In his 2021 year-end blog, Bill Gates predicted that within the next few years most virtual meetings will move from cameras to what he called “the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars.”
According to Gates, the idea of the metaverse is that you, as your avatar will meet with people in a virtual space in order to replicate being in an actual room with them. VR goggles will be required , Gates added, to help duplicate your body language and expressions.
And while Gates said this could be the future for remote office meetings, some are guessing this could also be the future of larger seminars, expos, and conferences.
A recent Forbes article explained that the metaverse has “the potential to take these experiences to the next level.”
According to the same Forbes article, the advantages of the metaverse are substantial. With so many events turning virtual, the metaverse “could deliver a highly interactive experience where people can move freely and participate in two-way dialogues without needing to leave their homes. In fact, the metaverse’s ability to transcend location and even languages is one reason it’s so exciting. No longer will people need to travel great distances to gather.”
In addition, the metaverse expands accessibility.
“If done correctly, the metaverse could allow people from around the globe to come together in one space (albeit online) in ways that were previously unobtainable or prohibitively costly. Travel budgets would be a thing of the past,” the Forbes article explains.
But there are also downsides to the metaverse, including the potential of the technology becoming a passing fad, security, and user access (e.g. when will everyone have access to VR goggles, as they do laptops?)
It’s hard to hypothesize what will happen in the next few years, but there is a big possibility that virtual meetings and conferences will continue to evolve to become bigger and better, as Gates predicts.