How Artificial Intelligence and Metaverse have significantly impacted businesses and industries across sectors
The term metaverse has become a part of public discourse for more than a year now. This is in large part due to tech giant Facebook rebranding itself as “Meta” in Oct 2021. The company has since then announced multibillion-dollar investments in Metaverse technology and according to a Mckinsey & Company study, so have scores of Venture Capitalists and Private Equity firms across the globe, who have so far, invested close to $120 Billion (USD) in helping firms build metaverse experiences. This leads us to ask the all-important question of just how important the metaverse is. And what is the role of technologies such as AI that will drive the future of business, impacting industries across the sectors in the years to come?
Metaverse and AI
Often thought of as one and the same, metaverse and AI are connected but not interchangeable. The term metaverse is a combination of ‘meta’, i.e. the Greek prefix for beyond or across and the word ‘universe’. First used by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 sci-fi novel “Snow Crash”, the term alluded to a then highly improbable and immersive online world that people could explore and interact with as avatars. Nearly 30 years later, a web of interconnected and futuristic technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, Web 3.0, blockchain and most importantly, artificial intelligence (AI) are making this once impossible reality come true, giving consumers and people more personalised and immersive experiences than ever before. AI is, thus, the predominant technology driving the metaverse and in the future, it will play a key role in shaping the domain.
Metaverse and its impact on businesses
Currently, very little information on the internet can truly be considered interactive. And while brands use modes such as GIFs and video content to engage with their consumers, these aren’t even a fraction of what the metaverse can offer in terms of immersive content. AR and VR offer marketers a chance to truly transform what their customers can see, feel, touch and experience. Take for instance Samsung’s recent collaboration with NASA that created an immersive 4D lunar gravity VR experience for participants. It was one of the most innovative ways to help people experience what a moon landing would feel like.
This is just one example of how brands have a whole new world waiting for them – one where they can transform the creation and dissemination of messages. And this counts a whole lot considering today’s experience-driven world where people are hungry for more engaging, entertaining and interactive opportunities to familiarise themselves with a company’s products and services.
Similarly, the metaverse is also poised to impact the e-commerce industry. With most brands wanting to deploy an omnichannel model to reach out to customers effectively both offline and online, the metaverse will play the role of a crucial supporting partner. With its ability to deliver enriching consumer experiences via cutting-edge technology, the metaverse can help brands to build newer and closer relationships with their customers. Whether it is combining the power of artificial intelligence and augmented reality to enable consumers to try out makeup and clothing products on their virtual avatars or building virtual storefronts that allow clients to browse a new collection from the comfort of their homes, the metaverse holds the promise of thrilling and immersive retail experiences like never before. In fact, as per a Mckinsey forecast, the metaverse is set to generate up to $5 trillion in impact by 2030, with the e-commerce industry being at the forefront with an estimated impact of $2 trillion- $2.6 trillion.
Furthermore, even traditional industries such as banking and finance, construction and real estate are now looking to ride on the metaverse wave. While banks are looking to use the metaverse to help facilitate virtual-world customer interactions, the investing community is exploring the idea of going beyond just robo-advisors to modelling and simulating better investment portfolios. Similarly, the real estate and construction industry is looking to leverage the power of interactive 3D home designs that can truly provide an envisioning of living on a property before building or buying it.
A brave new workplace
In addition to impacting businesses and industries across the globe, the metaverse is also well-placed to change the workplace. Imagine using AI’s data interpretation capabilities to decipher meeting notes or using 3D interactive office tours to orient new employees. It promises a new level of connectedness among employees, easier remote collaboration and an overall revamped work environment. Also, the metaverse could be used to transform skill and training development through interactive models, leading to significantly reduced timeframes for the training periods. These are just a few examples of how emergent metaverse technologies will impact the future of workplaces. Overall, there is a promise of infusing a new level of employee interactivity, team collaboration and accelerated learning, making enterprises a part of the metaverse world.
Our world is changing faster than ever before and technologies such as AI and the metaverse are clear examples of this. And although there are a lot of aspects of the metaverse that are still in its nascent stages, the one thing that is clear is that in the future, brands will have to adapt in order to stay competitive and relevant.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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