Do you know what the metaverse is? The truth is that it is still a great unknown to many, even to frequent internet users. But in a short time it will occupy an important part in the lives of millions of people all over the planet and will become as well known as the rest of the technologies we use every day. It is really important that brands and marketing companies begin to adapt to this reality right now. The first step to this adaptation is understanding what the metaverse is, how it works, and what challenges it poses.
1. Metaverse: what it is, what it offers and what challenges it poses
Metaverse stands for virtual reality and augmented reality (sometimes combined under the term “extended reality”). To understand what the metaverse is, you have to imagine a virtual universe made up of different worlds. Each of these is totally different and not connected to another, although they are all on the internet. The user decides who he wants to participate in, creating an avatar or character with which he will move around. This will only be usable in one metaverse, at least for now.
Once inside the metaverse, the avatar that has been created can perform different actions. This does not have to look like oneself, however, it can have the traits that are desired. Despite the differences between one and the other, the keys to any metaverse are the ability to move through different scenarios and interact with the rest of the avatars, each and every one of them handled by other users. Depending on the orientation that has been given to the virtual world, it is possible to play, discover new spaces or socialize.
2. What is the metaverse for?
The world of virtual reality offers its participants the possibility of disconnecting for a while from the physical world to enter a virtual one. Depending on the orientation given by its creator, each city or world allows you to have the desired physical appearance and do many of the things that are impossible in the real world. For many it is simple entertainment, for others it is a way of life and there are also those who consider it a business.
Each of the metaverses has a different focus. There are different functions that you can perform and that mark the differences with the others. Within a world there can be different islands or spaces with different themes, such as games, a place to make friends, an environment in which to share hobbies, a virtual art gallery, a concert hall and anything else you can imagine.
Events are one of the great attractions of the metaverses. Every so often some collaborative and other private events occur. In the case of collaboratives, a place is established and all those who wish can attend and contribute equally. When it comes to the private ones, each organizer is in charge of creating and distributing the invitations to the event, as well as setting some limitations, such as the capacity or the degree of involvement that each avatar can have. The possibility of creating social meetings poses a particularly interesting option for companies.
3. Examples of environments in metaverse
In a way, if you use Microsoft Teams or Zoom to give a couple of examples, you are already in the metaverse in a way. In other words, you are “there” in the room of your house, talking with another person who is hundreds or thousands of kilometers from your house about issues that, just 20 years ago, were unthinkable. And in this conversation, you can “be” a still image, an avatar, or a live video. So, we can say, the Metaverse is a larger context for “bringing people together” through avatars.
But the Metaverse is also ecommerce, and some have already linked it to crypto currencies like bitcoin. That fabricated avatar, which isn’t actually a person, but can act like one, may one day have a wallet full of crypto that isn’t actually real money, but works like one.
That avatar, that is to say any person or company, will not only be able to invest or spend that money, but could earn it by providing goods and services within the metaverse. And, just as a person can drive or wear the same clothes in different places, avatars in the metaverse are going to take their digital goods with them as they travel from one platform to another. What we do know is that it is not Second Life. The former virtual environment – although there are still users – where people connected with their avatars. Metaverse is something else very different, or more evolved.
4. How do we know we are in the Metaverse?
As of today, there is still nothing that we can identify as a metaverse, but we can say that the real metaverse will be a network of virtual environments that are always active and connected to each other, in which many people will be able to interact with each other or with digital objects. It’s not just a simple virtual theme park where the layout is centrally planned; Nor is it a simple game exclusively for the youngest (or not so young) to play. It’s also not a simple app that you can download from the app store and “play” right away. Metaverses are virtual universes that merge reality and the virtual world.
The metaverse is a pipe dream similar to when the “Internet” emerged where we could not imagine the real dimension of the “Internet” because we had never seen it before. And, let’s face it, we had a hard time imagining what the Internet of the future would be like, but if we look back, we will see that the Internet is very different from how we imagined it, but, in essence, it is quite similar to what they explained to us. A place where everything will be and you can do everything.
5. Characteristics of metaverses
To put white on black and be able to differentiate the Metaverse from what it is not and know what can be done in it, Matthew Ball, Managing Partner of the Venture Capital EpyllionCo, has detailed the key characteristics of what the metaverses are:
- They are always active spaces. The metaverses don’t stop when you’re not at it. They don’t end either. They just go on indefinitely, just like the Internet, which never stops and we access the “Internet” almost automatically.
- They exist in real time. The metaverse has a timeline that is synchronized with real world time.
- Autonomous and fully functioning universe. The metaverse is a fully functioning universe that allows users to create, own, sell, and invest. Users, as is the case on the Internet, will also be able to be recognized and rewarded for the work they do in the metaverse. Aren’t there companies that sell virtual services on the Internet? Well, exactly this will also happen in the Metaverse.
- Mix of different platforms. Different platforms can work together in the metaverse. For example, in the case of video games, you should be able to carry items from one game to another.
- User Generated Content. Metaverses are more than just virtual spaces for users to hang out. Users can create content that other users can also enjoy.
6. The metaverse in the professional environment
Teleworking is a reality for many companies, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, some offices are considering remote work for their employees, which creates some challenges. One of them is how to have productive meetings. Videoconferencing has been a resource that has been used massively since the pandemic. However, the possibility of opening the camera and showing live reality has brought some drawbacks. In some cases, the environment did not accompany and in others, it generated distractions or violated the privacy of the participants. Some embarrassing scenes have also been seen that have caused a problem for the company or for the employee. The metaverse has opened a new door, immersive, professional and less intrusive than live video.
Holding work meetings in a virtual world offers many advantages for companies that include teleworking as an option. For example, the metaverse always maintains a professional appearance and fully respects the privacy of the participants. Nobody will pay attention to what happens in the rest of the house, in the decoration or in the physical aspect that each participant has that day. In addition, technical problems are less frequent and the connection is more fluid, so outages are rare.