All emerging technologies go through the same hype cycle: initial extreme hype (this technology will change the world), extreme disillusionment (this technology is dead), slow enlightenment (aha, there are some real use cases with Return on Investment (ROI)) and then real value creation (mass adoption). The metaverse is a recent example where it was touted to change the world and now there is a new article every day discussing how the “metaverse is dead”.
If you were to only read media headlines it would be impossible for you to know otherwise. In this article I would like to dispel some of the misunderstandings about the metaverse and shine some light on why you should consider it as an additional digital channel to engage your employees and customers.
Misunderstanding 1 – the metaverse is only VR Our definition of the Metaverse is that it is the evolution of the internet to become more 3D, more spatial and more immersive. In other words, how you experience the internet will evolve to more closely match how you interact with other people in the physical world. Where the confusion arises is that people believe that you can only experience the metaverse in virtual reality (VR) headsets and they see that as a barrier to adoption. In fact, you can experience the Metaverse using todays 2D web and 2D devices. An example of this is online games.
Misunderstanding 2 – the metaverse is not accessible If you believe that the Metaverse can only be accessed with expensive VR and augmented reality (AR) headsets then you would rightfully conclude that today the metaverse is not accessible. However, as stated above you can access the metaverse using today’s devices (laptops and smart phones) with basic broadband connectivity. So, in that sense the metaverse can be an obvious 3D extension of the current 2D internet – meaning the data security and privacy measures already in place also hold for the metaverse.
Misunderstanding 3 – the metaverse is only for gamers There are three distinct types of metaverse environment that offer different advantages depending on your sector.
The first and most mature metaverse environment is the consumer metaverse and is represented best by massively multi-player online games. They have hundreds of millions of monthly active users and few people understand that the game industry is multiple times bigger than the music and movie industries combined and is growing.
The second is the industrial metaverse which can be best described as digital twins of real-life objects such as factories and machines. In this type of metaverse you can improve on efficiency and productivity by leveraging the metaverse to simulate and visualize better ways of working.
And finally, we have the third and least mature type of metaverse which is the enterprise metaverse. This reflects the change in how people will communicate, collaborate and co-create in a working environment. So instead of communicating over 2D video you will enter collaborative, spatial and more immersive environments to meet with your teams and customers, with your digital self-represented as an avatar.
Misunderstanding 4 – the metaverse offers little ROI In fact, there are several use cases where the metaverse offers significant value creation opportunities such as, brand presence in online games, digital twins, health and safety training in VR. Maximizing your ROI depends on understanding where the metaverse will add the most value against your strategic growth areas or current pain points.
Misunderstanding 5 – the metaverse and Web3 are the same Web3 can be thought of as the evolution of today’s internet from a centralized state to a decentralized state, made possible by blockchain technology. This shift towards decentralization means that large, centralized platforms will no longer have the control over society that they have today. With this will come new uses of technology and new business models like smart contracts, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), tokenization, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and cryptocurrency. These new technologies and business models are all very interesting and have their place, but they are not necessarily part of the metaverse. The misunderstanding is that many people presume the metaverse must contain all these Web3 solutions and that simply isn’t the case.
Considering all the above I hope you have a better sense of why you’re your organization might want to consider the metaverse as an additional digital channel to engage your employees and customers.
The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms. EYG No. 000781-24Gbl
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