The Metaverse’s Progress—And How Companies Can Get Involved

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Serial entrepreneur w/ 2 exits, author, faculty, investor. Upland | NFT Metaverse Strategy for Businesses.

In October of 2021, Mark Zuckerberg declared the rebranding of Facebook and named it Meta, indicating the Metaverse. This one act made the metaverse a mainstream topic of conversation and essentially started off the race among the large companies.

Although even before Meta’s announcement, projects like Sandbox and Decentraland were already making progress in the crypto metaverse space, Meta really hijacked the show on this point. While a lot of controversies and heated discussions started taking place regarding this sudden decision, one thing was clear: From now on, Facebook’s future will depend on the metaverse.

And that is what bewildered people. What could the metaverse be that one of the biggest companies in the world was betting its future on untested and unprecedented technology? Since then, six months have passed and the discussion is still very much alive. So let’s take a closer look at where the metaverse is at and what that means for businesses in the long run.

The Present Metaverse

Zuckerberg’s dream of the metaverse isn’t something brand new. Facebook has been in the VR market since 2014 when it acquired the VR headset company Oculus for $2 billion. Since then, Meta Reality Lab has been quietly working on several VR devices like AR/VR glasses and haptic gloves. Meta’s VR workroom, Horizon, is currently in the beta testing phase with overall positive responses from users. Zuckerberg also announced that Instagram will soon be launching NFT features, another step toward accessing the metaverse from different angles.

The metaverse (or metaverses) in its full glory will be a place where reality is extended (AR) and substituted (VR) with a constructed form of reality existing in the digital dimension. And for humans to perceive it as “a reality,” our senses need to be deceived by artificial feelings. Haptic gloves, for example, which are currently in early-stage development, recreate the feeling of touch, weight and textures to an extent that make the experience seem real.

And although Oculus is a leading figure in the VR headset industry, to reach mass scalability, the device needs more upgrades. A perfect metaverse will be able to portray billions of tiny details at every moment, from blooming flowers to minute facial expressions, and for a VR headset to process this many details without glitching is still a distant dream.

The metaverse is a technological evolution that also requires all the advanced technologies of today (including AR, VR, AI, 5G, edge computing) to align. Only then can something so grandiose be accomplished. At the current stage of development, all these technologies lack practical mass scale solutions and this won’t be something that is solved in a couple of years. I believe Zuckerberg’s and others’ bets on the metaverse will be long-standing, staking a decade or more to bear fruit.

Lessons For Businesses

For a company like this to completely attach itself with the metaverse means the metaverse has the ability to return this investment many times over. Even though Meta might not win the metaverse race for several reasons, it won’t be completely out of the picture either. And that’s where you can take advantage as a fast mover because behind the hype and the bubble-like craze, the opportunity in the metaverse is real.

Like the early days of the internet, while many want to ride the wave for free, if you can provide real value to the users, the reward is big. Your company might not be in the periphery of the metaverse, but there are countless ways to get into the metaverse. If you want to take one actionable insight from this article, implement any of these:

• Study Your Industry: Whatever business you’re in, study it closely to spot emerging trends relating to the metaverse, NFTs or crypto in general. Find out how you can attach or associate any of these with your brand. Hire consultants or researchers to give you an in-depth analysis of the whole market. There has to be a way in that actually generates value for you and your customers.

• Experiment In Small Scale: Metaverse, new ownership models and next-gen collaborative efforts are very difficult to understand on paper. Innovation needs to be learned in the field. Mitigate risks by collaborating with service providers that empower you to take small initial steps, collect evidence and move on to the next steps.

• Invest In The Ecosystem: Invest in technologies that are building the metaverse. This can be a potent side strategy or even a primary strategy to get into the frame. Obviously, this isn’t a short-term strategy; you’re locking in for a minimum of 10 years to see any results. This could provide you direct access to insights and lessons to apply in your long-term strategy.

The metaverse isn’t restricted to the tech space only; almost all businesses can leverage these factors to increase visibility and revenue in the market. Roughly every 20 years, one invention disrupts the business space. In the 1980s it was the computer, in the 2000s it was internet commerce and now it’s time for web3 metaverse. And it’s easier than ever to get in on this big show.

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