Is it hype, or is it reality?

In October, when Facebook announced the shift to the name to “Meta”, it raised many eyebrows and started the conversation of, “What is the Metaverse and is it actually real?”

“The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions, or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.”Mark Zuckerberg

The Metaverse isn’t a new idea, but Zuckerberg’s insistence on it being the next frontier has a lot of companies wondering how they should be preparing for this new wave of doing business. But getting started can be intimidating.

I teamed up with Ganesh Padmanabhan, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer Autonomize AI and the founder of AI Stories, to break down the basics of the Metaverse and share what businesses can do to set a foundation for the Metaverse.

The Metaverse Explained: How to Get Ready for the Metaverse

What is the Metaverse?

According to Harvard Business Review, “Put simply, the Metaverse includes any digital experience on the internet that is persistent, immersive, three-dimensional (3D), and virtual, as in, not happening in the physical world. Metaverse experiences offer us the opportunity to play, work, connect or buy (and just to make things extra fun, the things we buy can be real or virtual) … The Metaverse refers more to the concept across these individual worlds and experiences and the acknowledgement that we are entering into a more substantive, immersive landscape than ever before.”

😵 Feels simple, right?! Let’s try breaking that idea down a bit further.

In short, the “Metaverse” is the continued, albeit faster, digitalization of the world around us. We have slowly moved away from the physical world in the last few years due to advancements in technology. In the early part of this transformation, we saw the digitization of physical media. For example, newspapers turned into websites, CDs turned into streaming media, and photographs turned into smartphone apps.

In the current phase, digitization extends to core parts of our human experience. Our physical events and Zoom or Avatar calls and virtual events, our sports arenas have turned into online gaming communities, our money has turned into digital assets like Bitcoin.

3 Things You Need to Know About the Metaverse

1. It’s an Evolution, NOT a Revolution

In the interview, Ganesh breaks down the slow evolution that has been happening for decades to get us to this point.

  • It all started with “Web 1.0” when the internet first hit the stage. Web 1.0 was all about a broadcast medium where you put up a web page people can view, allowing for one-way communication.
  • Then in the early 2000’s, we entered into the phase of “Web 2.0”. This era introduced the notion of bi-directional communication where you had email, chat rooms, social networks, and so forth.
  • Now we are in what is coined “Web 3.0”. This wave of the internet is an important building block for the Metaverse vision. Web 3.0 speaks to the idea that the internet now focuses on using a machine-based understanding of data to provide data-driven insights.

The Metaverse is the term for the next evolution of the internet where users will no longer simply stare at a screen or type to engage with other users. Instead, businesses will explore how to take experiences we love in the physical world into the digital world.

It’s not here yet, but the building blocks are being laid. The world’s reliance on technology throughout the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology usage in people’s homes and workplaces.

2. The Metaverse Should Offer Your Customers VALUE

Along with all the hype associated with the Metaverse, we have heard ALL about the Metaverse’s potential economic impact. The global Metaverse market is forecast to hit nearly $42 billion globally by 2026, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

But before you start building out your digital storefront in the Metaverse, you must develop your strategy. To do it right, you need to build your strategy based on the value you can provide to your customers and employees. Simply recreating a physical space digitally and hoping customers will strap on an Oculus headset to buy from you virtually won’t cut it.

“The focus has been so much the economics of The Metaverse rather than the rationale. Spend some time asking what your purpose is for being in The Metaverse, and how can you deepen the relationship with you customers by adding significant value and creating spectacular experiences. Define this and the revenue will come.” – Amy Peck, CEO of EndeavorXR

Harvard Business Review suggests that you:

  • 🎯 Pick your targets.
  • 👁 Watch the competition.
  • 📲 Look for applications.
  • 📅 Plan your entrance.
  • ⚖ Keep your balance.

3. You Should Be Laying the Framework Now

So, what can you do while identifying your unique value proposition for the Metaverse?

Set the foundation, of course. Here’s how:

  • 🤓LEARN! Educate yourself and your team on how technology is changing our world and business as we know it.
  • 🧪💥 Experiment. Not every idea will lead you to millions of dollars, but you will never get to that point if you don’t innovate or try new things. Lean on your team to help you develop new ideas and do not penalize failure.
  • 🔬Take a hard look at how you are leveraging technology today. Have you taken the foundational steps to Digitally Transform?
  • 🤖 Before you jump to a Metaverse strategy, determine how you will use other emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to build efficiencies.

With all technology, it is important to note that there needs to be a strong “Why” behind your implementation. Make sure that you are not implementing technology for the sake of technology. Use your Business Strategy to determine when and how you bring technology into your business.

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About Ema

Ema is a Director of Sales – Enterprise Solutions at Naviant. Ema is passionate about helping organizations navigate Digital Transformation. She has vast experience in helping organizations address their top IT Priorities and developing departmental solutions for process automation to expand the solution throughout the enterprise. She is also the host of Naviant’s Digital Transformation Talks series on YouTube and the Co-Host of the Third Thursday. In these series, experts from the Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation space come together to share their ideas. When not at work, she is busy chasing after her two daughters, spending time outside, and hosting friends and family for gatherings.

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