The metaverse is on the horizon, affecting industries as diverse as healthcare, tax and accounting, law, fashion, and entertainment. According to McKinsey, in the first five months of 2022 alone, more than $120 billion have been invested in building out metaverse technology and infrastructure. Early forms of enterprise solutions within the metaverse are already on the market, and Citi has estimated a market between $8-13 trillion by 2030. Thus, now is the time to start thinking about how this new wave of online interaction can benefit your business.
The metaverse — sometimes called Web3 — represents the next evolution of the internet. In a Web3 environment, solutions and services will be much more fluid, individual, and decentralized, with people buying and selling goods and services, creating and enforcing contracts, and interacting with peers and customers in virtual environments, with huge implications for trust, user experience, data privacy, and cybersecurity.
Discover a few of the key concepts and issues B2B business leaders should have on their radar when considering how to engage with and while exploring the next evolution of the internet.
Augmented & virtual reality (AR/VR)
Some people scoff at virtual reality (VR), perhaps remembering the experience of Second Life, an early virtual world launched in 2003 that never gained widespread traction, but that view falls short of the vast potential and current investment levels businesses are pouring into this space- to the tune of $209.2 billion, according to Tulane University.
"Second Life was an interesting social experiment that didn't have a compelling goal state," said Alex Tyrrell, Senior Vice President of Advanced Technology at Wolters Kluwer. "There was no real commercial model to drive value and sustained investment. The metaverse is different as it offers new ways to connect, discover, and contribute to an overall experience in decentralized yet verifiable ways."
What’s the main difference between AR and VR? While both bridge our digital and physical worlds, AR expands our physical world through our devices (e.g. smartphone, camera, projector) versus the creation of an entirely computer generated simulation of an alternate world in VR. On a technical level, the combination of cloud servers, broadband internet, sensors, and 5G wireless networks are now capable of delivering a far more realistic and immersive experience than possible nearly two decades ago. Therefore, both are becoming increasingly accessible - take the examples of AR within the museum industry, simulation within nursing education, or VR for EHS safety training, and the increasing consumer availability of VR headsets, which have become slimmer, more comfortable, and more affordable. With this thinking in mind, applications that enable virtual learning, customer collaboration, commerce, and other B2B use cases literally bring a whole new dimension into view.