Many business owners have likely heard of “the metaverse” or at least became aware of it when Facebook changed its name to Meta in late 2021. But vast numbers of business owners, workers and consumers alike are far from clear on just what it is and how it could impact the future of both business and everyday life.
So just what is this metaverse and how should the average business owner prepare for its arrival? Interested business decision-makers can read on for a quick rundown on what some call the future of the internet along with some facts they should know about how it could impact their operations and their marketing efforts.
What is the metaverse?
In a nutshell, the metaverse is the anticipated — and more advanced — evolution of what many refer to today as “cyberspace.” The futuristic digital realm will harness virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to create a virtual world in which consumers who choose to do so can immerse themselves. Many experts say that a good current-day reference point for a more basic version of what the metaverse will look like are the online games Fortnite and Minecraft. Each of these, much like the metaverse promises to, immerses participants in a virtual world that can be altered and expanded as desired by their developers.
The driving idea behind the metaverse is to enhance the real world with a highly controllable virtual one. While much less advanced, glimpses of what this could look like are already in existence. Examples include online experiences and downloaded applications that allow consumers to virtually try on glasses before choosing their favorites, virtually see what a couch or dining table might look like in their home before purchasing it, or sample various patterns of wallpaper in a virtual version of their living room before making a buying decision.
How can a business prepare for the metaverse?
Most technology experts agree that the metaverse is currently in a very formative stage with widespread adoption at least 10 years down the road. But businesses can begin taking some steps today to prepare for what is forecasted to be a major upcoming shift in the way consumers and businesses alike use the internet.
Those looking to get ahead of the metaverse curve can do so by taking the following five preparatory steps:
- Do the research: The first step is to look into developments and advancements in virtual and augmented reality. This research can help business owners start establishing a better understanding of the direction the leading-edge technologies are headed and how this change might shape the coming metaverse. And when the metaverse actually arrives, having a basic foundation of already-established knowledge about the technology can greatly reduce the learning curve required to leverage it for business growth.
- … and stay on top of developments: To stay on top of the latest in the worlds of virtual and augmented realities, business decision-makers can find a way to keep themselves informed when new breakthroughs and innovations arrive on the scene. One effective option for this is to regularly check technology publications and forums for up-to-date news on developments in the area. Interested business owners can also consider using digital services such as Google Alerts to set up online notifications for phrases such as “metaverse innovation” and “virtual reality advance” in articles in tech-related publications and tech-focused blogs.
- Ensure advanced connectivity: Of course, when the metaverse does arrive, using it is sure to demand high-level internet speeds. So for those looking to provide experiences supported by virtual and augmented reality to their customers via the metaverse, ensuring advanced connectivity will be a must. And as a bonus, for those who upgrade their internet speeds in the meantime, the benefits such as smoother surfing, faster downloads and clearer videoconferences can all boost workforce productivity right away.
- Begin scouting out future tech talent: The metaverse trailblazers of the future are likely to be the tech-savvy youth of today who have grown up gaming and otherwise immersing themselves in the most leading-edge of online environments. These developing talents are therefore more likely to be familiar with advancing technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. To get ahead of the curve on accessing these emerging skills, business owners can begin making inroads with the local educational institutions grooming their region’s future innovators, especially those with curricula in areas such as graphic design and software development.
- Take baby steps: To start dipping their toes into the waters that promise to become the future metaverse, business owners can make simple moves toward promoting their organization in the current virtual space. For example, those in charge of marketing can begin placing ads aimed at boosting awareness of the business in existing virtual reality-driven environments. Such ads could be as simple as a QR code placed in a virtual space that leads the consumers to the business’s website.
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