Bill Gates believes that videoconferencing work meetings should migrate to the metaverse in the next three years. The statement stems from the need to adapt to the "new normal" and the importance of being connected through tough times, as seen in 2020 and 2021. The Microsoft founder's beliefs were based on a series of arguments that the billionaire made in her blog as part of an optimistic analysis for 2022.
Gates' forecast is based on the strong remote work scenario, which still has a lot of room to grow in companies and people's lives. For Microsoft's philanthropist and co-founder, the metaverse trend is to digitize offices to break regional blocks, which would allow the assembly of entire teams located in different parts of the globe.
Although tools such as Teams and Zoom have played their role effectively in recent months, they would not be enough to sustain themselves in the next "two or three years". "Most virtual meetings will change from the 2D camera in image grids — what I call the Hollywood Squares model — to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars," says Gates.
The billionaire imagines that the metaverse can generate other types of interaction that the camera-based model does not deliver, such as the feeling of being in the same physical space, playing games together, participating in virtual get-togethers or even creating group products .
Metaverse in 3 years?
The metaverse experience, at least at the beginning, should not be even close to face-to-face physical contact. Starting with the more cartoony look based on animated avatars may not attract all types of companies to enter this digital world. Not to mention the eye strain of spending hours on end with a shiny screen attached to your face.
Plus, access to virtual environments is still pretty expensive: you need virtual reality goggles, motion-capturing gloves, and extra accessories to capture facial expressions, body language, and voice naturally. Even so, Microsoft intends to bring Teams, Edge and other software to this digital world.
Always optimistic, Bill Gates' bet may excite many people, but it is unlikely to materialize precisely because of this barrier to entry. In the next 5 or 10 years, companies may be able to reduce many of them, but this will depend on coordinated actions between software developers and hardware creators to assemble and make accessories cheaper.