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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Innovative, Practical Applications of the Metaverse: Podcast and Transcript

 Good overview,   Note it points to past pieces. 

Innovative and Practical Applications of the Metaverse

March 29, 2022 | Podcast  with Richard Ward, Mina Alaghband  of McKinsey

The immersive experience of the metaverse allows for massive shifts in training, education, and work. In this episode of the At the Edge podcast, McKinsey expert Richard Ward speaks with McKinsey’s Mina Alaghband to share the myriad ways in which metaverse technology is already being implemented and how executives can get started to discover where the business opportunities exist, including no-regret moves they can make today.

An edited transcript of the discussion follows. For more conversations on cutting-edge technology, follow the series on your preferred podcast platform.

Podcast transcript:

When it comes to your organization, what are practical ways to use the metaverse?

Why not practice first in the metaverse, where it’s low cost, you can do things in an infinite way, and you can make the impossible happen? Those types of things really offer people more efficiency and productivity.

Mina Alaghband: That’s Richard Ward, a McKinsey senior expert who joins me today. This is the last of a three-part series on the metaverse. I’m Mina Alaghband. Welcome to At the Edge, a production of McKinsey’s Technology Council.

Richard, thank you so much for joining us today. We’ve heard a lot about this ten-year aspiration for the metaverse to be a place where we all reside and have our identities, and there is a secondary economy that some say will be even bigger than the real-world economy. But business leaders will want to know what this looks like today, and what it will look like over the next few years. Could you start by describing some of the near-term use cases you’re seeing in the market?

Richard Ward: The things that you can do today are really quite interesting. On the VR [virtual reality] end of the spectrum, a lot of heavy industries and even the United States military have discovered that when you need to teach people a new vocational skill, like how to repair a piece of equipment such as a truck or a helicopter, one of the really long parts of that educational process is people learning where all the parts are on the equipment. So a number of organizations have decided to go VR and metaverse first, rather than real-world first.

It used to take 18 weeks to train a new recruit to work on one of these helicopters, but what they do now is hand a new recruit a pair of VR goggles, which in effect gives them their own private helicopter to learn on. They spend several weeks doing very intensive quizzes and simulations—where is the air filter and what order do you put these wires in? And one of the fascinating things that has come out of this is that they’ve been able to shorten their training course from 18 weeks down to ten weeks. This provides a real-world example of how if you need to do something that is very manual or requires you to move around a lot, metaverse tools can be very helpful. That’s one of the key elements of the metaverse: you can move around, you can walk places, you can see things, you can do things.

This technology is very powerful in terms of helping people learn things that are manual or tactile in the hand and that involve muscle memory. Much of the world does this type of work, and to be able to make the training for it more efficient and higher quality is a very exciting story.

Mina Alaghband: Can you give us an example in the financial services industry? What might an application of the metaverse look like today or in the near future?

Richard Ward: Whether you agree with the idea of NFTs—nonfungible tokens—the fact is that they are an asset class, and the financial services arena is starting to bring all of their usual skills and capabilities into this new asset class. There have now been loans that have been collateralized based on the agreed-to value of these NFTs. Similarly, there was a report recently about a firm issuing a mortgage for a virtual real estate deal in one of these digital, proto-metaverse environments.1 That’s essentially a collateralized loan, but still it’s very exciting that these kinds of concepts flow through this new digital setting.

The thing that adds a lot of interest to this is that the use of NFTs involves a lot of foreign exchange activity. So you have money going between, let’s say, US dollars into Ethereum, and then from Ethereum into another [crypto] coin or into other similar kinds of assets that are somewhat semifungible—those are activities that are very familiar to the financial services sector. It’s basically foreign exchange trading and management of risk. We’re still in the very early days, and I would defy anyone to truly be able to tell us about everything that financial services will be able to do five years from now.

Mina Alaghband: If I’m in the industrial sector, what kind of applications might I be seeing today? And are these examples of augmented reality [AR] or VR?

Richard Ward: In field operations, people are starting to use AR for remote assistance provided through a smartphone or a tablet or even a set of fancy glasses with special lenses in them.

The really interesting part about this is when you start using the data generated from this process. For example, you could ask, “What are the things that we’re getting the most remote assistance calls on?” and then flow that information into updating the training program. You could then use that data to update an assessment program to see if people really did learn the things they need to learn, and then potentially see the number of calls for a category of problems go down.  .... "

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