“Metaverse isn’t a thing a company builds. It’s the next chapter of the internet overall” (Mark Zuckerberg, Meta)
Among businesses, one of the most misunderstood aspects at the moment is ‘The Metaverse’. Businesses that do understand this new phase of the internet are currently seizing opportunities that their competition doesn’t even know exist. This is beginning to change the face of business and social interaction around the world. But what is the Metaverse and why should you be paying attention?
What is the Metaverse?
Quite simply, the metaverse is an extension of the current internet. It is a virtual three-dimensional space where people can interact with one another by developing 3D avatars. This space can take on the appearance of numerous real-world places, such as meeting rooms or concerts, or even more fantastical spaces. It is a fully immersive space on the internet
A blend of virtual reality, second lifestyle online worlds and augmented reality, the Metaverse can be accessed using a simple smartphone or laptop. This makes it extremely accessible for everyone.
What will it be used for?
No one knows for sure just how wide the eventual use case will be, but it will no doubt be huge. Some diverse examples will help illustrate just how fundamentally this might affect our lives and businesses:
- Advertising and marketing – finding new customers and communicating with them;
- The average person in the street – who may use it as a virtual reality gaming platform, or a place to attend a concert by an artist they would otherwise never get to see;
- Businesses tapping into machine learning and AI to incorporate multiple, diverse data sets into a virtual space to improve presentations and decision making;
- Surgeons from around the world all interacting over a patient’s scans;
- Classrooms exploring the James Webb telescope images in 3D projections they can fly through;
- Immersive in-depth product demonstrations;
- Interactive TV shows;
- Remote maintenance assistance to areas where technicians are usually unavailable; or
- News production that puts viewers seemingly on the spot.
At the moment, the opportunities seem unlimited.
How will this affect your business?
At the moment only a small percentage of businesses are using, or even aware of the Metaverse, but this is set to change. A recent Gartner Marketing Survey found that 35% of consumers have never heard of the Metaverse but as per projections, Gartner expects that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media, and entertainment etc. Be ready to adapt!
Here are just a few areas the rapidly developing Metaverse may impact your industry:
Using the Metaverse for remote work will involve more than simply creating a virtual office to connect teams that may be working from home. Short, interactive virtual reality meet-ups could allow chats between colleagues and facilitate gatherings with, for example, a comedian or musician for entertainment.
Three-dimensional online shopping
Online shopping has the distinct downside of not allowing customers to interact with what they are buying. They are unable to visualise the object or get a sense of just what it may look like in their homes. Interactive 3D shopping will start narrowing this gap.
Prototyping and product testing can be accelerated online. Factory layouts and warehousing can be tested for efficiency and raw materials can be sourced and shipped more easily and with fewer delays.
Streamlined workflows and cost optimisation
In a virtual world of in-depth, real and accurate simulators, employee training, onboarding and orientation need no longer take as much time as they once did. Everything from how to work your unique machinery to pitching the product to clients can be done in quantifiable virtual simulations.
Advertising at the moment is all about connecting emotionally and drawing the consumer into the world of the brand. Imagine how much easier this will be when you can invite the customer into a virtual world to experience a tailor-made experience?
Global market for talent
Companies that operate out of countries with weaker currencies are going to find it increasingly difficult to source the staff they need. As the Metaverse draws the world together, those with talent and skills are going to be able to work remotely wherever they like and that will generally be in the places that pay them better. Everything from HR policies to salaries and benefits will need to change.
What is abundantly clear is that businesses that fail to adapt to the sea-change coming with the Metaverse will find themselves facing precarious times, as did those who failed to adapt to the internet.
The Metaverse is coming. Will you be ready?
Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.