June 09, 2023
"What New Technology Does Is Create New Opportunities To Do A Job That Customers Want Done." - Tim O'Reilly
"The Metaverse is an interconnected web of ubiquitous virtual worlds partly overlapping with and enhancing the physical world. These virtual worlds enable users who are represented by avatars to connect and interact with each other, and to experience and consume user-generated content in an immersive, scalable, synchronous, and persistent environment. An economic system provides incentives for contributing to the Metaverse."
Weinberger, Markus. 2022. "What Is Metaverse?—A Definition Based on Qualitative Meta-Synthesis" Future Internet 14, no. 11: 310. https://doi.org/10.3390/fi14110310
The new buzzword around town is “metaverse.” But what does that it mean for businesses?
Is it only something that social media companies need to be concerned about?
There is no question that the metaverse is on its way, as evidenced by Apple's CEO Tim Cook stating: "Life without AR will soon be unthinkable." We can't know yet whether this future lies in the near or distant term. However, businesses should make sure they are prepared for it either way.
So there are two choices for business! Duck and cover (i.e., ignore it altogether), or...
embrace the virtual environment of the metaverse and utilize the capabilities entailed within it to improve business productivity and customer interactions.
The metaverse is a new online environment that businesses should be aware of. It is still growing and changing, so it will be different in the future than it is now. Before we can comprehend a metaverse, there's one thing to note: it is not capitalized like a proper name because "metaverse" simply refers to a general concept.
By embracing the potential of the metaverse, we can bring the internet to life and create an interconnected 3D virtual world. This would provide a realistic experience for users like those found in popular immersive video games today. Imagine exploring countless sites from all over the globe, virtually walking through cities or attending events with friends - it's closer than you think!
Did Facebook/Meta invent the metaverse? No.
For years, the concept of 3D immersive worlds has been discussed and debated. Several gaming companies have established positions within this metaverse, but not with a great degree of interconnectivity between them.
Adobe Atmosphere was one of the first, and arguably most remarkable, renditions of metaverse technology. This software enabled people to explore 3-dimensional virtual realms as well as engage with other participants in a variety of ways - an impressive feat for its time. Despite Adobe Atmosphere's unfortunate demise early on, this platform effectively revealed that the concept had been around far longer than we thought. Adobe shut down this software in 2004.
As technology progresses and catches up to what's necessary to create a metaverse, the potential of this world has begun receiving recognition. High-speed internet, enormous processing power, and accessibly available 3D delivery methods are all critical components that make it now possible for us to experience the unique possibilities within this digital realm.
We've barely begun. Yet the metaverse is rapidly gaining momentum. Microsoft recently declared a collaboration with Meta, focused on introducing Microsoft 365 apps into this expanding world of possibilities. This alliance promises to revolutionize teamwork - fifty percent of Gen Zers and millennials anticipate doing part of their job in the metaverse within two years!
Benefits of Exploring the Metaverse
Microsoft is peering into the possibilities of AR/VR, which could be a reality for us all soon. Your business will likely feel the impact of this new metaverse in only a few years from now! Here's an early glimpse at what to expect when it does.
Increased Reach and Potential Customers
Companies initially missed the potential of the internet. Today, having a website is an absolute necessity for lead and sales generation. If the metaverse becomes widely adopted as anticipated, it could be just as important in business activities - think virtual advertising or creating your own VR site/showroom! Companies must embrace this new 3D iteration to stay ahead of their competition.
The metaverse is a new way for businesses to reach out to people who might buy what they are selling. Companies can use virtual worlds that look and feel like reality to talk with customers in ways that were not possible before.
When businesses make their own environments, they can make sure that it is perfect for their target customers. For example, if customers can change how their avatars look, feel, and act in a virtual world, the business can create a personal experience that will attract them. A metaverse is a powerful tool businesses can use to reach many existing and potential new customers. Interacting with customers in virtual worlds is cheaper than renting out physical venues or running marketing campaigns. This makes it easier for companies, big and small, to make an impact. Businesses can use analytics tools to understand who is visiting their site and how they interact with it. This allows businesses to provide better experiences for their visitors or offer incentives that are more likely to be effective in reaching a specific kind of viewer.
Opportunities for More Engaging Experiences for Customers
When social media started becoming popular, companies realized people were using it to reach out to them. 79% of consumers expect companies to respond to a social media message within one day. To address this need, many businesses have a social media presence so they can answer questions and inquiries from customers.
The metaverse may be the next step. Companies can make memorable experiences for their customers. By using things like custom-made avatars and interactive parts, businesses can make an experience perfect for the people they are trying to reach. Additionally, companies can use the multiplayer capabilities available in the metaverse to host events such as online concerts or gaming competitions – allowing them to build an even deeper connection with their customers.
One of the benefits of the metaverse is that it can make training more immersive. This could help people learn new skills more efficiently, from doctors to forklift operators. Imagine being able to practice a task in a virtual world before doing it in real life. This would allow people to make mistakes safely and become proficient at the task before trying it in the real world.
You should start thinking about what types of training your employees need. After that, look at ways a VR world may make the training safer or more efficient. The metaverse may not have what you're looking for now. But it may be in the future with how fast technology is improving.
Create a More Engaging Remote Team Experience with Enhanced Collaboration.
Virtual meetings became very popular during the pandemic. Now, meeting by Teams or Zoom is commonplace. The next generation of online team meetings may end up in a virtual world.
Microsoft is working to make its business applications available in a virtual space, bringing avatars and immersive settings together. This will revolutionize how meetings are conducted by delivering an entirely new experience!
Want to further fortify collaboration among your remote team in virtual reality? A perfect way is by strategizing and customizing the design of an area before it's even constructed. It would be amazing to walk through a 3D simulation of a space virtually, then refine or adjust its design while being within that environment.
Best Practices for Exploring the Metaverse in a Safe and Profitable Manner
The metaverse provides a new way for businesses to interact with their customers on a deeply personal level. Through custom-built avatars and analytics capabilities, companies can engage with customers in immersive ways that make them feel genuinely valued – creating loyalty and trust between business and customer alike.
Business operations can likewise be fine-tuned when practiced within a virtual environment. Imagine practicing a manufacturing scenario or creating a virtual factory layout before spending a dime on digging a hole for a foundation.
Like a virtual environment, the opportunities appear to be limitless. Don't duck away into a shell; start exploring this subject and start keeping your eyes open to the opportunities that are coming.
There are already some of these opportunities available to begin exploring.