ME MYSELF AND MY METAVERSE

A new virtual world augments real life, creating a potentially profound impact on the way we live, work, and collaborate

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what’s the greatest buzzword of them all? The Metaverse is expected to be nothing less than the next generation of the internet, deeply impacting our daily lives. This shared virtual and hybrid space; accessible by anyone, anytime, anywhere, on any device, reflects a huge improvement in online interaction – augmenting real life. This includes realistic embodiment, a sense of presence, space and emotion; everything that was lacking in the legacy, flat, 2D experiences. More than ever, borders are blurring between virtual and physical worlds for business, shopping, entertainment, and social interactions. Not bad, for a buzzword. Yet, accelerated by recent technology advancements, mainstream use requires the Metaverse ecosystem to collectively assess critical challenges, including interoperability, being hack-proof, privacy, ethics, and societal concerns.

Gita Babaria Expert in Residence

WHAT

  • The concept of the Metaverse was first coined in Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel. It refers to a convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality in a shared online space.
  • During the pandemic, people have been spending more time in shared, virtual environments to socialize, play, entertain, trade digital assets, and even “work” as avatars.
  • The interoperable nature of the Metaverse – along with immersive and 5G technologies – enables businesses to communicate and cooperate with each other to provide personalized and enhanced user experiences to all: customers, consumers, and employees.
  • Creation, avatars, and digital objects will become central to how we express ourselves, and lead to entirely new experiences and economic opportunities.
  • Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs, see our trend Taken by Tokens) are powering the Metaverse to create and purchase digital assets, which will allow users to fully interact in the space, as well as create and trade value.
  • While the Metaverse is still evolving, crucial ethical and regulatory policies – for example regarding data privacy and use for positive purposes only – need to be considered, determined, and socialized.

USE

  • SK Telecom launched “Ifland,” a new Metaverse platform designed to maximize user experience via virtual spaces and avatars to offer “Social VR” and “Virtual Meet-up” services.
  • L’Officiel, a French fashion magazine, launched “House of Dreams,” a virtual museum experience exhibiting NFT-based archival artworks to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
  • Ralph Lauren designed a virtual fashion collection within Zepeto, the South Korean virtual world and social networking app. Users can immerse themselves in a personalized, 3D avatar wearing the exclusive product and socialize with other users.
  • Hyundai Motors plans to launch “Hyundai Mobility Adventure” – a metaverse space on Roblox featuring Hyundai Motor’s advanced products, allowing participants to customize their avatars to their own preferences and interact with each other.
  • Renowned club, Amnesia Ibiza developed “Virtual Club” in the Metaverse, powered by Decentral Games, which provides the flexibility to attend immersive 3D live music global events.

IMPACT

  • A multipurpose, multi-modal Metaverse will decrease the need to gather lots of people around physical locations, reducing travel and energy consumption.
  • The Metaverse can make scarce, highly specialized knowledge globally available without the need for experts to travel to (or from) any given location.
  • Consumers have started to perceive high value in digital possessions, driving a new wave of virtual products in the virtual world.
  • The Metaverse enables massive numbers of users to feel psychologically and emotionally immersed in their virtual environment, creating the potential to be a positive force for good, and an all-inclusive technology.
  • Organizations will be able to better understand customer and employee preferences and choices in real-time, delivering seamless user experiences to yield better returns.

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