Insights From The Blog

Into The Metaverse – The Future of Virtual Interactions

While the Metaverse is still in its technological infancy, it is difficult to imagine where it will all end up. The fact that the Metaverse and its technology are so different to anything that we experience at the moment leads many to look to science fiction to try and explain where it is all going. The sheer fact that we just don’t know how it will all pan out does allow us industry pundits to put some kind of wish-list and personal preference agenda together as to how we think the Metaverse will impact us. So, here goes;

Immersive shopping experiences. In fact, this is already happening to some degree, with the likes of manufacturers such as Nike, Ralph Lauren, and Gucci having already jumped on the bandwagon of digital-only clothing and accessories. Meanwhile, IKEA has developed an app called The Insert that enables customers to virtually place furniture products into their homes using augmented reality and the camera on their smartphones. This helps customers to have a better idea of how the item would seem in their environment prior to making a purchase. Shopping can extend its reach to an immersive shopping experience that allows for more sophisticated tasks. The adaptive AI agents would function similarly to personal shopping advisors in that they would enable intelligent upselling and cross-selling, manage the inventory of virtual property, and make it possible for customers to pose their own questions.

Virtual events. With the rise of COVID, people were simply less keen to gather in groups, and this has had a knock-on effect of promoting the ability of technology to allow us to meet up virtually.  While platforms such as Zoom are okay, the Metaverse has demonstrated that it can extend this by providing virtual events with additional opportunities for collaborative work and immersive experiences. Imagine for a moment that the metaverse made it possible for a rock concert to take place simultaneously in ten distinct cities across the globe. For example, Travis Scott’s concert in Fortnite had his avatar, which was the size of a skyscraper, interacting directly with the over twelve million people who were watching it live. As technology improves, conversational artificial intelligence will further improve this experience by enabling fascinating audience encounters at scale, regardless of time, location, or language, by using digital avatars. Who needs to spend time in the squalor of a festival when you can get pretty much the same experience in the Metaverse?

Virtual manufacturing. A major part of manufacturing is the necessity to construct a process that is cost-effective and easy to use, ensuring that the goods we make are quality products at a reasonable price. However, to create that manufacturing route is an expensive task, and one that has to be finely tuned to make it effective. But VR has the ability to make it much easier by replicating the step-through process in a virtual way, thereby significantly reducing costs. The time it takes from original design and physical modelling to the development of manufacturing systems can be cut down from weeks to only days with the use of virtual reality systems, which are already being used by an increasing number of automotive companies. The creative process is accelerated and enhanced by the quick prototyping and collaboration that is taking place. The time-consuming process of building physical prototypes and then translating them can be drastically reduced – or even eliminated entirely – making it possible to bring ideas and innovations to life and bring goods to market in a more expedient manner. With the growing Metaverse, virtual manufacturing is only going to expand.

Digital way-finding. One of the more obvious potential uses for the Metaverse and VR used within it, is as a means of helping people navigate around the real world. The Metaverse was conceived of in a 3D environment, and as time goes on, it will develop into an increasingly important tool. The growing virtual world, in contrast to the flat user interfaces of mobile phones and web browsers, and even some poorly implemented augmented reality experiences, is intended to represent and enhance what we really see and do in the physical environment. If the metaverse is going to be immersive, inviting, and eventually beneficial, then it will most likely include all of the dimensions that are present in our everyday lives. The utilisation of three-dimensional wayfinding is not a metaverse luxury; rather, it is an absolute requirement, and it is one that will profoundly revolutionise the way in which we function in the physical world.

Classrooms of the Future. Teaching and instruction are changing. Within the same user interface or programme, it is quite possible that students will one day be able to participate in a history lesson set in Ancient Greece and then immediately switch to an astronomy lesson set on Mars. Despite the fact that Metaverse experiences are not likely to completely supplant other types of digital interactions, such as those that take place with apps and websites, it is likely that they will pave the way for new types of instructional models that are optimised for these new application methods. If you do this, the level of interactivity in learning will significantly improve thanks to the more realistic and lifelike interactions you will have with digital avatars in a Metaverse setting. Plainly the Metaverse is the ideal tool for teaching, and with the hardware becoming increasingly affordable this is a technology that will feature heavily in future classrooms. The sheer flexibility of the systems and the relative ease with which content can be created means that teaching in the Metaverse and via VR is likely to be a growing viability…they just need to make the head straps a bit more comfortable!

Enhanced worker collaboration. COVID has forever changed the way that we work. Many companies are finding that the Work From Home (WFH) model is advantageous from almost every point apart from worker collaboration. The brunt of this has fallen to online meeting software such as Zoom, but this is, well, a bit two-dimensional. Meetings and collaborations in the Metaverse promise to be far more interactive though. The Metaverse will act as a transitional space between working in-person and doing work remotely, which will play a role in the development of hybrid workplaces in the future. However, it is not merely a medium for conducting business meetings. Every worker in the Metaverse is likely to have access to conversational AI-powered personal assistants that will aid them with a variety of tasks, including organising meetings, taking notes, and managing routine staff engagements. People will be able to devote more of their attention to creative work since AI will be able to handle more dull and repetitive work-based chores and actions.

While it is not yet known precisely what shape the metaverse will take, it is certain that the technologies of today are converging into what will be the even more linked world of Web3, which will be aided by conversational AI. Many people who remark on the industry believe that the Metaverse won’t be fully developed until the year 2030; thus, those who have an impact on technology, business, and education should begin analysing opportunities as soon as possible. The incorporation of dynamic AI agents, which can initiate an organisation’s entry into the next phase of connectedness and transform the way in which we engage with one another while also providing users with an all-encompassing, comprehensive experience, should begin immediately in all organisations. Anyone who does not accept the Metaverse will suffer significant losses in a variety of fields, including business, education, and social activities, as the Metaverse is destined to become a dominant force in many of these fields.