Internet technologies have leaped several times throughout history. During the initial days, websites were only text-based but later on images, videos, animations, and a variety of various themes were added to them. Similarly, another evolution is going to emerge in the tech world with the introduction of Metaverse. In October 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of the holding company, including all of Facebook’s subsidiaries, to Meta Inc. Since then, the concept of ‘Metaverse’ has been discussed around the world. In a presentation, Mark Zuckerberg discusses how Metaverse will become the future of the Internet. Metaverse is going to be the real form of the fantasy world, that is mainly presented in science fiction novels. When this concept is fully implemented, the experience of the Internet today will revolutionize, as well as the business world.
What is Metaverse?
Today, we experience internet content on the screen of smartphones or Pc. However, in Metaverse, users will be able to virtually appear directly in the content, which will provide a much more realistic experience. This concept can be explained as a fictional version of the Internet. Because, using virtual and augmented reality headsets, a user can access the 3D virtual world. Metaverse will change everything from meeting each other to shopping, gaming, study, and even online business experiences. That is, Metaverse is going to transform every aspect of users’ day-to-day life.
Overview of Metaverse
The term Metaverse was first used in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, where Metaverse refers to a virtual place. Later, the science fiction movie Matrix, released in 1999, showed a virtual world, which looked exactly like the real world. An online game called ‘Second Life‘ was released in 2003 that allowed users to experience a second life in the virtual world through an avatar. In addition, some other games, such as Roblox and Minecraft, are designed based on Metaverse. According to digiday, these games are made for fun purposes, but the potential of virtual meetings and co-working can be realized from then on.
Several tech giants, including NVIDIA, and Microsoft are also working on separate Metaverse outside of Minecraft, just like Facebook. Microsoft is going to integrate augmented and virtual reality into their system, called ‘Microsoft Mesh’, which will provide real-world experience in virtual team meetings or conferences. According to a report published in Bloomberg, Microsoft is going to introduce Metaverse Incorporated version in their signature products like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint within the next year. On the other hand, in April this year, NVIDIA launched a sophisticated end-to-end collaboration and simulation platform called “Omniverse Enterprise”. With the help of augmented reality, the complicated workflow of the teams working together can be turned into a simple working environment. Renowned gaming company Epic Games has already revolutionized the gaming industry with their virtual game ‘fortnite’. In addition, another luxury brand ‘Balenciaga’ has collaborated with Epic Games to explore new aspects of Metaverse. In addition, Epic Games raised USD 1 billion in April 2021 to work with Metaverse. Popular consumer brands like Gucci are also becoming interested in Metaverse. In June 2021, Gucci collaborated with online game Roblox to sell their digital-only accessories collection. However, beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola and American skincare and cosmetics manufacturer Clinique have already participated in the Metaverse journey by selling their digital tokens.
In August 2021, Facebook launched Horizon Workrooms, a virtual reality space where teams can connect using Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2-VR headgear. This allows teammates to connect from anywhere in the world to collaboratively develop ideas, team meetings, and other tasks as easily as a real-life experience. According to experts, in the future, every tech company is going to bring its very own Metaverse platform. Then, different Metaverse platforms will be connected through interoperability. This will allow anyone to teleport from one Metaverse platform to another as per their need for personal or business purposes.
How Will It Impact the Global Business?
Virtual Presence in the Workplace
In the future, the workplaces of employees and employers in Metaverse will be more efficient, streamlined, and convenient. Because of the Covid-19, people are well aware of the need for work from home. Due to the Corona epidemic, most companies have used virtual communication platforms like Zoom, and Google Meet. Metaverse for Business Meetings is an updated version of the co-working platform. For example, Facebook’s Horizon Workroom can be used as a replacement for audio and video conferencing for different companies. Users can create a virtual work environment wherever they want to and conduct any kind of corporate responsibilities there. Also, Metaverse will not have any kind of geographical boundary, as a result, companies will be able to hire their staff from anywhere in the world. This will not only save the real estate costs of the companies’ workplaces but also reduce the travel costs. According to Mark Zuckerberg, future users will not have to travel to the office. They can only start working with others by logging in to Metaverse.
Evolution of Online Shopping
Metaverse will bring drastic changes to users’ shopping experiences. Companies will be able to develop virtual stores in Metaverse, where customers can explore the store’s products from the comfort of their own home, as well as with a new product trial users will be able to order the physical product of their choice. This will allow companies to provide customers with virtually more interactive in-store experiences. According to Forbes, by using Metaverse, companies will be able to create virtual avatars for their customer service agents if they wish. This will make the interaction between customers and agents more interactive. Which, in turn, will help companies maintain long-term relationships with customers. According to brainstation-23, ZARA, one of the world’s most popular apparel retailers, and ADIDAS, the world’s most popular footwear retailer, already have AR and VR-enabled technology in their retail business to showcase new products.
Virtual Product Selling
Virtual goods basically represent all objects that have no physical existence but can be purchased online for real money, and can be used virtually. For example, gaming avatars, costumes, ornaments, etc. Metaverse will also create a marketplace for such virtual goods. In doing so, fashion will play a significant role in creating characters or recreating avatars. According to Forbes, Metaverse will have its own value in virtual fashion items, and real estate such as homes and cars will have its own value, and companies will need to create different types of products for different classes of people. These virtual products will be traded through Non fungible tokens or NFT, which is basically a kind of unique digital dataset that holds the ownership of the virtual product through blockchain. Several companies are already working on this concept. Recently, Nike submitted a trademark application to sell its virtual products such as sneakers and clothing at Metaverse. Companies will be able to create a billion-dollar market by selling virtual digital products in the multiverse along with physical products.
According to Forbes, a major shift in the global entertainment industry can be seen through Metaverse. Metaverse will not have any venue capacity or geographical restrictions for any kind of experience-based entertainment such as concerts, movies, or theme parks as well. Tilak Mandadi, the former executive vice president of Disney, posted an article on LinkedIn in 2020 about the theme park metaverse, where he wrote about merging the real and digital world with wearable gadgets and mobile phones. Even movies in the future will be made in Metaverse, which will bring a big change in the global filmmaking industry. In 2019, the online game Fortnite hosted a virtual concert with EDM artist Marshmello, which was viewed by about 1.7 million people together. At the concert, Fortnite players get a chance to buy various dance moves and merchandise. On the other hand, Justin Bieber announces a collaboration with Virtual Entertainment Startup- “Wave” for an online concert named “Justin Bieber – An Interactive Virtual Experience”. Through this concert, fans will get an idea of how the concert and other activities will work in the future in Metaverse. In the future, entertainment-based companies will get a big business opportunity in Metaverse.
The travel experience will be easier and more versatile through Metaverse. Hotels will be able to offer virtual hotel tours and “try before you buy” facilities for their location and services. As a result, people will be able to check the location, services, and other things at home instead of going to the destination physically. By doing so, the tourism sector in Metaverse will become more convenient to customers. Meanwhile, the concept has already been implemented at The Atlantis Hotel, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. They made a 360 panoramic VR video of ‘Atlantis’. Metaverse will create innovative business opportunities in the tourism industry, by accelerating the consumer experience,
In today’s world, the edtech industry is growing rapidly through organisations like Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, BYJU’S. However, many people lose interest in studying by looking at the screen of the device. But, Metaverse can overcome this inconvenience and make online education more engaging and exciting for students and teachers.
In the metaverse, edtech platforms can create new content. In this way, students will also become interested in studies. The edtech industry will boom further in the future by making boring online classes more exciting.
Branding and Promotion
According to Forbes, Metaverse can be a great medium for branding and promotion, which will completely change the current marketing system. Brands may not use traditional advertising platforms such as billboards and TVCs anymore, rather they may use Metaverse for advertising their products. Where brands will be able to provide immersive experiences for audiences and also stronger connections with customers. In this new era of Metaverse, new possibilities for brands and businesses will emerge along with a wide range of creative ideas.
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
According to Forbes, Cryptocurrencies have the potential to become mainstream currencies through Metaverse. According to CoinMarketCap, at present, there are 7 thousand and 812 cryptocurrencies available, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin, which are operated by technologies like blockchain. This technology is the least likely to be hacked, and Metaverse requires on-demand and instant payments. For this reason, these transactions can be done very efficiently using Blockchain-enabled cryptocurrency. According to another source of Forbes, crypto-enabled or augmented payments will become more prominent in virtual ecosystems like Metaverse. And in the future, this crypto-enabled payment will become the mainstream payment system as well.