By | August 25, 2022
Metaverse will change the world of work

The metaverse will create millions of new jobs in an industry forecast to be worth $13 trillion by 2030 (according to a recent report from Citi) as consumers continue to embrace new and increasingly immersive online models. That’s the view of Bernard Marr, futurist, technology strategist and author of Future Skills — the 20 skills and competencies everyone needs to succeed in a digital world.

Marr, a regular columnist for Forbes magazine who is ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top five business influencers in the world, takes a benevolent view of technology and its effects on the workforce and society.

Jobs will be lost as automation increases but more will be created, he notes, citing the World Economic Forum’s estimate that 85 million jobs could be displaced by 2025 as the division of labor shifts from humans to machines but that 97 million new roles will be created. in that process.

The challenge for organizations is to constantly educate their employees and to overcome resistance from parts of their workforce that are too comfortable with the status quo.

“Being adaptable and having a growth mindset and focus on continuous learning is extremely important. We see so many technologies revolutionizing work – blockchain, AI, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality – innovations that will change most industries and this will only accelerate now,” he says.

“Companies used to talk about the first, second, third and now fourth industrial revolution – which we’re in at the moment. I see a world where the acceleration of all these digital innovations is so fast that we won’t have all these gaps in between . It might not be a fifth revolution, it’s just going to be a continuous cycle of innovation. People just to make sure they’re constantly learning about these new technologies and how to apply them,” he adds.

The majority of the 20 skills Marr describes in his book are what are often described as soft skills. These include critical thinking, emotional intelligence and empathy, interpersonal communication, ethical awareness and the ability to embrace and celebrate change.

Frustratingly, he says, many of the skills needed for success in the workplace, such as emotional intelligence, curiosity and adaptability, are ignored by traditional educational institutions, placing an additional onus on organizations to evolve.

More specifically, the first iteration of the Internet created a huge number of jobs for static web designers, he notes, while the second created jobs for social media managers. The same thing will happen now with the metaverse. Going beyond soft skills, he has pinpointed a number of technical skills that he believes will be in demand.

Among these are 3D modeling and design. Metaverse’s worlds will be immersive and three-dimensional, and video gaming and animation skills will be essential, he points out.

Knowledge of blockchain and non-fungible tokens is another as he says many visions of the metaverse include concepts like decentralization and the uniqueness of digital assets.

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) will be at the core of the metaverse and becoming proficient in either of these two areas would be very useful for anyone looking to start a career in metaverse development.

There will also be high demand in this field for those with well-developed skills in areas such as coding, project management, cyber security and marketing.

Marr says he prefers the broader term Web3 to metaverse to describe the more immersive and distributed evolution of the Internet, but acknowledges that it is a useful and descriptive word to popularize its adoption.

Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to change the name of Facebook to Meta underlines how big technology is taking this area, while Microsoft and Apple, among others, see potential to play to their own strengths in this area.

Marr sees potential in projects like Nvidia Omniverse, a simulation and collaboration platform that powers realistic virtual worlds and connects them to other platforms. The platform uses avatars and is currently used by remote teams to simulate working in physical offices. “Such tools can revolutionize the nature of work as more and more of us move to remote work. It’s also easy to see how a platform like this could be extended to all kinds of non-working environments.”

Projects in this area that capture the public’s imagination help. Marr was in the audience this year for one of the much-hyped Abba Voyage concerts in London, an immersive digital experience that blew himself and his family away, he says. Similarly, Ariana Grande performed in front of 20 million people on the gaming platform Fortnite last year.

Brands have been embracing virtual and augmented reality for a number of years. In 2017, for example, 19 Crimes Wine introduced an augmented reality app. Consumers can use their mobile devices to scan the label on a bottle of the brand’s wine, and the label will then play a video that provides a background story about the wine.

There are huge opportunities to make retail more immersive and it’s not just about making shopping more fun or gaining attention among a younger demographic attuned to games and digital experiences. It’s also about efficiency, reducing or even eliminating expensive returns when selling online.

Marr says that by 2021, retailers globally faced a return rate of nearly 17 percent of all merchandise sold, costing them $218 billion—to which you also add huge environmental costs for transportation and packaging.

“If I want to buy a new shirt, I can either order online and take my chances or go into a physical store where they probably won’t have my size or the color I want. In the metaverse we can combine these worlds and do more. You can scan yourself with a phone. It will measure you better than a tailor. You can then try on the jerseys and even use a different background such as a work environment or a social environment rather than a sterile changing room,” he says.

This year saw the launch of the first Metaverse Fashion Week held on the Decentraland platform. Consumers could use immersive technology to order clothing from popular retailers, including Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY and Dolce and Gabbana.

Digital developments in general will make work more interesting and create opportunities for those who embrace it. Marr is concerned that a large part of the population is not keeping up. It is important to have digital skills and to be aware of what technology can do and how it can change your job.

On the other hand, Marr also sees a huge democratization of data. The gaps between those who manage data and those who use it are collapsing. He cites as an example the retail giant Walmart, which has introduced cafe facilities where employees who do not necessarily have strong IT skills – but who have data challenges – can sit down with data scientists and come up with solutions to problems.

“Upgrading your skills and knowledge has never been easier than now,” he concludes.

Create a digitally competent workforce

Set goals: learn where the training gaps in your organization lie through dialogue with managers and team members. Emphasize the benefits that technical education will bring to individuals, such as how it will help with their current role and future career opportunities.

Use online tools: use online learning and self-study materials that allow people to learn at their own pace. For some people, learning may be a better way to absorb technical information.

Gamify learning: makes learning more fun and motivating by using strategies such as points, levels and leaderboards.

Augmented reality: consider whether augmented reality and virtual reality can help bring your tech skills to life. Energy giant BP, for example, has used VR to train refinery workers in emergency procedures.

Culture: Build a culture of curiosity and active learning where learning new things is seen as an opportunity and not a burden.

Future Skills — the 20 Skills and Competencies Everyone Needs to Succeed in a Digital World, by Bernard Marr, published by Wiley

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