Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced on October 28, 2021, that Facebook will rebrand itself as Meta. Facebook, the company behind the namesake app, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, and the virtual reality (VR) company Oculus VR, is now called Meta Platforms Inc. and is committed to developing a new mode of social interactions using the metaverse.
This announcement sparked the interest of many large-scale companies, prominent tech individuals and end-users and they started talking about it.
What is Metaverse?
The idea of metaverse was popularized by the 1992 novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, where the protagonist navigates through a virtual reality world. The concept of a virtual reality world can also be found in modern sci-fi movies and books like The Matrix and Ready Player One, where a world that is the counterpart of the real world, exists.
In simpler terms, a metaverse is a virtual-reality space where the users can interact with the computer-generated environment and other users. The user can go to school, go to work, shop for products and items, play games and even socialize with others in the metaverse.
How Metaverse is Different from the Internet?
There is no comparison between the metaverse and the internet as the former is built on the latter. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the internet gives access to almost any information and is a network of billions of computers, millions of servers and other electronic devices.
The metaverse allows users to browse and interact in a virtual environment that mimics our real world. The internet allows users to “browse”, but to a degree, people can “live” in a metaverse.
How can we Benefit from the Metaverse?
Businesses can explore possibilities of turning the future of the internet and digital communication into more immersive experiences. Also, understanding the advantages of the metaverse and developing a digital solution that generates value in the real world can be a profitable next step.
Here is a short list of industries that will be impacted significantly in the future due to the metaverse
- Social Media
- Digital Marketing
- Art and Fashion
Let’s take a deeper dive into metaverse offerings
- Connecting the world and negating physical distance - The most notable advantage of the metaverse would be the fact that it completely makes geographic barriers irrelevant. Once in the virtual world, your physical location doesn’t matter anymore and you are no longer bound by it.
- Increased user engagement - The metaverse is about a whole new level of interactive and immersive experience, and as a business, you can use it to the fullest. The involvement of 3D / AR / VR technologies is what makes the experience enriching. Being among the first to introduce this experience will be advantageous and draw attention to your brand.
- Opportunities for virtual events – Compared to a simple Zoom or Google Meet stream, a conference in the metaverse will not be a simple video in a little window with comments, but a full-fledged VR experience. A live show of your favourite artist might be impressive on a video stream. But VR can make this experience more immersive and give viewers a better feeling of presence than in the real world. The galleries and museums can also be shifted to the metaverse
- Showcase and sell products - Many brands have actively used AR to allow users to try new pairs of glasses, see how new furniture fits in their room, or get a virtual makeover with a new hairstyle or makeup. The same experience with one more improved and better dimension will be possible in the metaverse. Companies like Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger and many others have their virtual stores in the metaverse.
- Better collaboration and process building - Online meetings and remote working have become a norm recently and many people have gotten quite used to the setup and it has been proven to be no less effective than face-to-face meetings. The metaverse will only expand this experience. Zoom, Microsoft, and Meta are all currently working on this to bring an immersive experience for the day-to-day users.
- Easier transactions with cryptocurrency and e-wallets - The digital world requires digital currency. For this reason, the metaverse and the cryptocurrency walk hand in hand. The concept of blockchain makes it possible to provide a secure and well accepted environment for transactions. As different companies interact in the metaverse, you want to have proof of all your purchases. Payment completion takes a few clicks and all transactions are transparent.
Perceptions of Metaverse from Technical Side and its Cost
Finally, the question that has been lingering on this whole blog post: What about the technology? Well, we can’t tell what new solutions will be available in the next coming years, but for the few upcoming years, these will surely include:
- Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality / AR+VR: Mixed Reality
- Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
- 5G and eventually 6G
With the help of all these technologies, even now we can access the metaverse which exists at the edge of real and virtual realities. Faster internet connection and cloud storage will help with loading volumes of data in a matter of seconds, while AR and VR will create the digital experience.
The cost of servers for enormous storage spaces is one of the many concerns for business adoption of the metaverse. Other issues are the hardware limitations due to the need for high computation power for graphical experience and the development time and the requirement of skilled manpower as there are a lot of moving parts and which makes the metaverse so different
Take a Step into the Metaverse, Now
Is metaverse a technology of today or future? Probably both. As there are several prototypes available in the market and are available to test, the more complex variants won’t be available in the near future, especially if you are expecting something from Meta’s promotional video. But technology keeps progressing, so it should not hold us back from exploring the possibilities. Just focus on what we have and play around with it.
Mastek is constantly experimenting with different metaverse technologies, creators and frameworks so that our clients can focus only on creating the digital experiences they want to deliver to their customers. Let’s join forces to embrace virtual reality and be ready to reap the benefits that this new technology has in store.