Leveraging the metaverse for your business in 2022

Leveraging the metaverse for your business in 2022

Of all the technological innovations on the horizon, the metaverse offers the most exciting disruptive potential. The interest around the metaverse has been rising as businesses attempt to understand not only what it is, but also how it can be used to enhance all aspects of their operations, be it engaging with customers and clients, or employees.

As with any relatively new concept, some critics are questioning the longevity of the metaverse. Will it really have the same impact on society as the internet did when first introduced or is the metaverse nothing more than a product of hype? As someone who created the world’s first web3D metaverse with over 1 billion spaces and who has been involved in the sector for over 25 years, these types of questions frame our analysis of the metaverse in the wrong light. 

In my mind, it’s not a question of if the metaverse will transform society, but when. 

Preparing for the next phase of the internet 

The metaverse has been described as the next phase of the internet. The creation of 3D ecosystems that allow users to access and engage with an interactive environment on today’s devices, and supported by new Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) hardware, can be used across a range of different applications, from gaming to events, business training and recruitment. 

When determining the growth potential of a sector, it is important to investigate the volume of investment taking place. Investor appetite for tech investment has been growing at an impressive rate over the last 12 months, reflected by the significant valuations of start-ups that were founded less than five years ago. 

Investors have also become clearly aware of the potential the metaverse offers. This has been helped by Meta and Microsoft actively pursuing the creation of avatar-led virtual worlds. And while the integration of the physical and digital worlds is not entirely understood by those outside of the industry, it is generally believed that the metaverse could be a trillion-dollar industry in just a few years’ time.  

Reviewing Crunchbase data from November, it was estimated that companies linked to the metaverse raised a total of $10.4 billion across 612 deals, nearly double the $5.9 billion recorded in 2020. What’s more, investment into VR and AR is also set to rise. According to Morgan Stanley, total VR and AR spending worldwide is projected to reach $72.8 billion in 2024. To put this into perspective, this figure was only $12 billion in 2020.  

How can SMEs take advantage of the metaverse? 

As with any new sector, the challenge is taking a relatively new concept and demonstrating how it can be practically used. While there is a lot of attention on the metaverse from a consumer perspective, I believe the true potential of the sector lies in its application to support businesses. It’s what I call The Metaverse for Business ‘ a concept set to gain traction in 2022. 

SMEs, particularly those not situated within the tech sector, might think the metaverse is not something wholly relevant to them. The reality, however, is that all companies stand to benefit from the metaverse. Below are two examples of how this could be achieved. 

Un-remote your workplace

Remote working has become commonplace because of the pandemic. Businesses readily rely on video calls and meetings to coordinate and engage with employees working from home. While this initially proved beneficial, there are also concerns about the long-term impact video calls are having on workplace culture and employee engagement. Zoom Fatigue is now a term regularly used to encapsulate these concerns. 

While remote working is likely to remain part of the way SMEs operate, the metaverse can be used to overcome the challenges brought on by 2D video calling. Creating an immersive virtual world that allows colleagues to engage with each other organically, recognize clear social cues and even run impromptu meetings can help un-remote the workplace. Beyond that, the metaverse can be leveraged to run interactive brainstorming sessions through 3D meetings which could inspire new perspectives. 

Training and development 

Linked to remote working, another area prime for the incorporation of the metaverse has to do with training and development. Training and upskilling a company’s workforce are vital, yet doing this through traditional online presentations means that participants are not able to actively engage and improve their knowledge or experience. 

With VR and AR devices, interactive online ecosystems can be created for specific training courses, offering virtual challenges and tests which participants would need to navigate to successfully pass such training. Importantly, this training could be offered for any sector, with AI avatar bots, such as virtual customers or virtual patients, being used as part of an immersive and engaging learning experience. 

As discussed, there are plenty of different options available for SMEs looking to incorporate the metaverse into their existing practices. Different 3D ecosystems can be created to specifically cater to the needs of businesses, be it through training and development through to the hosting of online events. 

Importantly, the metaverse is here to stay. That is why, any future business plan must include mention of the metaverse and research into how virtual worlds can be created to overcome challenges and enhance the way SMEs operate. A good starting point is to reach out to Metaverse for Business companies which specialise in the creation of these virtual ecosystems for enterprises. They can offer the initial guidance needed and demonstrate how the metaverse could be applied to their advantage.  

Danny Stefanic
Danny Stefanic

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