Should I Incorporate the Metaverse into my Business Model?
The Physical and Digital Worlds are Merging.
The digital world is rapidly penetrating into our reality. Covid-19 has changed the elements of shopping in physical stores, attending a face-to-face interview, organising a meeting in the office etc. Zoom, MSTeams and other online meeting platforms have been essential to the office. This has become a part of our everyday routine, even before we realised it.
How are the Metaverse and NFTs related to all these? The pandemic shifted us to view the world from alternate paradigms with alternate solutions. This moves our daily life forward without causing many disruptions and making compromises. The world is heading in a direction where the economy leverages digital assets so when the world comes to a stand-still from a pandemic again, the economy can regenerate itself.
And what does this mean for entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurs enter a highly interactive environment by bringing their brands into the digital world. With digital content made available everywhere and acting as a consumer’s first point to their last point of contact, entrepreneurs are navigating their way to merge their brand’s image into consumers’ recreational time. Entrepreneurs can personalise each of their consumer’s journeys with AI, helping them remain relevant through diversifying into multi-digital platforms.
The Oculus Quest 2 Headsets
Source: Dot Esports
Metaverse is our future and gateway to multi-trillion-dollar opportunities
By understanding the history of the Metaverse and its value proposition of what its presence can do for your business and brand, businesses can now connect with their consumers through a whole new immersive sphere of user interaction.
Big companies such as JP Morgan now recognise the Metaverse business as a $1 trillion dollar opportunity and have opened a lounge in the Metajaku Mall in Decentraland. Citi, an investment bank, visioned the Metaverse’s potential of $8 trillion to $13 trillion opportunity by 2030.
BaiDu’s Xi Rang (Land of Hope)
Companies of all industries diving into the Metaverse
Following the hot trend in Y2K fashion and digital trends in the Metaverse, Zara launched a Metaverse-based project on its new Y2K collection, consisting of both digital and physical products. This strategy sheds light on how interconnected and reinforced digital and physical universes are with each other and marks the fast fashion retailer’s third collaboration with the Metaverse world. The brand will be establishing its collaboration with the Snapchat channel for customers to access content and augmented reality (AR) lenses to view their collections.
Zara's First-Ever "Metacollection"
The tech giant, LG Electronics North American Innovation Center (LG NOVA), took a portfolio approach by investing in startups to diversify LG’s risk and increase its chances of success in the emerging Metaverse market. LG aims towards establishing its brand to attain a global leadership position in the global Metaverse market. LG hosted a “Selected 20” where startups can enter to show Proof of Concept on their developed solution proven to work on some levels
Metaverse vs Virtual Reality
On the technology aspect, the difference between the VR and Metaverse is substantial. Taking a look at VR, it can only create simulated 3D virtual experiences cultivated with simulations and virtual adventures. On the other spectrum, the Metaverse is limitless. Not only does it draw its strength from VR technologies, but other technologies also drive the functionalities of the Metaverse. For instance, AR, decentralisation, blockchain, crypto and connectivity technologies. Essentially, the Metaverse is a developing virtual world that catalyses the integration of upcoming technologies to offer enhanced functionality.
For instance, in a retail application, AR shopping has been adopted to bring products directly to the user’s home. Sephora was one of the first companies to adopt this technology. Using cosmetic software, face recognition is employed to allow consumers to test cosmetics from home. With the use of Meta’s virtual reality headsets as mentioned above, consumers can conduct cosmetics demonstrations, share their favourite products with friends or even try out the latest product launches without having to leave the comforts of their homes.
Sephora Virtual Artist Mobile Application
In terms of experiences, VR lets you experience the virtual environment through the adoption of a headset or gadget, like the PlayStation VR2. The next-generation VR system PlayStation claims to take VR gaming to a whole new level. In reality, VR does not offer the fully immersive experience it claims to. In an example of a game setting with friends, the playing field would be narrowed to a specific amount of people, such as the ones playing the game.
The Metaverse on the other hand provides a virtual universe similar to the real world through the combination of AR and VR technologies, where users like you can encircle through the virtual world effortlessly as a digital avatar. Metaverse avatars are the embodiment of Metaverse users, enabling them to experience an assortment of adventures The catch is that the digital avatars are entirely customisable. Users are given a choice of their avatar’s height, weight, skin tone and even clothing. This is where Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) fall in place. Fashion brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Prada, Nike and Adidas have released NFT collectables, for users to purchase unique apparel for their digital avatars. The renowned brands, Prada and Adidas have come together to introduce their 3rd collaboration, the ‘Adidas for Prada Re-Nylon collection’. Where they have invited their collective audiences across the fashion, design and crypto industries to contribute unique photographs to the open-Metaverse NFT project.
Adidas Prada Re-Nylon Collection
Source: Jing Daily
Fundamentally, the fact that players can visit, experience, and connect with other users and other areas in the Metaverse is another indication of how the Metaverse differs from virtual reality in terms of the quality of experiences.
Potential of Ownership
Essentially when using a VR system, the experiences are based on the brand’s system that the VR operates in. In essence, for VR users, the only property they have owned is the VR equipment they have purchased.
In contrast, the Metaverse enables users to own their very own virtual goods and experiences. From digital assets to NFTs, the creator will fully possess whatever is created, giving them full ownership of rights. Buying virtual lands is even possible in the Metaverse. Owning virtual real estate means you own a piece of unique land in the Metaverse. You will be able to utilise the land and create income-generating properties like constructing leasable buildings, interactive venues with admission fees or even promote land. In addition, on blockchain-run Metaverse, each parcel of the Metaverse real estate is wholly unique and secured by an NFT which guarantees your ownership and allows you to resell the property to another owner.
Virtual Lands in the Metaverse
Source: Beyond Games
The comparison of the Metaverse and VR proves that the Metaverse is more than just VR. Essentially, VR is the basic automation and pillar technology for the advancement of the Metaverse. Though there is no clear definition of the Metaverse, its capacity to unleash the next wave of digital impact is clear. Especially with its rapid advancement in the ever-competitive industry, the Metaverse offers endless possibilities for various industries
Interested to learn more to decide if your business should enter the Metaverse? In collaboration with SMU Academy, sign up for our newly launched Advanced Certificate in Metaverse and Artificial Intelligence. This 7-module certification will equip you with a full understanding and essential knowledge relating to funding and setting up businesses in the Metaverse. This programme will also touch on the innovations in GameFi, the use of non-fungible tokens as a branding tool, the emerging technologies in chatbots and AI, decentralised content platforms and Web 3.0 technologies.