15th Jun 2022
- The push for hybrid work environments is rapidly intensifying, with 90% of employees feeling more productive when working remotely
- Microsoft, Meta, and Nvidia find themselves at the forefront of virtual workspace development
- In order to develop and operate such Metaverse-based solutions, a stable 5G network connection is essential
Since pandemic-induced lockdowns forced workers across the globe to adapt to remote working conditions, remote and hybrid work environments have surged in popularity. While employees value the social connections they establish with coworkers, they also acknowledge the increased productivity and convenience that comes with working from home. As a result, there is a need for companies to adapt to a hybrid work environment.
Using the power of 5G and the Metaverse (a fully-connected digital universe), companies will have the potential to unlock new remote working possibilities that ensure both employee satisfaction and business productivity.
In its State of Remote Work 2021 Report, Owl Labs determined that 84% of employees are happier working from home than at the physical office. What’s more, 90% of respondents claimed that they are as productive or more when working from home.1 PwC’s US Remote Work Survey found that employers largely agree with this sentiment, with 83% of respondents claiming that remote work has had a positive impact on business performance.2
While remote working has exhibited its benefits, employees do express an interest in maintaining social ties with their coworkers, at least on occasion. Google Workspace and Economist Impact determined in their hybrid work survey that 54% of employees feel that limited social interactions with co-workers negatively affects their mental health.3 In PwC’s survey, while most employees advocated for regular remote work, only 29% are willing to work remotely full-time.4
Clearly, a hybrid work environment is needed, whereby employees are able to receive remote working opportunities while still enjoying social interactions. Thanks to 5G and the metaverse, the creation of a virtual office environment that ensures this balance may be finally achievable.
The Metaverse is the collection of virtual reality worlds that are being developed as a means of enhancing our physical reality.
Enhanced by AR, VR, and 3D technology, the Metaverse is an ideal platform for building a remote working environment whereby coworkers can congregate at virtual office spaces and even participate in social activities from the comfort of their own homes. Some possible applications of the Metaverse may include eating with fellow employees in a virtual lunchroom and even attending virtual happy hours once the workday is complete.5
While the Metaverse presents a prime opportunity to create a digital hybrid work environment, it can only operate seamlessly over a network that possesses the speed and latency to enable the transfer of significantly large volumes of data across cloud servers and devices. 5G is the first network with the capacity to handle this challenge.6
Compared to 4G’s average speed of 30 Mbps, 5G is able to achieve speeds ranging from 60 Mbps to 1 Gbps. In addition, 4G’s latency of 30–70 ms (milliseconds, which is one thousandth (.001) of a second) is outpaced by 5G’s latency of 5–20 ms, which ensures that the newer technology is more responsive to more demanding activities such as video calls, gaming, and VR and AR simulations.7
Considering that these are the types of tasks that will be performed in the Metaverse, 5G has emerged as the network that is required to make virtual office spaces a reality. By tapping into their 5G capabilities, several leading 5G network companies are bringing the Metaverse one step closer to reality.
One of the top 5G stocks that is accelerating the development of the Metaverse is telecommunications giant Verizon. The company recently utilized its 5G networks to launch an augmented reality treasure hunt called H1DD3N, which took place in geofenced areas in the cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Seattle.
Verizon instructed participants to search for QR codes that had been hidden throughout these areas. Upon scanning the codes with their smartphone cameras, participants would be able to see digital imagery which included characters that would interact with real-world objects.
If you’re deciding whether or not to invest in 5G, another one of the potentially top 5g companies to invest in is Telecommunications provider T-Mobile. It has teamed up with semiconductor company Qualcomm Technologies to develop immersive metaverse experiences for consumers.
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Spaces XR development platform will be used to develop AR glasses that will act as smartphone companions. The project will be supported by the new T-Mobile Accelerator program, which will collaborate with tech developers and startups to develop a range of interactive experiences for the glasses. These developments are expected to arrive in Spring 2022.8
With the synergy between 5G technology and the Metaverse set in motion, how will these technologies change the way we work?
As the best 5G stocks work to expand the reach of 5G networks, an array of 5G-supported Metaverse developments for the workplace are in the works.
Teamflow, a startup that creates virtual office spaces, has raised $35 million in its efforts to create a collaborative virtual environment.9 On Teamflow’s platform, users appear as bubbles that can move around between different rooms.
Users have the option of entering private rooms for meetings that cannot be overheard, writing on virtual whiteboards, and participating in conferences. To add a drop of realism into the mix, the volume at which you are able to hear co-workers speak depends on how close your bubble is to theirs.
Graphics processing unit manufacturer Nvidia is working on a metaverse-infrastructure project called Omniverse. Through true-to-reality simulation, this 3D platform enables users to collaborate in the real-time construction of physical objects and materials.10 Applications for this technology stretch across industries such as architecture, engineering, manufacturing, game development, and fashion.
At the forefront of this workplace revolution is Meta, formerly the Facebook company. In August 2021, Meta released a virtual office experience called Horizon Workrooms, which is available for use on the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset.11 This platform is effectively a virtual meeting room that you can enter either via VR with an avatar or by dialing in from your computer via video call.
Once immersed in the virtual meeting room, you’ll have the ability to sit at the meeting table and use your keyboard just as you would in real life. Alternatively, you and your colleagues can make use of the virtual whiteboard or simply use the space for casual discussions.
In addition to the avatars, the platform also makes use of spatial sound to make users feel as if they are personally present in the virtual space. Furthermore, users are able to share meeting notes and files as well as integrate their calendars.
While other innovations are aimed at transporting coworkers to a virtual workspace, Microsoft is bringing the Metaverse to us. Through its augmented and mixed reality Mesh platform, Microsoft is introducing cartoon avatars that team members can use to represent themselves on Microsoft Teams video calls.12
The company is also replacing the grid view offered by standard video conferencing software with immersive metaverse virtual meeting spaces, whereby avatars will interact as if coworkers were physically present in one space.
As the push towards collaboration in virtual workspaces fuels the growth of the metaverse, the role that 5G plays in supporting this technology becomes increasingly important. This movement could prove to be a source of closure for investors who are still unsure about investing in 5G stocks. Should you still be reticent to pick your own individual 5g companies stock, you might consider a 5G ETF such as that offered by Defiance ETFs. FIVG provides diverse yet targeted exposure to the ecosphere of companies tied to the development of the 5G rollout.
2 “It’s time to reimagine where and how work will get done — PwC’s US Remote Work Survey”, 12 January 2021, https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html
3 “Insights from our global hybrid work survey”, 15 November 2021, https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/workspace/insights-from-our-global-hybrid-work-survey
4 “It’s time to reimagine where and how work will get done — PwC’s US Remote Work Survey”, 12 January 2021, https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/covid-19/us-remote-work-survey.html
5 “Time to Brush up your Avatar – Working From Home with xR & 5G in the Metaverse”, 17 June 2021, https://about.att.com/innovationblog/2021/work_from_home_metaverse.html
6 “The Metaverse is coming — it just needed 5G”, 18 November 2020, https://www.verizon.com/about/news/5g-makes-metaverse-real
7 “4G vs. 5G: What’s the Difference?”, 11 November 2021, https://www.highspeedinternet.com/resources/4g-vs-5g
8 “T-Mobile 5G to boost AR glasses, help Qualcomm bring the metaverse to life”, 10 November 2021, https://www.androidcentral.com/t-mobile-5g-will-power-ar-glasses-tech-snapdragon-spaces-xr-developer-platform
9 “Virtual Office Startup Teamflow Raises $35 Million To Bring Informal Collaboration To Hybrid Work”, 26 July 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccaszkutak/2021/07/26/virtual-office-startup-teamflow-raises-35-million-to-bring-informal-collaboration-to-hybrid-work/?sh=5bacb2ac3b9e
11 “Introducing Horizon Workrooms: Remote Collaboration Reimagined”, 19 August 2021, https://about.fb.com/news/2021/08/introducing-horizon-workrooms-remote-collaboration-reimagined/
12 “Microsoft is adding cartoony avatars to Teams video chats”, 02 November 2021, https://www.protocol.com/bulletins/microsoft-mesh-teams-avatars-metaverse