As major players in the tech world continue to invest in the future of the metaverse, the skepticism behind its practicality for enterprise businesses is starting to wither away. Although Facebook’s recent name change might make the metaverse a household concept, enterprise businesses continue to have many unanswered questions behind its potential benefits.
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What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse generally refers to online spaces where humans can interact in a more engaging and immersive way compared to our existing modes of communications. A primary example of this is virtual reality (VR) headsets.
The metaverse has typically been associated with multiplayer online games, but can now encapsulate video conferencing, social media, and live streaming. As this realm continues to expand, so will the possibilities of personal identity, content creation, and even virtual economies.
Regardless, many players in the financial and tech space have different ideas of what the future of the metaverse holds. Enterprise businesses will be most interested in its potential to radically change how businesses interact with their customer base.
How can the Metaverse Help Enterprise Businesses?
It’s fair to have questions about the practicality of the metaverse. There are three primary ways the metaverse can help enterprise businesses:
- Creating new spaces for customers to engage with businesses and their products
- Allowing new currencies to enter the marketplace on a mainstream scale
- Creating new communicative tools for employees to work together
It’s important to discuss each point and properly weigh their worth for enterprise businesses.
Customer & Business Relations
The first and most likely frontier of the metaverse is creating new spaces for enterprise businesses to sell their services. Perhaps the most striking example of this is the Sotheby’s Metaverse. This is an online marketplace where individuals can browse and purchase NFT art pieces.
Corporate interest in the metaverse is invariably growing. Roblox and Fortnite, two popular online games, are making the transition from being seen merely as video games to actual expansive worlds. Dave Baszucki, Roblox’s co-founder and chief executive, believes that Roblox can stand as the next frontier for business communication. Of all the practical benefits the metaverse can provide for enterprise businesses, online marketplaces are very likely. Conversely, they might be hard to immediately adopt.
Enterprise businesses must ultimately take their customer base into consideration. If you’re in the tech realm and feel a portion of your customers are already familiar with these concepts, strategizing how to build a presence in the metaverse could serve as an effective roadmap for the future.
Also read: What is an NFT?
With the rise of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, coupled with the fact that most metaverse platforms run on blockchain technology, enterprise businesses can sell their services on an entirely new marketplace. While crypto is undoubtedly becoming a mainstay in the global marketplace, the metaverse embraces it more.
In addition to its own aforementioned metaverse, Sotheby’s opened an NFT gallery in Decentraland—a decentralized metaverse. This means that decisions are not made on a top-down basis. Decisions are instead made by users who occupy Decentraland themselves. A key factor in this decentralized experience is Decentraland’s official currency: MANA.
The Decentraland metaverse is a key example in how new currencies can emerge and drive new business. MANA has been used in transactions that have totaled more than $900,000. Users can decide how to use their MANA in this metaverse: to either buy NFTs and virtual properties or to gamble for more in virtual casinos.
Examples like this help bridge the gap between real-life business operations and the metaverse. If companies like Gucci and Sotheby’s can successfully translate their business models to the metaverse, enterprise businesses should start ideating on how they can do the same. This trend will only continue to grow as crypto currencies are more accepted in the mainstream.
Enterprise Employee Collaboration
Although the metaverse’s monetary benefits are important for enterprise businesses, the metaverse also allows for new modes of collaboration. As we’ve noticed during the pandemic, collaboration over Zoom is convenient yet oftentimes limiting. The metaverse can maintain the convenience of video conferencing while simulating the effectiveness of physical meetings by creating digital conference rooms.
Two companies at the forefront of bringing employee collaboration to the metaverse are Facebook and Zoom. In fact, both companies recently announced new tools dedicated to creating a more authentic hybrid work experience.
Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms can be downloaded by anyone who owns an Oculus VR headset. In Workrooms, users can share their screen, write and draw on a shared whiteboard, and leverage spatial audio to make conversations feel more authentic. Zoom is integrating Workrooms with Zoom Meetings and Zoom Whiteboard.
Are There Risks for Enterprise Businesses Adopting the Metaverse?
There are two primary risks for enterprise businesses adopting the metaverse. The first is the fact that the metaverse, alongside many other blockchain technologies, offers a seemingly unpredictable future.
This notion that the metaverse might not last is accelerated by Bitcoin’s volatility. However, the fact that massive enterprise companies such as Facebook, Adobe, Nvidia, and BMW are investing in its future means that the metaverse is building a stronger sense of legitimacy for the general public. This has taken some time, but ultimately the metaverse has seen more mainstream acceptance when compared to cryptocurrency.
The second concern that grows with the metaverse’s future is its cybersecurity risk. But again, as the metaverse is adopted by the mainstream, data use ethics and cybersecurity protocols will inevitably be mandated to address all the risks of the metaverse. Still, enterprise businesses should closely monitor any risks involved with adopting the metaverse and other blockchain technologies such as crypto.
What is the Future of the Metaverse for Enterprise Companies?
As noted, enterprise companies have reason to be skeptical about the metaverse and what it can practically accomplish for their operations. Although some benefits might seem too high-level and abstract to implement immediately, highly successful enterprise companies are investing in its future for its inevitable benefits.
Until then, examples of the metaverse that actively help out enterprise businesses currently exist. This can come in the form of VR gaming, digital art installations and marketplaces, as well as virtual collaboration hubs for employees. We recommend enterprise businesses study these existing models to better familiarize themselves with the metaverse, blockchain technologies, and how transactions can be made in an online environment.