What would it feel like to hold a conference in the metaverse? If you have a Quest 2 virtual reality headset, you can experience one on October 11 when Meta, Facebook’s parent company, holds its day-long Meta Connect conference in an online world.
The conference content itself—mostly for metaverse developers—might not be of interest to meeting professionals. However, exploring how it feels to engage with people and content in a virtual-reality setting could be an intriguing experience, good or bad, for planners curious about the future of online meetings.
The conference is free, starting at 10:00 a.m. PT with a keynote by Meta (and Facebook) founder Mark Zuckerberg, and ending with a 2:30 p.m. PT talk on the future of technology from the chief technology officer at Reality Labs by Meta. While the conference will be streamed like a traditional online meeting, it can also be attended in Horizon World, a free virtual reality environment that Meta has created to expand its social platform. The conference home page is here, with details about attending via a Quest 2 headset in this FAQ.
If this all sounds a little out there, or your understanding of what’s currently going on in Meta’s metaverse could fill a thimble, check out this recent New York Times article called This Is Life in the Metaverse. The author spent dozens of hours in Horizon, reporting on what she found. A fascinating video clip included with the article shows the author’s in-world perspective as she attends a live (real-world) comedy show blended with her VR experience. It’s easy to imagine that rather than a comedy club, she had walked into a training conference or corporate board meeting.
Overall, the description of the fledgling VR world made it feel a bit messy and unpredictable, but also compelling. “Explaining the metaverse through the lens of Horizon feels akin to unpacking the potential of ‘the web’ by surfing AOL chat rooms in the 1990s,” the author wrote. “Meta’s VR social network is an early and singular part of what could become a large technological shift.”