Envisioning that the future for social networking will be digitally immersive augmented virtual experiences, Facebook rebranded its name to Meta. The metaverse is coming.
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Soon, the metaverse will significantly impact the way we work, travel, date, communicate, learn, shop for items, and indulge in entertainment. Big brands are now getting involved in the space.
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Not only will the metaverse produce new job opportunities, but it will also provide unique business and investment opportunities. There are some significant changes that could be right around the corner.
So, What Exactly Is The Metaverse?
The metaverse is where the physical world collides with a 3-dimensional (3D) digital world. It entails shifting part of our lives into a virtual world whereby we can interact with people using virtual headsets via avatars.
The metaverse involves things like being able to purchase interoperable digital assets, for example, buying a Tesla, and being able to drive that car across the French countryside, or use that car in a video game, pull up at a rock concert, etc.
In the physical world, things are limited as to what we can do. For example, traveling to another city, or country takes time. Meaning, that in this case, time is the limiting factor. But, in the metaverse, this could be seconds — not hours, days. That said, there is a tidal wave of change coming. Here are four industries the metaverse will most certainly impact.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is this — technology allows a lot of us to work from home. For better or worse, our lives have changed through team collaboration software like Slack (chat), Zoom (meetings), Asana (project management, and productivity). Yet, when you add the metaverse to work, then it has the potential to bring work to a whole new level.
Research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, in collaboration with Microsoft reimagines a new dimension of work. The mixed reality study found that executives have a strong interest in three capabilities:
- Engaging in simulations (49%).
- Overlaying data on physical objects (46%).
- Enhancing virtual communications (44%).
When the metaverse is added to the mix, things like training, interviews, meetings, customer service, or even sitting in an office environment can all be done via virtual settings. While this might be hard to fathom now, digital office environments may indeed replace physical office environments and become the new norm.
For millennials, the pandemic has brought about loneliness. In China, for instance, virtual AI boyfriends exploded in popularity with young singles dissing real-life dating in favor of virtual boyfriends. Expect new terminology and lines to be blurred — meta BF/GF, metacheat, etc.
Match Group, the parent of Tinder, plans to expand its services by offering users to include live experiences, a virtual goods-based economy. Match Group told TechCrunch that it has broader plans to create a dating metaverse.
Extended reality (XR) technology combines augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and wearables. According to Wikipedia, the ‘X’ in ‘XR,’ “represents a variable for any current or future spatial computing technologies.”
While XR technology is still in its nascent stages, it has already made headways in the fashion industry. Recently, Armani beauty World launched a Christmas virtual store experience for customers using ByondXR’s tech — a company creating 3D branded shoppable environments and virtual fashion showrooms. Similarly, brands like Calvin Klien, Lancome, L'Oréal, and Olay have all created augmented shoppable environments.
Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) became the first luxury fashion brand to enter the non-fungible token (NFT) space. Soon after, brands like Louis Vuitton followed suit. Burberry also tested “social retail” in Shenzhen, China, by connecting rewards via WeChat and creating a link between offline and online. Nike holds a patent for “Crypto Kicks,” which has led to speculation that Nike could soon be launching a digital shoe marketplace.
Tilak Mandadi, the head of digital and technology for Disney Parks, wrote an article on LinkedIn that described his concept of a “theme park metaverse.”
Mandadi imagines a world whereby physical and digital worlds converge and create metaverse experiences. Picture walking through Disney’s Haunted Mansion or taking a Star Wars tour — in the near future, this will become a reality.
But, it’s not just theme parks, the metaverse extends to pretty much every form of entertainment, from virtual gaming, clubbing, to being immersed in concerts. American celebrities like Ariana Grande, Marshmello, Travis Scott have all performed shows inside the video game Fornite.