At present, there is no complete or official definition for the metaverse. Nevertheless, individuals and companies are already starting to show an interest in its business potential. This emerging virtual world may be largely untested, but no one wants to be last on the trend and have to play catch up. Organizations are right to be cautious, but delaying their plans could mean that they develop no clear strategy for working within it.
So, how do business people approach this conundrum? Initially, they should look to become part of the metaverse in some form as it evolves. This will ensure that they learn as they go and have the chance to capitalize on its benefits in the years to come. It’s an environment in progress, but here’s a look at what the metaverse is right now and how business people might enter it in the coming years.
What is the metaverse?
Worlds that are visited using virtual reality (VR) or mixed reality make up part of the metaverse. These locations are usually reached through a browser and maybe a headset. They allow people to interact with others in real-time, regardless of distance. Currently, many areas within the metaverse landscape are distinct from each other, though each has a currency, a method of interacting with others, and avatars that allow visitors to navigate around.
At the moment, gaming is at the forefront of the trend, with titles such as Roblox and Fortnite holding concerts featuring stars from the real world, such as Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish. Another metaverse pioneer is Decentraland, which offers VR gaming but adds a more sophisticated marketing arm and its own official cryptocurrency, MANA. Plots of land selling for tens of thousands of dollars have not deterred brands such as Samsung, Coca-Cola, and Adidas, which have already jumped on the Decentraland bandwagon.
Purchasing a virtual asset
Buying real estate or anything else that cannot exist in the real world might seem bizarre at first, but looking back to the start of the internet, the sale of domain names often provoked a similar reaction. In fact, the recent focus on the metaverse has mainly been on the idea of virtual purchases. From virtual experiences to virtual assets such as NFTs and land, the crypto legend Blockchain makes it easier for buyers and sellers to meet and trade online. Using the hub, people can classify virtual commodities so that they can be offered for sale and purchased.
A merging of worlds
Along with practical definitions of the metaverse, there is a more straightforward way of describing the impact it will have. Most of us have a digital life of some sort, one that is lived through our phone or PC. That life could involve social media, shopping, viewing art displays, and planning vacations. What the metaverse represents is a merging of this digital life and our physical life. For people who look forward to more immersive experiences online, this will be made a reality. Indeed, according to the research firm Gartner, by 2026, 25% of us will be spending “at least one hour per day in the metaverse”. Gartner predicts that this will be made up of social, educational, entertainment, and shopping experiences.
Entry points for metaverse clients
Aside from familiar technologies such as 5G connectivity, VR headsets, and interactive augmented reality (AR) experiences, there will be other means of metaverse access. The internet is the most widely available, but blockchain financial services, edge computing, and software such as OpenXR will also be used. What remains to be seen is how and to what extent each technology will shape the metaverse. At present, this is unclear, but it’s best to be ready for each stage in its evolution.
Getting started in the metaverse
From executives to people who are just planning out their careers, the most helpful way of leveraging the metaverse is education. Once you understand more about what’s happening online, you’ll be in a powerful position. If you prefer to work collaboratively, you can explain the metaverse to the people around you and work together on projects. A way to learn more and build up a valuable network of colleagues is by taking the Master of Computer Science program at Wilfrid Laurier University. This university offers computer science degrees online, so you can remain at work and plan your studies around your life.
Surround yourself with a team of specialists
Once you understand more, it pays to either put together a team or join up with a team that has experience in VR and AR tech. The ability to see the world in 3D will be a huge advantage, as will an intuitive understanding of cryptocurrency. People with these skills could come from any age group, but with a pool of relevant talent, you’ll be in the best position to find use in the metaverse.
Which new careers will open up?
The metaverse is slowly ushering in a digital transformation, and eventually, there will be lucrative strategies for most businesses to explore. To speed things up, more people are needed to pursue one of the many careers in the metaverse and its related technologies.
Particularly in this early stage, the vast majority of career opportunities in the metaverse will involve research. In this role, you will look into the potential of new digital worlds in specific environments. This will include creating architecture that makes the world visible to a digital audience. From deep learning to graphics and computational imaging, this role will require the mastery of many skills.
The metaverse requires many elements to come together, forming a single enormous ecosystem. To get that done, we need people to develop this virtual world and connect the various components smoothly. Developers could manage the way that experiences work for customers or manage the relationship between governments and virtual business owners.
Security roles will be of key importance. Cyber-attacks and fraud are likely to threaten the metaverse as they do the internet in general. If you are an expert in this field, you will need the ability to block attacks as they happen, identify any emerging risks and close vulnerable access points. Furthermore, in the future, metaverse security professionals will be called upon to amend or rewrite the protocols and laws that govern the space.
Using a portfolio of ideas, you will be able to offer speculators ways to expand into the digital universe. Your tasks could include spotting market opportunities, putting together business cases, and assisting companies with selecting the right pathways. Essentially, planners will support the adoption of space in the metaverse and also explain how it can function.
How to create value using the metaverse
Aside from these frontline roles, people on other career paths could also gain from metaverse technology. As it offers a wealth of opportunities, from immersive displays to VR brand adventures and AR showrooms, people in business should fully prepare themselves for this new channel.
Expanding the frontiers of commerce
The physical and digital economies have numerous crossover points. If you are planning a career that involves delivering a product or service, then the opportunities are endless. We’ve become accustomed to in-app or in-game purchases, but in the metaverse, things are taken to the next level. Business models that take advantage of this are in the early stages, but already people can buy pizza in a virtual restaurant and have it delivered to their homes. Consumers can also buy a product in the real world that comes with a VR code to unlock further utility in a virtual space. In New York, a new restaurant is offering reservations to people who purchase its NFTs, leveraging the link between our virtual lives and our real-life enjoyment of socializing and eating out.
Use virtual events to link up with clients
While Zoom has made virtual meetings the norm, the metaverse can take the experience to another level. People who cannot attend a conference in person could attend an immersive VR experience to learn, participate in activities and meet new people.
Demonstrate your product or service
If you already use AR that allows customers to test out new home furnishings, products, and clothing, the concept is heightened in the metaverse. By purchasing a building or renting a space, you can showcase your products or demonstrate how your service could be helpful, 24 hours a day. Your customers will be able to shop, walk around and chat with other guests in a relaxed way. They can pop in whenever it’s convenient, and then buy items that you might send to them in the real world.
Introduce innovative forms of brand storytelling
The way that you tell your brand story can be given a complete makeover in the metaverse. A client can take part in short experiences, moving them from observers to participants and allowing them to feel a connection with your brand. From gaming companies that offer VR mini-games to travel companies that transport customers to a tropical beach with stunning visuals, there are many ways to engage with an audience. Now more than ever, consumers like a brand’s values to reflect theirs. Immersive experiences of this kind that demonstrate a brand’s purpose and personality can win them over – and create a more loyal client base.
Develop your professional identity
People who become successful tend to have something unique to offer. In the metaverse, you can curate and tweak your personal or professional brand, ensuring that the first impression you give is a positive one.
Establish a large professional network
For most professional people, networking is vital when it comes to accessing more opportunities. It allows you to meet people and establish a connection no matter where they are from in the world. You can develop or join communities through the use of VR and AR, and then take part in social or business events. Whether you sign up for The Sandbox or Decentraland, you can use an avatar to meet new colleagues, search for jobs and exchange ideas.
Build your personal brand
The metaverse is a new and currently level playing field for everyone. This means that everyone has the same chance of developing career opportunities and establishing their skillset. Think of it like a resume on which you can stamp your personal brand and enhance your reputation. The space you show to clients will be a reflection of you and what you have to offer. Be sure to include your latest products and designs along with friendly avatars, sketches, and more. Add a few samples of your past products so that people can see that your experience stretches beyond the metaverse.
Enhance your image
Nurturing your career through the metaverse can also involve positioning yourself as trustworthy and knowledgeable. One of the simplest ways of doing so is through publishing blogs, articles, and stories that reveal the extent of your experience and expertise. Be sure to include links in everything you write, connecting the theory to a practical solution for your clients.
Platforms for future growth
A wide range of career opportunities are opening up thanks to the metaverse, but to capitalize on them, it’s vital to become fluent with this emerging technology. The metaverse is not about prioritizing one reality over another or, indeed, escaping from reality. Rather, it’s a fresh new way of absorbing virtual content and having enjoyable experiences. It allows people to connect with friends and family in new ways and to locate new products and services.
There is less of a separation between the virtual and the real world with the metaverse. Companies or professionals can enter the virtual space and meet new clients in a relaxed, informal way. If you are one of the first in your field to provide a metaverse space for your clients, it will put you ahead of the pack now and give you an advantage in the future.