No matter where you think the metaverse is right now in the hype cycle – maybe, like many, you see the recent declines in cryptocurrency and in high-flying publicly traded stocks connected to the metaverse as a sign we’ve just passed the peak of inflated expectations are heading into the trough of disillusionment – it’s important to consider, long-term, where the metaverse and related technologies may be important to your business and your customers. According to Gartner, by 2026, 30% of the organizations in the world would have products and services ready for the metaverse. We took a look at some of the insights in their recent report, “Emerging Technologies: Critical Insights On Metaverse,” looking for recommendations for our clients.
First, it’s important to understand what the metaverse encompasses. It’s a wide range of digital spaces in which people will work, shop and play. (And you might think no one will eat there, but Chipotle has already proven that wrong.) Some people think the metaverse is only experienced through a headset, but there are many implementations, like augmented reality, that aren’t hardware-dependent. It’s decentralized; it’s immersive; nothing about it is standardized yet, including development protocols, currency, or ownership. Gartner expects it to take more than eight years to reach that kind of mainstream – so it’s also important to keep your plans fluid.
Still, it’s never too early to start thinking about, and experimenting, with where metaverse experiences might be a good fit for your brand. Gartner has defined eleven elements of a complete metaverse in their report, including its infrastructure, commerce aspects, social features, and a workplace. No, most brands won’t be trying to build their own, self-enclosed, fully-featured metaverse. We see many more implementations – like gaming, collaborative tools and social apps – that have metaverse aspects, than that could be defined as a metaverse.
So where do you go from here? You may have a B2C brand that wants to take a very close look at the direction of commerce in the metaverse, including what you’ll need to do to support digital commerce (including crypto payments), metaverse marketplaces and immersive experiences. This is an area where our client XY Retail works strategically. Or you may want to look at ways that your B2B company can become part of the infrastructure, for example, providing essential technology like networking or natural language processing. Internally, you can also take a look at how the metaverse can facilitate work and collaboration for your team – which could mean everything from virtual meetings for workers in widely dispersed locations, to virtual agents that help streamline your back-office processes.
Somehow we made it through this entire blog post without talking about NFTs, so maybe the peak of metaverse hype really is over. That doesn’t mean you should ignore it for the next five years and wait to see if it takes off – instead, you should think strategically rather than frenetically about the potential of the metaverse to improve internal collaboration and meaningful, interesting customer interaction and commerce. If you’d like a partner in this strategic journey, we’d love to chat. (And if you still want to mint that NFT, we can help with that, too.)