Indepth: The endless possibilities of Metaverse – Brands & ent industry take note

Image credit: Riki32 from Pixabay
Image credit: Riki32 from Pixabay

Metaverse “use cases beyond gaming are not just in the future, they’re already emerging.” - Kavya Pearlman, Founder and CEO of XR Safety Initiative.

What are the multiple use cases of the Metaverse? According to the McKinsey & Company report of 2022, the fully developed, long-term version of the metaverse will encompass most daily activities, spanning five core categories:

Enterprise solutions

The Metaverse will enable incremental improvements in the enterprise solutions we know today alongside entirely new innovations. Notable categories include the following:

  • Enhanced remote collaboration:An incremental improvement will see a move from 2-D screens to an immersive 3-D space as online meetings in the Metaverse further enable remote work and potentially diminish the need for co-locating. As we move towards this transition, we expect to see a continuation of the pandemic-induced rethinking of how organisations are structured.
  • Reimagined learning and development:Simulations of real-life settings and situations will allow for a far more captivating learning process, opening possibilities both in onboarding new colleagues and developing current personnel, which is increasingly important for organisations competing for talent on a global scale.
  • Digital twins:We are also seeing new innovations such as BMW’s effort to build a digital factory twin on Nvidia Omniverse, which is expected to drive efficiency improvements across its supply chain. By building virtual replicas of physical settings and objects that generate data in real-time, far richer analyses can be generated than previously to enable improved decision making.

There is also use case in the public sector. The first city government is also set to join the Metaverse. Leaders in South Korea’s capital, Seoul, announced a five-year “Metaverse Seoul Basic Plan” that will begin by creating a virtual Seoul City Hall, plaza, and civil-service center. The CIO of Seoul’s Smart City Policy Bureau, Jong-Soo Park said the objective was to “provide civic freedom, participation, engagement, and communication.”

Use cases

According to the McKinsey & Company report, shoppers are already using digital screens and intend to spend the majority of their daytime in the Metaverse within the next five years. Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week in March got far more industry attention than any digital fashion event before it, attracting a wide variety of brands and creatives including Dolce & Gabbana, Estée Lauder, and Etro, although some notable players in the Metaverse such as Gucci and Ralph Lauren did not participate, according to the McKinsey & Company report. The experience was blockchain-based, created on “land” and sold as NFTs, with digital fashion bought and worn as NFTs.

Virtual real estate is another area. An anonymous user reportedly paid $450,000 to purchase a plot of virtual land in The Sandbox next to Snoop Dogg’s virtual residence, “Snoopverse.”

“The Metaverse in itself is a very powerful concept that is marking a broad shift in how we interact with technology,” says Madhusmita Panda, Chief Marketing Officer at KredX.

According to her, the Metaverse is here to bring in an interactive environment that will enable enterprises to create a virtual reality environment with interactive life-like elements.

“Let's take an example of a concert, for an individual to experience it one had to be present physically. However, today the Metaverse allows one to be part of that experience in a virtual world. Similarly, one can experience a new vehicle virtually without having to visit a showroom. The Metaverse allows you to select the avatar you can go in, experience the car, and purchase. It allows one to get teleported into experiences, unlike a regular web experience which brings in a different level of user interactivity,” she says.

The underpinnings of the metaverse, adds Madhusmita Panda, have already taken the gaming industry by storm because gaming is where virtual experiences have been the most immersive. According to her, the Metaverse provides a new opportunity to bring the social aspect back into the online gaming experience. Instead of passively participating in these Metaverse gaming ecosystems, users are actively developing and designing them according to their preferences.

Panda feels that for the entertainment industry, the Metaverse holds endless possibilities. “Once users start to personalise the Metaverse according to their preferences, the options are going to be practically limitless. The Metaverse will be shaped by the technology we use to access it, which could include virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and brain-computer interfaces (BCI). It will impact every industry and the most impacted will be the consumer space. Enterprise companies will have some more time to prepare themselves for what’s coming, but it will begin with those closest to consumers, for example in communications and collaboration. Companies that move quickly will be the ones who are best positioned to leverage that future,” she adds.

Moreover, explains Panda, personalisation can greatly add on to the entire Metaverse experience for the users. “For example, there is usually one kind of vehicle showroom that is built for every user. But the future could be that, one could experience vehicles as per their preferences and likes depending on the kind of data that is shared with the enterprise. This level of personalisation can increase the possibility of making a positive engagement with that brand.”

“Metaverse in Web3 has been growing rapidly and has become another promising catalyst for mass adoption of this sector,” notes Lumos Labs’ Founder Kaavya Prasad She cites the recent example of Citi, the global banking giant, predicting the Metaverse to be a $8-$13 trillion opportunity by 2030, which seems achievable given the increasing exploration of nearly all major global industries in this emerging technology. According to her, a key driver of this level of acceleration has been the Web3 world, so much so that Web3 and Metaverse are often used interchangeably.

Prasad adds that various decentralised gaming and NFT (Non-fungible tokens) platforms have been the first movers in the Metaverse and have provided solutions that make entry into it an easier feat for Web2 folks.

“From being a hit in the gaming space to being looked upon by several conglomerates for marketing, advertising, and utilisation purposes, the horizons of this tech have expanded. We have already witnessed companies and global creators launching their own tokenized virtual products and a few have also launched their own Metaverse ventures,” she adds.

Prasad feels that we can expect the Web3 Metaverse to lead to more virtual innovations. She cites the example of AstroWorld, a former US-based amusement park that was demolished in 2005, which announced its comeback with a virtual theme park, to be built in the Metaverse and expected to come in the latter half of this year.

“Walt Disney Co. is also looking at the Metaverse world to expand its offerings through amalgamation of real-world and virtual realities. We can also expect cinematic experiences as well as virtual art galleries that are more immersive and interactive being conducted in the Metaverse in the near future,” she adds.

“The Metaverse has begun to see a steady rise in adoption across the globe and across several industries,” points out Rashid Khan, Co-founder & CPO, “The combination of AR, VR, and AI has opened up a whole new set of possibilities to engage and connect with customers. No doubt, it will change the ways in which services and solutions, whether entertainment or non-entertainment, are delivered and experienced. According to Gartner, by 2026, 30% of the organisations in the world would have products and services ready for the metaverse. From a workplace point of view also, the Metaverse offers a myriad of options for organisations to implement and enable hybrid workforces promoting greater collaboration,” adds Khan.

In the case of entertainment, he adds, the Metaverse has opened up new avenues of creating collaborative content through immersive storytelling, character integrations, and virtual events. He cites the case of Travis Scott’s Fortnite concert, which featured his skyscraper-sized digital avatar that directly interacted with over 12 million live viewers.

“In fact, in India also, just recently, the trailer of a popular Telugu film was launched in the Metaverse, and this is just the beginning of how entertainment experiences will be shaped in the Metaverse, with deeply integrated aspects of interactivity and hyper-personalisation. Similarly, several retail brands such as Nike, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren have already jumped on the Metaverse bandwagon, where they are enabling customers to shop for digital accessories and virtual outfits. We are seeing digital clothing gain significant traction in the social media and gaming world across the globe,” explains Khan.

According to him, one of the key technologies that plays a huge role within the Metaverse is conversational AI that powers natural, human-like conversations in the virtual ecosystem. “It is crucial to enhance experiences via digital avatars that enable compelling audience engagement at scale, irrespective of time, geography or language. As the Metaverse will prioritise human-like conversations over typing or gestures, voice-based technologies will be important in this regard, as it can enable more intuitive and personalised conversations across touchpoints in the virtual world,” he adds.

“We are looking at metaverse redefining how every one of us interacts with the web,” says Sriram PH, CEO & Co-Founder, DaveAI.

“Currently, Metaverse is in its early adoption stage and due to its close resemblance to gaming, collaborative entertainment is a segment that has seen rapid adoption. Having said that, we are also seeing use cases in marketing, shopping, travel, etc.”

Sriram cites the case of Nexaverse, which DaveAI launched recently. Nexaverse is Marut Suzuki's Metaverse, where customers could discover and book the Grand Vitara virtually while the car was not yet available physically in the showroom.

“We will see different use cases come up as the space evolves and it will purely depend on user adoption as to which of these will grow. With creativity meeting aspects of visual storytelling, a fun and personalised experience becomes possible. With Metaverse, personalisation takes a new meaning because brands can now have their virtual representatives who can interact with customers and take care of their requirements, which is a truly transformational experience when compared to traditional personalisation in 2D wen,” Sriram says.

Metaverse, he adds, is also seeing adoption in designing, manufacturing, buying and selling, influencing domains like fashion, banking, automotive, and home lifestyle. Virtual showrooms, 3D assets, walkthroughs are already a common sight today.

“With the advent of better, lighter and more intuitive hardware, wearables and advancements in software, things are about to get very exciting for all kinds of applications,” says Prateek A Sethi, Communication Designer, Wearetrip.

Apart from a truly immersive and interactive approach to storytelling, non-linear narrative structures as well as holistic learning, he foresees Metaverse giving us the ability to completely immerse into the scenes of a film, or the heart of the action, so to speak, or decide where the films story goes next or be a character in the film itself. “We can decide the cast of a film made of ultra-realistic virtual avatars of our choice, could be likeness of friends/ family or actors,” Sethi adds.

What about a Metaverse mall, where you can get to chill out with friends who are elsewhere?

“A Metaverse mall, where you roam around retail outlets, find digital banking kiosks that allow quick transactions, a restaurant to take dining break along with your friends and family who are in different geographies, is not far away. More importantly, Metaverse gives an opportunity for businesses to start afresh in a new channel, driving inclusivity to people of all age groups, fields, and cultures,” explains Sriram.

“Metaverse,” says Vishal Gondal, Founder-CEO, GOQii, “though in its infancy stage right now, is definitely the future.” According to him, Metaverse is nothing but just another extension of this very digital platform that comprises virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality technology already in use today. A Metaverse is an immersive space where people can interact with each other through avatars and software agents. The future of entertainment in the Metaverse is influenced by three key verticals: unlocking individual creativity, exploring immersive experiences and storytelling, and building new worlds. The Metaverse has already begun reaping benefits from individuals wanting to develop and personalise their own avatars, opening a new level of digital creativity,” Gondal says. 

(Tomorrow: What are the challenges that lay ahead?)

The best minds in Data Analytics, Programmatic, Martech, Metaverse, AI/ AR/ VR will offer deep insights into this dynamic and evolving field at the inaugural edition of Adgully’s DATAMATIXX 2022. Click here to know more and to register.


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