The wondrous world of the metaverse
Understand how your company can benefit from this new environment
You leave the Zoom meeting, you enter a chat on Whatsapp. You answer the messages, check your email. Pause for a peek at the social networks and that desired item on e-commerce channels. After work, video calls with family and virtual get-togethers with friends are a form of leisure, because they bring you closer to your loved ones.
Did you see yourself in this routine? The fact is: our lives are becoming more digital every day, especially in the last two years with the pandemic. So what would be keeping us from an even more virtually immersive reality? To the experts, nothing. This is already real with the arrival of the metaverse.
Proof of this was Facebook’s announcement in 2021 of its name change to Meta. In addition to the new nickname, Mark Zuckerberg stated that the platform’s goal is to become a metaverse company within the next five years.
From then on, the term became a hit among technology companies and triggered a wake-up call among companies that had not planned for the new virtual world. In retail, the initiatives grew considerably with Nike and Adidas leading the investments. More traditional sectors, such as finance, were not left out. To cite a Brazilian example, Itaú created “Player’s Bank”, a digital bank aimed exclusively at the community of gamers that offers discounts on gaming brands.
Along with last year’s frisson, critics also grew, especially those comparing the metaverse to the Second Life phenomenon – a three-dimensional game that was very successful in the mid-2000s and attracted investments from the most hip brands to the most traditional ones.
But what is the relationship between the metaverse and Second Life?
Considered a precursor of the digital immersion or metaverse model, Second Life was indeed an event, since it was the first platform on the market to simulate life in a 100% digital environment. However, the game lost momentum until it was no longer relevant.
It is from this experience that critics raise doubts about the future of the metaverse: wouldn’t it be overrated like Second Life was? No. This is the answer from most experts. According to them, life 20 years ago was quite different from today, both in behavior (we are much more digital) and in the technical aspect – the capacity for data transmission and processing of computers was much lower, which compromised the graphic quality and performance of experiences with Second Life.
Today, the advent of 5G technology combined with the evolution of interfaces and ultra-realistic graphical representations enables a more realistic representation of people, as well as more “humanized” interactions: they are no longer avatars that resemble dolls, but better resemble what they really are.
Another important factor that ensures the difference between the new environment and Second Life is the Blockchain: a network that certifies ownership over a digital asset, which can be a currency, Bitcoin, or a digital product. There is also the growing relevance of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) that certify ownership over an asset, guaranteeing that a person owns a unique asset and not a copy. All this characterizes a new economic environment, that is, a sea of possibilities for new businesses.
More than a technological hit
Your company does not sell clothes, or food, and has no connection to entertainment or education. Even so, should it be aware of the metaverse? Absolutely. For the simple reason that your business is not on an island isolated from the world. New technologies change behaviors, which change markets, which change those right next to you: customers, partners, and of course your employees.
According to several surveys among companies present in the metaverse, one of the biggest advantages of the environment is to enable new connections with customers, investors and stakeholders – bringing increased revenue. In addition, there is brand enhancement, which starts to be considered as more innovative and creative.
Presence with meaning
Now you have several reasons to pay more attention to the metaverse and, who knows, test a pilot in the environment, right? But it is not enough to be part of it, you need to know what to do there. A brand that does not know how to position itself and talk to its audience will have an empty, meaningless presence. To avoid this kind of problem, it is essential to closely analyze the movements of companies in your industry and other areas.
Many organizations are inviting partners from the innovation ecosystem to strengthen the analysis teams and evaluate, within their reality, what makes most sense for the business.
By being clear about your possibilities and limiting factors, creating lower-cost experiments is the right alternative. Another possibility, which can be planned in parallel, is to have metaverse tools as devices in your work routine.
Digital, but almost real interactions
If there is one truth in these uncertain times, it is that the hybrid and remote work model is here to stay. And with the help of the metaverse, one of the big problems of remote work – the difficulties of interaction with the team – can be mitigated. This, at least, is the promise of the Mesh tool, which is part of Microsoft Teams.
Through virtual reality technologies (such as 4D glasses), meetings, gatherings and team integration can be almost real, with more dynamism and sense of presence. Within the tool, companies will also have the opportunity to create customized virtual spaces and unique experiences for their teams. Announced in 2021, Mesh has not yet been officially launched.
Metaverse and Generation Z
If in 2019 generation Z (born between 1995 and 2010) represented 31.5% of the world’s population, for the next few years these young people will be in charge of most of the positions in organizations. They will also be the majority of the new consumers. For these digital natives, the virtual environment is very natural: it is there that their relationships are established, whether personal or professional.
Nobody better than them, after all, to help in the development and implementation of the metaverse in companies. Aware of the growing demand for technology in the corporate environment, traditional educational institutions, such as Ibmec, already offer graduate courses focused on the metaverse. And the specialists guarantee: betting on the development of young talents in your company can be a way to step in and stand out in this universe of the future.