Into the Metaverse: Exploring the Future of Remote Work & Product Development

Written by Jon Thai, Co-Founder & Principal Designer of Hatch Duo
Edited by Erielle Tolentino

Exciting News To Close Out the Year

As we prepare to officially reach the third year of the pandemic, our team continues to address the “new normal” in remote work. Of course, if you’ve been following along with us, you know we embrace remote work; in fact, we’ve always valued prioritizing time for design work rather than commuting to the studio. But the fact remains: sometimes we crave and miss the opportunity to interact or collaborate in person. 

While we’ve navigated through COVID-safe activities the past two years, we also became increasingly aware of the metaverse and shift in virtual reality technologies. Being a creative design team, we thought, “How might we address the future of remote work in the years to come?” When we continued to explore the metaverse and experienced its endless possibilities, the question soon became, “How can we enhance our current design process for clients and staff, and expand culturally, socially, and economically as a whole?”

For those unfamiliar with the metaverse, it combines elements from physical, virtual, and augmented reality through a shared online space. Humans can interact socially and economically with personalized avatars in a digital/cyberspace environment. Soon enough, we saw an opportunity here. Not only would a digital office space enhance collaboration, but there would be possibilities to open our company to the NFT collectible space, virtual real estate, virtual product design, and virtual client and team interaction.

With this in mind, we are excited to announce the Hatch Duo Meta Studio, available for visitation in the new year!

Why the Metaverse?

Initially, the metaverse gained popularity through entertainment or social purposes, but it won’t be too long until we coexist professionally in cyberspace. You may have seen glimpses of this digital universe in action in games such as Fortnite (Ariana Grande’s Rift Tour and virtual concerts), Roblox (teamed up with Vans to create a virtual skating park with exclusive gear), and Minecraft. Additionally, announcements such as Facebook rebranding to Meta and introduction of Facebook Horizons, Nike acquiring RTFKT (a virtual shoe company that makes NFTs and virtual sneakers), and Bill Gates predicting most meetings will move to the metaverse within three years have taken the world by storm. A recent report from Bloomberg Intelligence predicts that “the market opportunity for the metaverse can reach 800 billion by 2024.” It is truly the future of the internet as we know it, and we believe design and product development processes will continually shift beyond just the “physical product.” 

The metaverse has more significant implications of how humans will more seamlessly integrate as digital cyborgs where hardware devices facilitate our waking hours as we immerse ourselves in work, recreation, and communication in digital space. We believe there are hardware opportunities to make this meta-transition feel seamless, utilizing technologies such as EEG, more sophisticated sensory feedback wearables, and AI. The future of possibilities is endless, and we want Hatch Duo to delve into the experience early with our metaverse design studio. 

While this does not thoroughly compare to being in a studio in real life, the metaverse and VR experience come close. Still, we shouldn’t compare the two as the experiences are entirely different. The meta experience is enhanced based on your real-world experiences. The staff (some of whom don’t live in the Bay Area) can join the metaverse office space and feel like they are in a room with the team. Additionally, we can interact with objects, review inspiration material and designs, and even sketch in VR. We are also immersing ourselves in design reviews utilizing VR, as it gives a different sense of depth as we review CAD, for example. We hope to enhance our design process similar to how CAD 3D modeling revolutionized product design as we continue beta testing our metaverse office. Ultimately, VR will be a medium that blossoms into many new ideas as we see unique form-factors and ways of experiencing product, space, and environment with software and applications, such as Gravity Sketch.

Into the Metaverse

Here at Hatch Duo, we aim to be at the forefront of emerging technologies and ensure our team continues to evolve their skill sets in ways that can significantly impact the future of design. We see the trending opportunity to design digital products that reflect real-life accuracy (we are currently involved in some exciting work in this context), and we look forward to exploring this as a company in the years to come. Who knows? Maybe we will NFT one of our concept projects in the upcoming year. If you or someone in your network is looking to Mint/NFT products in the digital space, we’d love to speak with you on how we can help.

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