Chances are, you’ve been hearing a lot about the “metaverse” in recent months. In fact, the tech industry is buzzing with talk about this phenomenon. It’s little wonder, indeed, that the metaverse seems to be on so many lips nowadays. After all, the hype is being driven by no less an innovator and salesman than Mark Zuckerberg, who is leading the charge in not only building the metaverse but also in publicizing it.
However, for all the talk, you might find yourself asking what, exactly, this new thing is and why it should matter to you. The reality is that the immense potential of the metaverse has profound relevance for us all. For business owners and decision-makers, though, the metaverse can, indeed, be a game-changer.
This article describes the emerging phenomenon of the metaverse and explores its enormous potential benefits to your business. The metaverse offers an unprecedented opportunity to grow your market reach while providing consumers with an unparalleled user experience.
What is the Metaverse?
Simply put, the metaverse is a new and exciting upgrade of the world wide web. However, this upgrade doesn’t merely add a few more bells and whistles to the old, familiar web.
No, if all goes according to Zuckerberg and crew’s plan, the difference between web 2.0 and the metaverse will be something like the difference between a tricycle and a rocket ship. The metaverse is a completely digital world, populated with spaces for commerce, entertainment, work, and education.
It is, fundamentally, a duplication of the physical world, but with the crucial difference that the limitations of the physical world do not apply in the metaverse. Thus, business owners are no longer constrained by the limits of geography in regard to the employees they hire or the clients they serve.
This may at first blush sound a great deal like web 2.0, with its virtual offices and storefronts. The difference, though, is in the nature of the user experience provided in the metaverse. The metaverse will offer a fully-immersive experience through the integration of haptic technologies and virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) capabilities.
What this means, for example, is that consumers in the metaverse will be able not only to view products offered in a virtual store, but that they will also be able to “touch,” “hold,” manipulate, and feel the product through haptic capabilities.
This also means that remote workers can congregate in the digital office space located in the metaverse and experience a work environment that is nearly identical to that of the physical office from a sensory perspective.
Capitalizing on User Experience (UX)
Unlike web 2.0, which is primarily watched rather than experienced, the metaverse is designed to obscure or functionally eliminate any barriers separating the end-user from the virtual world. They’re supposed to feel as if they are actually there, and they’re supposed to be able to do everything in the metaverse that they can do in the physical world and even more. The result is a user experience (UX) that would have been unfathomable just a few years ago.
For savvy entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on these immense UX capabilities and a marketplace that is truly limitless, the metaverse provides fertile ground for innovation.
For instance, the metaverse provides educational technology providers with a platform that promises to revolutionize education. Rather than just watching a video on the undersea habitat of the blue whale, for example, biology students in the metaverse can actually “go” deep sea diving, seeing, hearing, feeling, and perhaps even tasting the aquatic realms where these behemoths live.
Similarly, the metaverse offers technology firms a forum for integrating education with public health and safety. Currently, a host of applications are being introduced to the market to support driving safety among teenagers, including in-vehicle monitoring devices.
In the metaverse, similar applications can be “installed” in virtual vehicles. This will allow high schoolers to learn safe driving habits in a space that feels almost identical to the real thing, enabling those skills to transfer far more easily to the physical world than when teens learn safe driving techniques on a simulator.
What this means for entrepreneurs is that the metaverse provides a powerful platform not only for transferring the products and services offered in the physical realm to the digital one, but also for dramatically enhancing those products and services. Without the constraints of the physical world, the only limit on innovation is the entrepreneur’s imagination.
New Possibilities, New Needs
The advent of the metaverse will inevitably mean that systems and processes will need to be modified for their application to the virtual realm. This means that business owners will enjoy new opportunities to expand their service portfolios and meet the evolving needs of “citizens” of the metaverse.
A particularly important example of this can be found in the arena of digital asset planning, an increasingly crucial segment of estate planning. Digital asset planning does not pertain merely to tech entrepreneurs and aficionados. Digital assets encompass everything from social media accounts to online store and banking accounts to blogs, domains, and virtual currency.
As the metaverse expands, too, will the acquisition of digital assets. Indeed, an increasing number of traditional stores, including Walmart, are investing in the development of virtual goods, such as home decor, for purchase in the metaverse.
This means that business owners can significantly expand their business model to include digital products and user experiences that exist only in the metaverse. Similarly, service providers have a unique opportunity to innovate by cultivating expertise in entirely new realms of service. Attorneys, for instance, may offer digital asset planning as a complement to estate planning, enabling clients to determine who will inherit their online accounts, cryptocurrency, and virtual goods and ensuring the inheritor’s full and legal access to these assets.
The metaverse promises not only to change the way ordinary people live their lives, but also the way entrepreneurs do business. By capitalizing on the enormous UX opportunities the metaverse provides, innovative business owners can truly revolutionize commerce, education, and employment.