Global Cooperation

Global Collaboration Village: This is how the metaverse could impact the real world of work, training and education

two people meet in a virtual world in a story about the metaverse

Global Collaboration Village partners are using the metaverse to create solutions to complex challenges. Image: Accenture

Kelly Ommundsen
Head, Digital Inclusion, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum
Iris Jumbe
Lead, Marketing and Communications, Global Collaboration Village, World Economic Forum
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The Metaverse

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  • The World Economic Forum, in partnership with Accenture and Microsoft, recently convened partners of the Forum’s own metaverse, the Global Collaboration Village.
  • The Global Collaboration Village is a platform in the metaverse that fosters cooperation around solving the world's biggest challenges.
  • Global Collaboration Village partners are using cost-effective and scaleable metaverse solutions for humanitarian training, conservation engagement, healthcare transformation, and education and upskilling.

At a recent Global Collaboration Village partner event, leaders from across various domains shared their perspectives on how the metaverse is transforming the ways they work, and delivering value for the world.

The metaverse – the next version of the internet that is likely to be a far more immersive experience – has the potential to revolutionize everything from humanitarian training to healthcare, and education and upskilling.

Here we explore the real-world impact that partners of the World Economic Forum are already creating through the metaverse.

Empowering humanitarian training and engaging the public

Training a large and diffuse workforce in some of the world’s most remote places can be a massive challenge. While it may be difficult to send expert trainers to all these locations to get up to date on the latest information and skills, the metaverse can help to tackle this issue head on.

To facilitate cost-effective, scalable and engaging training experiences, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) is using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to enhance training programs and disaster response efforts.

VR training has empowered local communities in various locations, providing cost-effective and scalable solutions. Through digital transformation strategies and partnerships with major tech companies, the IFRC develops capabilities for humanitarian programmes, enabling widespread impact.

To better engage the public in conservation efforts, Conservation International (CI) has turned to the metaverse. Since 2016, they’ve used VR to showcase worldwide conservation initiatives, enabling audiences to experience and understand remote benefits.

Drop in the Ocean is an interactive, social virtual-reality experience that immerses you deep in the water.
Drop in the Ocean is an interactive, social virtual-reality experience that immerses you deep in the water. Image: Conservation International

Their storytelling approach, as typified by the Drop in the Ocean campaign – an interactive, social virtual-reality experience that immerses you deep in the water — and directly into the plastic pollution crisis plaguing the world’s oceans – is creating agency, fostering responsibility and inspiring collective action.

CI is already embracing the metaverse's potential for connecting diverse audiences and facilitating global conservation education and engagement.

Transforming healthcare and wellness

A trip to the doctor can often be confusing and overwhelming for patients, particularly when it comes to understanding the intricacies of how the human body works and what modalities we need to prevent and cure illness.

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In India, Apollo Hospitals is using artificial intelligence (AI) and the metaverse, through its ProHealth DeepX programme, to develop personalized cardiac risk scores based on local population data. Through immersive experiences, people gain insights into their cardiac status and become empowered to take proactive measures for heart health.

Education, upskilling and empowering strategy development

Accelerated progress on education and upskilling could add $8.3 trillion to the global economy by 2030 – the metaverse can help.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is among the institutions at the forefront of the reskilling revolution, whose focus is on transforming education, skills and learning to prepare people for tomorrow's economy and society.

NUS is revolutionizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education through My Virtual Lab, a metaverse platform in which students can prepare for real-world lab experiences through virtual reality.

Here, the students undertake risk-free practice of lab procedures to ready them for seamless transition into physical laboratories, equipped with practical skills and confidence.

Also in education, MIT Media Lab, known for its transformative technologies, is broadening global access to top-tier education and research by running a number of metaverse research and academic initiatives.

The Media Lab has federated and distributed metaverse information, connecting users to virtual worlds by incorporating sensor data and video capabilities, since 2008.

The research themes of life with AI and ‘future worlds’ intersect within the metaverse, offering insights into collaborative space operations and AI-generated characters for enhancing education and healthcare.

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At the same time, the European Space Agency (ESA) is exploring the metaverse for solar system exploration, using the technology to provide training and design support. Their projects involve VR and mixed reality for training crews, designing space operations, and simulating conditions. The ESA is collaborating with international agencies and partners, emphasizing outreach and gamified learning to advance space exploration and education.

Reliance, an Indian conglomerate, is taking the complexity out of factory environments by using a digital twin of their factory for employee training. Virtual environments provide immersive learning experiences, resulting in increased engagement and improved skills. Reliance will continue to prioritize upskilling, leveraging the metaverse for collaborative and experiential learning.

Infosys, another Village Partner, is giving clients who are keen to explore and harness the power of the metaverse the chance to do so, through a comprehensive offering called the Metaverse Foundry. The Foundry helps enterprise customers discover use cases, define vision and strategy, create proofs of concept, and scale deployments.

Fostering social connection through inclusive experiences

The pandemic was an extremely challenging and isolating time for many of us, where meaningful opportunities to connect and come together became scarce. The metaverse offers an opportunity to bring people together in a safe, inclusive and even fun way.

Ringier, a global media company, showed how it is addressing the challenge of people not being able to get to live concerts in person. The company is merging live radio and virtual concerts in the metaverse, fostering community and connection.

Their virtual concert featuring pop-rock musician Bastian Baker showcased the metaverse’s power to create personal connections and unique performances. With a commitment to accessibility, Ringier ensures inclusive engagement and unique non-fungible tokens, creating an immersive, inclusive environment.

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Similarly, Heineken demonstrated the metaverse's versatility in providing a much-needed social connection and a lifeline for economic stability. Amid the pandemic, when loneliness surged and small businesses were struggling to survive, Heineken organized Malaysia’s first ever street food festival in the metaverse, with its Tiger Beer brand.

Customers were able to walk 3D streets as their own customized avatar, interacting with others, playing games and visiting vendors, before ordering street food directly to their door, through a partner delivery service.

In this way, the company supported struggling establishments and alleviated loneliness. The festival reached millions worldwide, demystified the metaverse, educated the public, and fostered a dedicated cross-functional team.

Understanding nuclear energy in the metaverse

The word nuclear can sometimes cause concern among the public, but the metaverse offers an opportunity to address misconceptions and promote a better understanding of its potential benefits for a sustainable future.

newcleo, a start-up that sees the metaverse as a platform to help promote future energy and engage the public, talked about progress in developing prototypes of six-metre-high reactors that will help to produce clean nuclear energy at lower costs due to their modular scale. newcleo’s AMR (Advanced Modular Reactors) also have the unique ability to close the fuel cycle by utilizing unused nuclear materials as fuel, which would address both the issue of energy independence and reduce waste concerns.

newcleo believes the metaverse can be a key platform via which to highlight the potential of nuclear energy to contribute to a better world. It is clear that the Global Collaboration Village will offer boundless opportunities for collaboration, learning and innovation in the metaverse.

Discover

How is the World Economic Forum contributing to the metaverse?

Already, the World Economic Forum’s partners have already begun to explore the transformative potential of immersive collaboration to learn, showcase, engage and innovate.

We look forward to sharing more ideas about the transformative power of this new realm, as solutions designed through collaborating in the metaverse continue to translate to real-world impact.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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