The metaverse and the companies of the future, myth or reality?

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The speed at which technological changes are taking place in the business world is increasing day by day and by leaps and bounds. We no longer refer to teleworking or meetings through digital platforms. Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence is being used, for example, to automate the first stages of the personnel selection process, and there are also projects in beta phase that are being implemented in various startup.

Finding the way in which this type of technology can be used in companies is part of the work of NEORIS, a global digital accelerator that helps companies take the leap towards innovationthrough disruptive and sustainable solutions so that they develop their activities in a more efficient, competitive and lower cost way.

In this sense, the application of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence —essential to create inclusive experiences for the user—, as well as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and blockchain, is the order of the day so that we can experience and fully live the metaverse.

Is the metaverse what the future holds?

While the concept of the metaverse dates back decades—the term comes from the novel SnowCrash 1992—, its materialization occurred more recently. Today, its boom is such that, according to estimates by Bloombergthis market is expected to exceed USD 810 billion by 2028.

In this scenario, Jorge Lukowski, Global Director of Marketing and Communication at NEORIS, explains that the metaverse —that 3D world, shared, decentralized and open, where we interact through avatars in a digital reality as active as the one we live in— “is linked to the development of Web 3.0. and technologies such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain”. In short, it is the new evolution of the Internet.

We can develop many of the activities of our lives in this virtual universe, from working, traveling, shopping and even socializing., and when this happens we generate the digital economy. Businesses in the metaverse will be based on the blockchain, since all virtual assets will be bought and sold through cryptocurrencies or other types of tokens such as Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs, which are digital certificates of unique and non-replaceable property as can be. be the works of art or the music”, says Lukowski.

The world is moving so quickly in this direction that recent BBVA data shows that NFT trading volume increased by more than 700% between Q2 and Q3 2021which speaks of a rapid increase in these transactions.

The growth of the economy and sales is seen as one of the main advantages of this universe in three dimensions. “By means of this,” Lukowski points out, it will be possible to sell more products than are currently being sold, sell products native to the metaverse and sell Virtual or Augmented Reality solutions or devices to experience the metaverse”.

All this generates enormous business opportunities that companies must know how to take advantage of to face increasingly competitive and challenging contexts. Such is the case of the Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo, whose latest model, the Tonale, became the first car with a digital NFT certificate, which, based on blockchain technology, identifies the vehicle from the moment of its purchase and evolves parallel to the life cycle and use of the vehicle.

The metaverse, much more than a myth

Are the industries and companies of the world walking the path to the metaverse? The answer is yes.

In addition to companies like Alfa Romeo, many others are making progress on the matter. For example, the real estate investment firm Republic Realm that invested more than USD 4.3 million for a piece of land in The Sandbox. The company markets 2,500 pieces of land in 19 virtual worlds, including shopping malls, residential buildings and a private island.

Another example of application of the metaverse in industries, particularly in the educational field, is the European School of International Education (ESIE, for its acronym in English), which launched a high-level MBA directly in the metaverse, where students can move between rooms to discuss cases in teams or to stay in touch after class ends.

A recent case, and a pioneer in its category, is that of the Hotel Riu Plaza Españawhich recently kicked off in the metaverse with the creation of a virtual replica of the hotel, all within the AltspaceVR metaverse.

“With the metaverse – underlines Lukowski -, We will also see the concept of digital-twin that allows us to build products that we will later bring to reality. Companies like BMW and Hyundai built virtually accessible 3D digital twins of their factories. In the future, this will favor the reduction of operating costs and the waste of resources”. Meanwhile, in the construction sector, the door is opened to test design options in real contexts, enabling improvements in customer understanding and the solution of their needs.

It is noteworthy, indicates the director of NEORIS, that brands like Balenciaga are also taking advantage of the metaverse to sell assets native to this world. “This brand used the Roblox metaverse to launch a special collection. Nike, for its part, created Nikeland and gave the possibility of personalizing the avatar with digital products from the metaverse. Coca-Cola launched a special version of Coca-Cola without sugar, and for its launch they used Fornite and launched commemorative NFTs. These are clear examples of successful strategies that show that the metaverse is here to stay”.

Technology that opens possibilities

In addition to the growth of the economy and sales, the new reality of the metaverse offers other advantages for companies and brands. “The metaverse gives companies the opportunity to be more creative and innovate to offer their audiences immersive, enriching and unique experiences., in terms of communication, advertising and interaction. All this thanks to the use of these new technologies that are behind this 3D universe”, highlights Lukowski.

Another benefit is thatcompanies can take their brand to different geographies, through virtual stores that combine the e-commerce and interactivity with products. This also shows us the democratizing potential of the metaverse to the extent that there are no limits or borders to reach any person”, says the director of NEORIS. This being the case, this is an opportunity to venture into the design of native metaverse products such as virtual clothing, articles of all kinds, games, etc.

A key element that will mark the fate of the metaverse and its appropriation by industries, Jorge Lukowski points out, is that “in the metaverse, as well as in Web 3.0 or the decentralized Internet, the data is no longer in the hands of third parties and belongs to the users. This decentralization of information, which allows us to be owners of our data, will be essential to provide trust and security in the metaverse”.

The challenge for the coming years will therefore be to face some dilemmas that the metaverse brings with it.. Will it have an impact on our culture and in the social sphere? Will the regulatory framework be created that allows this digital world to be used responsibly? How will we tackle disinformation and what controls should be in place? Privacy in personal, biometric or financial data, is it really guaranteed?

In the midst of this panorama, without a doubt, many concerns arise. A great certainty is that the companies of the future will have to decide if they embrace the idea of ​​getting on the roller coaster of digital transformation. and, why not, take advantage of the benefits of this three-dimensional universe.

Certainly, the metaverse ceased to be a myth at the beginning of the 21st century and is an (almost) tangible reality. The opportunities are immense.