One of the biggest news to come out of 2021 is Facebook’s recent decision to transform its parent company into one that embodies its new vision, Meta. As Meta, the incredibly successful social media business has begun developing technologies and frameworks towards what CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes to be the next step towards a more digitally harmonized future.
While a future that revolves around the integration of virtual reality into our lives may seem like something out of a sci-fi novel, its early signs of conception are already evident in our modern world. From massively multiplayer online games to the sudden success of Zoom over this recent pandemic, the metaverse is already present all around us.
What is the Metaverse?
Before we jump into anything, it’s important to also attempt to break down what exactly the "Metaverse" means. While most would snap to judgment regarding how they understand what the metaverse is, it remains important to try and arrive at a uniform understanding of the term before trying to develop it further. The many proponents and stakeholders all have different specifics regarding what the metaverse is, especially since Facebook had adopted the term as an overarching focus for their transition to their new company Meta. In essence, it’s best to try and understand the metaverse as the current and future amalgamation of all things internet and digital that currently make up our lives. This means everything from your online message boards to your favorite online game counts towards your participation in the current metaverse, with further developments in technologies and interactive experiences continuously building up the idea of what the metaverse could be.
How Meta is betting on a digital reality
As we mentioned briefly, Facebook’s recent transition to what is now known as Meta further indicates the growing movement that is heading towards building up what it means to be part of the metaverse’s development. In the height of the pandemic in 2021, Meta’s new commitment to creating these new shared digital spaces can encompass things such as regular social interactions, work innovations, as well as augmented realities that can further supplement our perspectives of day-to-day life.
Indeed, this seems like a lot of new things to begin tackling in the middle of a large anti-trust investigation and whistleblower crisis. Not only is it a definite promise to their shareholders that the company will continue to innovate towards a direction that they believe is the future, but it also takes a good chunk of their profit for the year at about $10 Billion to get off the ground. Yet with all these changes and the continued movement of young men towards digital spaces, Facebook’s move may pay off its large investment cost.
How the Metaverse can affect the world
Metaverse and people
It’s a clear fact that the metaverse and its future developments will have a large impact on how people understand and interact with each other. Moving past our physical identities, people will now need to contend with the possibility of digital characters representing themselves online in a shared digital space.
While this may seem like something that only happens in movies like Ready Player One, there already have been multiple mini-metaverse type games and experiences that have permeated the social stratosphere and introduced people to a life outside the boundaries of physical interaction. From Roblox birthday parties to Second Life digital goods, niche groups have long accepted the growing reality of value being found within digital worlds.
The next step for these platforms is to include a layer of interoperability to better bridge the different isolated worlds within each other. An important aspect to fully develop a functioning metaverse is to allow different interactions, items, and experiences to transfer over the different spaces that these people populate.
Metaverse and spaces
Speaking of spaces, the Metaverse has a large opportunity to reinvent how people interact with how they understand spaces and environments. The metaverse has already seen its fair share of investments in virtual real estate via NFT purchases, such as Snoop Dogg’s purchase of $450,000 worth of land in the Snoopverse.
To bring it closer to reality, the metaverse also has various possible effects on how people do and participate in business transactions. Horizon Workrooms, a new feature that Meta is planning to develop, has the potential of reinventing how we approach meetings and conferences. Meta’s new initiative promises avatar integration, and a fully flexible office environment that brings about their vision of an “infinite office”.
Metaverse and business
When talking about the metaverse, it is somewhat inevitable to begin discussing its overall effect on business and commerce as a whole. The multimedia dimensions that have permeated our culture, from social media to streaming, have presented a whole new form of advertising, marketing, and selling for brands that know how to catch on to key trends.
The Metaverse is only bound to push this even further, bringing in new possibilities for brand awareness and conversion through more experiential modes of shopping while changing what it means and feels like to shop in the first place. With Meta’s investment towards the Oculus Rift, their bound to work on ways to recoup their investment through partnerships with retailers and brands that want to have the first step ahead with this new innovation.
The Metaverse is still relatively early in its development life stages, but the many signs and current movements point towards a larger acceptance of digital reality.
At this point in time, the proliferation of the metaverse is no longer an “If”, but a “when”; whichever businesses and individuals prepare themselves for this will take advantage of the many opportunities this massive change will bring.
At Ollen Group, our strategy consultancy services are up to date with consumer shifts in the Middle East, and the necessary steps needed to find success in the future - including the development of different aspects to be part of the metaverse and cope with the demand for digital progression. Ollen Group research consulting services, innovation strategy consultant and technology consultancy services offer turnkey solutions from strategy to execution, as well as design, development, and deployment.
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