Davos Klosters in Switzerland has been the destination for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting since 1974. However, the forum's new foray into the metaverse will open up options for how its members convene.
The WEF is working with Accenture and Microsoft to build a metaverse platform as a new meeting ground for the public-private co-operation that is at the core of its mission and for solutions-building on an international scale, the organisation said on Monday.
A proof-of-concept of the experience and functionality is being shown at the annual meeting that is currently under way.
The new platform is “an extension” of the international organisation and it will be “a more open, more sustained and more comprehensive process for coming together”, said WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab.
He predicted that the advent of the metaverse is set to influence how companies and governments “think, work, interact and communicate”.
The metaverse is the next evolution of the internet, blending social networks using real-time 3D software with virtual and augmented realities. It presents a massive opportunity to bring people together.
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Roblox, for example, one of the most popular online games in the metaverse, attracts about 43 million users a day.
Interest in metaverse technology grew significantly during the coronavirus pandemic amid growing demand for more immersive ways of interacting online.
Bloomberg Intelligence reported that online game makers, social networks and other big technology players are jumping in to capture part of the market opportunity worth about $800 billion.
The annual meeting of WEF is under way against the most complex geopolitical and economic backdrop in decades, Borge Brende, the forum’s president, said last week.
He highlighted the war in Ukraine, the climate emergency, a weakening outlook for global economic growth, a food crisis, rising inflation and an uncertain recovery from the pandemic.
Meanwhile, a new legion of protesters have gathered outside of the meeting in Davos: a group of millionaires demanding that world leaders attending the conference “tax us now” to address a widening gap among the world's richest and the rest.
Such a scenario may be played out in the WEF's metaverse, called the Global Collaboration Village, which will simulate alternative futures and provide immersive experiences to build a better understanding of global challenges.
The WEF also announced a new initiative to define and build the metaverse, which convenes 60 companies from the technology sector and other industries, alongside experts from governments, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of policy frameworks for the metaverse and strengthen economic opportunities.