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Insights from our Workshop on the Berlin Change Days 2019

In our last issue we reported from our workshop at the Berlin Change Days 2019, an event, that emphasizes on transformation and change processes. In this blog post we want to hand down the insights we gained out of the workshop and the intense discussion that followed afterwards.

The goal of the workshop was to show how methods of organizational development can be transformed into a virtual 3D environment. Since this workshop was a cooperation project with students of the university of applied sciences Würzburg/Schweinfurt, it was also a test or an experiment for us, to get opinions on our platform and gather new findings. Hereafter, we will present and comment on these findings.

Author: Vinzenz Zehmisch

Feedback on the workshop itself

The feedback on the workshop itself was quite positive, especially the hands-on approach, the concept and the methods used. Unfortunately, not everyone of the participants were able to join the workshop themselves, due to the lack of devices, but at least 4 out of 9 joined the workshop, while the others watched, listened and took part as a group via the moderators.

Positive Feedback on the platform

In the intense discussion after the workshop, the participants highlighted, that they liked the form of access, via various devices, in particular without downloading any program or plug-in and that it runs entirely in the browser. Also, that the complete process of registration takes less than two minutes. The handling, after a short introduction by the moderators, deemed for most of the participants quite easy.

Suggestions for the platform

The first suggestions were to enhance the quality of the graphics and the complexity of the user interface, topics we are currently working on, for example we are in an ongoing process for improving graphics, for lights and shadows and for water and sky. Also, a complete redesign of the user interface is in progress and a new version is planned to go live within the next half year. Another suggestion which came up during the workshop, was to implement video tutorials, to support new users on using the platform. The idea of a video conference call, where the faces of the users are mirrored onto the avatars, was met with great approval. Here we are currently evaluating facial tracking and applying the facial expressions to the avatars. In the end one participant suggested, that, if we implement elements of gamification, the platform would ultimately benefit. At the moment we are investigating and collecting use cases for the usage of gamification within virtual worlds

Questions on the platform

The main question was: What is the added value in comparison to zoom or comparable applications?

The added value, which the cybaLOUNGE platform provides, begins with the easy access and registration like mentioned in the second paragraph. On top of that a registration is not even necessary to join events and take part in social interactions. A registration is only essential for user, who want to exploit the advanced features of the platform, like construction or designing an own location.  A further argument for the platform is the persistence. Objects and processes continue to exist even after the process that created it, so all changes and additions to the virtual world will remain. Finally, the cybaLOUNGE platform provides a fully immersive environment, where users a represented by detailed avatars.

Questions to other topics were:

Security. How do we provide a safe virtual environment?
All communications are secure (https protocol with TLS encryption), the hosting is done by a secure and reliable internet service provider and the platform is being constantly monitored. We have a dedicated rights and role concept in place, with options like whitelisting, which allows only users on this list visit a specific location. Also, a support for public and private environments is given.

Support. How would we provide support under the circumstance, that we gain a lot of user/organizations?
Level 1 and 2 support will be provided by contract partners, which will offer hosting, support and additional services. Level 3 support will be provided by our team.

Target group. Who is our target group? Have we already developed use cases in accordance to these target groups?

As the cybaLOUNGE platform is an overarching platform, we don`t have a specific target group yet. But we have already developed use cases for organizations, business companies, learning institutions and individuals. For example: 

  • Organizations/Business Companies: dedicated projects to introduce virtual environments for recruiting, collaboration and communication
  • Schools and Universities: remote education, virtual participation for people with disabilities, language learning, virtual reality
  • Individuals: entertainment, socializing, leisure and hobbies

We hope, this post has given you a comprehensive insight on the platform, its features and added value and if you have further questions on the cybaLOUNGE platform, please drop us a mail.

Metaverse School GmbH @ Berlin Change Days 2019

An interactive workshop in a virtual 3D environment @ The Berlin Change Days 2019

The Berlin Change Days is an event, that emphasizes on transformation and change processes. The focus this year was the issue of inner, outer and cyberspace and the remaining role of space in general. The central question of this year’s event was:

“How can we utilize and enhance those three [spaces], when we meet the ultimate challenge of the fourth industrial revolution: How to make organizations and societies prosperous and the people within happy, at the same time?”

Author: Vinzenz Zehmisch

Since 2017 the Metaverse School GmbH is engaged in a cooperation project with the University of Applied Sciences of Würzburg/Schweinfurt, where we support semester projects on and with the cybaLOUNGE platform. The goal of the semester project of 2019 was to transform methods of organizational development into a virtual 3D environment.

Cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Würzburd/Schweinfurt

The students of the project were divided in two groups, one responsible for the design and building of a virtual workshop room and the other responsible for methods and didactics. Over the course of the summer semester the workshop room was designed and built, use cases on new features were implemented and methods were tested. These all happened under the premise to take part as a facilitator at the Berlin Change Days, where we planned to present this project and gather some new input on how the cybaLOUNGE platform is able to support change or transformation into virtual environments.

The interactive workshop and the methods used

During the interactive workshop at the Berlin Change Days participants were invited to join and actively engage. The topic of the first part of the workshop was a method called “future mapping” with the goal of collecting ideas on a certain topic as a group.

The second part was about a method called 6:3:5, which is also a creative method out of the field of organizational development, where you work in turns on new ideas and develop together a wider spectrum of perspectives on a certain topic.

After the interactive workshop the results were reflected and a Q&A session with a discussion on the transformation into the digital world was held. In the following discussion the big questions were asked, like “what is the added value compared to conventional business programs?”

In the next issue of our blog we will get into these questions and explain, how the Metaverse School GmbH wants to answer these questions and solve these problems.

Metaverse Halloween 2019

From October 29. till October 31. Metaverse celebrates Halloween on the cybaLOUNGE platform.

Starting everyday from 7 p.m. (CET) we will entertain our friends and guest with life music at our new spooky Halloween Forest location.

Explore the Metaverse Halloween Forest yourself and enjoy the spooky atmosphere!

Discover The Metaverse

Discover the Metaverse on the cybaLOUNGE platform. Explore a virtual world, its applications and what the future is holding. We offer a platform to users as a complement to day-to-day activities in the areas of education, company solutions, entertainment and community development. The cybaLOUNGE platform contains a lot of features, which we are improving constantly in order to achieve the best usability for our users:

  • Simple 24/7 access by browser
  • Compatible with a wide range of devices (notebooks, tablets, smart phones)
  • Communication and collaboration through voice and text chat
  • Displaying and sharing of documents, videos or presentations
  • Virtual rooms are persistent and can be set up in advance as required


New ways of Education

One field of special interest is education. The process of digitization and the associated change in the world of work and studying result in requirements for special competences. Through virtual learning rooms, students can interact in a variety of ways, generate knowledge through different implications and exchange this knowledge with one another.

A virtual learning environment provides these opportunities for students and tutors or teachers to learn and teach without the necessity to be in the same physical room at the same time. Additionally, a virtual learning environment provides access to resources and services for a better quality of learning.

The Metaverse School brings these resources and services to everyone in a safe environment. So far, we created a virtual classroom, a virtual campus and a virtual workshop room. We can also set up trainings, tutorials with our new interactive feature. This feature allows everyone to create persistent learning environments without a teacher present. Click here for a peak into our Virtual Classroom!

Using Virtual Environments in business or organizational contexts

Another field of interest are virtual environments in business or organizational contexts. We are providing products to transfer business processes in a virtual world, like a virtual recruitment center, workshop rooms for collaboration, virtual representations of organizations and businesses or a plain helpdesk for customers. On the cybaLOUNGE platform small and big organizations can represent themselves and use the tools and features provided. We can build customized solutions, but there are also already existing solutions for immediate use. We can set up virtual representations on our servers or implement them into the customers network. Check out or Virtual Recruiting Center! Metaverse Entertainment

Metaverse Entertainment

Via the cybaLOUNGE platform you can enjoy entertainment as well. It is possible to display many different media contents as videos, audio files, texts, slide presentations and images. These media contents, which are increasingly represented online, should also be given a place in the virtual world. So far solutions already exist for a cinema and a virtual gallery. But we have a lot more entertainment projects in the pipeline. Visit our Virtual Gallery with an actual exhibition of the photographer Felix Henke!

Community building on the cybaLOUNGE platform

Finally, we created the first community Metaverse location. The first place on the cybaLOUNGE platform to hang out and connect with other users. This space hosts events regularly and other new services will be displayed there first. See for yourself!

The Metaverse Classrorm

The Metaverse and the Future of Work

In our latest issue a review of a paper on “The Future of Work in the Digital Transformation” by the “acatech” discussion series was published.

You can look into the paper by following this link:

https://www.acatech.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/acatech_DISKUSSION_HR-Kreis_engl_01.pdf

Now we want to set the cybaLOUNGE platform in a context to the key messages and describe further what we can provide to and how we can support organizations in the process of digital transformation. The three key messages agility, lifelong learning and co-determination are also described as key indicators, which will determine how organizations are able to adapt to changes in the field of work.

Author: Vinzenz Zehmisch

1) Support of Agility  

Agility is defined within the paper as “the ability of a company’s organisa­tion and decision-makers to respond rapidly and flexibly to new customer requirements, technological developments and com­petitors (…)”.

To support this ability, the Metaverse School GmbH can provide several solutions to increase competitiveness, flexible working arrangements, use of tools for feedback and to decrease obstacles for working with freelancers.

Since the cybaLOUNGE platform promotes easy access and great usability, the platform can be used with almost any device, runs on all the mayor browsers, supports virtual reality and is accessible without downloading any client, organizations can use the platform for many purposes. As an example, a workshop room, or as we call them a “location”, can be set up, in which employees in the office, employees, who work remote, and freelancers are able to work together on a project, just by clicking on one HTML link. In the workshop location itself, everyone can communicate via VoIP, display information and develop their ideas together. So, nobody is bound to a physical space and meetings can be set up faster than in the real world. The workshop location itself is persistent, so every progress made, is still available the next time. Tools for feedback can also be implemented, so an immediate feedback system can deliver valuable data.    

2) Support of Lifelong Learning

As employees are valuable assets, an organization, that is encouraging their employees to learn and to develop over the whole circle of their work life, is better prepared for future changes.

Lifelong learning can be enhanced by digital solutions on the cybaLOUNGE platform. Virtual universities, classrooms, trainings under the guidance of a tutor or teacher can be implemented into the learning curriculum of an organization. In these locations you can display and store information, write, interact, participate on polls and much more. Also, interactive trainings are an option, where participants can increase their knowledge and skills on their own. Digital solutions for these learning opportunities and the necessary features are already developed by our team and ready for action.

3) Development of company-level co-determination

To react and adapt to market changes organizations need to involve their employees and increase the level of co-determination.

To boost the level of co-determination, one of the key messages is to promote an agile workplace equipment and the use of flexible IT tools. With the cybaLOUNGE technology users can access a location on the platform from anywhere, work together on products and can use the digital tools they are accustomed to. For example, all Google Docs & Spreadsheets, lots of websites and much more can be displayed and worked on by every user in the location in real time. As stated above, the rooms are persistent so data in the location remains the same.

Throughout the last year we developed a lot of products, like a virtual recruiting center, that will allow organizations and users in the future to participate in new forms of digital work. Visit our homepage to learn more.

Citation: Jacobs, J. C./Kagermann, H./Spath, D. (Eds.): Work in the Digital Transformation – Agility, Lifelong Learning and the Role of Employers and Works Councils in Changing Times. A paper by the acatech and Jacobs Foundation Human Resources Working Group – Forum for HR Directors on the Future of Work (acatech DISCUSSION), Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag 2017.

Review: The Future of Work in the Digital Transformation

Agility, Lifelong Learning and the Role of Employers and Works Councils in Changing Times

The “acatech” – National Academy of Science and Engineering, is a Germany based working academic institution, that provides advice to policymakers and the general public on strategic issues relating to the technological sciences and technology policy. The paper, published in April 2017, with the subtitle “Agility, Lifelong Learning and the Role of Employers and Work Councils in Changing Times”, will be reviewed in this post and set in a context to the cybaLOUNGE platform.

You can look into the paper by following this link:

https://www.acatech.de/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/acatech_DISKUSSION_HR-Kreis_engl_01.pdf

The publication is intended as a discussion, to provide new ideas for changes in the field of work to come. The three main aspects or key indicators are, as stated in the title, 1) agility, 2) lifelong learning and 3) development of company-level co-determination. The chapters on these key indicators are enriched with status quos, how-tos, use-cases, research, examples and summaries, respectively key messages to ensure a better insight.  

Author: Vinzenz Zehmisch

As the digital transformation is setting off to change how work will be seen, the authors of the paper have identified three key indicators, which will be summarized subsequently.

1) Agility

Agility is defined within the paper as “the ability of a company’s organisa­tion and decision-makers to respond rapidly and flexibly to new customer requirements, technological developments and com­petitors (…)”. As a result, five key messages for shaping an organisation by using an agile working model are listed:

  • Increase competitiveness, productivity and employee satisfaction
  • Facilitate new flexible working time arrangements
  • Remove obstacles to working with freelancers
  • Promote individual employee skills management
  • Use new feedback tools to strengthen performance management

2) Lifelong Learning

As employees are seen as “responsible adults” and as such a valuable asset, they should have the opportunity learn and develop over the whole circle of their work life. The scope of lifelong learning lies within organizations and employees and points out how digitalization can support this process.

  • Take advantage of the opportunities offered by digi­talisation
  • Work together to maintain employees’ ability to per­form their duties and their employability
  • Promote autonomy and self-reliance through person­alised solutions
  • Leave lifelong learning in the hands of the company
  • Enhance more flexible regulations
  • Support the efforts of companies and employees

3) Development of company-level co-determination

To shape an organization according to the needs of digital transformation company-level co-determination inherits a key role, to improve the chance to adapt and react quickly and effective to new market conditions. The following key messages are thought as impulses to optimize this process.

  • Develop a modern understanding of co-determination
  • Adapt to the requirements of different organisational forms, employee groups and real-world cultures
  • Promote the flexible introduction of IT tools and agile workplace equipment
  • Allow experimentation to facilitate controlled change
  • Involve employees in the work of the social partners
  • Recognise the new market conditions and faster rate of change as success factors
  • Accelerate processes and be bolder about using agile methods
  • Establish a legal basis for faster decision-making

Significance of these aspects for the cybaLOUNGE platform

The cybaLOUNGE platform can support organizations in all of these three aspects by providing infrastructure and solutions for communication, collaboration, training, etc. In the field of agility, organizations can be provided with internal virtual workshop rooms to enhance flexible working arrangements and to remove obstacles of working with freelancers. To promote lifelong learning, virtual training courses can be implemented in the development of human resources. Also, to improve the level of co-determination in international organizations, flexible tools for IT are available, which support a enhanced participation for every stakeholder, no matter where he or she is located.

Read in our next issue in detail how we intend to do this.

Citation: Jacobs, J. C./Kagermann, H./Spath, D. (Eds.): Work in the Digital Transformation – Agility, Lifelong Learning and the Role of Employers and Works Councils in Changing Times. A paper by the acatech and Jacobs Foundation Human Resources Working Group – Forum for HR Directors on the Future of Work (acatech DISCUSSION), Munich: Herbert Utz Verlag 2017.

Metaverse Team: About us

Dieter Heyne
Dieter Heyne / CEO

Dieter Heyne is the founder and CEO of Metaverse School GmbH. Dieter is in charge of structuring, planning and keeping up with the development and maintenance of the platform. His studies of computer sciences at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich enabled him to work on a variety of IT related topics, like IT architecture, web programming, security consulting, database development, and much more. His interest in his spare time are keeping himself in shape, his dog and a fascination for Japanese culture. If you want to read up on Dieter and the creation of the cybaLOUNGE platform, please read this interview.

Daniel Zehmisch
Daniel Zehmisch  / COO and Project Management

Daniel Zehmisch is responsible for the internal processes in our company and he tries to develop our business products in order to reach market maturity. His main expertise lies within the introduction and the organization of new innovations. As a graduate in business administration, he is familiar with the field of commercial business and tries to adapt this knowledge to the virtual environments. Parallel to his Metaverse activity, he has been working for years as an IT Security Consultant in Automotive and Financial Services. In his free time, he likes to go hiking or playing field hockey.

Lennart Paul
Lennart Paul / IT-Development

Lennart Paul is responsible for developing new features for the cybaLOUNGE platform. He works closely with Dieter to make the platform an even better experience. He studies computer science at TU Munich. Before working for Metaverse he has been working as a freelancer in web design for more than four years. He is passionate about developing and prototyping new things and spends a lot of time at university to learn more about the latest technologies. When not working on anything he likes to do sports like tennis or field hockey, read fiction novels and go out hiking.

Vinzenz Zehmisch
Vinzenz Zehmisch  / Senior Project Management

Vinzenz Zehmisch is a Senior Project Manager and is responsible for documentation, social media, product development and testing. His main area of expertise is the field of education. He studied linguistics and german studies at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich. Before working for Metaverse he taught german as a foreign language for several years. His passion for linguistics, language and literature is still strong. Outside of work, he likes to read, is an active hockey player and coach.

Sami Kopplin
Sami Koplin / Virtual Project Management

Sami Koplin is a Virtual Project Manager and is mainly responsible for creating and designing 3D-Models and Virtual Worlds. He also works in social media management, product development and testing. He finished school in 2018 and is now looking to gain more knowledge about 3D-Design and modeling in order to study related topics at university. In his free time, he likes to do sports like field hockey, soccer and basketball, go out with friends and be around his family.

Interview Dieter Heyne, CEO and Founder

Dieter Heyne
Dieter Heyne

Dieter Heyne is the founder and CEO of Metaverse School GmbH. He is the creator, designer and a lot more of the cybaLOUNGE platform.

1) Hello Mr.Heyne, you are breaking new ground in the field of virtual worlds. What is the concept behind your start-up Metaverse School GmbH and its cybaLounge platform?

Since the number of users of virtual worlds is increasing only very slowly, in my opinion new paths have to be taken. The trend towards even more sophisticated and complex virtual worlds cannot be the solution. With the cybaLOUNGE platform, the person, the user and not the technology should be the focus. Easy access and usability for practically everyone can be the way to achieve a significant increase in the number of users. It does not matter for what purpose the users visit the virtual world.

However, Metaverse School GmbH has set itself the goal of establishing virtual worlds primarily in the field of education. The possibilities to go new ways are practically unlimited.

But also, other fields, such as personnel consulting, collaboration and entertainment will be considered further.

2) How and when emerged the idea for a virtual platform?

The idea arose around 2011 from the observation that the established virtual worlds (Second Life, OpenSim, etc.) had to struggle with very specific problems. For many newcomers these environments were and are simply too complicated and many users quit after a short time.

So, it was time to design something new and simpler that could become attractive for many people.

3) What were the biggest milestones for cybaLOUNGE and Metaverse School GmbH?

The biggest milestone so far was certainly the go-live in December 2013. The result of 18 months of preparation to finally see online – this has definitely left a lasting impression.

Further highlights were presentations of the platform at numerous events as well as the cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, from which numerous new ideas have already emerged.

4) What were/are the biggest challenges in the starting phase? And how did you manage them?

Especially in the initial phase, there were always minor and major technical problems, since the technologies used were also still under development. The continuous development was made more difficult by the fact that cybaLOUNGE was developed completely as a one-man show in my spare time.

In these situations, it only helps to keep your cool, not to lose track of the goal and to concentrate on looking for alternative solutions and then to implement them.

5) Your start-up is also working on a cooperation project with the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt. How is this project developing and which insights did you gain?

This cooperation can now look back on a history of more than three years. The respective semester projects resulted in too many new requirements to be reflected here. But especially the usability and the graphic design of the virtual environments have benefitted greatly of this cooperation.

6) In your opinion, what is the greatest unique selling point of your product?

The cybaLOUNGE platform does not focus on the technical achievements, but on the benefits for the users:

– easiest form of access (everything runs in the browser, access via HTML links possible)

– simple handling/operability

7) What are the biggest challenges for 2019? How will Metaverse School GmbH develop?

The biggest challenge is certainly to provide enough content (in the form of digital content and events) to inspire a growing number of users.

8) How would you describe in one sentence what Metaverse School GmbH means to you?

A chance to offer people new opportunities and change the world for the better.

Mr.Heyne, thank you for the interview.

A short history of METAVERSE SCHOOL GmbH

In the first quarter of 2017 Dieter Heyne founded the METAVERSE SCHOOL GmbH with the vision to develop a virtual world, which connects to every aspect of our daily life.

Author: Vinzenz Zehmisch

The idea to create a virtual world arose around 2011 from Dieter´s observation that the established virtual worlds had to struggle with very specific problems, like complicated usability and an elaborate process to get started. A first step was taken by planning, structuring and programming the basics of a new platform.

The next milestone was the go-live in 2013 of the browser-based experimental cybaLOUNGE platform for developers and enthusiasts of virtual worlds. Over time the functionalities and the possibilities of the platform grew and in the beginning of 2018 Dieter Heyne decided to fulfil his vision of an open virtual world, where everything is possible. Consequently, Dieter Heyne made up his mind to build up a team and a working solution for a virtual world. Now we are in the process of further developing and designing an interesting virtual environment and we are looking forward to develop our products, so that everyone can participate in a new, exciting, virtual adventure.

The present – what we are doing now

So far, we spend a lot of time to set up the various basic requirements for such an enormous project like a virtual environment. We set up a homepage, wrote user guides, worked on models for the platform, removed bugs, implemented new features, developed the first products, etc. Also, we initiated projects with the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, to get new ideas and input about the user experience, the graphic design of the virtual environments and how to transform day to day processes into a virtual world.

The future – what we intend to do

In the near future we have three big goals. First to get the platform fit for a wide public audience, second to produce content and third to develop products, which promote the digitalization of everyday processes.

Join us on the cybaLOUNGE platform and be a part of an exciting journey!

Visions and Goals

Metaverse – Think digital.

The cybaLOUNGE platform does not focus on technical achievements only, but especially on user benefits. Read here how we intend to make this possible and how we want to try to offer people new opportunities and to improve the online experience.

Author: Vinzenz Zehmisch

The Metaverse School GmbH aim is to provide people with the prospect to network globally for social or business reasons through our new browser-based 3D virtual world platform. This goal is to be achieved by promoting simple interaction, communication and presentation of content in virtual locations. On the one hand, we want to give our users the space and opportunity to creatively express themselves by building their own virtual worlds and realizing their ideas. On the other hand, we will offer custom-made digital solutions to enable all users of the cybaLOUNGE platform to have a virtual experience. It does not matter how you would like to use our platform, we will always give our best to optimize the usability so that everyone, from beginners to experts, has the opportunity to get the most out of the platform.

Vision of the digitalized world

Our long-term vision is to build independent or moderated communities so that people worldwide can realize social or business relationships. As more and more analogue processes are being transformed into virtual worlds through digitalization, we want to offer a solution for literally all purposes from entertainment to specialized business with our platform. The focus of this vision is the user, therefore we will give our best and continuously improve the cybaLOUNGE platform, so that users get an easy start and a lot of new experiences all the time.

We want to enrich the process of digitalization with a new technology and innovations so that everyone can participate. Visit our platform www.metaverse.community and experience it for yourself!

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