Just as businesses are starting to find their groove with hybrid working, the workplace has begun to evolve again with a new buzzword – the metaverse. New research from Lenovo reveals that close to half of employees (44%) are willing to work in the metaverse and believe that it can deliver benefits like productivity to the workplace. However, there is skepticism on whether companies have the capabilities to pull it off. Two in five (43%) respondents believe their employers do not, or probably do not have the knowledge or expertise to enable them to work in the metaverse of the future. The metaverse is primarily defined as a shared digital space with digital representations of people, places, and objects. In the future, the metaverse can be a highly immersive extension of the physical world, with its rich user interface. At the enterprise level, this opens up possibilities for businesses to create a more viable, interactive workplace. It is expected to take shape over the next decade with technologies such as AR, VR, IoT, 5G, blockchain, and cloud computing coming together and interacting with one another. A few companies are already contributing to the emergence of this virtual space, and they’re big and small and varied in what they do. Tech giants such as Facebook (now Meta) and Microsoft are pumping money into various aspects of the metaverse, starting from AR/VR headsets to communication platforms and several others are following suit. Last month, Lenovo too has come up with its solutions including the ThinkReality platform, which is powering the enterprise metaverse with a portfolio of award-winning hardware, software, and services. The company’s Everything-as-a-Service offerings include immersive virtual reality and augment reality solutions that can power the next phase of hybrid work and education. To manage an increasingly complex technology, businesses need simple and flexible IT solutions, believes the company. “The pandemic challenged us all to adapt to new ways of work – forcing organizations of all sizes to evolve at an exponential pace. The metaverse presents businesses with new opportunities but also more complex technological challenges, such as the need for more computing power, better-integrated hardware, and simpler and more flexible IT solutions,” said Ken Wong, President, Lenovo Solutions and Services Group. One of the key findings from the survey includes that while half of the employees (44%) are willing to work in the metaverse, 20% are unwilling, with 21% saying they are neutral and another 15% saying they are not sure. Half of working adults (51%) agree that an employer’s speed of adoption of new technology is an indicator of readiness for new technological realities, such as the virtually enhanced physical reality of the metaverse. Professionals in Brazil (53%), Singapore (51%), and China (54%) are split evenly, with around half confident that their employers have the expertise to enable a metaverse workplace, and the other half less confident. Conversely, working adults in the United Kingdom (30%) and Japan (18%) are less optimistic. While 44% think the metaverse will improve their work productivity, three in five (59%) do not think or are not sure that their employers are currently investing enough in IT to help them maximize their productivity. The momentum behind the ‘metaverse’ is growing because major technology companies are sharing a converging vision of the future of the technology and its impact. Lenovo is essentially talking about the future state of the tech industry and expectations for future human behavior. “Here in India, there is enormous potential in the metaverse for both individuals and enterprises. But they require a large portfolio of reliable, secure, and scalable solutions from trusted global technology partners, from mobile computing and display technologies to edge and data center solutions. Lenovo’s everything-as-a-service offerings can help organizations unleash their full potential.” Shailendra Katyal, Managing Director, Lenovo PCSD India and Site Leader, Lenovo India. With cloud becoming omnipresent, the as-a-Service market is growing at four times the overall IT services total addressable market. As-a-Service solution provides mission-critical support and services, enabling businesses to use technology to scale quickly, lower costs, and reap greater efficiencies. With its flexible and transparent offerings, Lenovo has helped organizations from the education to aerospace sectors optimize the right technology with the potential to transform and future-proof their operations. Metaverse can transform sectors such as customer support and experience, sales and advertising, training, engineering as well as events and conferences. While the exact impact on businesses will take some time to develop, with more companies playing an active role in the metaverse space, it is time organizations should be evaluating this exciting space.