If social media has been an important communication tool, then the “metaverse” could be the next frontier of connectivity and interaction.
The metaverse is not a digital world. It’s a digital world of worlds through which people can travel seamlessly, retaining their appearance and digital possessions wherever they go. These worlds do not merely exist in VR (virtual reality), but also layer onto physical reality through AR (augmented reality).
The metaverse will go beyond videogames to also include virtual real estate, shopping, work spaces, comedy clubs, high schools, universities and much more. In anticipation of what they believe will be the next iteration of the internet, early adopters and investment firms are already buying virtual property in the metaverse.“This is like buying land in Manhattan 250 years ago as the city is being built,” Andrew Kiguel, chief executive of Tokens.com, told The Wall Street Journal.
The future of Work & Society
The metaverse is still a ways off, but parts of it are already here — and even more are on the horizon. The metaverse will eventually encompass work, entertainment, and everything in between. Like phones and laptops today, our platform needs to be flexible enough to accommodate all these different use cases. Beyond entertainment and culture, businesses have been experimenting with the likes of virtual shopping malls and estate agent property viewings in recent years.
The technology was seen as a great way for helping travel agents to sell holidays, at least until coronavirus put tourism largely on hold. More immediately compelling, on the back of this year’s explosion in online meetings, is various new products to facilitate VR meetings and lectures. Enthusiasts for this technology often frame the benefits of adding a VR dimension to an existing service in terms of the democratising potential – making something accessible (for free) to a lot more people.
From a brand perspective, this gives companies the opportunity to offer their goods within two mediums: the physical world and the virtual world. Brands will be able to create experiences that couldn’t occur in the real world, fueled by imagination and creativity. No longer will the physical store be the focal point of sales – there will be opportunities for the real world and virtual worlds to interlink, creating a whole new experiential dimension for businesses and consumers alike. Some of the early commercial opportunities the metaverse presents include:
- Offline to Online retail. Retailers are delivering increasingly rich online to offline experiences to consumers and as the metaverse matures, the transition from virtual to real-world shopping will only become more seamless. Users can already walk around 3D or holographic representations of stores, select products from shelves or showrooms, try them on or view them in a range of colors and finishes, and place orders for physical delivery.
- Marketing opportunities also increase considerably in the metaverse – with the removal of the limitations of the physical world in immersive augmented reality and virtual reality environments presenting new opportunities for businesses to engage with customers and prospects. For example, brands can create new worlds and environments to deliver experiences such as concerts, expo, events – and collaborate with complementary partners to do so. A single click is all it takes to bring the venue to life
the physical world and the metaverse will also become more intertwined through expanding on already existing technology on this front, including businesses using augmented reality to enable people to see how furniture would look in their home or virtually try on makeup or glasses. To conclude, as was true with the mobile Internet, the business opportunity will follow consumer behavior. That’s why it’s important to continue building your business for today’s opportunities, innovating, experimenting and growing your audience, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp—because the connections that you’re building on these platforms now will still apply in the metaverse.
The most successful brands in the history of business have evolved and stayed relevant by understanding their customers’ changing needs. You can take steps in the metaverse by building new commerce channels via website, Facebook Shop, and Instagram Shop, or creating a content with 360 Virtual Tour , Augmented Reality, 3D modelling, etc. You can start now by building Virtual Tour / AR / 3D modelling that help customers get a sense for your products from their home.”
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