INTERVIEW: It doesn't matter what the technology is, HR and business leaders need to consider a wide range of factors before taking the investment plunge for new tools in the workplace.
That makes consulting giant Accenture's strong foray into the metaverse a ground-breaking effort, that is set to reap rewards during a period of severe talent scarcity in professional markets.
Gastón Carrión, Managing Director – Talent & Organisation, Asia Pacific lead at Accenture, acknowledges that this combination of virtual and augmented reality tools, together with cloud computing and remote servers, can be an intimidating process for organisations to embark on.
It has been a "momentous" technology shift, he tells Chief of Staff Asia, adding that leaders should strategise on how they want their companies to become a part of this uinque new space.
"Once they have defined this, they need to decide if the company is ready for the next generation of the internet, such as if they have the necessary blueprints for the capabilities required," Carrión said.
Leaders also have to start thinking about how to develop the skills needed for the next digital world, which can be done via the hiring of new talent, and/or reskilling their employees to be more digitally fluent.
Lastly, they have to think about how they intend to start using the metaverse, such as by empowering development teams to design and test new kinds of experiences for the organisation.
Welcome to the "new frontier"
Carrión says the metaverse is often referred to as the "new frontier", and it may very well be an endless one.
"The metaverse represents a font of limitless possibilities in the longer term," he said. "While we could speculate about use cases it is too early to definitively predict how exactly our use of the metaverse would evolve."
Based on the Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report, Carrión says it is expected that digital environments will be increasingly woven into the fabric of the physical world.
"Instead of very clear boundaries between the virtual and physical worlds we will see these lines blur as people find a way to navigate between both."
Metaverse won't supplant human interaction
Carrión does not view the metaverse as a replacement for human interaction, but rather as a complementary communication tool.
"Leveraging metaverse platforms such as Accenture's 'Nth Floor' helps bridge the gap when collaborating and networking remotely moving us closer towards a means of collaboration that feels natural and familiar," Carrión said.
Carrión also notes that with the metaverse still being "built" today, there is an opportunity to actively look into getting ahead of potential pitfalls that could be associated with the technology.
"Applying ethical principles and building with the integrity and safety of users in mind will help to mitigate such issues," Carrión said.
He also says the interactive nature of the metaverse makes for added employee well-being, as HR has the potential to improve the way employees interact with each other. The metaverse can be a platform to help employees foster stronger social connections in the age of a "work-from-anywhere" model.
Carrión says that in previous iterations of the internet, accessibility was sometimes late to be considered, but those issues are now being built directly into Web3 platforms. "We have a real opportunity to ensure that the metaverse experiences and platforms that we build and provide to employees and customers are optimised to cater to the differently-abled," he said, noting the benefits for vision impaired users as an example.
"We will need to ensure tools are built to cater to these individuals in the form of screen reading capabilities, audio descriptions of the environment or even echolocation and haptic sensors to simulate a sense of touch," Carrión said.
This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Gastón Carrión, Managing Director – Talent & Organisation, Asia Pacific lead at Accenture. For further coverage, please see any of the below links: