During the 2020/2021 holiday season, Apple users spent $1.8 billion on digital goods and services. The digital economy is rapidly gaining ground, and Blockchains and NFTs will be at the heart of the transition in the not too distant future. The trend will accelerate over the next ten years due to imminent technological convergence, known as the metaverse.
On October 28, Facebook, the business that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, was renamed as Meta, ending months of uncertainty. At the company’s annual Connect conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told attendees;
“Right now, our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything that we’re doing today, let alone in the future. Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and identity on what we’re building toward.” Source
This article discusses what the metaverse is, why it is so important and what we can expect in 2022 and beyond.
What is the Metaverse?
In short, the metaverse is the digital realm in which whatever we can dream, imagine, and understand can exist. We will eventually always be connected to the metaverse, allowing us to extend our senses of sight, sound, and touch, as well as mix digital objects into the physical world and enter completely immersive 3D environments whenever we desire. Extended Reality (XR) is the name given to this group of technologies.
Roblox and Fortnite are popular virtual social places where millions of people spend hours each day. With non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies making headlines, interest in completely digital ownership—and the technology that proponents say can secure the security of permanent virtual experiences—has skyrocketed. Facebook and Microsoft have just announced new ways to cooperate online, indicating that virtual productivity platforms are developing. According to observers, Nike is even planning to sell virtual sneakers. Hybrid workplaces, video-based schooling, and online social communities are just a few examples of how we are spending more of our lives in digital spaces, for better or worse.
The metaverse promises to provide a larger crossover of our digital and physical lives in wealth, sociability, work, shopping, and entertainment, whether in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), or just on a screen.
The Metaverse Economy
The metaverse is expected to have a close relationship with the real-world economy, eventually becoming an extension of it. To put it another way, the metaverse must allow businesses and individuals to engage in economic activity in the same way they do today.
According to a new analysis from crypto giant Grayscale, the metaverse has the potential to become a $1 trillion yearly revenue opportunity across the realms of advertising, digital events, e-commerce, and hardware. Individual metaverses in gaming are currently the most well-known, with Fortnite and Roblox gaining in popularity in recent years. According to Grayscale, virtual gaming world sales might reach $400 billion by 2025, up from roughly $180 billion in 2020.
However, more and more metaverse initiatives are built on or strongly reliant on crypto technology, giving users more autonomy and allowing them to earn money in the real world. The Web3 metaverse is what this is referred to as.
Can we work in the Metaverse?
Millions of people around the world were forced to migrate to digital-only modes of communication and some kind of virtual workspace as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Working in the metaverse takes this a step further, giving you all of the benefits of the actual world while removing most of the drawbacks and limits.
Removes the challenges of remote work
Working in the metaverse has a significant advantage in this regard. When telecommuting, users frequently complain about their inability to understand body language and effectively communicate. Managers struggle to keep track of their teams’ output. There is also a risk of disengagement owing to the lengthy absence of in-person connections. The metaverse creates an immersive virtual workplace where employees’ 3D avatars can collaborate as if they were in the real world.
3D Problem Solving
Some activities and commercial challenges are easier to solve visually, but in the real world, this is simply not feasible. Architects, for example, may want to design and draw numerous detailed mock-ups before deciding on a solution. However, due to time and budget restrictions, errors are frequently missed due to a lack of precision. You can 3D-model nearly anything in the metaverse, and real-world specs can be duplicated using digital twin technology.
Construction, architecture, healthcare, life sciences, and other industries can use this technology to solve problems more intelligently.
Infinite Apace and Interoperability
Another advantage of working in the metaverse is that you have no restrictions on the amount of space or features you can use. Do you require another bulletin board? Simply add an extension (or multiple extensions) to your current space. Similarly, metaverse virtual workspaces may be made interoperable with productivity tools, allowing you to benefit from feature-rich collaboration experiences without having to invest in infrastructure.
Working in the metaverse could be a significant efficiency driver for giant corporations. Employees in a virtual office have access to digital whiteboards, computers, and other technology, and their 3D avatars can meet face-to-face without the need for expensive conference equipment. It is feasible to build a whole virtual campus inside the metaverse for a fraction of the cost of doing so in the actual world – all thanks to cloud computing.
Challenges of the Metaverse
If we are worried about how much time our children spend looking at screens now, the metaverse takes that to another level.
In digital spaces, we all have far more to be concerned about than just time spent. The very likely assumption that this is where technological progress is headed ignores the question of whether it is the correct route for us to go.
Suppose the metaverse is just an extension of the internet we presently have. In that case, one only needs to consider the plethora of issues we have yet to address in our online existence—hacking, catfishing, harassment, and hate speech—to realise how dangerous a future on the metaverse could be.
Another caveat is the core technology required. Working in the metaverse necessitates the development of AI, full-body gear and sensors, sophisticated headphones, and robust cloud connectivity, which might take several years. Second, there are security concerns because a persistent metaverse would need to collect and keep user data to deliver an intuitive experience. Several existing trends that are not yet mature enough themselves will ultimately shape the metaverse.
Governance in a Virtual Ecosystem
The laws of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld apply in the metaverse: “If something is believed strongly enough, or by enough people, it may become fact.” The amount of people who believe in it determines the breadth of any component of it. It is something that we must all work together to achieve. The metaverse’s potential is limitless, emphasising the importance of artists and advertisers working together to keep this virtual ecosystem running well.
Publishers, developers, advertisers, brands, and players are all stewards of the evolving metaverse, and the metaverse will survive as long as everyone is working toward the same goal.
Disclaimer: The author of this text, Jean Chalopin, is a global business leader with a background encompassing banking, biotech, and entertainment. Mr. Chalopin is Chairman of Deltec International Group, www.deltecbank.com.
The co-author of this text, Robin Trehan, has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, a Master’s in International Business and Finance, and an MBA in Electronic Business. Mr. Trehan is a Senior VP at Deltec International Group, www.deltecbank.com.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this text are solely the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Deltec International Group, its subsidiaries, and/or its employees.
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