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The Metaverse: It is the Next Big Thing!

It seems that the Metaverse is the most discussed topic nowadays. But what exactly is it? Is it a technology? Is it a social media platform? Is it a parallel universe? And most importantly, where is it and how do I get in?  

Within days after Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement, the world has been divided into two groups. One group is loving the idea of a digitally inspired universe where we can live, full-time, and the other one is hating it. In which group do you find yourself?  

For gamers, the early adopters of technologies such as virtual reality, and for all those who have spent quite a bit of time on social media platforms, virtual worlds are quite familiar. These groups of people enjoy spending their time in front of the screen. They meet new people, they enjoy virtual experiences, and the thrill of living as someone or something else out there, in a different universe; online. 

Over the course of the last two years, and especially during those gruelling lockdown days, we all received a taste of an isolated virtual world. We talked to our loved ones over screens, we travelled the world and visited museums online, we ordered (almost) everything we needed online, and it got delivered to our doorstep. Schoolchildren were tied to their screens receiving their education and socialisation with one another. This was a temporary but quite realistic simulation of what the metaverse is already all about.  

For the sake of your business, you must consider all options. What are the benefits the metaverse may provide? What are the dangers or threats the metaverse might cause? Depending on your risk appetite, you should decide how to pursue your business’s metaverse roadmap. 

Will the metaverse be a new channel to reach your customers and provide them with new experiences? In the early days of the internet, a similar feeling was generated  around that new, strange, and difficult medium as well. Until we got used to it. Now, the internet is indispensable. The same can be said about our mobile devices and all those apps we love. Voice is another channel which entered our daily lives and is adding value, fun, and novelties. And now the metaverse, on the screen, in augmented reality (AR), or even virtual reality (VR).  

Is this all just a fad? Or is the metaverse here to stay? This is not our first time mentioning the metaverse. Will it disappear as quickly as it was announced? Is it just a thing to be put out, to draw the public away from all the negative attention Facebook has been receiving in recent years? How many of us will really want to wear those headsets, anyway?  

Or is it truly the metaverse truly “next big thing”? What if the Facebook/ Instagram/ WhatsApp conglomerate just decided out-of-the-blue that the new versions of their social media is a “The Metaverse App?” Nearly every person on Earth has some sort of social media connection related to the Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp conglomerate. What if we all just get an automatically generated avatar? They know our behaviour and our preferences very intimately, anyway. The metaverse could become mainstream overnight, at the snap of a finger. And, just like we did with the internet, we would get used it to it, just like that…  

Some technologies follow a certain pattern of hype, disillusionment, then steady maturity and progression. This is beautifully illustrated by the famous Gartner Hype Cycle.  Sometimes, there are technologies which do not follow that trajectory. They have their own paths and some of them are extraordinary. Just think of artificial intelligence. It has the potential to become the operating system of our civilisation. Think of blockchain. It may change the whole monetary and financial system at large, over time. And now the metaverse may become the new internet…  

Metaverse - Gartner Hype Cycle

 

You, as a business executive, know better. You have a better answer. You should at least have a better plan. But where to start? How to explore which direction to take? What are the benefits? What are the risks? Are there any tangible experiences readily available? 

Start with yourself. You, as an individual. What are your habits? Where and how do you spend your time? what kind of content do you consume? Let’s think a little bit about it and try to understand how close or distant you are from the metaverse and its features. 

  • Are you spending time on social media? ◽Yes ◽ no 
  • Are you playing games?  ◽Yes ◽ no 
  • Are you watching movies?  ◽Yes ◽ no 
  • Are you reading novels? Y ◽Yes ◽ no 
  • Are you daydreaming?  ◽Yes ◽ no  

If you have answered only one of these questions with “yes,” you will likely try and  the metaverse experience. Because it will provide you an escape from your current reality, and allow you to enjoy an alternative one. What you will do there is entirely up to you. It might become your second life.  

What should your business do  about this? You don’t want to miss the opportunities if this is the next big thing. At the same time, you also don’t want to look stupid, if this turns out to be just another fad. You are extremely busy with all of your other activities and projects, anyway. Why should you spend any resources on such a new, uncertain subject…?  

Nonetheless, if your CEO or chairman would ask you about the metaverse, you should have answers to the questions below: 

  • Where are we on your metaverse journey?  
  • Do we even have a metaverse journey?  
  • Is it part of our digital transformation programme? 
  • Who should be in charge of your metaverse activities?  
  • What are the use cases and their benefits?  
  • What kind of skills and capabilities do we need? 
  • Who are the solution providers?  

Do you have answers to these questions? Very few people do. We can help. Have a look at the three questions below. Based on the outcome, you can determine how much and what kind of effort you should invest in the metaverse. 

  • Do you consider yourself as an early adopter? 
  • Yes, I must have the gadget first in my ecosystem. 
  • I am probably not first, but still among the earlier ones.  
  • I observe others first, and then use new stuff, if it makes sense. 
  • I wait quite long until I see the real benefits.  
  • Do you provide digital experiences to your customers? 
  • No, still all conventional communication.  
  • Yes, but very basic possibilities.  
  • Yes, we try to convert all interactions onto our digital channels.  
  • Yes, we are mostly digital already.  
  • Would you like to be considered a cool company? 
  • No, we prefer to stay under the radar. 
  • No, not too early, the risks must be clearer. 
  • Yes, but in a safe and gradual manner. 
  • Yes, totally.  

As you know, we measure companies’ digital maturity. Obviously, digitally mature companies are better positioned to succeed in the metaverse as well. Companies with strong digital experiences and customer analytics capabilities are much better positioned to prevail in the virtual worlds as well. How well prepared are you and how capable are you to match the challenges and capture the opportunities of this new and exciting digital world? We have the answers. We measure your situation, accelerate your transformation, and grow your impact.  

We have been following this area for more than 20 years. We’ve seen all that and been in all kinds of versions. The metaverse is not new to us. Customer experience novelties are not new to us. From the early days of the web to conversational AI, we cover all various channels. The same is true for employee experiences and various learning possibilities.  

We always look at technology and innovation through a human and value perspective. How natural is its use? That means a lot. Does it deliver value? Then it will spread quickly. The metaverse will be questioned by these arguments as well. You should evaluate it as well, very carefully.  

Don’t get too over-excited. But also, don’t miss out the opportunities. We are your sounding board. Spend just a few hours with us and you will be immersed into the world of opportunities, and rendered with a sceptical mind of evaluation, seeking for value and reality. Sounds interesting? Let’s get in touch. [email protected]  


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Author avatar
Halil Aksu
https://digitopia.co