By Natacha Reymond
When Facebook announced their rebranding to Meta, a tidal wave of popularity crashed on the alternative reality: the Metaverse. Since then, a handful of multinational companies have announced their move: Adidas launches NFTs (non-tangible tokens) and buys a plot on the Sandbox Metaverse, Balenciaga has dedicated a business unit to working on digital projects, Nike has partnered with the Roblox video game platform to build a virtual world called Nikeland, and even Dyson has built Dyson Demo VR for customers to simulate and visualize the use of its hairdryers, stylers and hair straighteners from their home.
Say what? ‘Metaverse’ meaning:
Firstly – what does metaverse mean? To put it simply, the metaverse is a combination of different technologies: virtual reality, augmented reality and video. The idea is that users would be able to work, play and “live” within the digital world. Movies have envisioned it: Matrix, Ready Player One, Her, and perhaps the first, Tron, created in 1982 which was then revisited in 2010.
But it is not all about games, it’s also about a new way of living. Indeed, we currently spend a lot of time online: working, being on social media, shopping. However, having access to an alternative reality to which you are connected about 90% of the time, through contact lenses for example, will allow you to embody a virtual avatar to attend meetings with your colleagues, visit virtual art galleries and buy a virtual plot of land for your avatar to live in. This all already exists, it’s just doesn’t have mainstream adoption yet.
The Metaverse will shake up careers
The birth and expected adoption of the metaverse has huge implications for future careers as well, not just for hospitality but across all sectors. As facilitators of learning here at EHL, we must prepare our students for jobs that are barely created yet. For example, creating a hotel in the metaverse will require digital architects and digital managers to make sure operations run smoothly – completely online.
The metaverse will represent many different virtual, immersive worlds, like we have with social media today. Those lacking an understanding of digital culture, art, trends and technologies will require the help of metaverse tour guides to take them to the new frontier with curated guided tours. As such, digital tour guiding companies may very-well become a norm and as such a lucrative business.
As our lives become more digital, an increasing number of events will be solely held online. Hence, we will require digital events directors to organize large gatherings and we will see rental companies emerge for digital items and NFT’s to decorate venues with.
In this world, the students that will succeed are the ones with a lot of curiosity, not necessarily the most savvy ones, but those who have developed a capacity of imagination derived from their curiosity, those who will be bold enough to try new things and accept that sometimes they are too early.
– Rémi Walbaum, Chief Innovation Officer at EHL Group
Education facilitators must teach new skills for the Metaverse
You understood it, the metaverse represents an infinite number of possibilities. At EHL Group, our teams are working on digital transformation projects developing virtual education to allow our various nationalities of students to interact online in an alternative reality, using next generation learning technologies, but most importantly to allow them to access these future careers.
EHL teaches students to develop their out-of-the-box thinking and learn about design thinking strategies. Electives in innovation and entrepreneurship address these new subjects that still seem so vague, which is just how we thought of the internet in 1995.
Should we teach our students to code? Probably. But much like Gen Z use phones and tablets today, it’s likely our students will learn on their own and address new types of challenges by the time they get to their undergraduate education when the metaverse is the norm. What we can do for now is make sure they comprehend these new topics and are aware of their implications on society, future careers and skills required in this future world of the metaverse.