Emirates News Agency – Tech giants vs small players in the metaverse, victory still uncertain: Sofie Hvitved

By Binsal Abdulkader

ABU DHABI, 17th November 2022 (WAM) – Although big technology dominates the existing digital space, the metaverse – a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users – is likely provide more space for small businesses, an adviser told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

However, it is still uncertain whether the small players will win the race against big tech in the metaverse, said futurist, senior adviser and head of media at the Institute for Future Studies in Copenhagen, Sofie Hvitved.

Metaverse as an open and decentralized space?
In an interview with WAM at the World Media Congress in Abu Dhabi, she said that in addition to the big tech already making big investments in the metaverse, many smaller companies have also entered the fray. “This trend shows the potential of the metaverse to be a more open, decentralized and democratized space, but the future will reveal the reality,” the advisor added.

“I think this is one of the biggest uncertainties right now. Who the winners will be—those who control and build the metaverse—is very unclear right now; because many different actors are testing different models,” explained Hvitved.

“Due to the ongoing global economic downturn, many businesses will collapse and die,” she noted, adding, “So many people who are testing this (metaverse) may not be successful. As we’ve seen it now, the energy dynamic changes, new companies get bigger, big companies get smaller. We have to pay attention to these changes.”

Consumers demand more from big tech
When asked if big tech’s dominance was still intact despite the shifting power dynamics she mentioned, Hvitved said the market share of some tech giants had declined, although they are always big players. “They can grow again, but somehow the public is starting to demand new things,” she noted, referring to consumer concerns about property management by large corporations. technologies, algorithms, etc. We don’t want this anymore. We want more transparency, more ownership, more control.

Such consumer demands, according to the expert, can push the market in another direction. “We are observing tectonic changes. We absolutely have to pay attention. Do investors believe it? Faith in big tech is also waning a bit at the moment,” she said.

Optimistic note on the metaverse
When asked if she hopes the digital space, especially the metaverse, will become more democratic with a level playing field, Hvitved said: “I would say there is hope. The media industry needs to consider who they work with, their value systems, how they treat clients and have good relationships with them,” she reiterated.

She emphasized that trust is the biggest problem in the media industry and that trust in these institutions has begun to decline. “So we have to figure out how we can start to prove that you can have faith,” she said.

Hvitved confirmed that the trust factor is very important as large technology companies hold millions of customer data.

She spoke about “Investing in the Metaverse: How will media companies benefit and what is the expected return on investment? at the World Media Congress.

The first edition of the World Media Congress
The first edition of the World Media Congress was inaugurated on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The three-day conference-exhibition organized by ADNEC Group in partnership with WAM ends on Thursday.

Under the theme “Shaping the future of the media industry”, the Congress brought together more than 1,200 pioneers, specialists and influencers of the media sector from six continents around the world, with more than 30 debates and seminars with more than 162 world renowned speakers. .

Translated by: Mervat Mahmoud.



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