Welcome to the metaverse: the virtual future of business?

This week saw the return of thousands of people to their offices in Irish cities and towns, many for the first time in 18 months. But it’s a changed environment, with companies adopting digital technology to introduce a hybrid way of working.

Before the coronavirus shut down the country, the idea that virtual communications could never replace face-to-face meetings was something only a few companies had adopted.

Things may be reopening, but there will be no wholesale return to the office from before. The digital transformation is irreversible, but the future does not lie in endless calls from Zoom or Teams. Rather, it can be a virtual world where your avatar interacts with other people as if they were in person, providing a more effective way to connect to the web.

Welcome to metaverse, a digital world that could soon be a center of business and leisure.

The idea of ​​the metavers has been the subject of several books and movies, from his first appearance in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash to the oasis of Ready Player One, and more.

An Irish company is working hard to make the metaverse for business a reality. VR Education, based in Waterford, has seen its development accelerate in recent months as companies have turned to new technologies to create a better way to collaborate.

VR Education was founded in 2014 by CEO David Whelan and his wife, Sandra, the company’s chief operating officer.

Whelan’s interest in virtual reality was aroused after he supported Oculus ’original Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. As soon as he put on the headset, he knew he wanted to get into virtual reality.

Immersive VR Education, as it was known at the time, began with a 1,000-euro loan from Whelan’s sister in 2014. In 2018, the holding company, which was listed on the London and Dublin stock exchanges, raised £ 6 million.

The original focus of the company was to do virtual reality experiences that would take viewers on Apollo missions or allow them to explore the Titanic. But soon the company helped build the Engage platform, offering educators a better and more immersive educational experience.

“It’s kind of a journey towards new people when they get it,” he said.

Good for business

For VR Education, the pandemic has been a boon for businesses. The company had planned a more gradual adoption of Engage until the coronavirus outbreak shut down companies around the world.

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