What is the metaverse and what are the benefits?

What is the metaverse and what are the benefits?

What is the metaverse and is it the best place to train and upskill the workforce? The metaverse might seem unfamiliar, but it has the potential to provide a positive impact on business operations.

Maybe you’re familiar with what the metaverse is, or maybe it’s a completely new concept to you… fear not, this blog will help you get to grips with what the metaverse is by covering:

  • Exactly what the metaverse is and its evolution so far
  • What the future of the metaverse looks like
  • How people are using and benefitting from the metaverse
  • Any potential risks of the metaverse
  • Are AI and the metaverse the same? How do they work together
  • How Luminous are creating our stamp in the metaverse

So, what exactly is the metaverse?

Whilst the metaverse is still evolving, by definition, the metaverse is a virtual reality space where you can interact with a computer-generated environment to experience and interact with places, objects and other people. You can enter the metaverse using a VR headset, a computer, a smartphone or a games console, but a VR headset provides the most immersive experience.

The metaverse can be something different to everyone. For some, it’s a space to connect and play with friends globally, as if you were in the same room. Travel lovers can experience and explore new places, and those who enjoy shopping can experience their favourite brands in the metaverse.

But what about the impact the metaverse will have on businesses? 95% of business leaders expect the metaverse to have a positive impact on their industry within 5-10 years, with many diving into the metaverse for meetings, learning and development and benefitting from digital twins. But how has the metaverse come about? Let’s take a brief history tour…

A brief history of the metaverse

The term ‘metaverse’ first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, as a virtual place where characters go to escape their totalitarian reality.

Luminous Group was born in 2004, and we initially specialised in 3D mapping and digitizing complex environments, aware of the value of visualising real-world locations. We later began investigating ways to use 3D models in ways that could benefit businesses, but more on that later…

The theme of immersive escape in literature continues later in 2011 when Ernest Cline released the book Ready Player One (now a successful Spielberg title) where people used immersive worlds to escape their reality, released just after the first prototype for the Oculus Rift VR headset was created in 2010.

As the years follow, we begin to see life imitate art and the metaverse becomes more of a reality we begin to see the creation of devices and applications that can transport us to immersive, virtual spaces. Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014 for $2 billion whilst Sony and Samsung announced they are both creating their own virtual reality headsets, along with the release of Google Cardboard and Google Glass.

In 2016 the Microsoft HoloLens enabled us to experience mixed reality experiences, where digital overlays are added to our real-world environment and Ikea’s Place app enabled us to try before we buy and see what furniture looks like in our home.

In 2021, Facebook rebranded to Meta – with a clear focus of shaping the future of the metaverse. In 2022, Siemens and Nvidia together, working towards building the industrial metaverse to help solve real-world problems for businesses.

In 2024, Apple launched the Vision Pro with a focus on the term Spatial Computing, rather than the Metaverse.

And that brings us to the present day where initiatives in the metaverse are showing no sign of slowing down, Gartner estimates that by 2026 as many as 25% of adults will spend at least an hour each day in the metaverse for their job, shopping, online education, entertainment, or a combination of all these activities and by 2030 the metaverse market is set to rise to $936.6 billion.

📚 Recommended Reading: Not sure about the difference between AR, MR and VR? This blog explains the difference between the extended reality terms.

What are the benefits of the metaverse?

Whilst the metaverse will encourage a new way of connecting and socialising, it’s main power and potential comes from the way it will benefit industries and businesses that form the backbone of our economies and communities.

The metaverse can bring profound changes to these sectors, having a real-world impact, such as:

  • Onboarding and training employees faster and improving their confidence before heading out onto the job
  • Keeping up the growing skills demand in technical based industries
  • Allow staff to collaborate from anywhere in the world
  • Build physical products from virtual designs and digital assets from physical projects
  • Redefine workspaces and enhance remote collaboration

Who will benefit from the metaverse?

The metaverse has benefits to all groups in society from individuals to entire companies…

  • Educational Institutions: There’s no denying the metaverse makes learning fun, which is why it’s a great choice for educational institutions, providing engaging and interactive learning experiences that make subjects easy to understand, and help users retain knowledge.
  • Individuals Users: From providing new places to connect and build communities, the metaverse provides spaces for friends, families and like-minded individuals to participate in events, share interests and have social experiences like nothing seen before. The possibilities are endless, from attending virtual concerts, visiting art galleries and having immersive video game experiences. It gives people the chance to explore new worlds and engage in interactive storytelling.
  • Businesses & Industry: Through virtual collaboration and office spaces, businesses can benefit from real-time interaction and engaging meeting styles that foster innovation. Being able to connect from anywhere but be transported to a completely different environment means that the metaverse is great for employee training and development, individually and in groups. Learning and practicing skills in virtual reality is perfect for creating safe spaces to build and practice skills, especially for those working in industrial industries like construction, manufacturing and energy where training is essential for preventing fatalities.

Whilst everyone can experience and enjoy the metaverse, it’s businesses who can experience the biggest benefits by embracing the metaverse, or more specifically the industrial metaverse.

What is the industrial metaverse?

The industrial metaverse is aimed at businesses and is a virtual simulation of factories, plants, transport networks, machines and other complex systems. These systems are created and mirrored in the virtual world. But why do we need replicas of our real-world reality, virtually?

What are the benefits of the industrial metaverse?

Improving Production Capabilities

Businesses can optimize production processes through process simulation in virtual environments, optimize factory layouts, monitor the quality of assets using AR and VR, as well as monitor and maintain equipment and products virtually helping to reduce costs and create higher throughput.

Transforming Employee Training

We previously mentioned the benefits businesses can get from offering training and development to employees in the metaverse. This would be part of the industrial metaverse, as employees would train in the virtual version of their work environment. Employees can benefit from engaging, immersive on-the-job training where they can build skills virtually, explore and familiarise themselves with plant and factory environments as part of onboarding processes and show potential hires what their role might entail.

Being able to learn and develop skills in the metaverse is key for improved employee retention and engagement as well as reducing training costs. PWC found that VR learners were 3.75x more connected to content than classroom learners and 275% more confident to apply skills learned after training.

From our experience, we know that VR training is perfectly suited to high-risk situations, or situations where shutting down factories or plants would be incredibly costly. We worked with Kaefer to create a range of safety training modules in the metaverse for virtual reality, so employees could practice and perfect skills and procedures safely, check out the video here.

Optimizing the Supply Chain

Inventory management can be optimized through real-time tracking in virtual environments as well as collaborating with suppliers in real-time virtual environments, helping improve supply chain performance and reduce costs.

Improving the Customer Experience

Improve the customer experience by showing them virtual product demonstrations, interactive user manuals, virtual showrooms and trade shows in a virtual environment as well as offering remote technical assistance, maintenance services and helping with troubleshooting which helps to not only reduce costs, but increase revenue.

Are there any risks in the metaverse?

As exciting and innovative as the metaverse is, there are naturally concerns about its potential risks and challenges. So, what are the risks in the metaverse and how can we mitigate them?

Privacy & Security

The Risks

The metaverse, like the internet, will collect a vast amount of data such as personal, behavioural and biometric information which can raise privacy issues if data falls into the wrong hands and is not protected properly.

The Solutions

  • Robust data protection measures such as strong encryption protocols and consistently updating security measures to counteract emerging threats
  • Strict privacy policies that outline how data is collected, used and protected
  • Compliance with regulations such as GDPR and CCPA with regular audits

Cybersecurity Threats

The Risks

The more integrated our immersive and digital experiences become, the more susceptible digital spaces like the metaverse become to cyber security threats which could include hacking, identity theft and fraud.

The Solutions

  • Security protocols like secure authentication and AI driven security systems to detect and prevent threats.
  • Conducting regular security assessments and vulnerability testing to identify and address security gaps
  • Provide necessary cybersecurity training for users to ensure they’re aware of best practices surrounding personal information and potential threats

Digital Addiction

The Risks

Because the metaverse is so immersive, for some it has the potential to become addictive to the point where users may spend excessive amounts of time in virtual environments which could lead to negative impact on health and wellbeing.

The Solutions

  • For organisations utilising virtual reality training programmes, having programmes in line with best practices for the amount of time spent in virtual reality is crucial, as well as using virtual reality in conjunction with classroom and theory-based learning.
  • Having support resources that are accessible to users is useful for offering help if users feel overwhelmed in the metaverse

Economic Factors

The Risks

Purchasing hardware and devices to enter the metaverse can be costly, but as hardware and technology becomes more available and user-friendly, this ensures the metaverse can become accessible to all.

The Solutions

  • If businesses offer tiered pricing models, this can make XR training more accessible to a wider audience. Here at Luminous we offer Foundation and Enhanced options when building modules, to suit different budgets and training needs. Check out our solutions and services, with various pricing options here.
  • Organisations can develop training programmes that are available of a variety of devices available to purchase at a range of price points so that VR training is accessible to all.

Are AI and the metaverse the same? How do they work together?

AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the metaverse are distinct yet complementary technologies. They are not the same, but they can work together to create more advanced and interactive virtual experiences.

What’s the difference between AI and the metaverse?

Artificial Intelligence

AI involves the development of systems that can perform tasks typically requiring human intelligence, such as learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and natural language processing. AI is a tool used by humans that can help us perform and automate tasks as well as analyze data to help us make informed and beneficial decisions.


The metaverse is a virtual space that people can enter using specific devices like a computer, games console or a virtual reality headset. The metaverse enables people to socialize, learn, collaborate and play.

How can AI and the metaverse work together?

  • Enhanced Interactions: AI can help provide enhanced interactions in the metaverse by providing users with responsive information about their surroundings, enhancing the user experience.
  • Personalization: AI algorithms can analyze user behaviour and preferences to create personalized experiences, from tailored content and recommendations to customized virtual environments.
  • Automation: AI can automate various processes within the metaverse, such as content generation, moderation, and customer service, making virtual worlds more dynamic and self-sustaining.
  • Data Analysis: AI can process and analyze the vast amounts of data generated within the metaverse, providing insights and optimizing performance for businesses and users alike.

If you’re interested how AI and XR can work together, we trained a machine learning algorithm using AI to assist users with equipment assembly processes for the HoloLens 2 using graphic overlays.

How are we creating our stamp in the metaverse?

At Luminous, we believe in the power of learning by doing and recognize the transformative potential of the metaverse in creating a safe space where people can build skills individually and collaboratively. How are we putting our stamp on the metaverse?

Luminous XR create the virtual version of your workplace in the metaverse

Imagine being able to step into your factory, plant or work environment virtually and wander round, from wherever you are in the world. At Luminous, we meticulously design virtual replicas of your real-world work environment, meaning employees can familiarise themselves with workspaces, undergo safety training and build practical skills virtually.

This approach to learning and development means your workforce can practice and hone their skills in an environment that closely mirrors their actual workplace, building muscle memory and leading to a smoother transition from training to real-world application.

By creating bespoke virtual workspaces, we help business save money by limiting travel costs and site closures for training. Safety training is powerful when done in virtual reality, when we think of safety training, it’s hard to replicate a dangerous situation and know how to act in that moment – but with virtual reality, employees can experience a particular situation and practice the correct course of action.

Luminous XR solutions are innovative and provide a safe, risk-free space to learn which can be personalised to your workforce

Innovation is at the heart of what we do, and we create our immersive training programs using the best technology and talent to create dynamic, interactive learning experiences relevant to employees’ specific job roles.

These virtual scenarios allow employees to tackle complex tasks and challenges without the fear of real-world repercussions. Whether it’s high-stakes emergencies or working on intricate complex machinery, our solutions provide a risk-free environment where employees can make mistakes, learn from them, and build confidence.

And the best part, employees can learn from wherever they are in the world, and in their preferred language.

Want to discover more VR training in the workplace? Check out our VR training benefits blog.

Luminous XR enable workforces to collaborate globally with ease

For global organisations, the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively across geographical boundaries is so important for aligning and uniting your workforce.

Luminous leverages the metaverse to connect employees, creating virtual collaboration spaces where teams from around the world can come together as if they were in the same room.

With multi-player functionality in our learning modules, environments are designed to facilitate trainers teaching a class of trainees on specific procedures and processes. By enabling real-time collaboration and communication, we help businesses to harness the full potential of their global workforce, driving innovation and productivity while enhancing employee engagement and satisfaction. Check out multiuser in action right here.,.

Want to learn more about the metaverse?

The metaverse is still being shaped and evolving as more people begin to create their own solutions and put their stamp on the metaverse. If you’re interested in learning about the industrial metaverse, how the metaverse works for training and development and if you can see your business entering the metaverse, get in touch with us with any questions you might have.

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