INTERVIEW. In Nice, the Academie du Metavers is betting on the future despite Meta’s challenges.

The Metaverse Academy has just launched in Nice in partnership with Meta, formerly known as Facebook. Although the concept envisioned by Mark Zuckerberg was heavily criticized and the company lost a lot, Metaverse Academy claims to be independent. Aiming to be inclusive, free training designed for training in virtual reality or augmented reality professions.

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When Mark Zuckerberg announced in October 2021 that Facebook was turning Meta to build a metaverse, who would have thought that Nice was part of the equation? “Meta came to us after relocating Facebook to offer us to develop training“, recalls Alexandre Chervet, Southern Director of digital training company Simplon”including“. From December 5, 2022 The promotion to 15-person education has begun Inside the Academie du Metavers, on the Plain of Var in Nice.

Currently, the metaverse predicted by Mark Zuckerberg does not exist, but for Simplon, this formation is a bet on the future.

Metaverse is a 5 or 10 year vision of things that already exist today but will be interconnectedAlexander Chervet explains. If we don’t do it now, it will happen without us. So Nice is the fortress of the future in these areas.“Meanwhile, it is difficult to see clearly, the simple definition of the term causes the most heated debates.

Metaverse is a collection of virtual worlds“, Nicolas, studying at the Metaverse Academy, risks. Before calling back: “After that, everyone has their own view!

In recent years, before Facebook changed direction, virtual reality (VR) headsets or augmented reality (AR) glasses gradually entered the market. Over time, events, video games or even virtual worlds have evolved with these technologies and are already metaverses in themselves.

The only thing everyone agrees on is that no one agrees.

Myriam is a student at Nice Metaverse Academy

If the metaverse does not exist today, on the other hand, digital environments already exist. The Metaverse is a building; and digital environments are the building blocks that make it up.”, tries to create the character of Alexandre Chervet. But everyone has their own idea of ​​what the digital future might represent. “The only thing everyone agrees on is that no one agrees“, sarcastically concludes Myriam, part of the Metaverse Academy’s first class.

Since Mark Zuckerberg’s intervention in 2021, the metaverse has caused a lot of ink to flow. The “Metaverse” or rather, as the Meta CEO defines it a futuristic vision of what the internet will be like, with Meta’s push of course. The digital revolution that will take place with the tools developed by the American giant and the servers it owns. All this offers the sale of virtual objects and more and more and better targeted advertising spaces. Over which very important financial matters many brands have already positioned themselves.

Despite its still-difficult nature, the French government is already looking to that future. In October 2022, he issued an interagency report entitled “Exploration Mission to the Metaverses”. After more than 6 months of work, the authors of the report – a researcher in sociology, a lawyer and an engineer, a researcher in computer science – came up with a “definition”.soft“.”The concept of Metaverse contains many possibilities, services, spaces, more or less open. […]. The main characteristics of metaverses are: the existence of virtual, 3D, real-time, immersive, continuous and shared worlds.“, they write.

Accessible virtual worlds”with or without head-up displays“, and use”or not an avatar“.

In addition to this evolutionary definition of technology development, the report also offers the first traces that frame this digital revolution. “There are a number of financial and legal issues that need to be structured without closing development opportunities.“, Myriam emphasizes. In this regard numerous issues related to cyberbullying, data security, and anonymity on the Internet, framing these virtual worlds is a difficult task. Some voices are already decrying the many slips in Meta’s metaverse.

Meta already thought about this when it announced its strategy, announcing the creation of 10,000 metaverse-related jobs in Europe. “European politicians are leading the way in helping to embed European values ​​such as freedom of expression, privacy, transparency and individual rights into the everyday work of the internet. Europe plays an important role in shaping new internet rules“, the group’s managers, Nick Clegg and Javier Olivan, noted. For Meta, this is a way of warning rather than being heavily sanctioned again by the EU for data protection violations in social networks. .

No one wants to be in a completely meta-controlled metaverse.

Nicolas, a student at the Académie du Metavers de Nice

While many companies, like Meta, are taking a stand in this digital revolution, few have invested as much as Facebook’s parent company. A strategy that seems to be failing for the time being.

In 15 months, the company lost $13 billion on its metaverse. Released in December 2021, Horizon World, the beginning of this future, is already being heavily criticized. Meta recently announced the loss of 11,000 jobs.

On the Simplon side, we assure you that these episodes have not changed anything. “We are not positioning ourselves, there is a digital revolution regardless of the players contributing to it. We partnered with Meta because they were the first to have this vision“, says Alexandre Chervet.

The idea of ​​the metaverse is that it is by the people and for the people“, Nikolay, who studied at the Metaverse Academy, wants to believe. Even within the latter, the idea of ​​\u200b\u200bthe metaverse presented by Mark Zuckerberg is far from unanimous.”Meta’s mistake is wanting to do it in a vacuum“, Myriam points out.”Nobody wants to be in a metaverse that is completely controlled by big corporations like Meta or GAFAM who will use the data. Many people no longer want to be in this model.“, Nicholas continues.

We do not train Meta employees here.

Alexandre Chervet, director of Simplon Sud

But while the training is funded by Meta, which provides access to its educational tools and its Meta Quest virtual reality headset, the American company has no control over the content taught there. “We do not train Meta employees here. We rise early in the morning to engage everyone in digital work“, Alexander Chervet insists. Simplon also offers other training in digital professions for people with disabilities or difficulties.

When Meta came to propose his project, the local authorities did not hesitate for a second. While other Simplon-related Metaverse Academies will soon see the light of day in Paris and Lyon, training is currently only available in Marseille and Nice.

The commitment of the Paca region is certainly no stranger to this. This one finances the project in the amount of 350,000 euros. During the opening of the Nice site, the president of the region, Renaud Muselier, and the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, also stated that day: “it is a priority for metropolis to be at the forefront of the development of the Metaverse“.

With an intensive 4-month course and 15 months of on-the-job training, Académie du Metavers students will have time to train for future digital professions. “Nice enjoys a thriving digital ecosystem”, Laurent Solly, Meta’s vice president for Southern Europe, was founded on November 25. Many local companies have already committed to hiring trainees for this job. “They intend to become developers and create immersive environments, mainly in the world of gaming and entertainment for the time being.“, says Alexander Chervet.

Thanks to the collaboration with the skills operator Atlas and Pôle Emploi, the Académie du Metavers is open to different profiles, especially those who want to get a job or retrain. “This is the only free and inclusive training of its kind for everyone.“, she proudly announces. In the first promotion, Myriam previously worked in accounting and Abby in fashion.I live in Malta but have returned to France to register with Pôle Emploi for training“, says Nicholas. The latter already has a master’s degree in computer science with a specialization in development and already “manager and treasurer of the blockchain metaverse“.

Although the levels are different, all have at least some background in computer development. But no degree is required. Recruitment is mainly based on motivation. While 15 students are currently part of the first class, Metaverse Academy hopes to integrate five more students by January 2023.

Instead of crying about professions that will disappear, why not focus on the professions of the future?

Abby is a student at the Nice Metaverse Academy

If the concept of a metaverse still seems vague and embryonic, local companies now want profiles of virtual reality or augmented reality developers or technicians., as provided by Alexandre Chevret. And this despite the combination of the Meta name and its controversies. The director of Simplon Sud is sure of this: “In order to go in one direction, someone must have a worldview, and qualified personnel must be trained. It is up to us to raise those who will build this new world.

According to a study by Pôle Emploi of the Dell and Future Institute, “85% of jobs in 2030“We want to remind you that Metaverse Academy didn’t exist in 2017.”Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s uninterestingAbby says. Instead of lamenting the professions that will disappear, we should focus on the professions of the future.“Everyone at the Nice Metaverse Academy seems confident in participating in the creation of a new world.

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