With its $800 billion prediction by 2024, the metaverse is a hot topic, but few really understand what it’s all about. The word ‘metaverse’ is a vague term that has no exact definition, but it is generally described as a virtual world accessible through VR headsets. This space allows people to engage with each other, interact and spend time together online, all while being represented by avatars.
You might have heard about this emerging technology from sci-fi novels such as Neal Stephenson’s 1992 Snow Crash and Earnest Cline’s 2011 Ready Player One, in which people strap on a pair of immersive VR goggles to live out their fantasies. But besides being a fun and engaging way to hang out, the metaverse has serious business applications.
Currently, most of us interact with the metaverse through digital games such as Fortnite and Pokemon Go. These experiences use augmented reality to let you experience a real-world environment and then overlay digital objects into it. The underlying technologies are still evolving, but the potential for the metaverse is far-reaching.
Many of the biggest tech companies are investing huge amounts of money in the metaverse and have high hopes that it will be the next big thing. However, hype about new technologies often fizzles out. It’s worth a closer look at this new development to see what it’s all about and how it might impact the future.
For starters, it’s important to recognize that the metaverse is not only about virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), but also about bringing users into a community where they can create content, participate in a creator economy, buy virtual goods and even exchange ownership of those digital assets through smart contracts (NFTs). This approach aims to break up the so-called walled gardens of tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon, which own and profit from large-scale user data.
Another issue to note is the accessibility gap. Metaverse platforms require the latest VR hardware, which isn’t always affordable for consumers. This is an important concern to consider if you are planning on using this new technology for your events.
One example of a brand using the metaverse is Vans, which has set up an online skate park where fans can join in person or from anywhere in the world. The company reports that the park has drawn upwards of 48 million visitors — which is much more than their brick-and-mortar locations can hold.
The metaverse also offers brands the opportunity to host virtual trade fairs that can attract a wide range of audiences and provide rich and immersive experiences. Queppelin, a metaverse software platform, can help businesses conduct events that are compatible with most major devices including VR headsets and smartphones. This feature can help remove the remoteness of online meetings and improve engagement with employees. It also brings consistency and depth to hybrid events where physical and virtual elements are blended together. Moreover, the platform provides detailed analytics about event attendee interactions, video watch-time and resources accessed or downloaded.