|Metaverse is changing the way companies do business|
Our work lives will change dramatically in a new virtual world known as the metaverse. To participate in a virtual job interview, for example, you need to have the appropriate outfit for your avatar. The Metaverse can intensify competition for jobs and increase turnover, as people in the digital realm can work from any location, both job hunters and recruiters will have more options. As companies build a presence in the metaverse, they will also create new jobs. In the metaverse, you can work from a pirate ship or a space station.
A three-dimensional virtual world is set to change the way we work, bringing new interactive and collaborative experiences that remote workers crave. For example, in a virtual workplace, co-workers avatars can enter the conference room in real time, relax in the lounge, and meet each other and say hello.
If they wish to take a break, workers can do so in a digital space provided for welfare (such as a virtual forest or aquarium). If you wait a year and a half or two to do something, to have a clear metaverse strategy and to start testing assumptions, it might be a little too late.
The metaverse is where our physical and digital lives meet, and it's already changing the way companies do business, says Cathy Hackl in an episode of McKinsey's new podcast, At the Edge (March 29, 2022). "There's a huge opportunity to take a new trading model and do it at scale," said Hackl, a futurist, metaverse expert and author. For example, in a virtual-to-physical transaction, you can buy something in a virtual reality environment that then appears as a physical item delivered to your home.
Companies have the opportunity to "re-imagine" themselves in the metaverse now: "What extension of who are you?" They must also create new metrics, in addition to likes, shares, and subscribers, to determine what success looks like for virtual experiences and communities. To learn three things today's leaders can do to understand the potential opportunities in the metaverse, listen to the full podcast.
There's no official definition for a metaverse yet, but companies can't wait until it exists or the metaverse is fully evolved to start experimenting and investing in it. No one quite agrees on how exactly to define the metaverse, but there's no denying that we've had a glimpse of it and what it might be. There is no agreed definition at this time.
If we open the Merriam-Webster dictionary and type in the word metaverse, it says this word is not in the dictionary. But if we need to define it, pundits tend to have a fairly broad view of what the metaverse is all about. Metaverse is the convergence of our physical and digital life, our digital lifestyle, which we have lived on our mobile phone or computer, is slowly catching up to our physical life in several ways, so that it is full convergence. It is enabled by many different technologies, such as AR [augmented reality] and VR [virtual reality], which most people tend to think about. But they are not the only entry point.
There's also blockchain, which is a huge component, there's 5G, there's edge computing, and many, many other technologies. The metaverse is also about our digital identity and ownership, about a new extension of human creativity in some ways. But it won't be like one day we'll wake up and exclaim, "The Metaverse is here!" This will be an evolution. According to Cathy Hackl, what we see today are many glimpses of the metaverse or what are known as metaverse moments. During the pandemic, many people are hosting virtual birthday parties.
The presence of the avatar at the party becomes very important for the party organizer. Just as if you were going to a physical party, you might be thinking about what shirt to wear. So evolution in the way we separate what we do in virtual space from what we do in the increasingly unified physical world. The big thing in business today is how commerce evolves as we enter this new virtual space and share experiences, both in virtual and physical worlds.
Virtual to virtual trading, which has been happening for decades in the gaming space and is now something that many people are interested in. For example, Fortnite players use Vbucks to purchase in-game skins, exploring beyond the virtual to virtual to virtual to physical components.
We may be in a virtual experience and buy something that can physically arrive at our homes. And then there's the reverse, where we buy a physical item or a physical experience that opens things up for us in a virtual space. These new business models and trading models are developing, while other new trading models are yet to be created. When we talk about some enabling technology or required infrastructure, we cannot avoid talking about game engines, such as Unreal Engine or Unity. Many of these virtual experiences are built on top of those game engines, so they're connected, but they're not the same thing.
From an anthropological point of view there are very interesting changes taking place in the ideas and concepts of work. There has been an evolution where work has become more fun and sometimes more fun. When we think about what jobs they will have in the future, they will be very attached to creativity and development, but not building in physical form, but building in this virtual space.
In the metaverse, we are all world builders and now is your time to build. But that doesn't mean getting rid of physical work, because we are still physical beings in the physical world, but the concept of work is evolving, and games are part of that future. According to Cathy Hackl: the estimated amount spent on the direct to avatar model, which is the new direct-to-consumer model, is $100 million dollars spent in 2021 on in-game platforms on virtual goods, and that's a number that will continue to grow.
Such projections are very possible. When someone says $800 billion or $1 trillion in 2024, it's possible, especially when you start to look at trading beyond virtual to virtual trading but thinking about physical to virtual and virtual to physical trading and unlocking it at scale. That's why a company for example, Apple is doing what they call augmented reality and has the potential to lead us to anything that comes after mobile phones. What we see in the work we do is that there is a huge opportunity to take this new trading model and do it on a large scale, which opens up huge opportunities.
There is some interesting work being done to allow people to buy physical items in virtual spaces. You also have components to be able to perform physical-to-virtual transactions. For example, children's toy company L.O.L Surprise! have created a card pack that has a QR code that can be scanned to unlock NFT and virtual experiences. Those are some simple examples. A more complex example involves investing in NFT.
Currently we can purchase a membership of a private NFT restaurant that has the potential to open in 2023. Only NFT holders can make reservations there.
By purchasing a membership at the restaurant, we can have a business meeting or have a special celebration which will be worth more than what we paid for the NFT used to make it.