Is the metaverse emerging as the next big thing? Like ‘big data ‘in the 90s, CX in the noughties and ‘digital transformation’ in the last decade, senior leaders everywhere are already being swamped by a heady mixture of speculation, propaganda and wishful thinking. Here’s a two-minute read covering what you need to know right now.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, many organisations are starting to explore the opportunities offered by the metaverse. Currently, however, there seems to be far more opportunity in selling the dream than there is in making something happen.
Businesses with an interest in talking up the metaverse in order to sell their wares are making outlandish claims; McKinsey state it will be worth $5trn by 2030 and Gartner claim a quarter of the world’s population will spend an hour a day on it by 2026. That’s 2 billion people spending 60 minutes each day in less than 200 weeks from now. That seems unlikely!
Contrast this with the fact that, right now, there isn’t universal agreement on what the metaverse is and how it will come to market.
Here at PiC, we’ve read all sorts of definitions. This is the one we think is most helpful:
‘the metaverse is a virtual shared space created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space’.
While the technology is still in its early stages, there are several compelling reasons why companies should keep an open mind to its possibilities, at the same time asking themselves how its adoption might enhance customer and employee experiences as the technology matures.
We think the metaverse is likely to offer businesses benefits in the following areas:
- Cost and time savings: One of the most obvious benefits of the metaverse is that it can help companies save time and money by eliminating the need for colleague travel. This is especially relevant in today’s business environment, where employees frequently spend a significant amount of time and resources traveling for meetings, conferences, and other business events. By moving these events to the metaverse, companies can greatly reduce the time and cost associated with travel, while still being able to connect with people from around the world in real-time.
- Improved customer engagement: The metaverse may also help companies better connect with their customers and provide a more personalised experience. Many businesses have pursued a ‘digital-first’ strategy for customer problem solving. This can work well, but often it remains a frustrating and lonely experience for the customer. The metaverse allows companies to create immersive and interactive experiences for their customers, solving problems digitally in a virtual, deeply branded environment. Similarly, virtual product demonstrations or immersive instruction sessions could provide a whole new way to impress and build brand value. This will help early movers stand out from the competition, with word of mouth for the first mass market brand to bring it to market successfully likely to be a real game changer.
- New marketing and advertising opportunities: The metaverse will provide a new platform for marketing and advertising. By creating virtual spaces companies can reach a larger audience and showcase their products and services in a more interactive and engaging way. This may help organisations differentiate and attract new customers.
- Improved collaboration and innovation: The metaverse can also facilitate collaboration and innovation within organisations. By creating virtual spaces where employees can work and collaborate in real-time, companies can foster a sense of community and encourage the exchange of ideas. This can lead to increased productivity and innovation within the organisation.
- Enhanced brand accessibility: the metaverse may make it easier for companies to connect with a global audience. By creating virtual events and experiences, companies can reach and immerse a global audience without the need for physical travel.
It is clear the metaverse will offer a range of opportunities for ambitious companies looking to improve their operations and connect with their customers in new ways. It’s likely that potential new entrants and disruptors are already seeing it as a way to make a splash from day one.
While the technology is still in its early stages, the metaverse has the potential to transform the way we do business and the way we interact with our people and our customers. As such, every business should keep a watching brief, staying close to its customers’ evolving wants and needs, to continually re-imagine the potential benefits the metaverse could bring to their brand, their people, their customers and their industry.