Article: Rrahul Sethi on how organisations can adapt, thrive and innovate in the metaverse

Technology

Rrahul Sethi on how organisations can adapt, thrive and innovate in the metaverse

In this exciting conversation, Rrahul Sethi of Metaverse911™ shares his insights on the transformative power of immersive technologies in reshaping the future of work and accelerating innovation, sustainability, and resilience.
Rrahul Sethi on how organisations can adapt, thrive and innovate in the metaverse

Rrahul Sethi, the Founder of Metaverse911™, is a seasoned entrepreneur and influential figure in the metaverse and immersive technologies domain. With extensive experience in consulting, training, and thought leadership, Rrahul brings a global perspective to his work, helping organisations accelerate their journey in the metaverse and web 3.0 world. As a keynote speaker and LinkedIn influencer, he is renowned for his expertise in driving innovation and fostering resilience in today's dynamic business landscape. 

In this interview, we delve into Rrahul's insights on the transformative potential of immersive technologies, and how it can champion organisations to win in the future of work with speed, sustainability and resilience. 

Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

How do immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality contribute to reshaping the future of work? 

In my Metaverse Masterclasses, I've often covered how augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) are reshaping the future of work. These technologies are transforming how we interact with our environment, collaborate with others, and perform our tasks, creating a more dynamic and efficient workplace. 

Here’s a simplified version of how they are changing the nuances of working as you read this: 

Augmented Reality (AR) overlays digital information onto the real world enhancing our perception of reality. For instance, AR glasses are revolutionising remote collaboration and training. Companies like Royal Enfield utilise AR glasses to connect field technicians with remote experts. This technology allows experts to see exactly what the technician sees and provide real-time guidance, overlaying instructions or diagrams directly in the technician’s field of view. This speeds up the repair process, reduces travel costs, and minimises downtime making operations more efficient and effective.

Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a completely virtual environment providing an entirely new way to experience information and training.

Simulations in VR can prepare employees for complex tasks, from medical procedures to equipment operation, allowing them to practice and master skills in a safe environment.

This accelerates learning and enhances retention leading to a more skilled workforce. In the pharmaceutical industry, VR is also used to simulate the journey of a molecule transforming into a medicine. These immersive simulations help educate doctors and stakeholders about the drug's benefits and mechanisms in an engaging and understandable manner. Imagine attending a VR session where you can explore the entire process of drug development, from molecular formation to therapeutic effects, making complex information more accessible and impactful. 

Mixed Reality (MR) combines AR and VR elements, allowing digital and real-world objects to interact seamlessly. This technology is particularly impactful in industries like manufacturing. Engineers can use MR headsets, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, to visualise and manipulate 3D models of products during the design phase. For Instance, Skytron, a manufacturer of surgical equipment, utilised MR to configure medical equipment, and design floor plans, providing an engaging way for customers to experience the designs. This real-time interaction with both virtual and physical objects enables engineers to make immediate adjustments, collaborate with remote team members, and streamline the design and production process. By blending the real and virtual worlds, MR enhances efficiency and innovation in product development. 

In conclusion, AR enhances the real world with digital overlays making it highly useful for tasks that require real-time information and guidance. VR creates entirely new environments for immersive learning and demonstration, ideal for complex education and training scenarios. MR combines the best of both worlds, allowing for interactive design and collaboration by merging physical and digital objects. Each technology has unique strengths and applications but together they provide a comprehensive toolkit for transforming the future of work. 

What common challenges do organisations encounter when adopting metaverse solutions, and how do you assist them in overcoming these challenges while ensuring technological viability and sustainability? 

After mentoring over 3,500 C-Level Executives from global giants and Big 5 corporations, I’ve gained deep insights into the challenges organisations encounter when adopting metaverse solutions. At Metaverse 911, while we provide Metaverse Research & Advisory, CIOs and CTOs regularly seek our expertise for their metaverse and web3 projects. In this context, we’ve identified the most prevalent challenges and developed effective strategies to address them, ensuring not only technological viability but also long-term sustainability for organisations venturing into the metaverse. 

Organisations face several common challenges when adopting metaverse solutions and here are my pieces of advice for them that have worked 100%: 

  • First things first: Explore the metaverse yourself. Before you onboard anyone else, take some time to explore the metaverse yourself. Play some games, attend some events, and get a feel for what it's like to be a part of this Virtual world. This will give you a better understanding of what your new hires will experience. It's crucial to grasp the concept of the metaverse. Start by delving into what the metaverse is all about and how it can be leveraged for onboarding. Carry out proper research and stay updated with the latest developments in this area to get a better understanding. 
  • Set Clear Objectives: To get started with metaverse onboarding, you also need to establish the aims and objectives you want to accomplish with the programme. It's important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your metaverse onboarding programme. Do you want to build a strong sense of community? Teach specific skills? Create an immersive learning experience? Having clear goals will help you design a program that meets your needs. 
  • Choose your platform: There are many metaverse platforms available, each with its unique features and capabilities. Research and compare different platforms to find one that aligns with your company's needs and goals. 
  • Build Your Presence: Once you've chosen a platform, it's time to start building your team's presence in the metaverse. This could mean creating avatars for each team member, building a virtual office or workspace, and establishing a company presence in the metaverse. 

Next, think about how you'll train your team on using the platform. Will you host virtual training sessions? Create a detailed user guide? Encourage employees to explore and learn on their own? Figure out what approach works best for your team and make sure everyone has the resources they need to feel comfortable in the metaverse. 

  • Interactivity is the key! Think about how you can use the metaverse to enhance collaboration and communication within your team. To make the onboarding process engaging and memorable, add interactive elements such as virtual team-building activities, icebreakers, games, and happy hours. This can help new hires retain information and feel more connected to the company. 
  • Feedback for Improvement: Finally, be sure to ask for feedback from your new hires as you go along. What's working well? What could be improved? Gather feedback and adjust your programme accordingly to ensure its effectiveness. When it comes to onboarding employees in the metaverse, creating an Immersive experience is the way to go. 
  • Don’t abandon old ways too quickly: When shifting your business to the metaverse, it’s important to make sure that you don’t rush into doing everything all-virtual, all the time. The opportunities to enter the metaverse are numerous. Some of your clientele could be prepared for it, and it does seem intriguing. But satisfying client expectations has always been the cornerstone of a successful business. And, the vast majority of consumers are still in the pre-launch phase. Don't be hasty in forgetting the old practices, even though you position your business to be prepared for what comes next. They really are the greatest option for the majority of your clients. Make it possible for your audience to interact with your brand in more conventional ways. 
  • Remain adaptable: There are no right or wrong choices that may be made until the metaverse has a more distinct form. Your company must be able to adapt to the changing nature of virtual worlds. With the assistance of the community in the metaverse, this may be the ideal chance to test your goods online. This will not only assist you in comprehending possible consumer needs, but it may also lead you to make future trend and innovation predictions. Accept the chance to grow in ways you never imagined imaginable, and get ready to expand your company into the metaverse right away.

How do you anticipate the convergence of generative AI and immersive technologies in reshaping traditional business models? What strategies or approaches do you recommend for organisations looking to leverage immersive technologies to build resilient business models that can swiftly adapt to change? 

The convergence of generative AI and immersive technologies is set to fundamentally reshape traditional business models by enhancing innovation, personalization, and efficiency. Here’s how this convergence can transform businesses and the strategies organisations can adopt to build resilient, adaptable business models: 

By integrating generative AI with AR and VR, businesses can deliver highly personalised consumer experiences. Immersive Technology is a game changer when it comes to consumer engagement.

AI-based sales training avatars can create adaptive training programmes within VR environments that respond to the user's performance in real-time, offering customised guidance and scenarios. Leading to more effective employee training, leading to a more skilled and adaptable workforce. Eg: Maruti Dave AI Sales training AI Avatar. 

AI-driven analytics within immersive environments can optimise workflows and processes by providing real-time insights and automation. Increased productivity and reduced operational costs through smarter decision-making and process optimisation. 

Can you share innovative use cases where immersive technologies have improved employee engagement, collaboration, and productivity? 

Immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) are revolutionising employee training, enhancing workforce development, and improving business efficiency and adaptability. 

A study of 1,500 employees and 1,500 employers in the U.S. conducted by ExpressVPN indicates that "nearly 3 in 5 employees and 4 in 5 employers are interested in an immersive workforce." Their research also indicates that "66% of employers are excited about the metaverse, and 46% of employees share the same excitement." 

Some major companies are already investing in and exploring the potential that the metaverse offers.

Madsen points to some examples, including: 

  • Accenture purchased 60,000 Oculus headsets for VR training. 
  • Fidelity Investments putting on an event in the metaverse. 
  • KPMG building an innovation hub in virtual reality, where it's providing its partners with an opportunity to experience the metaverse firsthand. 

Below are the Top 5 Case Studies in my opinion: 

Kotak Mahindra Bank: Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Brandon Hall Awardee metaverse experience- 'Learning-a-fair' employee engagement. Kotak flawlessly engaged 35000+ employees in the metaverse with their Learning-a-fair Metaverse. This Learning Metaverse fosters collaboration, engagement, and innovation among employees. 

Zydus Wellness: Zydus Wellness is onboarding its employees with gamified environments. In fact, their experience was built with constant feedback from the teams and new hires - evaluating their experience, and building what excited them. 

Here's how Zydus Wellness gamified their onboarding: 

  • Interactive mascot: Zylo, the company mascot, guides new hires through the brand presence and product range in an engaging, interactive environment. 
  • Gamified modules: Each learning module is transformed into a game, where employees collect coins for completing tasks.
  • Leaderboards and perks: Friendly competition is fostered through leaderboards, motivating employees to learn and achieve. HR leaders can track performance and offer perks for reaching targets. 

The results: 

  • Increased engagement: Employees reported feeling more engaged and motivated with the interactive learning experience.
  • Improved knowledge retention: The gamification elements helped employees retain information more effectively. 

Siemens: Siemens created a virtual tour through one of their industrial facilities, digitally depicting the different workplaces. In this first use case, the virtual tour was complemented by additional and important information on EHS concepts. Users can explore the immersive and interactive training environment on their own while actively engaging with the necessary information. Through adding new features, the project was continuously developed into a virtual escape game, facing users with a timed challenge where they have to apply everything they have learned to escape a fire emergency scenario.

Below is how Siemens leveraged it: 

  • Easy onboardings in lifelike workplace surroundings 
  • Workplace instructions 
  • EHS & QSHE training sessions with integrated quizzes 
  • Visitor Center training 
  • Remote workplace inspections 
  • Quality Assurance 

This way, not only did the experience make users engage more actively with the learning materials, but it allowed them to immediately test their knowledge in a fun and entertaining way. 

PayPal: PayPal has unlocked a level of employee engagement that surpasses all expectations. The Metaverse has become a catalyst, fostering an unparalleled sense of belonging, innovation, and collaboration among PayPal's workforce.  PayPal conceptualised this idea with a focus on employee engagement, incorporating five key elements: the Pavilion, the House of Innovation, the Innovation Hub, the Dome, and the Gaming Terrace. Their approach focused on leveraging the immersive digital space to foster collaboration, innovation, and a sense of belonging among employees. 

  • The Pavilion provides a wide range of resources and activities to help employees learn about the company and connect with their colleagues. 
  • The House of Innovation is a hub for continuous learning and innovation and is designed to help employees develop new skills and knowledge, as well as share ideas and insights. A welcome message from the CEO introduces the House of Innovation and focuses on one of the company's four main values: innovation. Innovation Hub features multiple vignette spaces that are demo environments showcasing the company's products and capabilities. Each vignette includes a variety of interactive elements, such as videos, demonstrations, and hands-on activities, to help employees learn about the products in a fun and engaging way. 
  • The Dome is a community section that includes a variety of LIVE conference sessions featuring guest speakers and industry experts, as well as interactive content on inclusion and diversity.
  • The Gaming Terrace includes multiple game arcades with various interactive games that employees can play to relax and de-stress. 

Bosch: Bosch redefined its employee onboarding experience with the Metaverse by taking the employees through 'A Day in their Lives'. They created a metaverse where employees could experience Bosch’s presence everywhere in their day. The platform introduced employees to the latest products and tech, experiencing them hands-on in a virtual world that's eerily realistic. Here’s how it was of utmost significance: 

  • The metaverse provided an interactive and immersive learning environment that enhanced employee engagement and retention. 
  • By providing hands-on training experiences and simulations, employees could better apply the knowledge they gained during the training, leading to better performance and results.
  • The metaverse offered a collaborative learning environment that encouraged teamwork and idea-sharing among employees. This helped build stronger connections between team members, fostered a culture of innovation, and improved overall team performance. 
  • Bosch was able to provide a cost-effective and flexible training environment that could be accessed from anywhere in the world. 
  • Using the metaverse for employee training allowed Bosch to scale its training programs quickly and easily. 

How do cultural nuances or regional dynamics influence the adoption and implementation of metaverse technologies, and how can organisations navigate these factors to drive global innovation while maintaining local relevance? 

Cultural differences and regional complexities are key factors in the adoption and integration of metaverse technologies. Organisations aiming for global innovation while staying locally relevant need to understand and navigate these factors effectively. Different cultural attitudes towards technology, privacy, and virtual interactions require customised approaches. Organisations should tailor content, user interfaces, and marketing strategies to match local expectations, values, and customs. Local laws and legal frameworks also significantly impact metaverse technology adoption. 

Organisations must ensure compliance with regulations regarding data privacy, content moderation, and virtual property rights, often necessitating collaboration with local authorities and legal experts.

Language barriers are a significant factor affecting the successful adoption of immersive technologies, so providing multilingual support and localised content, including translated user interfaces and instructions, is crucial to accommodate diverse linguistic preferences. 

Lastly, organisations must engage with local communities, collaborating with artists, content creators, and cultural institutions to develop culturally relevant experiences. To navigate these factors and drive global innovation while maintaining local relevance, organisations must conduct comprehensive market research, engage with local stakeholders, and adjust their strategies to align with cultural norms and regulatory requirements. Embracing cultural diversity and regional dynamics empowers organisations to drive global innovation while maintaining local relevance in the metaverse. 

Considering the emphasis on efficiency and transformative technology in today's business landscape, what role do immersive experiences and metaverse solutions play in nurturing a culture of innovation and sustainable growth, while addressing societal and environmental challenges?

In the rapidly evolving world of business, immersive experiences and metaverse solutions play a crucial role in driving innovation and sustainable growth, as well as addressing societal and environmental challenges. These advanced technologies offer unique opportunities for engaging with customers, employees, and stakeholders, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. Businesses can utilise virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create interactive environments that strengthen customer relationships and build brand loyalty. 

Metaverse solutions further improve communication and collaboration, allowing remote teams to collaborate seamlessly, transcending geographical limitations and accelerating innovation. These platforms enable real-time sharing of ideas and decision-making, leading to more efficient workflows and increased productivity. 

Additionally, immersive technologies are transforming training and development programs by providing realistic simulations and practical learning experiences that enhance workforce performance and safety training. By harnessing these technologies, businesses can reduce their environmental impact through remote work and virtual meetings, while also raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices. Ultimately, embracing immersive experiences and metaverse solutions empowers businesses to deliver personalised experiences, foster innovation, and gain a competitive edge in today's marketplace.

To know more about how you can win in the metaverse and champion workplace innovation, join us at the People Matters TechHR India 2024 this 1st and 2nd August at the Leela Ambience, Gurgaon.

This is your chance to meet the expert Rrahul Sethi in person and unlock more of his powerful and groundbreaking insights to embrace the world of immerse tech with speed, sustainability and resilience. Register Now!

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Topics: Technology, HR Technology, #HRTech, #TechHRIN

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