What seemed futuristic just a few years ago is now happening. In the midst of a pandemic, the world has seen and adopted major transformative innovations that altered the way people work and lead their lives. It’s taken for granted that people can purchase almost anything they want on Amazon and receive it the same day. Groceries are picked by an Instacart worker; dinner is delivered by a DoorDasher and remote workers interact with each other on Zoom.
Founder and CEO Christoph Fleischmann and his team created Arthur, a virtual and augmented platform enabling companies to conduct business in the metaverse. While the metaverse is currently dominated by gaming and other noncorporate activities, Arthur is offering solutions for enterprises and their employees with virtual reality.
Fleischmann named the company after King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, feeling it was “a nice parallel of meeting together in a specific space.” They are also “big fans of Arthur C. Clarke, a futurist and science fiction author who has been predicting things like Arthur for decades.”
Arthur offers a robust, realistic feeling of being in a virtual office space. It enables workers to meet, interact and collaborate together. The sophisticated, technology-driven platform empowers a wide array of enterprises in sectors, such as energy, pharmaceuticals, consulting, insurance and finance and organizations, including the United Nations, Nestle and Societe Generale, to maximize remote productivity. There is no need to travel across the world, risking health and costing a lot of money when there is an easier and better solution to conduct the conversation in the metaverse. Arthur’s platform addresses the needs of a wide variety of global industries. In 2021, enterprise users spent around 1.6 million minutes in Arthur.
The site can hold a large gathering of professionals, who wear photorealistic avatars in a VR meeting space. Buying or leasing physical real estate or booking a conference room is no longer needed. The platform offers companies infinite virtual real estate to replicate a physical office. You can collaborate on 3D flowcharts, write on whiteboards, integrate video on virtual monitors and hold one-on-one conversations—similar to what happens in a real office setting. By cutting down on traveling, getting a distributed remote workforce together increases productivity and helps build and maintain the corporate culture.
Fleischmann said, “Virtual reality offers innovative solutions that no other technology is able to accomplish. Arthur provides enterprises with a solution capable of providing deep and meaningful collaboration. Companies seeking to solve their internal communication in a hybrid work setting can do so by lowering office and travel expenses, as well as lessening carbon emissions.” Its VR encourages collaboration and engagement without being restricted by locations. Companies can build environments that would be impossible to simulate in real life. The fresh uniqueness will serve as a much-needed attitude to the two-dimensional video calls we’ve been on for the last two years.
Top-tier investment bank Morgan Stanley wrote about the metaverse in a note to clients, “Think of the metaverse as a digital realm of the future, like the next evolution of the internet. Fully developed, it could one day allow people to interact, work and play in immersive virtual spaces. And as major technology players embrace the idea—and, in some cases, peg the future of their business on it—it’s also creating opportunities for investors, namely in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). In fact, as these technologies evolve to create increasingly connected digital experiences, total VR/AR spending worldwide is estimated to reach $72.8 billion in 2024, from $12 billion in 2020.”
Currently for individuals, gaming and entertainment are the activities of choice in virtual reality. We are now starting to see concerts, fashion shows, live music performances, museum tours and other business applications. This includes customers’ ability to virtually try on clothes or check out an automobile before purchasing.
In blue-collar sectors that require working with heavy machinery or in hazardous environments, it makes sense to use virtual and augmented reality to train people on the machinery and have them safely learn before conducting the activity in real life. Healthcare will benefit too. The new Web3 technologies have been used in intensive care units during the pandemic to bring additional expertise into the room.
Another usage for VR/AR is hosting interviews. We are Zoomed out and could use an alternative. The metaverse offers a new, fresh, innovative and fun way to interact with colleagues, especially when working remotely. It seems logical that the next step would be to have virtual interviews. A hiring manager and job applicant can sit in a virtual room and conduct an interview.
A big issue for human resources departments is dealing with unconscious biases. A well-suited, appropriately skilled candidate may lose out on a job offer, due to preconceived prejudices on the part of the interviewer. In real life, you can’t hide your identity. However, in the metaverse, you may choose an avatar that doesn’t give away your gender, race and other defining characteristics that could potentially harm your chances with a biased hiring manager. Speech to text could also mask biases, as people are judged by the way they talk.
A virtual interview may be more relaxed and comfortable by having an avatar. You may not be as self conscious the way you feel when it’s an in-person, face-to-face conversation. This is similar to when an actor or writer uses a nom de plume, which makes them feel more comfortable acting or writing, as if they are a different person. For some people, it will feel freeing and liberating.