2022 has been an eventful year. In the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the entire definition of “normal” has changed. We also witnessed geopolitical unrest through the Russia-Ukraine conflict. However, there have been huge advancements in technology, particularly in blockchain innovation and its applications. The underlying platform behind cryptocurrencies is also powering the entire Web 3.0 and metaverse revolution. As all eyes are glued toward the opportunities brought forward by the metaverse for entrepreneurs, let us look toward its potential applications across industries.
The Global Scenario
The global market’s gradual adjustment and coexistence with a worldwide pandemic have blended the physical and digital realms into a “physical” dimension. The current distribution is uneven on a worldwide scale, but the dispersion of possible applications is increasing significantly. A Tidio survey reported that 39% of its participants believe metaverse offers a chance to overcome real-life challenges. A notable portion of the participants believes that the metaverse will transform global work possibilities, art performances, live entertainment, and financial investment. Without further ado, let us look forward to the top 5 potential industrial applications of the metaverse.
Top Industrial Applications of the Metaverse
The metaverse community is showing great potential across the following sectors:
a) Gaming Industry
A complete no-brainer, the metaverse is already making waves across the gaming industry. The National Research Council iterates two features that can allow games to have wider implications. One is through feedback in regards to players’ performance progress. The other is through effective strategizing in the digital realm and the player’s possible reactions. Several gaming organizations are currently spearheading the metaverse development, including Roblox and Epic Games. Decentralized blockchain-powered play-to-earn games such as Axie Infinity and Decenteraland are gaining traction on a global scale.
b) Social Media
Social media platforms form an indispensable part of the average smartphone user. Statistics report the global user base is increasing at least 4 times fasters that the current rate of the human population. The metaverse can be very well utilized for digital marketing purposes integrating VR to offer newer product perspectives to the audience. Global fashion brands such as Gucci have invested heavily in building their presence across the metaverse, launching the Gucci Garden in collaboration with Roblox in May 2021. Last but not least, major social networking site Facebook underwent a complete transformation, rebranding itself as Meta. The potential includes increased user engagement across the metaverse, leading global brands like Nike and Disney towards building their own networks. Campaigns in the metaverse are presently minimal, as the sectors of advertising, branding, and marketing have not been properly defined there as of yet.
The Internet brought forward information from all around the world to the masses. The education sector is being cited as a hotspot for metaverse transformation. In the not-too-distant future, we will have remote learning aided by the metaverse. Online long-distance learning has been deemed ineffective with a McKinsey survey highlighting teachers’ opinion of online lessons being a poor alternative for classroom dynamics.
The metaverse would address the challenges faced in an online learning experience through solutions for effective management, socialization, and resource allocation. The areas of improvement would also feature better control of surrounding inputs, student supervision, interface elimination, and group fragmentation for projects across an immersive environment that stimulates interaction and human contact.
d) Trade and E-Commerce
The metaverse expansion will undoubtedly lead to the creator economy development as well. New-age marketplaces selling or commissional virtual products will boost trade and e-commerce across the metaverse. NFT marketplaces are already in existence(Opensea, SuperRare), selling digital art collectibles across the internet. The trade possibilities actually go much further.
For example, a movie company could easily sell the screening rights of their creation exclusively to a virtual cinema hall. The metaverse can promote consultancy services across all professional fields such as private educators, therapists, medical experts, engineers, and more. The higher traffic will also lead to increased employment across the virtual labor market, which may be sourced from foreign sources. The entire marketing and advertisement process will witness a major overhaul through digital billboards.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest online marketplace Amazon has already started integrating e-commerce with metaverse through embedded AR technology across its services. Examples include applications like Room Decorator(for estimating the fitment of furniture across the room) or Topology Eyewear(to check how a pair of glasses fit your face). Personalization options like these have reflected positively on online consumers.
e) Solutions for the workspace
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the priorities of both employees and their working organizations. As a follow-up to the Great Resignation across the Pandemic years, most major corporations have adopted a hybrid work model to better accommodate the needs of their employees. The metaverse will offer solutions presented by the current remote/hybrid working model.
The complications include the lack of requisite resources at employee residences. It also includes a tendency of digital overloading- 54% of the employees in a Microsoft survey reported being overworked. In addition, it has been found that work isolation leads to reduced collaboration, which results in a decline in communication and debate in regard to ideas. The metaverse balances between onsite and offsite work reproducing components of both instead of substituting one with the other.
The possibilities do not end here. The metaverse has also shown remarkable potential across other domains including customer service, fashion, healthcare, and more. It is the future. Organizations however need to choose wisely between protectionist stances and experimentation. The former includes the endorsement of ideas that can help them gain better leverage across the market. But, the adventurous side is what will likely lead to long-term benefits of the virtual ecosystem.