Are you prepared for the Metaverse?
- Posted on January 18, 2023
- Estimated reading time 5 minutes
It’s time to prepare for the next wave of digital change and connectivity. Are you ready for the Metaverse?
The Metaverse has vast scope. Essentially it is a shared virtual space, which allows us to engage with people, places and things more dynamically, no matter where we are. For some people the Metaverse still feels like a lot of hype. And certainly, a lot of applications in the ‘Social Metaverse’ where people are trying to get traction may be considered somewhat quirky. Where we consider the Metaverse to offer the most value and opportunities for our clients is what’s being termed the ‘Industrial Metaverse’. It’s a potentially incredibly powerful medium that is certainly worth exploring.
One thing is for certain, the Metaverse is no longer a gimmick. The pandemic and subsequent requirements for physical distancing have accelerated its growth. People are already using the Social Metaverse to meet co-workers, catch up with friends and even see concerts. In April 2020 the rapper Travis Scott played a concert in Fortnite all through his avatar. More recently, Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced it will open an outpost in the virtual world The Sandbox. WMG’s digital real estate, called Land, is described as a combination of “musical theme park and concert venue.”
No wonder that businesses are already assessing the Metaverse’s potential and considering how to apply and prepare for it. Whilst we are still in the early days of the Metaverse, organisations that ignore or shy away from it will eventually find themselves operating in spaces they don’t understand and that are defined by others.
It’s happened before. We’ve become used to seismic shifts and disruptors. Think of how Air BnB disrupted the hospitality sector – displacing the hotel and holiday-let market. Uber’s entrance, with its unique app innovation transformed the taxi industry by breaking the monopoly that taxi drivers had across towns and cities.
How will you use the Metaverse?
There’s a clear line of demarcation in terms of the hype we see on social media about the Metaverse and what is actually going to be useful to businesses. Here at Avanade we see it as our responsibility to make people aware of what’s possible within the Industrial Metaverse and to help them capitalise on the opportunities – and not get left behind.
Where the Metaverse can really add value is when data is placed at its core. This enables the creation of a digital world that helps people see and understand what they’re interacting with. It’s about showing and sharing data in a real-world orientated way to make that data visible and tangible. And at the heart of this virtual world sits a digital twin – a virtual model of products, services, systems or physical processes created by data.
At Avanade we have seen first-hand how digital twins can push enterprises to the next level in their digitisation journey. Digital twins sit at the heart of our work to drive sustainability and culture change with the UK’s premier low carbon power firm, SSE Renewables. The company is using real-time data to monitor the local puffin populations to understand the effect its wind turbines have on them.
We’ve created digital twins of offshore windfarms and their local environment, designed to help the sector to develop renewable energy solutions that have a positive impact on ecosystems. The huge amount of data from monitoring devices is used to build a digital replica of sites that can be viewed on mobile devices and headsets to help SSE Renewables understand how a development is affecting an area in real-time, in addition to monitoring the ecosystem through the lifecycle of the windfarm to minimise any negative impact.
The Metaverse is a hugely exciting prospect and there are bound to be multiple opportunities and applications within any one business. So where do you start?
The first step is finding a real world application and making sure there’s viable and measurable ROI. How you achieve ROI is by not building a Metaverse and looking at it from a single perspective. By using data, data science and AI tools, you can gain different perspectives of a single environment, run different scenarios and see different outputs.
Whilst it’s easy to understand the desire for an organisation to be seen as forward facing tech innovators, we’re here to make sure you focus your efforts on applications that deliver long-term sustainable value. And that includes considering the context in which your Metaverse will be used and interacted with.
The whole point of a Metaverse is that it continues to operate and evolve even when you’re not interacting with it. Your colleagues and teams need to be able to see it and interact with it at any point – whether that’s augmented reality on your phone or a Power BI report within a browser. Making the virtual world accessible to the right people in the right way is key to success. The hardware innovations for accessing the Metaverse are constantly evolving and we’ve certainly not seen all the products that are going to be made available in the space.
The Metaverse isn’t just hype or a buzzword. And its applications extend far beyond that of a virtual social network. It’s a perfect place to house Digital Twins for collaboration and for brainstorming likely scenarios without wasting physical space or materials, and it’s clearly on the rise for adoption by many industries. In the coming decade every business will be operating in some way in a digital space. It’s time to explore the opportunities for your business.