An Immersive CX: The Metaverse
Consumer’s lives are impacted by a promised immersive experience produced via a commercial use of a worldwide network of computer servers delivering virtual worlds where augmented realties (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the Internet combined could yield an immersive 3D experience to innovators (2.5%) and early adopters (13.5%) expected to be followed by an early majority (34%) of potential users for starters to show the Metaverse is not a pipe dream (Rogers, 1995).
According to Roger (1995) a social science theorist, innovation diffusion originates in communication to explain how, over time, an idea or product gains momentum and diffuses (or spreads) through a specific population or social system. This is the situation with an experiential Metaverse striving for the specifics of use cases, applications, and companies that will drive its development to thrive in new ecosystems. The latter still remains an open question given developmental challenges integrating AR, VR, holographic technology, and high-speed, low-latency communication networks recognized as Metaverse foundational elements. Moreover, graphics-intensive technologies such as AR, VR, and holograms will not function optimally without robust, reliable communications networks requiring a rollout of 5G and 6G communications networks to support fast, always-on, and rich data exchange among users, virtual environments, and applications (Stoker-Walker, (2022).
IS REALLY METAVERSE A NEW BIG IDEA?
As stated above, the situation with an experiential Metaverse striving for the specifics of use cases, applications, and companies that will drive its development to thrive in new ecosystems remains an open question. Therefore, the answer to such open question lies in developing a robust communications infrastructure, powerful and easy-to-use development platforms and compelling value-added applications to users that cannot be found elsewhere in order for Metaverse to become as ubiquitous as the Internet itself. After all, the idea of immersive, digital communities that allowed people to connect with each other in an immersive, fully digital Avatar chat environment started nearly 20 years ago with Second Life and Habbo Hotel platforms. As a matter of timelines, Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash, invented the term “Metaverse” in 1992 for his science fiction novel (Domanska, 2022). Hence, the idea of a Metaverse virtual environment populated with digital representations of a real person using avatars is not new!
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IS MULTIPLE METAVERSES SOMETHING REALLY NEW?
Recognizing that Meta former Facebook is not the only game in Metaverse-Town, experts forecast the existence of multiple Metaverses emerging organically but anyone of them may not be easily integrated or connecting with each other’s posited Prashant Kelker (Bloomberg, 2022). Top metaverse platforms typically use avatar-based systems, in which a digital avatar represents each user. Best metaverse platforms may also enable you to create and sell virtual goods and services. Today, the most common platforms being used for metaverse VR platforms are Decentraland and Voxels both are virtual-world, browser-based platforms where users can buy virtual plots of land in the platform as NFTs. Users may look forward to enjoy financial gain from future virtual sales or rental fees paid by Avatar visitors. Platforms developers control the decision to build more digital land for sale or not. These advantages will become more competitive as more of the existing players enter a Metaverse(s) space, explains Prashant Kelker, a leading partner in ISG a digital strategy and solutions technology research and advisory company (Bloomberg, 2022).
THE METAVERSE CONSUMER EXPERIENCE (CX)
Metaverse Web3, is a new iteration of the internet that includes virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality and cryptocurrencies evolving to become another Wild West technology frontier where existing laws are hard to apply (Bloomberg, 2022). Particularly for the metaverse(s) space, the creator era is expanding quickly. One may find that some of the most competitive internet companies have developed in addition to more immersive, social, and real-time, metaverse experiences; an exponentially growing number of digital artists. The tools and technology that creators employ to produce new experiences for customers are all included in this creative economy (Anushka, 2022).
These creatively fabricated experiences offer a two-sided effect for users in general. For instance, on one hand, virtual reality (VR) has a wide range of potential advantages. VR has can offer fully immersive learning environments (Anushka, 2022). It might be used, for instance, to instruct individuals about history or different civilizations. Physical treatment, pain management, and mental health issues including anxiety and PTSD are all helped by it (Anushka, 2022). Conversely, the use of VR could potentially come with certain risks. Long-term VR use can result in an illness known as “cybersickness,” which can have symptoms like nausea and vertigo. Due to the fact that they replace the real world with a virtual one, VR headsets can strain the eyes. Some stimuli, such as flashing lights, might cause seizures in some people (Anushka, 2022).
The former contrasting view signals an evolving process as asserted by Prashant Kelker, “For now, the metaverse is in its relative infancy” and James Kaplan positing, “The metaverse is still in its early stages and has a long way to go before it's ready for mass adoption” (Adebisi, 2022, p.1). Hopefully, experts claim the development of compelling applications is the final key to broadening the appeal of the Metaverse. Indeed, entertainment applications remain an attractive initial use case for deploying virtual worlds to deliver immersive consumer experiences. One element that may help to spur adoption of metaverse-level apps among non-techies is the ability to accurately replace digital experiences with those they are used to in real life.
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According to Prashant Kelker, a leading partner in ISG a digital strategy and solutions technology research and advisory company (Bloomberg, 2022), the metaverse, often described by industry pundits as a 3D version of the current internet, holds the promise of immersive experiences in graphically rich virtual spaces that allow people to work, play, shop and socialize in real time through the use of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and extended reality (XR) technology (Bloomberg, 2022). When coupled with Web3 concepts like non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), cryptocurrencies and blockchain; a new internet form emerges that enables ownership and exchange of virtual assets through decentralized markets (Bloomberg, 2022).
In terms of the future, the vision according to experts is the Metaverse must be a place where a user can actually do stuff rather than a just a passive approach to interactions as an immersive experience. Let us recognize that with many emerging technologies, there is no universal definition for what the metaverse actually is (Owens, 2021). Technology market participants expect multiple Metaverses may emerge organically, but any one of them may not be easily integrated or connect with others. The problem is that connectivity between Metaverses is going to be next to impossible recognizing that now companies working on connected avatars are running into huge issues just animating them in different worlds’ settings (Adebisi, 2022).
According to James Kaplan, cofounder and CEO of conversational AI Company MeetKai, the real Metaverse is going to be an evolved World Wide Web, which will live in a browser, and the connections between different Metaverses will be no different than the connections between different Web pages like links to offer a space where digital experiences and lifelike simulations are possible (Adebisi, 2022). In sum, realistically making the Metaverse a virtual space that offers enriched value to E-experiences. We, just have to wait and see!
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Rogers, E. M. (l995). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York, NY: The Free Press.
Domanska, A. (2022). Will Metaverse change the way we live? Industry Leaders Magazine, 32 -39.
Pophal, L. (2023, March 1). Marketing’s new reality the metaverse: Some early adopters have seen great success, but it’s important to learn all you can first. CRM Magazine, 27(2). https://eds.s.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=a3bda65b-6a1f-41d6-a3e3-39a34eb6a4f5%40redis Stoker-Walker, C. (2022, January). The Metaverse: What is it, will it work, and does anyone want it? New Scientist, 251 (33368), 42. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg25333680-800-the-metaverse-what-is-it-will-it-work-and-does-anyone-want-it/
Bloomberg. (2022, June 13). ISG launches advisory business to help clients explore and prepare for web3, metaverse opportunities. https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2022-06-13/isg-launches-advisory-business-to-help-clients-explore-and-prepare-for-web3-metaverse-opportunities
Adebisi, A. A. (2022, July, 17). 6 major changes in the VR, AR, and MR industries according to James Kaplan. https://hackernoon.com/6-major-changes-in-the-vr-ar-and-mr-industries-according-to-james-kaplan
Owens, B. (2021, December 7). Ecommerce and the metaverse: What we can expect. https://whiplash.com/blog/ecommerce-and-the-metaverse/