What is Metaverse?
The metaverse refers to a virtual reality where users can interact with each other and create a shared space. It is not just a game or a chatroom; it is an entire universe that people can explore and inhabit. Users can create their avatars, digital representations of themselves, and interact with other avatars in the metaverse.
In a business context, the metaverse can be thought of as a digital twin of the physical world, where data from the real world is used to create a 3D representation. This 3D representation can be used for various purposes, such as product design, marketing, training, and so on.
Metaverse is an emerging technology that has the potential to change the way we live, work, and play. The merging of virtual and physical reality creates a new, immersive experience. It combines technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and so on to develop persistent online spaces where a digital representation of oneself can interact and engage with other digital people, places, and things.
History of Metaverse:
The early 1990s: Metaverse was first conceptualised in the early 1990s by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash. The metaverse is a virtual world where people can interact with software in the novel.
In 2003, Phillip Rosedale, the founder of Linden Lab, created Second Life, considered one of the first metaverses. Second Life is an online virtual world that allows users to create avatars and interact with each other in a three-dimensional space.
2009 saw the creation of the world’s first blockchain platform, Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a decentralised, peer-to-peer network that allows users to transact with each other without the need for a central authority.
2017, Fortnite launched metaverse games that allow players to build, fight, and survive in an ever-changing environment.
And in 2018 virtual reality game Axie Infinity was introduced. A metaverse game that allows players to collect, breed, and battle with cute creatures called Axies using the Ethereum blockchain.
In 2021, Microsoft launched Mesh, enabling the presence and shared experiences from anywhere – on any device – through mixed reality applications. In the same year, Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook’s parent company Meta and unveiled its plan for the metaverse.
The metaverse is still in its early stages of development. However, it has evolved significantly since it was first conceptualised in the early 1990s and will continue to do so with the advancement of technology.
How can businesses use Metaverse?
This section will cover some of the limitless possibilities of real, practical, and effective business applications in the metaverse.
Metaverse can help transform various industries such as banking, health, education, training, retail, and so on.
In banking, metaverse can help with a wide range of applications such as:
KYC (know your customer): Metaverse can help with KYC processes by providing a way to verify a customer’s identity without needing to meet them in person. This may help reduce the time and money it takes to complete KYC procedures while keeping them secure and efficient.
Fraud prevention: Metaverse can help create a digital representation of a customer that may be utilised to verify their identity, ensuring that only the genuine consumer has access to their account and preventing fraudsters from gaining access.
Banking Activities: Metaverse branches can help by allowing bank customers to open new accounts, apply for loans, and conduct other banking activities. These branches may be located in virtual reality, which would enable customers to visit them from anywhere in the world, providing a more immersive and pleasant experience.
In healthcare, there is a lot of interest in how this technology may be used in the real world. Early deployment scenarios involving healthcare training are being discussed.
Smart operating room: Metaverse can provide a way to create a virtual reality replica of an operating room. This would allow doctors to walk through the procedures before performing them. This would be beneficial as it would provide a way to train new surgeons or brush up on procedures that haven’t been performed in a while. It could also be used for medical students to learn from as well.
Remote medical care: Metaverse is also being explored for remote medical care. This would allow doctors to interact with patients in a virtual reality setting. This would benefit patients who live in rural areas or have difficulty travelling to see a doctor. It could also be used for consults with specialists not located near the patient.
Patients’ health assessment: In addition to these use cases, we are also seeing the use of Metaverse hardware in the form of headsets equipped with technology to measure and assess patients’ health, such as virtual reality headsets, which are fitted with eye-tracking capabilities to measure brain health.
Researchers are also looking at how much virtual reality can distract individuals from facts and how it may block pain signals in the brain. Potential use case being used as an alternative to opioids to manage pain.
The manufacturing industry is also exploring opportunities with digital twin technology (virtual representations of real-world physical assets or continuously updated systems), which is core to the industrial Metaverse.
Digital twins can be used to build and test products that will hold up over time under different conditions and use cases. By utilising simulations, manufacturers could significantly cut project costs, time, and wasted resources.
For example, suppose a new car model was being created instead of building multiple physical prototypes that would be expensive and time-consuming. In that case, a digital prototype could be made in the metaverse.
This would allow multiple variations to be tested quickly and easily without creating a physical product each time. It would also allow for more accurate simulations as the metaverse can account for various factors such as weather, terrain, etc.
Other examples include building aeroplanes in the metaverse, using digital twins for predictive maintenance of power plants or pipelines, and creating a digital replica of a city to test the impact of a new traffic light system before it is implemented.
The retail industry, like many others, is witnessing a great deal of metaverse adoption. The impact of the Metaverse on our shopping habits will be significant.
Virtual shopping malls and digitised retail products may allow consumers to share photos with their friends, talk to company representatives and influencers about goods, and even digitally sample things. This could be the next iteration of commerce, where e-commerce and social media intersect.
Purchase digital clothes: Users will now have the opportunity to purchase both digital clothes (to dress their avatars) and real clothes. We have seen partnerships between digital fashion brands and retailers to sell digital garments.
Home Decor: Another example, Amazon is deploying the Metaverse with an augmented reality shopping tool called “Room Decorator.” The tool allows users to see what furniture and home decor will look like in one’s own space using a mobile phone/tablet.
In other industries:
Metaverse is also enabling new opportunities for various other industries.
· In the entertainment industry, metaverse helps organise virtual concerts, movie debuts, and other events for various companies.
· In the fashion world, shows are now being held in the Metaverse, such as digital fashion week, where virtual avatars walk the virtual catwalk.
· In tourism, for example, Korea Tourism offers visitors a chance to experience the Silla Dynasty and other popular tourist hotspots.
· In Climate change, Scientists and researchers are conducting experiments using digital twin technology to model scenarios on virtual representations of the earth.
· In Education, for instance, authorities in Seoul are currently operating Meta-verse-based science classes for students to explore a virtual exhibition hall called “Gather Town” with their avatars.
As more people participate in the Metaverse, we anticipate that the recruitment business will change and utilise it as a platform to connect with and recruit new talent.
We are just scratching the surface of what’s possible with business applications on the metaverse.
From product development to marketing and sales, the metaverse will provide new opportunities for businesses to engage with customers and create experiences that are interactive, immersive, and personal.
We are only just beginning to see the potential of this emerging technology, and it is exciting to see what metaverse-powered businesses will emerge in the years to come.
What other business applications can you think of for the Metaverse?
Let us know in the comments below!