S&T Live Recap: Have You Visited the Metaverse Yet?

With the metaverse, we can “start to create a truly immersive environment in … a three-dimensional, virtual reality experience,” Mike Neumeier, APR, said.

Neumeier, CEO of Arketi Group, a digital marketing and PR firm in Atlanta, was the guest speaker on the Aug. 25 episode of S&T Live, PRSA’s monthly livestream on LinkedIn that takes readers of Strategies & Tactics deeper into the stories they find in the paper. Neumeier’s article “Experiencing the Metaverse” was the cover story for the August issue. He spoke with John Elsasser, editor-in-chief of the award-winning publication and host of S&T Live.

While still in its early, experimental phases, the metaverse represents the next version of the internet and how we will use it and interact within it, Neumeier said. In the metaverse, people wearing virtual reality goggles visit digital representations of rooms and spaces, using avatars as their virtual bodies.

A new communications channel

Elsasser asked about a recent meeting with communications executives that Neumeier had held in the metaverse.

“We felt it was important for our business-to-business technology clients to be introduced to what it is — to get in it, to experience it, so they could start to think about how they might use or they might not use this new communications channel,” Neumeier said.

Accessing the metaverse is not as complicated as it sounds, he said. Neumeier’s company uses a platform called Horizon Workrooms, a virtual meeting space from Meta, currently in its beta version. He called Horizon Workrooms “an easy tool.” For his firm’s next metaverse event, Neumeier said they would use Microsoft’s Altspace VR platform.

About 50 percent of millennials and members of Generation Z, the two youngest cohorts in the workplace today, are already experiencing metaverse tools, said Neumeier, citing results of a March survey by Morning Consult. Those figures suggest that a business case exists to start using metaverse technology, he said.

What communicators should know about the metaverse

“Number one, just experience it,” Neumeier said. Doing so “starts to open up ideas.”

Keep in mind that virtual reality goggles, at least in their current iteration, are bulky, heavy and uncomfortable when worn for more than an hour, he said. But large consulting firms are buying the headsets by the thousands to use for employee onboarding, training and early engagement.

Through the metaverse, a company “can bring a team together, from India, from Japan, from the United States, from Brazil, without putting them on planes and flying them somewhere — and start building genuine relationships,” Neumeier said. “There are cost savings all around, there are time savings all around, and there’s also, just straight-up sexiness, using a really cool technology.”

The metaverse might seem far away or strange right now, but “I really encourage people to dip their toe in it, even if they don’t like it or see a value for it yet,” Neumeier said. “Trying it gets you ahead of 99 percent of your coworkers and colleagues. If you wait a year or two to start formulating a metaverse strategy, it might be too late.”

You can watch the playback via this link.

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