In my previous article, I tried virtual reality (again); a user’s point of viewI presented the Oculus Quest 2 headset from Méta but above all the strong trend that emerged: the future (but very near) domination of devices self-containedie headsets that are self-sufficient and therefore no longer require a connection to a PC or console. I originally intended to post about current virtual reality tourism initiatives, but recent news has prompted me to dig deeper into the issue of the developments looming and the challenges the metaverse faces. will represent. touristic sector. An industry that still primarily perceives the metaverse through virtual reality and other 3D environments while the future of the metaverse is over. Much more. And if I say more, it becomes more of everything: more work, more investment, more involvement and above all a (r)evolution of Community Management! Since the metaverse is (fortunately) not Second Life, for those who remember this phenomenal failure it is above all a new field of social interaction.
Gartner announces the color
When we talk about technological foresight, it is hard to ignore the American firm Gartner, a specialist in the field. Last February, Gartner announced:
25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse by 2026.
https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2022-02-07-gartner-predicts-25-percent-of-people-will-spend-at least-one-hour-per-day -in-the-metaverse-by-2026
The tone is set and Gartner doesn’t believe in a metaverse fad. He sees it as a fairly logical evolution of the web.
Gartner defines the metaverse as a virtual, collective, and shared space (in short, not necessarily in 3D or VR), providing immersive experiences that can be accessed across a wide variety of devices.
The End of a Confusion: Metavers and Virtual Reality; friends but not the same
When we talk about metaverses, in tourism we often think of a 3D walk in a heritage site or even a tourist area captured at 360° in which the visitor can virtually discover an environment.
In fact, in the “simple” case I just quoted, it would be wrong to talk about metaverses. This does not mean that it is without interest, but it must be said that this is rather an immersive experience in VR (Virtual Reality / Virtual Reality).
Metavers is indeed more than that: the social dimension is essential, as is that of service provision. The fact that Facebook has become Meta and invested so much in headsets (with success, see my previous article) is testament to the fact that the world’s largest social network sees this as the logical evolution of its business.
In short, VR can be part of the metaverse, but VR isn’t necessarily metaverse: simple, right?
South Korea sets the tone
Anyone who is even remotely interested in Asia knows that the country where a lot is happening right now is South Korea. There, both the public and private sectors strongly believe in the potential of metaverses (yes, I wrote “des” because to be correct, you need to know today that there is already a multitude of metaverses; will they merge? Will masses be the norm? Too early to say.)
Also, the city of Seoul has launched a huge project (several hundreds of millions of dollars from private and public sources) to become the first public institution in the world to enter the metaverse. An ambitious project (Seoul Vision 2030) over several years that will eventually enable citizens to carry out various administrative procedures, but also (socially required), to get appointments with municipal services or even elected officials in the metaverse. The economy, education, culture, tourism, communication, urban development and infrastructure will also be integrated with in particular the declination in this metaverse of any major event in the city, always in a social and participative one.
future challenges for tourism
Anticipation is a difficult art; Unfortunately I have no mediumistic gifts. Nevertheless, we can already identify a few things that we now need to take into account for our sector.
To startr, if you plan to invest in virtual reality in the near future, it would be good to do so now consider the evolution of the VR application you want in a metaverse approach. In short, think carefully about your choice of service provider and technical solution: is the created environment scalable? Will the service provider be or is it already able to integrate value-added social services in addition to “simple” 3D modelling. In short, are you going to offer a virtual environment in which the user will find his experience limited to simple solitary discovery or will he be able to take advantage of various services, ranging from a virtual welcome to getting goodies in passing through innovative services that are not yet imaginable? ? Let’s not forget that, just like the investments for your websites, obsolescence is never far away and it would be a shame to see in three years’ time that, for lack of anticipation, the precious VR development you have massively invested in will oblivion are condemned. Thinking that VR is good is contemporary. Metaverse thinking is looking further afield.
Next onecan we also predict that the development of metaverses will disrupt our reception and social networking practices†
We’ve been talking to you about this for years on this blogreception outside the walls, Well Named. You already have a lot of devices of this type in your territories and that’s very good. With the metaverse it is another outside the walls which is announced: welcoming visitors in a virtual environment with all the resulting services† information, advice and above all presence! In short, we should expect that in the long term we should dedicate the equivalent of at least one human resource to virtual shelter as is already the case with social media.
Let’s talk about this one social media, precisely. We are probably moving towards a hybridization of Community Management that will have to be practiced on both traditional platforms and virtual universes in the medium term. The challenge, in the coming months and years, will be to identify the platform or platforms that will prevail in terms of metaverse on the one hand not to spread and on the other not to invest in a platform that would soon die.
Of course, if Meta took a step forward today, bolstered by its leading position in social media, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other start-ups have not said the last word and promise to be rich in announcement effects in the coming months.
All this to say that if Community Management already takes a lot of time for an OGD, this will increase even more in the coming years… Not to mention the advertising campaigns in which new media will also appear, which themselves even bring new investment obligations with himself.
The problem is that today, as in the early days of the web, with the advent of these new worlds, real experts don’t really exist yet. We are dealing with more or less gifted sorcerers’ apprentices. Risks will inevitably be taken.
Finally Also occurs the challenge of innovation and competitiveness which sometimes forces us to invest too quickly or in the wrong direction. For my part, I often want to remind my students, interns or clients that: technology today has fewer limits than our imaginations: instead of expecting everything from a technical service provider, you dare to imagine tomorrow’s solutions, no matter how crazy they are, but always in a logic of added value and user experience. Then look for the service provider who will be able (there are some! I even know those clients’ dreams that will challenge them to the maximum.) to realize your vision.
In June I will conclude this series of articles on VR and metaverses. On this occasion, I would like to interview Vincent Dubois of Destination Nancy (for their web application visitnancy360.com), as well as Jean-Nicolas Vandelac, CEO and founder of the Montreal start-up Hoppin World which is developing a social tourism metaverse.
Until then, have a nice day everyone.