Metaverse — Redefining the Digital Experience
The metaverse has grown from gaming’s dominance as a social media platform to a dominant one. Fortnite and Roblox allow you to program games and create virtual worlds that can be used for shared experiences like concerts or graduation ceremonies. The metaverse is a 3D immersive virtual world that allows users to have many experiences in a virtual environment. It can be either a replica of the real world or a new world. The metaverse allows one to connect with a specific space via their digital avatar, a close replica of a human being. They can also use an immersive AR/VR device from their couch.
In October 2021, the metaverse was a hot topic in tech. Facebook Inc. changed its name from “Meta” to “Meta” and announced a $10 Billion investment in metaverse technology in five years. Already, the technology is gaining acceptance. According to Bloomberg Intelligence by 2024, global metaverse revenues could reach $800 billion. Metaverse isn’t a trend. To ensure that organizations remain relevant, they must take the first steps toward meeting the needs of the next generation.
Early Adopters of the Metaverse
Virtual worlds are a promising option for many industries. Virtual worlds will allow for many new experiences, from yoga classes to weddings. Although the technology is still in its early stages, many companies have made a huge leap into the metaverse to connect with the next generation. To build a bridge to this technology, companies like PepsiCo have partnered up with Metaverse.
Retail in Metaverse
The metaverse promises many possibilities, including virtual stores, malls, and branding opportunities. The technology allows for both digital and in-store experiences. A user can, for example, enter a virtual cosmetics storefront within the metaverse using their avatar. They can interact with beauty advisors and try on virtual products before making a purchase. Shopify claims that interactions with 3D/AR products have a 94% higher conversion ratio than those without it. Some retailers have begun to develop their virtual channels. Roblox and Nike have teamed up to create a virtual world called “Nikeland”, where users can test new shoes. Virtual marathons will be possible through the virtual channel.
Direct-to-avatar (D2A), where avatars are outfitted with accessories and clothing, is another emerging business model. A few retailers like Ralph Lauren and American Eagle have already launched their digital avatar fashion collections, including Gucci, North Face, and American Eagle. Even luxury brands such as Maserati or Tesla have released virtual versions of their cars for avatars.
Metaverse Offers Enterprise Solutions
Beyond the potential for avatar access, there are many other benefits to the metaverse. Virtual modeling and team collaboration can be a boon for forward-thinking companies. Nvidia has created the “Nvidia Omniverse “ to integrate different virtual worlds by creating virtual twins for factories and buildings. They also work with BMW to redesign 31 factories around the world. Engineers from different countries will be able to collaborate in real-time on the factory’s design using digital humans. This allows them to simulate how the tools and activities on the production line might be operated.
Microsoft has begun to implement metaverse technology in preparation for creating a 3D virtual universe through its Enterprise Metaverse. Mesh for Teams, which will be launched by employees from different places, will enable them to collaborate and share holographic experiences with their avatars. The metaverse, which is a key technology for fostering creativity and better collaboration as the world shifts to virtual work environments, will continue to be the driving force behind in-person meetings. This will improve remote team collaboration during product and packaging design, JAD sessions, and company/program/project status meetings. There are many possibilities.
Emerging Markets and Products in the Metaverse
CNBC reported recently that MetaMetrics Solutions estimates that real estate sales in metaverse will reach $1 billion by 2022. This is a significant increase from the $500 million realized in 2021 according to MetaMetrics Solutions. It is a tangible asset that has a high value, despite being intangible. Decentraland is an Ethereum-based virtual reality blockchain platform. It allows users to enter the property through avatars and engage with the agent. They can then explore the property, and purchase goods and services using tokens. Tech giants such as Microsoft and Meta are well-equipped to transform into digital real estate businesses with the explosion in virtual real estate.
Virtual experiences could be the best way to make your mark. Walt Disney is creating a virtual park using AI, robotics, and other technological advancements. Instead of paying for travel and expenses associated with real-world experiences, park-goers can purchase tickets to the metaverse theme park. To allow people from all over the world to attend concerts hosted by musicians on the metaverse, they will be able to access them from remote locations. Justin Bieber hosted a concert in the metaverse, and thousands of his fans were able to join the concert via their avatars.
You can also enjoy virtual experiences such as watching a match with your friends in the best seats, traveling to exotic places around the world, destination fitness experiences, virtual education opportunities, and virtual socializing. Tinder is expanding its metaverse platform to include new concepts such as space dating and metaverse relationships.
Online gaming has pushed the reimagining of 3D virtual experiences. However, even the gaming industry can provide new revenue streams for companies. Burberry, for example, recently collaborated with “Honor of Kings”, to bring Burberry clothing to the game. Brands have unique opportunities to project their brand identity in gaming.
The metaverse can promote sustainability. Procter & Gamble’s Herbal Essences partnered up with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew to enable consumers to visit a virtual plant garden and authenticate the natural, plant-derived ingredients within the product line. P&G’s commitment to sustainability is reinforced with the planting of a tree for each authentication.
Current Problems in the Metaverse
Technology is still in an early stage, and it is constantly evolving. It faces challenges just like any other new phenomenon.
Data Security — Tech giants are increasingly generating more data in the metaverse. This means that data privacy, data ownership rights, and privacy must be addressed.
Legal — If there isn’t a jurisdiction to settle disputes in the digital world, this new technology could be dangerous. Concerns exist about avatars’ interactions with each other.
Skilled Resources — Companies that wish to capitalize on the potential of the metaverse will face challenges in scaling up their resources to have the necessary skills.
VR Devices — The metaverse relies on VR, AR & MR. This makes it uncomfortable and heavy to wear over the eyes. Apple’s entry into the AR/VR market with an eyeglass product is a major step forward and could be a game-changer for the Metaverse.
Adoption — The mass adoption of the metaverse is not possible quickly. Users will need to fully understand the technology and its benefits.
Time — Unconscious immersion in the metaverse can cause users to spend more online, which could have negative consequences. The ability to connect with the real world could be affected by prolonged time spent in the metaverse.
The next major step in technology is the metaverse. This is not science fiction anymore. The metaverse has many new uses. The technology is still in its infancy and mass adoption will take some time. However, virtual avatars will soon be as common as social media accounts. These avatars will revolutionize the digital experience for users.
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