A new study commissioned by Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) has uncovered just how ready business professionals are to collaborate in the virtual world. Ninety-six percent of the U.S. business professionals surveyed recognize the value of virtual versus face-to-face meetings. Yet, it is clear that workers want richer virtual experiences with more than three-quarters (79%) saying they would conduct work meetings and tasks in the metaverse instead of via current video conferencing tools.
Sixty-eight percent of U.S. survey respondents can see the metaverse becoming part of existing work practices, and more than half (58%) think their business will move away from static collaboration environments to more immersive/virtual reality-based platforms in the next three years. Additionally, 88% of U.S. workers would feel comfortable conducting formal, HR-type meetings in a virtual space.
When asked how they would want to be represented in the metaverse, 71% of U.S. respondents would choose an avatar that doesn’t reflect their real-world self. Participants aged 25 to 34 were least likely to authentically represent themselves in digital form, while women were slightly more likely than men (34% vs. 22%) to use an avatar that closely resembled their true selves. More than one in five Americans would represent themselves as a pop culture figure or an animal in work meetings, instead of an avatar based on their real-world self.
Despite a growing appetite to utilize more immersive virtual platforms at work, unreliable network performance and associated costs were cited as the top concerns holding organizations back from doing so.
Many businesses have pushed forward their digital innovation plans during the past couple of years, and workers’ confidence in the hybrid work environment is clear amongst respondents. Despite often being touted as a consumer-centric tool, U.S. respondents said they would use enhanced reality or metaverse tools for work (48%) more so than for socializing (46%) or gaming (38%).
“U.S. businesses are clearly ready to move to the metaverse and begin using enhanced reality platforms for work,” commented Steve Alexander, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Ciena. “Whether you’re one of the U.S. pros who would prefer to attend a meeting selecting their avatar to resemble a pop culture icon, or you just want a richer environment to collaborate with colleagues, your network needs to be able to support the workplace of tomorrow, today.”
Alexander added: “There is growing momentum in the U.S. to improve our digital infrastructure and connect everyone across the country so that network performance can’t be seen as a barrier to innovation. Service providers are already hard at work testing and installing upgrades to make networks faster and smarter, so they can handle the low-latency and bandwidth demands of these emerging digital worlds.”