[branded content] Metaverse: an increasingly concrete vision of the future

We have been in the 4th great industrial revolution for some time. After the steam engine, electricity and the computer, this wave is about the digitization of the physical world. As we speak, an impressive new ecosystem is being built that is based on smart sensors, IoT applications, AI, new digital interfaces, and increased adoption of virtual and augmented reality applications. See the concept of the Metaverse there.

The meaning of metaversion

Before we can interpret this trend, it is good to dwell on its meaning. Metaverse is a composite of meta Metaverse (also called ‘beyond’) and universe (or an extended reality).

It represents a vision of the future that does not actually exist yet. Here you move (with the help of AR & VR) as an avatar in a shared virtual world. Marc Zuckerberg outlines some examples; a virtual meeting with colleagues or a visit to a virtual fitness school where he receives lessons from his favorite trainer who appears there as a hologram. There are already virtual worlds where you can do fun things as an avatar, especially within the gaming industry. For example, in the popular game Fortnite you could already attend a virtual concert of the world star Ariane Grande. A breakthrough in AR and VR could make these worlds more and more “real”.

The Metaverse concept is often mentioned in conjunction with another big trend; web3. This symbolizes the ‘democratization of the Internet’, based on blockchain technology on which, among other things, the current hype surrounding NFTs (Non-Fungible Token: a non-exchangeable and irreplaceable digital property certificate) is based.

Who plays a role in the Metaverse?

There are regular news reports from organizations investing in the Metaverse. Big tech companies like Alphabet (Google), Meta (Facebook), Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon are investing massively in technologies like VR, AR, and IoT apps. These techniques are essential to the development of the Metaverse.

Target (Facebook)

The parent company of Facebook has changed its name to Meta. With that change, it seems clear that Facebook wants to play a big role, but whether it will truly become dominant in this ecosystem remains to be seen. Let’s be honest about your intentions. Of all the parts of Big Tech, Facebook relies the most on ads – that’s 98.5%! It’s a given that Facebook is doing everything it can to become less reliant on its classic ‘ads, ads, ads’ revenue model.

Microsoft and ActivisionBlizzard

In January, Microsoft signed a deal with Activision Blizzard for a $60 billion acquisition. The name of this organization probably doesn’t immediately ring a bell, but the games they release do: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush. Microsoft sees the acquisition as a building block for the Metaverse.

The downside of the metaverse

Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff is a well-known critic of these new Big Tech revenue models. She warns that people in the Meta concept will become playthings for big media companies. “The platforms work like refineries, extracting the most sophisticated behavioral predictions from our users’ data and then selling those valuable insights. This will create a new market in which trading takes place exclusively in human futures.’

The first step into the Metaverse

As described above: The Metaverse is a vision of the future that doesn’t really exist yet, but what opportunities can it offer and what can you do now? Start thinking about how to create new value for your target audience. Start with an AR/VR roadmap or train of thought. Can you think of a proposition that adds value for your (potential) customers? Because the possibilities are endless. A virtual open house for college, a virtual test drive in your new car, choosing the right paint color on the wall, seeing how that new couch looks in your living room, offering a meditative environment like insurance of health. All the use cases that are already reality.

Nike: Pioneer in the Metaverse

A good example of an organization that is already a pioneer in virtual platforms is Nike. Within Roblox, a popular gaming platform with a market capitalization of 66 billion and 199 million users worldwide, they recently launched NIKELAND. The head office has been virtually rebuilt with various playgrounds and mini-games. Of course, there is a virtual showroom where you can buy a Nike outfit for your online avatar.

The general proposal is: Dream it. just do it. play it. Because with the help of your mobile’s accelerometers you can also actively play with your body. In this way they maintain the link with the promotion of the sport. To complete the digital game, a special lens will be added to Snapchat. With this you can transform the New York experience store into an augmented reality version of NIKELAND.

Nike will not only stick to NIKELAND, but will also experiment with new revenue models in 2022. In December 2021, the sports brand took over the company RTFKT (pronounced artifact). This website is specialized in sneaker designs and virtual gadgets based on NFT technology. either; makes unique clothing that you can wear as an avatar in the Metaverse.

metaverse and marketing

This year we won’t be moving en masse as avatars through virtual worlds yet, but the (new) techniques being (further) developed to digitize the physical world are already interesting. Start thinking of innovative proposals for your organization. The first meeting about your AR/VR roadmap will still be via Teams or Zoom, but maybe the next meeting will be in the Metaverse?

Trend report

The shortage in the labor market is one of the five trends of the Digital Marketing Trend Report 2022 of Beeckestijn Business School. In it, digital strategist Bart Meerdink takes you through the biggest developments. The advancement of MarOps and the automation of Ads are two other important trends for this year. Curious about all the trends with explanations, examples and expert interviews?

Download the trend report ››

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