Legal Meetings in the Metaverse
I was expecting that I would need to install some kind of software to attend the meeting and prepared to enter into a long battle with IT in order to bring this to life, but it turned out I need not have worried. A few days prior to the meeting, the Dot team shared a link and clarified that everything would happen via my browser. For this meeting we used www.spatial.io.
I clicked the link and decided to set up my profile in advance, again expecting a lengthy process, and whilst it wasn’t as simple as signing into Teams, the process only took a couple of minutes, and I was invited to choose from a selection of pre-defined avatars or create my own using a picture.
Now in the swing of things, I opted for the latter and uploaded my corporate headshot to get the ball rolling. Within a few moments my avatar appeared; my picture having been twisted and contorted into a 3D head atop a body dressed in uncharacteristically trendy clothes. Ready to go!
At the time of the meeting, the link brought me into the Dot office where Antti and Rojda from Dot were waiting. Well their digital representations were at least.
The Dot metaverse office floats like an airship high in the digital sky and boasts panoramic views of snowy mountain ranges from its wraparound balcony. Inside it has informal seating and breakout areas, and the classic corporate boardroom table and chairs.
We chatted whilst I got to grips with how to control my avatar, beyond making it perform a little dance, and then Antti showed us around the various aspects of the office. He also took us through portals to other rooms including a place that could be used to hold seminars for multiple guests, and even an enormous room that was his own take on a courtroom. After the tour, we navigated our avatars back to the main meeting area and started our meeting.
Broadly speaking, the meeting itself was very similar to any other virtual meeting I have attended via Zoom or Teams. We were able to turn our cameras on and see our real faces floating above our avatars as we chatted, and we were able to use a chat function to share written information. The only real point of difference was the third person view of the avatar and the ability to move/look around at the office space.
It looked and felt a little bit like playing ‘Grand Theft Auto’ but with the relatively tame mission of chatting about legal matters. Initially the surroundings were quite distracting, but very quickly attention turned to the discussion, and I didn’t really notice them anymore. I should note that I suspect things may have felt a little more ‘real’ if I was using a VR headset, like Antti, to get a 1st person view of the experience.
I didn’t hate it. I really expected to hate it, but I actually enjoyed myself.
I think part of it was the novelty of the experience and my friendly hosts, but also as someone who has grown up playing video games it all felt very familiar.
Is this the new future of virtual meetings? I don’t think so. However, could this be a viable virtual meeting option? Absolutely! It struck me that, in place of enormous virtual meetings or virtual socials taking place via Zoom or Teams, hosting a meeting in the metaverse could be far more engaging and allow for much more creativity. It could also be a better way to deliver virtual classroom type seminars or training sessions.
I’d definitely recommend giving it a go rather than dismissing it out hand as I did. You might find that there’s a meeting type or occasion where this could really work for you.
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