With its promise of interactive and immersive 3D virtual worlds, the metaverse has undoubtedly captured the popular imagination. Through the ‘Wandel’ project, Deutsche Bank and Capco recently demonstrated how the metaverse can offer an exciting venue for collaboration and education.

Most of us will have heard of the metaverse by now, but few have had the chance to sample or explore the opportunities it offers.

The Operations team within Deutsche Bank partnered with Capco to ‘make change fun’ by leveraging the latest immersive technologies. It is perhaps easy to look at the nascent metaverse as a pleasant distraction, but there are valuable lessons to be learnt – and benefits to be gained – from tapping into the sort of interactive experiences to which 3bn people across the globe dedicate hours of their time, often on a daily basis1.

To ‘make change fun’, Capco worked closely with a Deutsche Bank Operations Transformation team to better understand their employee-led innovation goals, building upon previous innovation focussed engagements – including the rollout of a Citizen Developer Toolkit – and to explore the future of Learning and Development.

The result was Wandel – German for ‘change’ – a custom-designed virtual campus set amongst stunning mountain scenery within a private enterprise metaverse. Wandel attracted a total of 1650 visits during a week-long programme of events, with a total of over 450 hours spent in the space. Participants walked approximately 2300 virtual miles – the equivalent of London to Croatia and back – during that time.

Mary Hynes-Martyn, Managing Director, Ops Transformation at Deutsche Bank and sponsor of the Wandel initiative, said: "Immersive experiences can be a game changer for how we learn, collaborate, and engage – both as a bank and with our clients. It was great to see strong engagement with this new, cutting-edge technology.”

Realizing the virtual

The challenge – empower, enable and inspire a globally dispersed 2,500-strong Operations team to drive change from the frontline.

The solution – step into the metaverse to break down siloes and discover new ways of innovating faster, better and, crucially, together.

The development of Wandel was fast – from concept to delivery in less than 10 weeks. Capco partnered with the Deutsche Bank team to plan and realize a week of activities, experiences and events designed to help employees get to know one another better, transform the way they work by using tried and tested tools for collaborative innovation, and draw out insights and inspiration from senior leadership, strategic partners (including Capco) and the wider team.

Designed for work over play, Wandel boasts an expo hall, outdoor plaza, individual meeting room and a maze. Grassed areas, the sound of wind blowing through the trees and a kudzu goat to pet contribute to make spending time in this metaverse more than ordinary.

Built in Unreal, the engine underpinning leading video games including Fortnite, and using the latest pixel streaming technology to reduce hardware requirements for users, Capco’s designers, architects and innovation specialists created a rich and immersive environment – all accessed through a traditional web browser.

To enhance users’ sense of engagement, the technology permits an entertaining degree of physical customization for the virtual avatars inhabited by Wandel’s visitors while also incorporating real-time near-field communication to allow ‘in the moment’ conversations based on those avatars’ proximity to one another.

Julia Shreeve, Executive Director and Head of Optimize at Capco, said: “With Wandel, metaverse technologies have proven to be powerful tools for driving transformation within an organization. Capco is excited to further explore use cases that transform the future of work, the workplace and workforce.”

Tom Hill, part of the global Capco team that built Wandel, said: “Research from the UK Safer Internet Centre discovered that 65% of 8-17-year-olds – the next generations of employees – consider online gaming to be an important part of their lives, with most enjoying cooperative games that are shown to develop life skills such as strategic thinking, teamwork, communication, leadership and problem-solving. We now have the technology to bring this experience to the workplace and reap the benefits.”

Deutsche Bank is now exploring the adoption of Wandel across other wider areas of the bank to support training curriculums, new joiner onboarding and future innovation initiatives.