You may have seen or heard mentions of the “metaverse” a lot lately in conversation, email newsletters, or in the media… but maybe you’re still wondering what it’s all about.
We’re here to break down what the metaverse is and what you should look out for in terms of how the metaverse may impact your brand.
Meta executives Mark Zuckerberg and Andrew Bosworth describe the metaverse as “the embodied internet,” by using virtual and augmented reality to create an immersive experience shared by companies and individuals. Simply put, the metaverse will be a futuristic, next generation of the internet, where our digital and online lives can merge.
Where you can work, play & travel
The metaverse will be used for people to both work – attend meetings, conferences – and play – shop, walk around a neighborhood with a friend (who may live across the country), go to concerts, travel the world, and more, all by interacting as a digital version or avatar of yourself.
Whereas the internet is something people browse, the metaverse is a level up, where people can essentially “live”—and investors are already buying plots of virtual land. This might seem difficult to wrap your head around, but it’s happening. For instance, Barbados is working to establish an embassy in the metaverse, Paris Hilton will have a virtual island and Snoop Dogg is developing the Snoopverse.
Ways to access the metaverse
People will be able to enter the metaverse through a range of digital devices such as headsets, glasses, contact lenses, and even gloves (many of these are not yet technologically feasible like the contact lenses and gloves). People will also be able to access this digital world through tools we already use daily, like laptops and phones. Imagine throwing on a pair of metaverse glasses to “attend” a client meeting in a different country across the world, and your clients joining you there too – “in-person” – digitally.
There probably won’t be a grand launch of the metaverse, but rather, it will be rolled out bit by bit and can be experienced with technology already available. If you own a VR headset ($300) you can experience the metaverse through the digital gaming worlds of Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite, where players gather in 2D environments. Glimpses of metaverse can also be experienced in Meta’s Horizon Workrooms and Microsoft’s Mesh for Microsoft Teams (3D space with participants appearing as digital avatars) both released in 2021.
This article from Axios does a great job of going further into the optics, audio, and holographic display features in the works for the metaverse.
The metaverse is still in development
While the metaverse is the “next big thing” in the tech world, a tangible, single shared dimension is still only theoretical, and a ways off from becoming reality. Will you and your virtual world be able to travel from one company’s metaverse to another? That’s still to be seen. And a fully-fledged metaverse could be years—maybe even a decade off, with technological hurdles to overcome such as capacity (millions of people using the metaverse at the same time), display technology, internet connectivity and more.
With a lot still up in the air, you have some time to grasp what this virtual, augmented reality world all means. But the metaverse is something you should be aware of, as it will change how we connect, interact and work, just as the internet did in the 90s.
Safety & privacy concerns
A few of the safety and privacy concerns about the metaverse include:
- Who is responsible for policing it?
- How would existing data privacy regulations apply to the metaverse and protect individuals from commercial exploitation or personal abuse?
What’s more, misinformation is hard enough to limit. With the communication in the metaverse being more of an audiovisual space, misinformation will be even more difficult to monitor and remove (if that’s even a thing that would happen in the metaverse?).
How the metaverse may impact your brand:
Before entering the metaverse, it’s important for a brand to consider how they would make their product, service or message interactive. The metaverse will provide new ways of engaging audiences, so can you share your brand’s message or educate your audience through an interactive experience. Many brands are partnering with video game developers and platforms to create immersive experiences. For example, Nike is partnering with Roblox to create Nikeland.
Showing up in the metaverse as a sponsor for an event could be a good way to advertise your brand, increase brand awareness, and let potential customers know that you’re on board with the metaverse.
Hosting a virtual networking event, joining a conference or a party in the metaverse could mean a themed environment, interactive icebreakers and games, music and much more. The metaverse is full of possibilities, unknowns, which means there’s a lot of room for experimentation. It will provide opportunities to get creative, use your imagination and create something wildly interactive for your audience to participate in.
As far as internal communication, the metaverse will be sure to change the ways of organizing our work and how we collaborate.
There are still a lot of unknowns with the metaverse, but it’s important to:
- Keep an eye on how your audience might be engaging with the metaverse
- Look for applications for your brand in the metaverse
- See how technology develops so opportunities aren’t missed
- Consider how your brand could show up in the metaverse when it makes sense (timing can be everything!)
If you’ve finished reading this blog and you’re ready to brainstorm, reach out to us at Penna Powers. We’re always looking to help brands think big, tell their story and find innovative and creative solutions to do so.