The new buzzword around town is “metaverse.” But what does that actually mean for businesses? Is it just something that social media companies need to be concerned about?
According to people like Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, the metaverse is coming. He stated that “Life without AR will soon be unthinkable.” Whether that’s a short-term or long-off prediction, companies need to be ready.
First comes the understanding of what the metaverse is. Metaverse is a general term – hence why it’s not capitalized like a proper name. The metaverse refers to a collective upgrade of the internet to a 3D virtual environment. This would be a world interconnected between various sites. These sites would reflect the immersive games that you see today.
Did Facebook/Meta invent the metaverse? No.
The idea of connected 3D immersive worlds has been around for decades. Several online gaming companies have staked a territory in the metaverse. But their applications are less interconnected.
What's one of the best representations of the early metaverse? It’s a short-lived software called Adobe Atmosphere. This 3D immersive experience included interconnected online worlds. It also gave people the ability to chat with others. It was a bit before its time but shows how the concept of the metaverse has been around for a while.
The metaverse is getting attention now because technology has advanced. It has begun to catch up to the needs of such a world. This includes fast internet connections and immense processing power. It also includes a delivery method for 3D that works on most PCs.
Are we there yet? Not quite. But the metaverse is picking up steam. Recently, Microsoft announced a partnership with Meta. This partnership is to bring Microsoft 365 apps into the metaverse. This means collaboration in an entirely new way. Microsoft notes that 50% of Gen Z and millennials expect to do some of their work in the metaverse in the next two years.
Image source: Microsoft
How Does the Metaverse Impact Your Company?
With companies like Microsoft looking at the future of AR/VR, it could be a reality soon. You can expect the metaverse to touch your own company in some way in the next few years. Here’s a preview of what it may impact.
Where to Advertise
When the internet was first introduced, companies didn't immediately realize its potential. Now, most companies wouldn’t consider operating without a website. It’s a necessity for driving leads and converting sales.
If the metaverse takes off as a new 3D iteration of the internet, it could be just as important. This means exploring metaverse-type advertising in virtual worlds. Also, potentially creating your own VR site or showroom.
How to Service Customers
As the popularity of social media took off, companies realized customers used it to reach out. Seventy-nine percent of consumers expect companies to respond to a social media message. And they expect that response within a day.
To address that need, many businesses have a social media presence. They use this for marketing and to answer questions and inquiries from customers.
The metaverse may be the next step. If people begin hanging out there, they will expect to interact with businesses in that space. Just like they do now with social networks.
This means companies need to be aware of how customers may be using the metaverse as it grows. Adding a question about metaverse use to a year-end customer survey could be a way to be proactive on this topic.
One of the touted benefits of the metaverse is its ability to enable more immersive training. This could greatly increase training capabilities for everyone from doctors to forklift operators.
Imagine being able to replicate a task more closely in a virtual world. A person could safely make mistakes there. Then they could grow proficient before doing that thing in real life.
Start thinking about the types of training that your employees need. Then, look at ways that a VR world may make the training safer or more efficient. The metaverse may not have what you’re looking for now. But with the pace of technological advancement, it could in a year or two.
More Immersive Remote Team Collaboration
Virtual meetings skyrocketed out of necessity during the pandemic. Now, meeting by Teams or Zoom is commonplace. The next generation of online team meetings may end up being in a virtual world.
As we noted earlier, Microsoft is already working on bringing its apps into a virtual space. Add a few avatars and an immersive setting. Suddenly, you have a completely different meeting experience.
What's one more way to enhance remote team collaboration in the metaverse? It has to do with building design and maintenance. Imagine being able to walk through a 3D recreation of a space before it’s built. Then fine-tuning the construction while inside that space.
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Article used with permission from The Technology Press.