Hi, I'm Alison Campion. I'm the director of the Metaverse strategy and operations at Meta. In this video, we're going to focus on how we will connect and communicate with others in the metaverse. We'll also talk about something I'm sure you've been wondering about: how to access the metaverse. Let's get to it. First, I want to talk about the question that's probably on your mind: Is the metaverse going to make us even more disconnected from the physical world? I get it. Think about how good it feels just to get outside and look up at the sky. How do you balance the time in the physical world with time spent in virtual spaces? We already spend so much time online. Putting on an immersive headset to visit a computer-generated world seems it will only make that feeling of disconnection worse. Vishal Shaw, vice president of the metaverse at Meta, offers this perspective. "The metaverse is not about spending more time online, it's about making the time you do spend online better, more immersive and richer." But as you'll see from examples throughout this course, the metaverse isn't just headsets and immersive experiences. That's because augmented and mixed reality, and the many ways we can and will be able to access the metaverse experiences — which you're going to learn about in the next module — have the potential to integrate the metaverse into the physical world, such as using a smartphone to see directions overlaid on a view of a street while navigating in an unfamiliar city. Speaking of which, I'd like to ask you now to picture yourself in a coffee shop, sitting across from someone. You might be having a work meeting, catching up with a friend, even enjoying a first date. What you're talking about is important, naturally, but the space you're physically sharing with that person is powerful, too. You can see their body language and their facial expressions, and hear the tone of their voice. These give you insights into how the other person is feeling, and enable the two of you to communicate more authentically. Whether you're negotiating a deal, discussing a difficult topic, or just getting to know each other, being together makes the experience richer and fuller. Now think about how it feels to engage in a conversation online. A lot of digital communication is text based. I know we've all experienced what it's like to misinterpret someone's tone or misunderstand the meaning from the written word, even when emojis are included. It can be frustrating to say the least. When we engage with each other through video — whether we're in a team meeting or on Webex or Zoom, or having a family call on FaceTime or Meta Portal — visual and audio clues help us to better understand each other. Seeing and hearing each other allows us to build rapport and gain trust. Earlier, we talked about the metaverse as an embodied version of the internet. That embodiment is what's going to allow us to have digital conversations and interactions in the metaverse that are less like those of today and more like those we experience in the physical world. Human connection and social interaction are critical to our health and well being. As humans, were designed to seek out and engage with others. And even though technology allows us to be more connected than ever, it can also make us feel isolated and lonely. A potential powerful advantage of the metaverse is that because of the sense of being co-present in a shared space, we might experience social connection in a more satisfying and authentic way than we do online today. Feeling truly present with one another in the metaverse might also lessen miscommunication and misunderstanding. Think about how much easier it is to feel empathy for another person when you're physically together. In the fully realized metaverse, you will be present, see one another's facial expressions and gestures, and talk together in a way that might enable that level of closeness and understanding, As opposed to receiving a text message or phone call or watching from a screen, virtual interactions will feel more like you're actually sharing a space with that loved one that you haven't seen in years, or visiting one of the wonders of the world in person. And digital events such as concerts, sports, and theater productions — which we'll talk about in another lesson — will give you the opportunity to connect with more people from more places in more ways. When the pandemic brought the world to a standstill in 2020, we all had to quickly find new ways to communicate and collaborate in all the facets of our lives, especially for work and education. In-person meetings and classes shifted to video calls and online learning. While the adjustment was certainly a challenge, we also found that, for example, a meeting held via video was more engaging and effective than one held solely over the phone. We discovered that virtual collaboration was possible. For many people, remote jobs are here to stay, and the future is most certainly going to be a hybrid of remote and in-person work. Meeting in the metaverse, in spaces like Horizon Workrooms, Immersed, Glue, and Mesh for Microsoft Teams allows us to combine the benefits of video collaboration with the power of co-presence. The biggest downside to working in the metaverse? You have to get your own donuts. Now, let's shift gears and talk about something I know you've been waiting for: how you — and all the people you're going to connect with — will actually enter the metaverse. Let me guess: You just pictured someone wearing a large headset and holding two controllers. While that kind of hardware is certainly a common way to access the metaverse, there are many other devices that you can use to participate. Spaces and experiences in the metaverse are accessible right now through personal computers, mobile devices, smart displays, and, yes, virtual reality headsets and other wearables. For example, you can visit Engage VR from a PC, Mac, smartphone, tablet, PC-supported VR device, or standalone VR device, to attend events, explore worlds, and interact with others. If that sounds confusing, don't worry: We're going to go over the devices in much more detail in the next module. Now, while there are numerous ways to access the metaverse, it's important to understand that the way in which you connect will determine the level of the immersiveness you experience. VR headsets and other wearables provide the most immersive experiences in the metaverse, but those of us who connect in other ways will still be able to enjoy the richness and vastness of digital spaces. Throughout this course, we're going to share examples and activities you can try in the metaverse, whether you're accessing it from your phone or computer, or you have a headset on hand. While the metaverse is still being built and is years from being fully realized, rest assured that there will be multiple ways to access and enjoy it. We know that a critical component of building an ethical and diverse metaverse is ensuring that it is available to as many people as possible, regardless of where they live or the ways in which they are able to access it. Coming up next, Mark's joining us again to talk more about the future of work in the metaverse, including a peek at those multiple ways people can access and engage in the metaverse spaces right now, and what virtual work might look like in the future. I'm just going to pick up some donuts before I head over.