The world that we live in today is very much different than even two years ago.  There have been many advances in digital technology, a trend that experts thought would take years to happen, but now we are seeing it come to full life in just a matter of a few months.  It is not something that is going to go away either, it is now a permanent fixture in Corporate America.

At the forefront is Microsoft, coming out with the latest tools and technologies to make this digital revolution an easier one to accept and even embrace.

What Is The Metaverse?

This is a place in the digital universe where objects in the physical are interconnected with the virtual world, in a manner that parallels the Internet of Things (IoT).  It can be specifically defined as follows:

“It is a persistent, digital world that is connected to many aspects of the physical world, including people, places and things. The metaverse enables shared experiences across both the physical and digital worlds. As enterprises accelerate their digital transformation, the metaverse can help people meet up in a digital environment.”

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One of the key components of the Microsoft Metaverse is what is known as the “Mesh for Microsoft Teams”.  Although some people prefer to work remotely, humans are still social creatures by nature and need human interaction.  Thus, many employees still miss the water cooler breaks, eating lunch together, and taking that afternoon walk together.   In an effort to make this more possible, Microsoft has added new functionalities into Teams in which meeting attendees can actually create real life avatars of themselves, in order to make it much more engaging.

Also, not only can you hear the audio component, but Teams will also be enabled to simulate facial expressions as people converse with one another.  This is best illustrated in the diagram below:

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The ultimate goal of all this is to make the employees of a company feel as if they are part of one team, with one common goal:  To propel the company into new and exciting times.  One of the key advantages is that no new software or hardware is needed – employees can make do with already what they have, in terms of both video and audio communications.

In order to get started with this new kind of universe, employees must first crate an avatar of themselves, and that is pretty easy to do.  Of course, they will also need to have an M365 account from which they can access Teams.  Also, avatars can also be created as part of the meeting environment, to give it a holistic sense.  This is illustrated below:

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However, all of this is not available quite yet – it is highly anticipated that it will start to roll out next year.  Another catalyst for the Mesh revolution is that employees many times just don’t feel comfortable presenting themselves with the video turned on, whether its due to privacy or even medical reasons.

An advancement that is planned for this is also known as the “HoloLens”- this is where avatars of the content that is either being spoken or written will also be created.

Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces

Another key aspect that is coming out of the Microsoft Metaverse is what is known technically as the “Connected Spaces”.  This is where you can take all of the information and data that your company harnesses, and rather than just seeing a series of datasets, you can now actually visualize them using the tools of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Computer Vision (CV).

For example, if you own a traditional brick and mortar store, you will be able to see firsthand how customers interact and make purchasing decisions with the products you have on the shelves.

The customers are represented as avatars along with the shop’s interior.  From the visual information that is collected here, you will be able to get a firsthand view as to which of the products sell the best. As a result, you will be able to position them properly in your store so those are the first items your customers will see.  This can be seen in the illustration below:

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Here are some of the key features that will come with Connected Spaces:

  • Shopping analytics: You will get a visual representation of this, instead of having to comb through tons of market research datasets;
  • The effectiveness of displays: Obviously, a store will want to make their displays as alluring as possible, so that the customers will buy the products.  With this new functionality, you will get a firsthand view as to how your customers interact with various forms of signage, and from there you can then see where they may need to be repositioned.
  • Understanding long lines: With this, you can see what times of the day the lines are longest at your Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, and when they are the shortest.  Then form here, you will have the scalability as to when you need to adjust your staffing needs so that your customers can get checked out quickly.

Conclusions

As one can see, there is a lot that is coming out in the next year.  To help you learn how you can best use these tools for your business, contact us today!

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