How businesses are getting ready for metaverse and NFTs?
While the leaders like Microsoft, Apple, Disney, Meta (Facebook), and Google aggressively strategize to flag their mark in this new opportunity space, the Metaverse is progressively evolving to cater to the needs of every participant, not only big ones but everyone innovative enough.
The literal ‘digitisation’ of almost everything brings Metaverse to its most commercially viable stage. It owes its present glory to the intersection of the pandemic and global economy and a more digitally prepared society. Blockchain, AI, IoT, AR/VR, and 5G are some of the baseline technologies that promise to support the backbone of Metaverse. But first things first. What is the metaverse?
According to Gartner, “Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. It is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences as well as device-independent and accessible through any type of devices, from tablets to head-mounted displays.”
The aforementioned tech research company thinks that the Metaverse will provide the required framework for businesses. This will negate the need for any baseline infrastructure on their part. It is also predicted that by 2026, almost 30% of the organisations will be ready with products and services to support Metaverse. This makes perfect sense to be ready and start learning and planning for the same.
Creating a new digital economy for businesses
As we glide closer to the future defined by Metaverse, every business must realise three spaces: its physical presence, the online (or digital) location, and the Metaverse ‘avatar’. Consequently, there are three ways one can participate in creating a Metaverse. First is creating a path of entry, like creating VR glasses and headsets. Smart eyeglasses, like the improved version of Ray Ban Stories and Snap’s version 4 Spectacles are the imagination-turned-reality concepts. Then, there are virtual spaces, like the ones created by Decentraland and SandBox. And the last way is creating a ‘smoother’ to transactions.
NFTs have emerged as the most popular way for this. The virtual economy within the Metaverse is efficiently enabled by digital currencies and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). However, it is considered, the key that unlocks this new and exciting digital economy is NFT, particularly. Projects like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks have clearly highlighted the potential that NFTs hold- liquidating (even NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) the remotely illiquid assets and altering the concept of ownership. An NFT can be sold over a lucrative secondary marketplace. Since these NFTs are recorded and tracked over a blockchain, the original creator (or brand) earns royalties from every sale (and subsequent resale). This interactive mechanic has been successfully implemented in sandbox games the likes of Fortnite, which also spawns massive virtual worlds. Imagine a player buys a particular skin for their ‘avatar’ in Fortnite (by Epic Games Inc.). Now, they do not own this skin. They only earn a license for that from the company. However, if it is purchased as an NFT, they also get the ownership rights to it. Now, consider that you purchase a beautiful coat from Balenciaga (in the physical world). When you sell the coat, the brand receives no commission on it. However, with NFT, the brand particularly receives its commission from private sales. Thus, it opens a stream of revenue generation. Something that will surely happen in a metaverse-built mall, for example.
Preparing businesses for the future
Still, in its infancy, how are businesses and consumers going to tap its full potential? Even as the businesses choose to wait at the starting line, it is always wise to strategise. Let’s find out together how businesses can accomplish this without putting more pressure on the pockets.
Tracking the technological advancements
Techs that power Metaverse with time, like voice tech, could help to foresee the upcoming trends and align the business to it. For some time now, voice interfaces have been acquiring consumer preferences. According to a report by PwC, almost 71% of the consumer demographic prefer voice interfaces over typing. This technology is definitely more natural to virtual environments like Metaverse. It makes interaction more accessible and efficient. Other prospective technologies include AI, VR/AR, XR, Digital humans, and synthetic media. Even though these technologies arose to fashion much before Metaverse, it is poised well with the concept.
How businesses are getting ready for metaverse
Creating increasingly interacting platforms, not just for transactions
“People will want radically more conversational experiences” Sundar Pichai, CEO Alphabet
To realise the concept of ‘immersive’ Metaverse, platforms are increasingly working towards making it a ‘two-way experience’. Conversational marketing and commerce, automated marketing and sales channels are some of the initial efforts. Some of this is based on the human skill to interact, while the rest is AI-driven (evolving with sophistication). So, Web3.0 leverages the interactive way of creating an experience, instead of just a cold transaction on Web2.0.
Valuing the Metaverse channels
Metaverse is a potentially profitable channel. However, it requires diligence and a clear strategy to enter its doors and thrive in the realm. Now here is the opportunity for the brands to either leave gaps or grab this to enhance customer experiences. Imagine two friends interacting over a platform in the Metaverse. After an hour of gaming, they plan to eat. Does this channel offer the best and most seamless experience? The pizza could be ordered either at the v-store over this channel, or the friends choose to take off their VR headsets and order it out of the Metaverse. This is where the power of an uninterrupted channel shines bright.
Understanding the niche for business
Businesses have the liberty to determine their vital initial steps while surfing the powerful digital waves. While one company could be focused on developing a better AI interface to address customer concerns, others could be more interested in creating better VR products. This means that Metaverse could only benefit if it is sorted strategically. Consider Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard at $69 billion. With the deal, Microsoft owns the vast library of popular gaming franchises. It spans multiple devices and generates huge revenues. More than that, Microsoft has bought the communities involved in those games and influenced them.
Embracing the traditional ways hand-in-hand with modernised ones
The core of a good business is a sustainable customer base. According to a study by Morning Consult, 68% of participants are not really interested to engage with Meta’s Metaverse, following its move to rebrand itself. It is, therefore, imperative to create opportunities to engage the community in the balance of traditional and Metaverse experiences.
Future Metaverse is the collection of different worlds?
Fragmentation of the virtual world makes sense because, for a Big Tech like Meta, Google, or Microsoft, it is more profitable to create their exclusive environments. Further, this would also create dedicated spaces that could serve communities with better experiences, driving greater engagements. Businesses could, thus, plan and prepare themselves to carve out their own share of Metaverse.