience of it”, he makes clear, “Because with everything I see, my brain and my eyes make me believe I’m in this space.”

A growing economy

Somnium Space was one of the pioneering platforms of its kind, but lately many other competitors have emerged. Facebook has become Meta, with the idea of ​​making the Metaverse an important part of its business strategy. But its counterparts Microsoft, Alphabet, Roblox and NVIDIA have also invested heavily in this virtual space.

The Metaverse economy promises a wide range of revenue streams: By some estimates, this market could grow to $800 billion in just two years. This could bring the global economy $3 trillion over the next ten years.

New solutions

But the Metaverse isn’t just about entertainment and gaming. It can also give companies the opportunity to find virtual solutions that can be applied in the real world. These solutions are exactly what accounting firm PwC hopes to create thanks to its brand-new technology lab in the Middle East.

“At PwC, we see the Metaverse as evolution, not revolution”, says Rahaf Abutarbush, a lab technician at PwC Middle East. “We are very agile with this concept, we are aware that things change, that the needs of our customers can evolve”, she assures.

Using robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and more, PwC’s tech experts create innovative solutions in their EmTech Labs, equipped with tools that can push the boundaries of the physical world without losing touch with reality.

In the Metaverse you can do almost anything: hold business meetings, organize large-scale collaborations, give keynote presentations or in this case media interviews.

“Our customers no longer like to visit us for advice or PowerPoint presentations, for example”, explains Stephen Anderson, who leads PwC’s Middle East strategy and markets team. “They want to see things in action and emerging technologies are important from that perspective,” he says.

What about security?

The popularity of virtual reality raises questions about its impact on human interactions, social isolation and mental health. Kids are spending more and more time online and in the Metaverse, the lack of clear rules can make it a dangerous place. How can platforms tackle this problem?

Tami Bhaumik is Vice President of Civility and Partnerships at Roblox, a global platform with over 40 million daily users.

“We are a technology platform that allows people to create experiences and publish them on our platform”, remembers Tami Bhaumik. “You need to have an environment where people are courteous in order to fully express your fantasy,” she insists. “Often parents ask us, ‘What is Roblox? How can I ensure the safety of my children? How do I know if it is safe?’ I realized there was not only a responsibility, but an opportunity to inform, given the size of our community,” she admits.

Tami Bhaumik says his company is committed to regulating these virtual reality platforms, as well as providing its young users and their educators with the skills to take advantage of the virtual game revolution in security.

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