The Metaverse is one of the hottest buzzwords of 2021. But what is it? Many of us were introduced to the term after Facebook famously changed its name to Meta in order to align with the future of virtual reality and the way we connect work, and play together. Besides a rebranding of a social media giant, the Metaverse is clearly on the rise for adoption by many industries. Let's dive into the potential business uses and benefits of the Metaverse.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is our world, but virtual, with a few embellishments of course. The Metaverse can be an exact replica of the physical world, or it can be a virtual world with features unlike anything seen in the real world.
Facebook rebranded itself to Meta in August 2021 to align with the future of the Metaverse. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg explains the Metaverse as:
"A blend of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). You can move from object to object, world to world using augmented reality."
- Mark Zuckerburg, CEO, Meta
But the Metaverse is a lot more than a social network. In fact, you don’t even need a social media to account to enter the Metaverse. 3D virtual spaces will let users socialize and work from the comfort of their homes and allow businesses to automate and simplify their processes.
The Metaverse has the world's attention and many tech leaders are theorizing about it. Jensen Huang, CEO of NVIDIA, says the Metaverse can be much bigger and more effective than the physical world.
“We waste too much material because we can’t simulate logistics. We waste a whole bunch of things to overcompensate for the fact that we don’t simulate.”
- Jensen Huang, CEO, NVIDIA
Huang believes the Metaverse can help businesses reduce wastefulness and increase productivity. He says incorporating technologies like AI, AR, and VR will benefit organizations and save them money. Huang is optimistic about the outcomes of the Metaverse. NVIDIA is one of the largest manufacturers of graphic processing units (GPUs) which will be equally prominent as the Metaverse uses GPUs to run its operations.
Why Are Businesses Shifting to Metaverse?
Beyond Social Networking
According to Zuckerburg, the Metaverse is a lot more than VR and by the end of this decade, it will transform businesses, work, and connections. We can observe many businesses shift to the Metaverse similar to how businesses started to shift to cyberspace and social media. Virtual Reality is a step up and businesses are preparing to take part.
As businesses continue to offer customers superior experiences, entering the Metaverse will be a no-brainer. With the Metaverse, businesses can engage with their prospects, explore new opportunities and stay up to date on the latest technologies.
Businesses are starting to look at options to save their place in the virtual space. Footwear manufacturing company, Nike, is preparing to sell its products in the Metaverse. Nike has filed trademark applications to establish itself in the virtual world.
Digital Twin Operations
Other businesses are using the Metaverse and creating digital twins of their operations and products. A Digital Twin is a replica or "twin" of a physical object. It could be as small as a manufacturing part or as big as an entire manufacturing campus. The benefit of creating a Digital Twin is that you can run tests and scenarios on Digital Twins without affecting the physical original. The Metaverse is a perfect place to house Digital Twins for collaboration and brainstorming likely scenarios without wasting physical space or materials as Huang mentioned above.
New Business Ventures
NVIDIA has already capitalized on the rise of the Metaverse by creating Omniverse to connect worlds within the Metaverse. According to NVIDIA, Omniverse is an easily extendible, open platform built for virtual collaboration and real-time physically accurate simulations. It allows designers, researchers, and creators to collaborate and sell their products in virtual spaces. NVIDIA is planning to launch the beta version of Omniverse in December 2021.
Enhanced Advertising Opportunities
The Metaverse will be a golden opportunity for businesses to advertise their products. Just like the physical world, the virtual world will have spaces to promote products and services. There will be virtual concerts and events that businesses can sponsor and increase their visibility.
New Digital Products
The Metaverse is said to be a space where everything is simulated from the real world. Users can create their own avatars and decide what the avatar wears and looks like. Metaverse spaces usually resemble physical locations to feel more connected and businesses can leverage this to sell ‘digital’ products starting from clothing to software applications. As discussed above, businesses like Nike are preparing to launch their digital products. Businesses entering the Metaverse can open their stores to augment their market share.
Remote Work is Here to Stay
Remote work capabilities have become a necessity since the beginning of 2020 and the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some organizations have shifted completely to remote work. Although the remote work transition has been pretty smooth for most organizations, some issues are still prevalent.
- Training new employees
- Organizing meetings
- Team Building
In the Metaverse, employees will have their own virtual workspace where they can attend meetings, work, and collaborate. Users can make virtual presentations and take part in brainstorming sessions. The Metaverse creates a more interactive environment than just virtual meetings, connecting users from all over the world to attend global summits, meetings and cater to an international audience.
Organizations like Microsoft and NVIDIA are already coming up with their own strategies to build around the Metaverse. The future will see a completely integrated virtual world. We will soon have Digital Twins that resemble our physical counterparts. Technology will take a dramatic turn in the coming decade where every business is upgraded to a virtual space or more likely, to the Metaverse.