The Metaverse is still in its early stages, but it has great potential to affect all aspects of people’s lives, writes Sanjay Binyala.
Imagine a world where people can travel to different countries without ever boarding a plane, see doctors in hospitals without ever setting foot in the country, and attend music concerts from the comfort of their own homes. Thanks to the Metaverse, this fantasy world is turning into reality!
The Metaverse is still in its early stages, but it has great potential to affect all aspects of people’s lives. A shared space and network of interconnected virtual worlds, the Metaverse enables socializing, learning, collaborating, shopping, and playing in ways beyond the ordinary realm. Metaverse implementations range from virtual spaces (virtual meetings), games, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital humans, to recent spatial computing in the augmented reality (AR) cloud.
Societal changes caused by spending more time with computers and less physical interaction have given the Metaverse a huge boost. Gartner, Inc. reports that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, socializing and entertainment. Technological innovations such as Web3, 5G, and the vast advances made in AR/VR (Virtual Reality) and Spatial Computing have especially contributed to the emergence of the Metaverse.
immerse yourself in the metaverse
Industries and companies that understand the massive, futuristic opportunities that the Metaverse offers will have a competitive edge. Today’s consumers demand immersive experiences that add impact and value to their purchasing journey. Focus on building digital assets that enhance customer experience and enhance customer retention. Collaborating with industry peers and consumers to co-create immersive experiences is beneficial for entities. However, scaling immersive experiences remains a challenge.
An example of metaverse adoption and implementation is ‘Luru’, launched by Bangalore, Silicon Valley, India. Lulu allows users to experience the worlds of blockbuster movies (Kantara and KGF) in addition to virtual city settings. The Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum in Pune will be hosted on India’s first Metaverse platform called ‘BharatVerse’ to provide a real-time viewing experience of the artifacts. The launch of Fabelle, ITC Ltd.’s premium chocolate brand, on the Metaverse is an example of how the Indian company is stepping up its efforts to improve the customer experience. International brands have an edge in the game, with companies such as Gucci, Nike and Hyundai investing heavily in the early stages.
digital health wealth
Metaverse use cases continue to grow across sectors, but the most important of these is the healthcare industry, which has witnessed many challenges in recent years. The Metaverse provides quality healthcare for all by providing access to doctors and treatments restricted by physical location. Platforms such as his Lybrate, a mobile healthcare technology company, report that mental health consultations have doubled. A major pharmaceutical company has used the platform to launch a virtual clinic for schizophrenic patients. Metaverse can create a safe and comfortable space for your patients with the benefits of a realistic, intuitive and highly customizable environment.
Consumers also want to experience healthcare in the metaverse. According to a recent industry survey, Life Sciences (Healthcare, Medical Devices, etc.) is one of the biggest areas consumers want to experience in the Metaverse. Therefore, the sector and its stakeholders need to act quickly to capture the growing customer interest. The Metaverse helps train medical professionals and educate customers about drug efficacy.
The metaverse business case
Organizations recognize the business value of the metaverse and are strategically investing in it. Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, Inc., plans to invest approximately 20% of total costs and expenses in 2023 into the Metaverse, providing everything related to human interaction on the Internet. As the Metaverse expands and takes over our everyday lives, we expect other tech giants to launch internet-connected glasses and AR/VR headsets.
More permeated by the concept of community than any previous virtual platform and fueled by technological advances, the Metaverse provides a rapid growth path for the entire industry. Constant evolution creates new use cases and revenue streams for organizations. The Metaverse is also reshaping the future of the workplace by improving collaboration, facilitating seamless training, reducing the need for physical infrastructure, and changing the onboarding process. The metaverse presents some challenging yet strategic questions about data integration, readiness, alignment with organizational vision, investment and technology benefits, and the right time to invest.
The metaverse will have a long journey ahead as it relies on several new technologies. As AR/VR glasses and other devices become more accessible and affordable, they could truly thrive. Product success depends on user acceptance and product fit in the metaverse. Technological disruption is inevitable in the gaming, e-commerce, learning and development, workplace, and entertainment industries. With innovation and digital transformation at the core of the Metaverse, organizations have the opportunity to deliver better and greater experiences to their customers.
(Sanjay Binyala is Executive Vice President and Head of Digital Consumer Experiences for Capgemini India)