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📉 What people think
According to Warp's survey, the vast majority don't know what metaverse is - 84 percent have no idea. Some even answer that metaverse doesn't even exist yet.
📈 Here are the facts
The buzzword metaverse has been used to describe many different phenomena. In short, it is like a digital mirror world.
💡 Optimist's Edge
Metaverse means an opportunity to create entirely new worlds and, save both time money and care for the environment.
👇 How to get an Optimist's Edge
Take part in building the metaverse, invest and place your company in the metaverse.
📉 What people think
Meta… - what? You are hardly alone if you do not know the metaverse. According to a survey commissioned by Warp news, 84 percent answered that they do not understand metaverse. There are even those who believe that metaverse does not even exist yet. So it's hardly surprising that many of us aren't familiar with the term, let alone experienced it. But if you have not heard of metaverse yet, you will soon.
📈 Here are the facts
It's not very easy to describe what metaverse is because, in 2021, it became a buzzword that was used to denote everything from a virtual universe with different worlds to, well, your latest video call. The term combines the words meta - which means roughly after or beyond - and cosmos. It's said to have been used for the first time in the science fiction novel Snow crash (1992) by Neal Stephenson.
Digital worlds such as the Second Life social platform or the Roblox game are examples of a metaverse. It also refers to Metaverse, with a capital 'M,' i.e., a kind of universe where different digital worlds are connected and which many believe will dominate our online experiences in a few years.
Another way to understand what metaverse can be is to look at different technologies, such as AR and VR. Augmented reality (AR) is an extra filter placed on top of our existing reality. Everyone who has played Pokémon go has an idea of how it works.
It can be seen as the physical world getting a digital mirror world. Maybe you see someone wearing a lovely skirt. You click on it, much like a hyperlink on a homepage, and you are forwarded to a store where you can buy it. Or you walk stroll through a tourist destination and want to know who made that strange building. But what says there's one digital mirror world- you can apply different filters depending on what you're interested in.
There are already various games and applications where you can use your mobile phone to place a historical filter on top of a city to see what the streets where you walk looked like several hundred years ago. Or maybe you choose a filter that shows information about the plants you pass or what goods different stores sell. Or which of the people passing by are single…
So far, we've been covering different applications or filters that are mapped on top of the existing world. With the help of VR - virtual reality - we can also visit worlds that are entirely removed from the real world. We can create new worlds.
One of them might be a conference room where you and your colleagues, spread across the globe, can meet and view the latest interim report in 3D. You open a map, and bars of different heights give a clear graphical representation of how sales have developed in other places.
Does that sound boring? Ok, so go ahead and create something more fun yourself!
💡 Optimist's Edge
We have already covered a few different ways to use metaverse, and there are even more examples below.
Sharing economy. An exciting development linked to these digital worlds is the Internet of Things, which means that more and more things are gaining a digital presence. So far, a challenge for the sharing economy has been that it is difficult to know what things are available. Say, for example, that you would like to lend books to your neighbors but do not have the time to create an ad for each of them in a sharing app. But if they were automatically added to your virtual library when you bought them or by simply scanning the bookshelf with your mobile phone? Then the neighbor could go into your virtual home and borrow the book.
Of course, this is just one example of how digital development, in a broad sense, can change our relationship to different things. Sports equipment, tools, books, and much more are things we use sometimes, but far from every day. Why should we have them standing in a storeroom most of the time?
By giving more people access to the same things, regardless of whether you lend tools to the neighbor or rent them from a company, we can use different resources more efficiently. It also contributes to increased flexibility. Just as a nearby library can provide access to thousands of books that I do not have myself, various digital solutions can make thousands of items visible and accessible, things I would never buy myself.
Shopping. For example, shopping for clothes online will be much easier when you can use an avatar that looks like you and instantly try different dresses, glasses, and hairstyles. Then you can, of course, also test if the new pants fit well with any of the sweaters you already have in your virtual wardrobe.
Education and meetings. We have seen an upswing for digital meetings and remote education during the pandemic. Interacting with others in a 3D world will make the experience more complete and easier to collaborate on different projects. Different practical training will be cheaper and better when we can practice, for example, performing medical operations or handling other machines and vehicles.
Travel. Most people would rather travel to real Barcelona than virtual Barcelona, not least because authentic tapas taste better than digital tapas. But the pandemic has shown us that there are times when we can not travel. Not being able to afford, have time, or lack the physical conditions to make authentic trips may be reasons to travel in VR. It can also be a smart way to prepare for a "real" trip by finding out which neighborhood is nice to stay in or if it's worth spending hours standing in line to visit the Sagrada Familia. VR travel can also be a way for travel companies to market different destinations. Last but not least, metaverse creates opportunities to go to places that most people are impossible to visit, such as the summit of Mount Everest or Mars. Or, of course, to a world that does not exist at all…
Therapy. Current research show that many people feel more comfortable talking to an avatar than face to face with a therapist. Of course, online treatment in various forms also means that the patient and the therapist do not have to be in the same place and it makes therapy available to more people. Applied in multiple ways, VR can help patients with, for example, persecution mania, pain, or various phobias. In the latter case, it might be a matter of CBT therapy where a patient with a fear of flying can experience what a plane looks like inside, what it sounds like during takeoff, and other things, while remaining in a safe environment.
Entertainment. Ariana Grande has already performed a metaverse gigmetaverse gig, in Fortnite, and she will be followed by many more. Virtual art galleries is another popular application, and the auction house Sotheby's has created a copy of its London gallery in the Decentraland metaverse. Dmitry Ozerkov, head of the department of modern art at the Russian Museum The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, predicts that museums worldwide will soon be building digital copies in the metaverse. And speaking of feeling more confident as an avatar - maybe you'll gain enough confidence to try on stand-up comedy or sing in front of an audience for the first time in a virtual world?
Of course, we could continue to list various further possible applications. If metaverse allows us to create entirely new worlds, fantastic experiences are ahead of us. Consider, for example, that it is possible to move between different digital worlds at lightning speed. What happens when the laws that govern our ordinary universe cease? When does time and space become irrelevant?
On a less philosophical level, we have already seen examples of how we will save both time, money, and the environment by reducing transports and making better use of material things.
👇 How to get the Optimist's Edge
Get started! The best way to understand what metaverse is or can be is to try it out yourself. One way might be to get a VR headset and start testing different applications. Or read more about it, for example, The Metaverse Primer. As we pointed out initially, the metaverse is still a relatively unknown phenomenon. This means that those who acquire knowledge and experience of metaverse at an early stage gain a great advantage.
Build the metaverse. Metaverse with capital 'M' may not be here yet. But there are plenty of different meta-verses. Decentraland is one of those that has received a lot of attention lately. Here you can buy land, develop the environment and shop various digital portable products.
Investments. As mentioned, it's already possible to buy land in the metaverse. Of course, whether it is a good investment is, of course, is another question.
Here you can follow the exchange rate for Mana, the currency in which it is traded in Decentraland. Another way is to buy different products. The Nike clothing brand, for example, has purchased a company that manufactures digital shoes.
Earn Money. Read more about how you can make money on different games in metaverse: What is play to earn in the Metaverse all about?
Arrange an event. Companies around the world, such as Gap, Adidas, and PWC, are now building a presence in the metaverse. Just as when regular websites appeared, it can be an advantage to be out there early. One way to get started is to organize a 3D event on the Spatial platform.
Learn more about NFT (Non-Fungible Token). An NFT is a kind of digital asset and is based on blockchain technology. Here you can read more about NFTs and different platforms where they are traded.
Metaverse today - some numbers
- $ 650 million was the total gross domestic product for Second Life in 2021
- $ 54 billion is spent annually on virtual goods worldwide
- 60 billion messages are sent every day in Roblox
- $ 41 billion is the total market cap for non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
Source: J.P. Morgan
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