The metaverse journey and what this means for businesses
There's a lot of marketing hype surrounding the metaverse but what does it actually mean and how does this impact businesses?
Following on from Evessio's well-attended speaking session at International Confex 2022 surrounding the new world of the metaverse, we published an article on the impact of the future of the metaverse and the impact on the events industry. (link to article) But what does the future of the metaverse mean for businesses on the whole?
Evessio were privileged to be joined by Andy Mihalop, Vertical Marketing Lead at Meta in joining Evessio's CEO Gary Clement's session on the metaverse and what this means for events. Andy provided great insight into exactly what the metaverse is and the impact this will have on businesses. We've taken the highlights from that session to help you understand the shift toward the new virtual world.
Meta isn’t the only company working to create roadmaps into the new virtual worlds. Whilst experts anticipate the technologies won't be fully developed for another 5-10 years, many businesses are already incorporating this into their future operations in preparation for the arrival of the metaverse. Companies are already building infrastructure right now, from software, hardware, to telecoms in preparation for the shift.
What is the Metaverse?
Simply put the metaverse is a virtual 3D network centred around social connection and digital networking. The metaverse incorporates augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to create immersive digital environments. The metaverse can be defined as a simulated digital environment that uses AR and VR, to create spaces for rich user interaction mimicking the real world. The journey of the metaverse started in 2003 and now Microsoft announces plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.
How popular is the metaverse at the moment?
- Roblox has over 43 million daily active users.
- Fornite has more than 80 million monthly active users and more than 4 million concurrent players every day.
- Decontraland has around 6,000 unique players.
- Sandbox over 30,000 monthly active users.
The Global Metaverse Market Report 2022 estimates the market will reach US$758.6 Billion by 2026 with Meta, Microsoft, Google, Roblox, Nvidia and Unity Software are fastly leading innovations.
What does this mean for businesses?
Ultimately the metaverse offers unlimited space to interact. Events of any size can be replicated in a digital form which is a game-changer for digital meetings and conferences. Firstly it's important to acknowledge the metaverse isn't going to replace in-person meetings and physical experiences, it's a tool to maximise the interactive experiences in a digital environment.
Experts believe the metaverse will be the biggest opportunity for businesses since the creation of the internet. The success within the gaming industry is why events and businesses are tapping into and exploring virtual reality technologies to create new experiences. We're already seeing exciting glimpses into the future of the metaverse. Virtual spaces and workrooms are now being built and a great deal already exists on devices we use.
The metaverse and web 3.0 are the next evolution of digital platforms. Many of the skills and practices businesses use today to grow will apply in the metaverse. Incorporating the metaverse doesn't mean that you have to completely redefine current business operations but simply how the metaverse will sit within and support current processes.
How are businesses going to benefit from the metaverse? The metaverse brings exciting new ways to sell, and advertise products, become more sustainable and connect with customers.
Process manufacturing- Using metaverse applications could dramatically improve manufacturing operations. Businesses will be able to create digital models of their factories, workshops and supply chain and sync them up in real-time with the physical environment. This model could allow businesses to conduct quality control and adjust the process faster.
Remote work- For businesses that host multiple company meetings and conferences, the metaverse can help increase morale and support a positive company culture where companies operate remotely. As more businesses have adopted remote working, VR can create the feeling that employees are in the same room as their colleagues, bridging the social benefits of being in a physical office and the flexible benefits of working from home. Training, collaborating and co-working will ultimately move into the metaverse. Metas Horizon Workrooms are already developing new ways to collaborate online in virtual reality spaces.
Digital merchandise and sponsorship engagement- Businesses will be able to design digital merchandise to promote new lines in the physical world. It can also be an additional revenue stream for events that largely rely on sponsorship and partnership income. At physical events, sponsors pay more to have their logos printed on attendee memorabilia and brand placement in key places such as behind speakers and streamed content. The metaverse allows events to replicate this entirely in a virtual space.
E-commerce and retail- The metaverse will have huge benefits to the retail industry by reducing refunds and waste. We're already experiencing this with large furniture brands. Technology on mobiles allows the consumers to view how items look in their space before deciding to buy. By simply pointing mobile phones in the space where the item will go they get an accurate representation of how the physical item will look in that space. Consumers will be able to try on clothes virtually to gain an accurate image of what items will look like on before purchasing. This reduces the number of refunds issued as a result of people trying on clothes at home and sending them back due to wrong sizes, fit or generally not liking how it looks on them. This will ultimately reduce the cost companies spend on postage and reduce waste. As well as reducing refunds the try before you by approach boosts consumer confidence and increases conversions.
Instagram Influencers and paid endorsers will also be able to bring brands to life in new ways. They will be able to entertain. inspire and help brands reach new audiences ultimately increasing brand trust and loyalty.
The metaverse will open up more opportunities for businesses by removing physical barriers and limitations that affect the bottom line. Pressures such as travel, supplies, and geographical reach will be reduced and accessing products and services becomes more accessible for the consumer. Over time the metaverse will also level out the competitive playing field between large enterprises, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Ultimately the metaverse is a new and exciting way for businesses to connect with their communities. Eventually becoming central to the way we connect online.
Claire is the Marketing Manager at Evessio, an industry-leading event management platform for awards, conferences and exhibitions. Claire has years of experience and specialises in marketing event software, marketing events and sponsorship. Claire has a proven track record of re-branding events and implementing strategies that doubled event participation.