There’s been a lot of talk about how the metaverse might shape the future of business. Whenever a new technology emerges, there’s always a degree of hype involved so it’s important for businesses to cut through this, and see the potential for what it truly is.
Success in the metaverse will depend on businesses understanding the relevance for them, and how they can extract the maximum value from it. This requires investing wisely in technologies that already have proven applications in the virtual and immersive arena.
Digital storytelling software is one of the key components of this arsenal, as this makes it possible to serve a varied menu of digital assets and digital stories through the immersive virtual experience. However, there are additional tools that are needed, such as the right hardware, and 3D content.
It may seem that jumping into the metaverse is a massive leap for many companies, however it’s worth recognizing that many of them have already started working with immersive technologies and virtual tools.
The metaverse is a lot closer than we realize, and it’s vital to understand how we can profit from it.
How can Companies Profit from the Metaverse?
Of course, it’s still worth asking if there’s any business case for using the metaverse at all.
Many of the ‘demonstrations’ used are a little facile and perplexing to say the least. This sentiment is perfectly captured in a recent article, that sought to answer the burning question: Why does the metaverse have to look so stupid?
One reason that many of the existing examples look like screenshots from The Sims is that the VR headsets being used are not capable of displaying better graphics. Existing VR goggle technologies lack the ability for displaying more complex graphics with higher resolutions and frame rates. For this reason, truly immersive technologies have the edge when it comes to more serious applications in business, where the details are important.
But this only answers the ‘graphical’ part of the question. It doesn’t seem clear from any of the demonstrations how businesses can use the metaverse to be more productive.
Sound Investments in Tools Like Digital Storytelling Software
From a business perspective, it’s hard to see how jumping around in a ‘virtual world’ has any value in terms of serving customers better, or running operations more efficiently.
That’s because it doesn’t.
However, this doesn’t mean that there’s not a great deal of value to be gained from the metaverse, provided investments are made in the right areas.
The use of digital storytelling software is one such area. It has a wide value-base, as many companies already use digital storytelling software to support a wide range of immersive brand experiences, customer experience centers, and hybrid events. Additionally, the use of immersive environments, digital twins, and 3D content are important steps in the right direction.
We’re Already Moving in a ‘Virtual’ Direction
It’s important to acknowledge that businesses are already moving towards more virtual methods of working and communicating. It is in these areas where the metaverse will naturally gain a foothold first, and start developing more rapidly.
Hybrid working has become a normal aspect of modern life. This involves at least some of the workforce being present in the office, and others joining remotely. As a result, the communication technologies being used are seeking to create a more level playing field. Common tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom offer things like customized backgrounds, emojis, and avatars. These help hybrid workers to participate more fully, and bring the workplace closer to a virtual immersive experience.
Similarly, hybrid events have become a common feature. Companies have discovered that these blended online/offline experiences have many advantages compared to either fully online or in-person events. This includes the ability to reach much wider audiences, but also to offer a greater depth of experience by utilizing a broader range of digital assets and virtual offerings.
Hybrid events have opened-up a new front line in the battle for attention – and, as a result, many companies have greatly improved their digital toolkit and their digital storytelling capabilities.
The digital storytelling software that supports hybrid events is a vital component for companies that want to continue offering a broader range of digital offerings – either online, offline, or in virtual spaces like the metaverse.
Collaborating and working with teams that are spread across vast distances has become a normal feature of working today. This means that we’re already using and developing a wide range of different technologies that enable this. We just need to keep going, where it makes sense to do so.
There are many potential applications for the metaverse in business, when we consider things from this perspective.
Potential Business Cases for the Metaverse:
Facility/Office Tour – Take customers on a 3D tour of your office or factory. Distance is no object. You can show them how operations are run in factories around the world, and explore potential products.
Recruitment – Many people have already had the experience of being hired (or fired) via a Zoom call. All aspects of recruitment may become increasingly based in virtual immersive environments, including training and onboarding.
Virtual Meetings – Meetings with partners, shareholders, and stakeholders, or creative/collaborative sessions can all take place in a virtual space where all the digital tools are within reach.
Digital Twins – These are already a feature in leading companies that want to make better data-led decisions. Using virtual versions of real factories, facilities or products, colleagues can access the data behind operations and make optimizations and improvements.
Entertainment – Many people will use the metaverse for entertainment or social purposes. There may be a space for your business in these areas too. Promotions through gaming experiences, sponsorship opportunities, and straightforward advertising will all be interesting opportunities.
Training – Complex procedures or other delicate tasks can be learned in immersive 3D environments, where human lives and expensive equipment are not at risk.
Customer Experience – There are opportunities for enhancing the customer experience, by giving them access to instructional videos and other virtual content via the metaverse. Everything that your company already does on its YouTube channel can have an analogue in the virtual world.
Brand Experiences – Take your Customer Experience Center into the metaverse and reach a wider audience. Use the same digital storytelling software to execute a powerful digital strategy that promotes your brand with an incredible immersive experience.
New Revenue Streams – While it might sound frivolous, people do use virtual spaces already for gaming, and the metaverse will surely become a venue for this. Perhaps your business model allows these avid consumers to buy your branded virtual products or NFTs?
Connecting Workers – With so many of us working remotely, there may be a growing space for connecting workers socially using the metaverse. A global virtual office party might be a regular fixture in the corporate calendar. Again, having the technology needed for hybrid events will be an advantage in this area.
Tech Investments for Becoming Metaverse Ready
Your company should be careful about how it invests capital in technology. There always must be a sound business case and that means a tangible ROI. A good strategy for moving towards being ‘metaverse ready’ is to invest in technologies that already have a known value. This includes enterprise-grade digital storytelling software, immersive technologies, digital twins, and 3D content. These technologies are already used to drive sales with Customer Experience Centers and Hybrid events. Drawing a close parallel with hybrid events, the metaverse includes many of the same technological prerequisites. Provided your company is already capable and competent in creating and hosting these experiences, then it is making investments in the right technology.