The term metaverse dates back to 1992 when Neal Stephenson coined it in his novel Snow Crash. However, in 2021, when Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg rebranded the company as Meta, brands started taking a special interest in this world. Using the metaverse, Meta intends to help users connect, find relevant communities, and grow businesses. Since then, companies like Disney, Hyundai, Nike, and Gucci have followed suit.
The Emeritus team conducted a webinar recently with two keynote speakers: Babar Bhatti, an artificial intelligence (AI) and Data Customer Success professional at IBM, and Christina Trampota, Managing Director of Innovate Grow Scale. If you don’t want to miss the train on the rise of the metaverse in the era of digital transformation, then this talk on technology trends is just for you.
Biggest technology trends to watch out for: Metaverse
Bhatti: When the internet first came into existence, it was broken. It took a long time for things to come together. Slowly people started believing that technology could come together and share a new future. The key is persistence. People who really understood the fundamentals and dreamed of new possibilities used technology wisely. The same thing is happening with the metaverse. It is another big jump in technology. Persistent people with a long-term vision are looking for opportunities to solve real-world problems using this growing technology. And hence, the metaverse is trending!
The metaverse is a persistent and digital environment. People can connect from everywhere. They can cut across digital and real-world environments. This experience transcends what we have today. In simple words, it is a new type of digital content aiming to create diverse experiences and connect people around the world.
How can the metaverse trend impact businesses?
Trampota: I believe the metaverse is a community. One where people can connect, communicate, and experience something totally unique. People can decide how they wish to use this virtual environment, be it for personal entertainment or for professional purposes. The possibilities are limitless. And businesses have understood this too. Slowly, the metaverse is being leveraged to enhance customer experiences and increase economic transactions.
Bhatti: Over the last decade, there have been unintended consequences of the very fast-paced proliferation of social media across various societies. But now experts are not diving right into this new technology. Metaverse is going to just exacerbate the privacy problem and we need people with a diverse set of backgrounds and skills to make this a safe environment. As more and more businesses start using the metaverse, it is going to open up many more job opportunities too across sectors.
What role will data play in the future of the metaverse?
Trampota: Data is such a big area of growth and opportunity. In the metaverse, we are going to know so much about a person. Not just their email address or location, but which platforms they are using, which device they prefer, how many devices they use, what are they using the metaverse for, and a lot more. There will soon be companies that act as gatekeepers to help protect the end-user from oversharing data. Businesses will have to respect user privacy to stand apart from the crowd while adopting new technology trends.
Bhatti: So far, we’ve stored all the data in very rigid structures like database tables or sheets. But in the metaverse, unstructured data might come from chats, messages, photos, videos, audio clips, and more. Companies are currently doing their own thing. Be it in gaming or e-commerce, there is no unified standard. This can become very confusing for users. They might be wary of sharing their information or trying new experiences.
Trampota: Especially when there is a financial aspect involved because this can happen only when there is a lot of trust. Businesses must work toward building this trust and incorporate data protection in their business strategy.
Is the metaverse right for all brands?
Bhatti: This is definitely the way of the future. Brands cannot afford to ignore it. It might take 10-15 years for AI to be embedded in everything, but if businesses don’t start now they will have trouble catching up.
Trampota: I think brands should already be in there, experimenting by now. The key is to know who their customer really is and what he/she is looking for. Not everyone is tech-savvy and in the metaverse yet. Top brands are already working on this in the backend. They’re looking at it for inventory or something on the supply chain side or optimizing their operations.
What are the core challenges faced by the metaverse today? How can businesses overcome them?
Trampota: The first thing to do is analyze who you are as a company from a digital point of view. Perhaps if you’re a gaming company, it might not be too far off, but if you’re looking at a legacy, how will you engage in this ecosystem, and will this be different. Is this going to stay true to your brand identity and everything you value as a business owner? What about the services and products you offer? What about the price points? Are you just trying to adopt technology trends or does this actually fit your business model?
It is a very delicate situation indeed. Businesses need to carefully transition to this world. They need to keep their business’ vision in mind but also incorporate technology in the right way. On the opportunity side, this is a fun way to engage with a new community and build a new audience. There are multiple regulations, and more to come, but it is a new way to build more relationships with your end-users.
Bhatti: The technology is not mature enough; it is at a very nascent stage. Providing a more cohesive experience is the only way to make the metaverse work. Else it might slow down the adoption and hamper digital transformation. It is a trillion-dollar industry. Till regulations are set in, some companies with high-risk appetites might experiment and grow. However, I see challenges in the next decade unless there is more structure.
Is the metaverse here to stay? Or is it just a temporary trend?
Bhatti: Metaverse has given people a new way to think about the future, to accelerate the development and I’m sure all the companies will slowly adopt it. Even the ones that are risk-averse. You have to try out new technologies and give them time to mature. It is all about timing. If you are in a company that is not yet thinking about adopting the metaverse, then share your findings with the board. Show them the limitless possibilities and what the future might look like. But do remember that there is a huge risk involved. So always rely on numbers, data, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to check if it is moving in the right direction. Just remember, all technology trends come with pros and cons.
Trampota: We shape our tools. And our tools shape us. I would really encourage everyone to experiment because you have to keep learning. That is the only way forward.
Are you looking forward to the metaverse? Wondering what role you can play in the future? Immerse yourself in an interactive environment with simulations, game role-play exercises, capstone projects, and engaging assignments. Explore Emeritus’ high-quality programs in digital transformation from the world’s best schools and earn a certificate of completion. Watch this entire webinar to learn more about the metaverse and technology trends it is spawning.
By Manasa Ramakrishnan