Research firm Gartner predicts that 25 % of people will spend at least 1 hour a day in the metaverse by 2026. And with metaverse technology platforms predicted to become a lucrative market — to the tune of $800 billion by 2024 (according to a Dec 2021 Bloomberg report) — fear of missing out on a significant opportunity is a powerful motivator ! Because of this, organizations are learning about XR solutions, the metaverse ecosystem, determining what’s needed to create value and operate in the digital world, etc.
XR ( AR / VR / MR ) is a new opportunity that is improving outcomes –
1. More Immersive Entertainment
Entertainment in the metaverse is garnering a lot of interest, particularly from younger consumers who are likely to drive growth.
Pop superstar Ariana Grande’s 2021 concert series within the Fortnite gaming universe and similar events hint at how a metaverse will provide new immersive entertainment experiences. Big names Justin Bieber, Marshmello and Travis Scott have also explored metaverse entertainment.
From the increasing use in movies and gaming with animation, XR is – growing these markets, delivering new experiences, and satisfying rising User expectations.
As indicated in other articles at www.cail.com/BI and in other publications, organizations across industries are using XR solutions to improve operations and business outcomes.
With this, the metaverse provides a collaborative environment where data is ubiquitous and always present. This includes delivering a much more immersive experience to personnel using XR to perform simple to complex tasks as well as more effectively collaborate with others.
The pandemic and the resulting restrictions on in-person gatherings forced educational institutions to adopt e-learning platforms and other digital means of communication.
Now, with many people working from home (WFH) and the ability to stream data in real-time and support real-time interactions virtually, the metaverse is improving how educators deliver their lessons. In addition, students learn faster and have a higher comprehension of the subject matter.
With this also applying to Enterprises for virtual training, organizations across various industries are utilizing XR to fast-track people develop new competencies, improve safety, update processes, etc. To facilitate progress on new initiatives, people are meeting in the metaverse and collaborating to identify and resolve issues using a steady stream of constantly updated data to guide the learning experience.
Expanding capabilities in the metaverse increases the options for companies to engage and interact with customers with new experiences and providing information in new ways.
For example, through a remote immersive digital twin, a person can manage multiple retail stores or orchestrate a situation in different locations. In one case, a ski resort could create a virtual guide for skiers as they go down the mountain that delivers personalized information in real time to enhance the experience. Another scenario is where a tour company provide a persistent immersive experience in the virtual realm overlaid onto the physical world to inform tourists as they travel through destinations (ie: bringing historical events to life at various locations).
Companies are also offering people new shopping experiences. For example, XR is utilized by automakers to providing test drives virtually, retailers enabling people to try on clothes virtually, manufacturers changing a process or setup in a factory virtually.
With people moving from in-person meetings to virtual meetings (with Zoom, Go-To-Meeting, etc.) during the pandemic and the increase in Work from Home, companies are building on this new environment with XR technologies to provide the next version of ” virtual meetings “.
It is expected that within a few years, most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids to the metaverse in a 3D space with digital avatars. This includes people having an avatar and meeting with others in a virtual space that replicates the experience of being in a room with them to interact, perform tasks, have new experiences, etc. With this the benefits include – more effective collaboration, having more ways to connect and communicate, quicker and easier learning new things, improving decision making, making innovation more rewarding, a greater understanding of situations to better manage risk, etc.
To enable this to occur, it will require virtual reality (VR) goggles and motion capture gloves to render expressions, body language and the quality of others’ voices, etc. to enable a person perform tasks virtually as well as in the physical world. For example, in retail, through a remote immersive digital twin, one person can manage multiple stores with the ability to engage with a Customer or another associate to provide information or handle a situation.
6. Advertising, Branding and Marketing
Various enterprises are establishing and expanding their XR presence. For example, Hyundai Motor Company debuted Hyundai Mobility Adventure, a metaverse experience on gaming platform Roblox. Through their avatar, a person can experience current Hyundai products and gain insight into future mobility projects. Another example is Warner Bros. Pictures hosting a virtual party on Roblox to market the movie In the Heights. As well, the Walt Disney Co. in a Nov 2020 LinkedIn post, Tilak Mandadi, the head of digital and technology for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Inc., announced Disney’s ” Theme Park Metaverse ” initiative where ” physical and digital worlds converge – with wearables, smartphones and digital access points immersing the guests in the metaverse experiences ” utilizing computer vision, natural language understanding, AR, AI, and IoT as underlying technologies.
Early adopters are exploring digital representations of real estate whereby people / Investors are acquiring property, residences, stores, shopping malls, concert venues, etc. in the metaverse. See an article in The New York Times and other articles in the Metaverse section of www.cail.com/BI for more details.
For example, a restaurant could create a presence in a metaverse so customers who are working, playing, or exploring in their digital space can easily and quickly order real-world pickup or delivery. Further, they can create a seamless experience on Web3, where the user can virtually enter the restaurant and place an order using or earning loyalty points that the company digitally tracks.
Another example of creating a new opportunity is a “ Virtual Farmers Market “ from internet publishing company Parade (which lists its headquarters as the ” metaverse ” on its LinkedIn page). Here, their MetaMarket offering is “the first ever farmers market in the metaverse ” that accommodates up to 500 customers as digital avatars, who can talk with each other, visit vendors, and buy products. One vendor in the MetaMarket is Chicago-based Field + Farmer, with roots in the local food movement and a focus on clean-label plant-based food. They setup a virtual store as one of approximately 20 initial vendors. Isabella Chia, Field + Farmer’s Sr. VP of Marketing said the company saw the digital environment as a way to expand their business and boost accessibility to local foods for consumers – with the ability for “You to dial in from the comfort of your couch “.
Companies are already selling goods and services that only exist in the digital world.
An example of this is Gucci teaming up with product and entertainment company Superplastic to create a limited series of collectible NFTs. Ralph Lauren is selling clothing for avatars, and Nike is creating an NFT that links to its real-world counterpart.
Major fashion brands are selling digital-only clothing and accessories, following in the footsteps of gaming platforms that have sold similar items for many years. Extending on this, it is expected there are additional opportunities for enterprises and the broader business landscape with the sales of digital assets providing new revenue streams and higher margin to facilitate companies meaningfully improving outcomes and evolving their business model with XR.
An area of significant opportunity with XR is enabling people do their job better, learning new skills and concepts, creating new experiences, etc. – with the ability to stream information in ways that make it easier for people to learn to be more efficient and productive.
For example, city workers who need to check properties in a community overlaying the digital world onto the real world to see a stream of required information about the properties. One scenario is looking at a traffic light that was reported broken, get details on that complaint and update the repair status immediately to other city personnel and the community.
With XR being a recent innovation and the progress made to-date to expand business opportunities, we’re just getting started. There is a lot of value to be created. And as people become more familiar with the metaverse and the technology continues evolving, it’s going to get better.
To put in perspective, XR today is like the auto industry in the 1920’s, computers and space exploration in the 1960’s, the Internet in the 1990’s, social media and ecommerce in the early 2000’s.
In this context, with XR being a huge opportunity, what are your plans to innovate and participate ?
If interested in exploring the options in XR or to make innovation more rewarding, you’re welcome to contact CAIL.