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Sep 7 2022 | by Praveen Kumar Kalbhavi

Should Enterprises Climb Aboard the Metaverse Train?

The term "metaverse" continues to find its way into corporate discussions. Six of the largest global corporations, including the likes of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google, are preparing for the advent of the metaverse. And they are putting their money where their mouth is. According to  McKinsey, metaverse investments grew to $120 billion in the first five months of 2022. 

Among the year's biggest acquisitions, Microsoft  paid $75 billion for Activision Blizzard. This will provide them with the necessary "building blocks for the metaverse." Technology giant  Intel  is also poised to enter the Metaverse domain. According to  Research and Markets, the metaverse is poised to be a $13 trillion opportunity by the year 2030. 

So, what does the emergence of the metaverse mean for enterprises? Should they come aboard the metaverse "train" or give it a skip? 

What Is the Metaverse? 

Coined by  Neal Stephenson  in the 90s, the term "metaverse" does not refer to any technology or platform. Instead, it's a broader definition of how "humans will interact with technology" in the future. For instance, the "metaverse" can include existing technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and blockchain. 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg defines the metaverse as "a blend of VR, AR, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). You can move from object to object, world to world using augmented reality." 

In effect, the metaverse is the integration of virtual space into the physical world. This three-dimensional digital space enables its users to create their digital innovations using AR, VR, and wearable devices. 

Effectively, metaverse users can access their virtual world through a VR headset or a device tweaked for the purpose – and navigate it through eye movements, voice commands, or other emerging interface mechanisms. Metaverse expert Cathy Hacki talks about the  meta  as a "new extension of human creativity." 

But what does the metaverse means for business enterprises? 

What Does the Metaverse Mean for Business Enterprises? 

The metaverse is touted as the biggest opportunity for enterprises since the creation of the Internet. It promises to enable businesses to connect and collaborate with their customers in the virtual space in newer and richer ways. For instance, organizations can "virtualize" a digital space where their users can play an online game or they could launch a VR-enabled apparel store. 

A  2021 survey  found that online users prefer the metaverse for many benefits, including their ability to: 

  • Connect with other online users. 
  • Explore new job opportunities. 
  • Enhance their creative imagination. 
  • Travel the globe without moving from their physical space. 

According to Mark Zuckerberg, it could be "5-10 years" before the metaverse goes mainstream. In the short-term future, meta users may continue to experience this virtual world through two-dimensional mobile apps. This enables new and smaller companies to improve their understanding of the metaverse and explore how to make it a part of their business strategy. 

Before talking about how organizations can make the metaverse a part of their business strategy, let's first look at some possible business applications of the metaverse. 

4 Business Applications of the Metaverse 

Here are four business applications that are early in leveraging the metaverse: 

  1. Social Media Platforms 

    Currently, popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are interacting with their users through a 2-D experience. Most of the interactions are limited to likes, shares, and comments. The metaverse is set to transform social media interactions and make them richer and more immersive (using AR and VR technologies). 

    The metaverse-based social media will resemble "physical" spaces where users (or 'avatars') can buy digital products, including virtual clothing and real estate. 

  2. Customer Experience (CX) 

    The future of CX may well be on the metaverse. According to this  Gartner  study, 25% of online users will spend an hour each day on the metaverse by the year 2026. Additionally, 30% of companies will offer meta-friendly products and services by 2026. 

    The metaverse poses an excellent opportunity for enterprises looking to enhance their CX. In their metaverse space, companies can explore more selling opportunities and engage proactively with their potential customers.  

  3. Sales and Marketing

    Meta-enabled social media platforms and virtual spaces could also transform the way enterprises operate their marketing functions. "Virtual" hoarding and billboards on digital spaces will be accessible to millions of "avatars" across the globe. Just like in the physical world, companies will compete for digital advertising rights on the metaverse real estate. 

    With more customer touchpoints, business brands can also personalize their client marketing with customized offerings and precise marketing campaigns. Customers can also visit "virtual" stores to experience how products or services work for their benefit and make purchases in new and exciting ways. 

  4. Remote Meetings and Training 

    In the post-pandemic phase, organizations are shifting to the "remote working" mode. On the  metaverse, employees have the convenience of their virtual workspace where they can attend team meetings and employee training. With its graphically immersive experience, the metaverse can enhance online learning through real-time interactions and engagement. 

    Additionally, employees can create virtual presentations and connect with their peers from across the globe, thus enhancing their productivity.  

Next, let's discuss how enterprises can adopt the metaverse as a business strategy. 

How Enterprises Can Adopt the Metaverse 

Be it a small business or multinational company, every enterprise can take advantage of the evolution of the metaverse. Here's how enterprises can adopt the metaverse in their overall strategy: 

  • Find the right metaverse platform that can cater to your target audience. 
  • Evaluate your existing online channels (websites, social media pages, or online platforms) to check which can complement your metaverse. 
  • Invest in AR and VR tools that can boost your brand presence on the metaverse. 
  • Choose and focus on your target audience that is the right fit for your metaverse space. 
  • Focus on how to boost the virtual experience for customers in the meta world. 

At the same time, organizations must not "rush" headlong into the metaverse realm. Among the major pitfalls, organizations must not discard the "traditional" mode of engaging with their customer base. This enables companies to promote their brand in more than one mode. 

Indeed, flexibility and adaptability are the successful "mantras" for companies to prepare for uncertainty and be ready for any future scenario. 

Conclusion 

In summary, enterprises must look to effectively adopt the metaverse into their business strategy for the future. While still in its infancy, the metaverse offers an interesting opportunity for enterprises to become early innovators, the first such chance since the advent of the Internet. Of course, as more companies adopt the metaverse, cybersecurity in the "virtual" world is equally critical. With its enterprise-grade cybersecurity solutions, Novigo Solutions  can help realize secure adoption and sustenance of metaverse.  

Speak to our technology experts  for more information. 

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