Metaverse is an emerging mega-theme involving companies from all sectors of technology, including semiconductors, component makers, application software, advertising, and others.
While the metaverse will make digital experiences more immersive, inclusive and accessible, it will raise social concerns ranging from data privacy to other forms of online harm, and these will only persist if not explicitly addressed within companies. The current issues of security, trust, governance, identity and data privacy found on today’s social media platforms are likely to extend, if not compounded, to the metaverse and require redesign. It’s a safe bet that it will follow a similar ad-based model, but it will be more immersive, even more integrated into most aspects of users’ lives, and harder to regulate.
GlobalData defines the metaverse as a virtual world where users share their experiences and interact in simulated scenarios in real time. It’s still largely conceptual, but could change the way people work, buy, communicate and consume content.
GlobalData’s “Metaverse – Thematic Research” report identifies the key trends impacting the theme’s growth over the next 12-24 months, divided into three categories: technology trends, macroeconomic trends, and regulatory trends . He notes that the use of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and advertising will be an integral part of the metaverse, but these will highlight concerns about data privacy. Factors include the sheer size of personal data that can be mined, the involvement of a wide variety of developers and companies, the dissociation of each national authority, and its unknown reach and potential. Metaverse developers should consider moderation behavior as a fundamental aspect as malicious actions will only increase as more and more consumers sign up to the platforms. Failure to filter out toxicity has a negative effect on the ambitions and reputation of the business metaverse.
Since there is no standard definition yet, the metaverse means different things to different people depending on the nature of their business. That means most companies can make it whatever they want. To demonstrate the many layers and aspects of the metaverse, GlobalData’s report presents a thematic value chain, which divides its components into four categories: foundation, tools, user interface, and experience.
The metaverse brings together a wide variety of next-gen technologies, from artificial intelligence (AI) to blockchain and adtech. Over the next decade, the growth of the metaverse will depend on the maturity of the underlying technologies. The report also points out that the hype surrounding the metaverse is largely focused on consumer use cases. Gaming and social media companies are at the forefront of metavers development, but companies will take the lead over the next three years. This shift will be driven by the future of work and digital transformation initiatives across all sectors from retail to healthcare and financial services. Big Tech favors Metaverse, with Microsoft and Meta promoting it as the ideal environment to support hybrid working.
In April 2022, Meta Platforms spent $10 billion to build Metaverse 2021. The company is building the world’s fastest supercomputer to accelerate metaverse-related workloads, with completion expected by the year. Meta Platforms seems to have taken a big step towards monetizing the Metaverse with its Horizon Worlds virtual reality social platform. The company has announced that it is currently testing a method for creators and developers to sell virtual items and experiences in the three-dimensional worlds of the Metaverse.
The ultimate goal
The ultimate goal of the metaverse is to become fully interoperable. Your customers and employees will likely one day be able to transfer their identities, assets, experiences and data from one platform to another. While nothing is certain yet, it is expected that it will be easy for them to shop everywhere, navigate through all the social connections and attend every meeting. The idea is that the current system of “walled gardens”, where each platform provider monitors the data and sets the rules, will disappear.
This vision of total interoperability may turn out to be a utopia. But even a partial step toward facilitating transitions between platforms can create new trust challenges. Without walled gardens, you and your partners risk losing control of data. In response, a new approach to data collection, governance, analytics and security may be required – one that can follow your stakeholders wherever they go, while protecting their privacy and building trust that encourages data sharing. This approach should have clear rules, especially for consent, so that your users understand who is using their data and for what purpose.