Metaverse: The Future of Digital Business

Utpal Chakraborty, Chief Digital Officer, Allied Digital Services

There are several definitions of Metaverse and imaginations in people’s mind that what shape and form it will take in the future, and its practical utility beyond the dystopian outlook. I personally see Metaverse is evolving as the biggest virtual marketplace, the largest business epicenter, and the coolest entertainment hub in another five to ten years timeframe. And I am not exaggerating, because if we look back in the past, especially in the technological world; the innovation and adoption goes skyrocketing if the concept has all the ingredients to touch the common mass. And trust me,Metaverse has all those ingredients. Alongside, the other ingredients like decentralized currencies built on blockchain, community ownership, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Web3.0 and virtual/augmented/mixed reality making it more diversified and practical for a virtual business world to take a palpable shape.

More than just a virtual world, metaverse is going to obliterate the physical limitations that we as humans have. A simplistic example is many times we want to be physically present at many places at the same time but due to our physical limitation that’s never going to be feasible. Now with ourdigital twins in the metaverse, it’s very much possible to be at multiple places at the same time in the virtual world. The same goes for the business world, you can expect a completely democratic, decentralized global business platform for you irrespective of the size and nature of your business. Already many experts have forecasted that businesses in the digital platform like in metaverse will outperform the conventional businesses.

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Although almost all the businesses that exists in the planet and that we can think of can be and will be exported to metaverse in future, however I would like to segregate those to immediate, mid-term and long-term transition in the metaverse.

The immediate opportunities that have already started happening in the metaverse are grand events, concerts and fashion shows taking place in metaverse and millions of audiences are viewing and participating those throughimmersive experiences. The entertainment and fashion industry futurists has already understood the importance of such platforms and investing hugely for placement of their products and advertising their brands in the metaverse. Fashion brands like Nike, Balenciaga, Charli Cohen and entertainment house like Disney are already ahead in the race.The other area that is already in trend is buying and selling of digital assets and products and this is an emerging market in the metaverse. This brings to the table a unique concept which is going to revolutionize the digital business called “Digital-Only” products or assets.

Collaboration like creating co-working places for meetings, conferencing, brainstorming, trainings, tradeshows in a simulated interactive environment is also started happening in metaverse, like Facebook’s horizon and few others have recently tried those concepts.

And needless to mention that for online gamers and game developers metaverse is a heaven. Online gaming world is already a booming industry, it’s bigger than the music and movie industries combined and metaverse will make it even bigger. Along with games another industry which is already going through a revolutionary transformation is Social Media business. The reason being, as Facebook is transforming itself into Meta, a completely virtual 3D based immersive kind of platform in the metaverse, the other social media platforms are bound to move into metaverse or provide users similar experience to sustain in the competition. The same applies for the e-commerce and social commerce, either they will have to move their shops to some existing metaverse, or they will have to build their own metaverse and operate from there.

Travel & tourism and leisure & hospitality industries will have no other options but to partner with metaverse companies and place their stores in metaverse because touristsof future would like to have that pre-booking virtual immersive experience of the sites before even booking theirtours. Metaverse is also going to be the biggest and cheapest platform for advertisement irrespective of nature of your business.

In healthcare industry, many areas are getting revolutionized including practical classes and trainings using VR technologies including medical procedures and surgeries. Metaverse is going to lay the foundation of global virtual healthcare industry and its adoption across geographics. Doctors and healthcare professionals can collaborate and share experiences real-time during any procedure. Using oculus VR headset effective management of COVID patients was tried out by Meta in collaboration with WHO Academy during the pandemic.

Banking & Finance industry will also rush to metaverse soon once the virtual marketplace in metaverse attracts popularity. Financial industry will try to catch up with the parallel financial world of emerging digital economy and the metaverse is the right place for the banks & financial institutions to display their digital products and services.

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Last but not the least, the business around building the metaverse itself and developing ultramodern light-weight wearables like headsets, glasses and contact lenses is also going to flourish in coming years. Similarly, there will be a huge job opportunity for the 3D designers, game developers, data scientists, metaverse architects, blockchain developers, industry specific domain experts, publishers, advertisers, creative people and many more. Metaverse has already been able attract the attentions of the investors. Many investors both angel and venture capitals finding it coolest place to invest their fund to safeguard their investment from the volatility of the physical world.

When comes to India, India’s largest IT services company,Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has already made investment in the Metaverse. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that India will play a huge part in building the metaverse with the country’s huge developer base, which will become the largest in the world by 2024.Indian metaverse Zionverse has launched its NFT named Lakshmi recently. Indian startups and developer communitiesare going to play a major role in this revolution and there will be huge business opportunities in the Indian IT ecosystem at large. India Government recently declared plan for 5G and other emerging technologies and clarified its stand on digital assets and digital currencies which will provide further boostin terms of adoption and investment in metaverse and other peripherical areas.

Views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of Utpal Chakraborty, Chief Digital Officer, Allied Digital Services Ltd., AI Researcher, Global AI Ambassador

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