Do you ever wish you could ‘clone’ your work self to get more done? Well, ‘Meta’ is readying to help you do that on a huge ‘metaverse’ scale. Late last year, Facebook announced its rebrand as 'Meta' in an effort to drive what it calls ‘the next evolution of social interaction’. It makes sense to pay attention because few businesses or businesspeople remain untouched by Meta's channels, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. There are signs the metaverse is coming fast, has huge commercial potential and will eventually play a role in how you conduct and grow your business.
The metaverse is virtually indefinable
Defining the metaverse has been likened to trying to explain the internet …in 1970. It is hard to imagine how impactful and ubiquitous it may become. The metaverse generally refers to an immersive online world. It will grow from the increasing use of virtual reality and augmented reality technology. These two sci-fi sounding concepts have actually been creeping into our lives for some time.
The allure of virtual reality is apparent to most kids with gaming visors. It allows you to submerge yourself into a digital environment with goggles or headsets. Augmented Reality is where digital content, such as images or sounds, is superimposed over a real-world environment. It gained attention with that Pokémon craze that saw people hunting through the streets for virtual collectables. Now, 'Meta' wants these online experiences to be a normal part of life, rather than a gimmick. For business, there's opportunity.
There's opportunity for small business
Fashion, entertainment, and adventure tourism… there won't be much left out of the metaverse. Although it's not here yet, some online retailers are starting to take advantage of the underlying technology. Already, you can use AR to 'try on' glasses before you order them, or see a piece of furniture in your home.
In hospitality, AR and VR are underway too. McDonald's' recently filed a host of trademark applications, including one that delivers their food to you at home to enjoy in their virtual restaurant. Imagine this for a boutique restaurant or bar. As it becomes more common, the creation tools will get easier too. You can expect to find an ‘app’ to set up AR or VR for your own small business offerings at some point.
The time to pay attention is now
The skills and services that will help build the metaverse are already in demand. This includes 3D artists, architects, programmers, software designers, and recruiters who can find the right talent.
Even if you're not working in a tech-related field, it may still be time to start building your team's capability and culture for a more virtual future. Keep an eye out for those who are naturally curious and ready to take a lead. Developing your collective confidence in the metaverse may be surprisingly worthwhile. One report has estimated the marketing opportunity to be worth over $1 trillion.
Tech often impacts business faster and more broadly than we expect
While virtual or augmented business offerings may seem a niche or fanciful leap, websites were once a much farther step. And most new technology is a bit the same. Consider automated pop-ups or AI chatbots. Once viewed with suspicion, we almost take them for granted now.
During the pandemic, many of our working lives have also shifted towards a new hybrid of online/in-person interactions. So it makes sense that virtual socialising, entertainment, shopping, and services will become commonplace.
Coping with changing technology is a skill you can learn
If you're fortunate enough to have a Business Mentor, ask them about their insights on navigating tech transformation. Although the metaverse is new to everyone, the skill of coping with change is an area where a Business Mentor can offer guidance. In fact, they can already do that virtually! Visit www.businessmentors.org.nz today to be connected with a Mentor who’s ready to share real experience and real value.