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The Metaverse: The Future Of EHS Training?

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The Metaverse: The Future Of EHS Training?

Although its origins date back to 1992, it is in the last 12 months that we have seen a surge in the hype surrounding the concept of the metaverse. With the Facebook rebrand to Meta and Microsoft launching their own platform called Mesh, it is clear to see where market leaders believe the future lies. But hold your horses – what exactly is the metaverse? This is what industry experts are still trying to understand. Currently, the metaverse is seen as an extensive network of virtual spaces where users can interact with one another, exactly as they would do in person. Various activities on offer include purchasing virtual goods or real estate, playing games, meeting with friends and consuming media. However, the metaverse is not limited to pleasure. Firms across various industries have identified that there is potential to leverage its capabilities for commercial use, and there may lay some applicability for EHS as well.

One of the major use cases that EHS software firms are considering for the metaverse is health and safety training. For too long, training has consisted of endless PowerPoints and videos, where attendees have little engagement and consequently fail to retain lessons learned. Health and safety training in the metaverse will instead provide a more interactive experience by utilizing technology such as digital twins and virtual reality (VR). A study by PwC has shown that VR increases a worker’s knowledge retention and improves their decision-making in the real world. French-based firm Immersive Factory has utilized precursor metaverse technologies to build its own health and safety training platform. By wearing VR headsets, users immerse themselves in a virtual campus with workshops that are dedicated to improving risk awareness. After attending these sessions, workers must complete a series of games to test what they have learnt.

With this technology at hand, users gain a unique experience, where they operate under the same conditions as they would in a real-life environment. Firms in industries with high EHS risk have complex processes that require meaningful experience to achieve proficiency. With this technology, users can gain the necessary experience virtually, boosting both their awareness and confidence before stepping onto a worksite. Ultimately, this reduces the chance of any mistakes occurring, thus improving worker safety.

As major technology firms adjust their vision towards creating a functioning metaverse, should we be certain that they will succeed? After all, the metaverse is still a nascent technology stack, and a concept that requires significant advancements before we see widespread adoption. The next iteration of the internet, developments in extended reality technologies, and improvements to network and connectivity are a few of the necessary requirements for a successful future metaverse in the future.

Although widespread adoption is some time away, firms should start to incorporate the metaverse into their long-term strategy and identify the applicability towards their EHS functions. This ensures that when the technology is ready, they will have the capabilities to implement it seamlessly. Further research will provide insight into where the metaverse is best suited, avoiding channels that may stagnate or hinder organizations’ progression.

To learn more about the Metaverse and its implications for EHS please see our latest research.

Zain Idris

Analyst

Zain is an Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice out of the London office. His current research agenda focuses on, digitising permits to work, and EHS software for occupational health. Prior to working as an analyst, Zain worked as a summer intern at Verdantix, recording major mergers and acquisitions witnessed within each practice. Zain holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Warwick.