When Facebook proudly announced that they are going to be called "meta", the press went crazy with all different articles about it. Social media exploded and for the first time people are starting to believe that the metaverse is the next big thing in technology.
Just as we were getting a clue what the term "metaverse" meant, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella appeared on stage to shed more light on it. It appears that Nike has already registered their assets for use in the metaverse and H&M is already operating a store in the metaverse! All of these have convinced us that metaverse is not merely some futuristic & sci-fi looking concept but literally the next version of the Internet itself. But while most of us know that the metaverse is the next big thing, very few of us know why it's important, which is why in this blog today we will cover three important points:
- Why has the Metaverse been such a big deal?
- When will this technology be available to people like you and me?
- What are the use cases of the Metaverse?
Why has the Metaverse been such a big deal?
By now I'm sure you already know what the metaverse is. The nutshell version: it's a virtual world where people from all over the globe can communicate in real time immersively even if they're not physically next to each other. You can even meet someone in the metaverse. You can interact with them, laugh with them or go to coffee with them, as if you're meeting them in real life. Furthermore because of this virtual world just like we have these amazing game world like Fortnite you can literally travel to these fascinating places and have a fantastic virtual experience with your friends.
It sounds so unreal and unrealistic, doesn't it? We would have to wear this giant box on our head to get into the metaverse. If it's an Oculus, it will cost us about $500 and on top of that, we need to hold something in our hands all the time and with the current internet bandwidth, it's not quite possible to experience the metaverse smoothly.
Then the question is why companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Nike and H&M are so aggressively trying to embrace something that cannot even be used by most people?
When will this technology be accessible to everyone like you and me?
Well, the simplest analogy to understand this would be to understand the evolution of Spotify and how accurately they chose to enter the market only after 2013.. If you step back and look at music streaming as a service, it's only available to the people when four entities are aligned and functional:
- Technology to use the service which is earphones and wireless earphones.
- Network to connect to the service which is the Internet.
- Platform - a service platform that is Spotify.
- Creators, like Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and Joe Rogan, create music and podcast episodes that we can listen to.
Ever since Spotify launched in its earlier days, there are people who criticised them. They would say that it's crazy to pay for music when you can just get it for free. Secondly, with $3 USD on average per GB of internet. who had the data package to keep playing music all the time? and thirdly, wireless earphones were extremely expensive back then. So although we had musicians and the right services, the scope of listening to music and the technology to access the service was not that cheap or that accessible..
But then as time went on, few things happened:
- Cost of home and mobile internet dropped
- Speed of the internet picked up drastically
- Technology used like the wireless earphones became extremely cheap
The cost of data has become so cheap that we had then changed our priorities - we now prioritize memory more than data consumption. We no longer store any music in our devices. We chose to stream them instead. When the technology of access, cost of connectivity and creators came on and put together nicely, Spotify as a service became relevant in the market
If you watch Metaverse closely, it's on a similar trajectory. Instead of Spotify, the metaverse services are coming together such Nvidia's Omniverse that will connect all metaverses together. The cost of technology to access the service using a gadget like the Oculus has gone down from $599 to $299. Instead of Joe rogan and Ed Sheeran, we are seeing plenty of creators in the metaverse which includes companies that will design avatars, virtual worlds, objects and games for the metaverse . Overall speed of the internet is getting quicker with introduction of 5G and more importantly, it only gets cheaper too - these ingredients will propel the metaverse to be adopted widely.
Very similar to the App store or Play store, as time passes more and more developers make more apps that get better over time. Eventually, this increases the utility value of the service. This is how, as time passes, these variables will make the Metaverse markets and Metaverse technologies both cheap and accessible.
What are the use cases of the Metaverse?
Why do we need the metaverse? What can it offer that we don't have now? How will this make our lives better in some way?
For gamers, it's been a long-awaited dream come true. But how will this new world affect the rest of us? The answer to that lies in what makes us human: the desire for freedom and happiness. We've always sought ways to change the world around us and have evolved from apes into rulers of this planet. The ability to bond together is one of the most important properties that distinguish humans from other animals. In this regard, we can establish fan clubs or strong national armies and leave our mark on history. And every bonding event is made possible by three things: Experience, Engagement and Expression.
We bond with others when we share an experience of happiness and sadness. When we work together to achieve a common goal, we form deep connections with those around us - that's what this task is all about. Here's a good example of how strengthening bonds in your company really pays off: when people go through a shared experience of, let's say, an icebreaker activity. Discussing openly during the event and afterwards is what leads to forming great teams at work.
The metaverse is a big step in the right direction to achieving the same goal; it will be the norm where there will be 15 different people from 7 different continents who will be able to brainstorm together much more immersively. Work boundaries were broken through the metaverse. Innovative teams were built and they maximized creativity. This will give your company three ingredients: an extended team, a place where a network can be created, and a medium to increase innovation. The metaverse will add an additional layer where you can experience real-time feedback and engagement with your team, which is perfect if you want to present an idea to someone who you otherwise wouldn't be able to see or interact with.
As the technology becomes more affordable as internet becomes much faster as developers get better at building great products and services and most importantly as organizations and individuals find a way to express, engage and experience moments together, metaverse as a concept will redefine the way human beings interact with each other.
Instead of sending zoom link, we might in the future create a more exciting space. For example, lecturers could create a lecture hall as grand as the the one in Harvard, MIT or Oxford. Lecturers could then show materials more interactively and conduct these wonderful brainstorming sessions where everyone could exchange ideas and have an incredible learning experience in the same virtual space that mimics the reality.
This is one of the countless applications of the metaverse and this is the reason why brands are flocking to metaverse to have their first mover advantage and just like working or learning together, the Metaverse can help you enjoy countless moments with an increased level of immersion like shopping, doing businesses, attending concerts and playing games with your family and friends.
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