The term metaverse has been part of public discourse for more than a year. This is due in large part to tech giant Facebook changing its name to “Meta” in October 2021. The company has since announced multi-billion dollar investments in the Metaverse technology, and according to a study by Mckinsey & Company, along with numerous venture capitalists and private equity firms around the world, has invested nearly $120 billion (USD) to date, to help companies build Metaverse experiences. This leads us to ask the all-important question of how important the metaverse is. And what is the role of technologies like AI that are driving the future of business and will impact industries across all sectors for years to come?
Metaverse and AI
Often thought of as one and the same, Metaverse and AI are related but not interchangeable. The term metaverse is a combination of “meta”, which is the Greek prefix for beyond or beyond, and the word “universe”. First used by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, the term alluded to a then highly unlikely and iImmersive online world that people as avatars can explore and interact with. Almost 30 years later, a web of interconnected and futuristic technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, web 3.0, blockchain and most importantly artificial intelligence (AI) are making this once impossible reality a reality, making consumers and people more personal and immersive experiences than ever before . AI is thus the dominant technology powering the Metaverse and will play a key role in shaping the domain going forward.
Metaverse and its impact on businesses
Currently very little information on the internet can be considered truly interactive. And while brands are using modes like GIFs and video content to engage with their consumers, these aren’t even a fraction of what the metaverse can offer in terms of immersive content. AR and VR offer marketers the opportunity to truly transform what their customers can see, feel, touch and experience. Take, for example, Samsung’s recent collaboration with NASA, which created an immersive 4D lunar gravity VR experience for attendees. It was one of the most innovative ways to help people experience what a moon landing would be like.
This is just one example of how a whole new world awaits brands – a world where they can transform the way messages are created and delivered. And that’s very important in today’s experiential world, where people are looking for more engaging, fun, and interactive ways to learn about a company’s products and services.
Similarly, the Metaverse is also poised to impact the e-commerce industry. As most brands want to adopt an omnichannel model to effectively reach customers both offline and online, the Metaverse will play the role of a crucial enabling partner. With its ability to deliver enriching consumer experiences using cutting-edge technology, the Metaverse can help brands create newer and deeper relationships with their customers. Whether it combines the power of aartificially Intelligence and augmented reality to allow consumers to try on makeup and apparel products on their virtual avatars, or to create virtual storefronts that allow customers to browse a new collection from the comfort of their own home, the Metaverse promises to be exciting and immersive Retail experiences like never before. In fact, according to a Mckinsey projection, the Metaverse is projected to generate up to $5 trillion in impact by 2030, with the e-commerce industry leading the way with an estimated impact of $2 trillion to $2.6 trillion.
Additionally, even traditional industries like banking and finance, construction, and real estate are now trying to ride the Metaverse wave. As banks seek to use the metaverse to facilitate customer interactions in the virtual world, the investment community is exploring the idea of going beyond mere robo-advisors and modeling and simulating better investment portfolios. Similarly, the real estate and construction industries are trying to harness the power of interactive 3D house designs, which can give a real idea of how to live on a property before building or buying it.
A nice new job
Not only is the Metaverse impacting businesses and industries around the world, but it is well positioned to transform the workplace. Imagine using AI’s data interpretation capabilities to decipher meeting notes, or using interactive 3D office tours to orient new hires. It promises a new level of connectedness among employees, easier remote collaboration, and an overall revamped work environment. Additionally, the Metaverse could be used to transform competency and training development through interactive models, resulting in significantly shorter timeframes for training periods. These are just a few examples of how new Metaverse technologies will impact the future of the workplace. Overall, there’s a promise to bring new levels of employee interactivity, team collaboration, and accelerated learning, and make organizations a part of the Metaverse world.
Our world is changing faster than ever, and technologies like AI and the Metaverse are clear examples of this. And while many aspects of the metaverse are still in their infancy, it’s clear going forward that brands will need to adapt to remain competitive and relevant.
The views expressed above are the author’s own.
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