Perspectives from ISB

RC: What is a Metaverse?

AM: A metaverse is a where people can come in together, collaborate and add value to any part of the process where an end-customer interaction is involved. From my perspective, it is a persistent parallel universe where it can get employees, customers, and investors to come together with an aim to combine online digital and real-life experiences with a sense of presence, independent of place, time, or device, and collaborate. Metaverse is an ecosystem enabling a viable customer experience channel – home to gaming, shopping, workspaces, social spaces, virtual neighborhoods, live concerts, and many other ways to engage, connect, and interact.

RC: Why is everyone talking about Metaverse?

AM: Technologies have maxed out on Flat UI as well as natural interfaces. Gen-Z of today, who is familiar with operating in an immersive environment like gaming on consoles, is the customer of not so far off tomorrow. Growing consumer openness to a new kind of internet, ongoing technological advances, increasing stakeholder readiness, Metaverse, or places where virtual technologies are enabled will play a significant role in influencing the behaviour and decision-making of these customers.

RC: What are the key drivers and or deterrents to the growth of the Metaverse?

AM: Regarding deterrents, all companies and service providers will have to bring high-fidelity of content. The quality of content available today for the Metaverse use cases has to be in the same sphere as gaming for the end consumer. 

Secondly, technology itself is a deterrent to the growth of Metaverse. The technology that will enable commerce in the Metaverse, like a Hollow- Lens or the VR lens, does not have the power in terms of bandwidth to project & support the Metaverse today. The use cases of today are limited to 10-15 minutes. Overall, the following are the deterrents:

  • The hardware/headsets (health and safety concerns re wearing for any length of time, lack of comfort or look, price)
  • Cryptocurrencies (necessary to purchase/interact financially/stability)
  • Ubiquitous high-speed bandwidth

With regards to what will drive Metaverse- People today want to perform tasks from the comfort of their homes. Factors such as these will drive the technology of tomorrow. For example, Digital Twins, especially in the manufacturing sector for Training, Hygiene, etc., can be adapted to mimic equivalent reality in that space.

It is critical to engage all consumer senses to influence their purchase decisions. Metaverse plays a crucial role in emulating real-life immersive experiences, impacting the customer’s decision-making.

RC: How does it change the way we do/ think about business?

AM:  There exist four Use cases today: 

  1. Visualization– Ideas can be better understood if visualized after conceptualization. For example, Ikea is good at visualizing product placement. If visualization is widely adopted, it can help avoid common unforeseen but relevant errors in purchasing products such as a refrigerator -does it come through the door?
  1. Training– Before a recruit goes on the ground, he can be taught and trained to operate in a simulated and virtual world to avoid common pitfalls, especially in hazardous environments.
  1. Service– The Superpower to tap expert minds. To get the right expertise where they are needed. For instance, to fix a gadget or machine on site. It’s not uncommon for a service engineer to come on-site and realize the problem with the machine is not what he expected. It can take up to 10-12 days to fix the issue if he has to schedule another visit. In a Metaverse world, with the help of virtual remote assistance using a Hollow lens or AR device, the engineer can fix the problem in perhaps one day, generating brand equity or loyalty, lower service cost, and self/employee Satisfaction.

  2. Metaverse– Providing customers and employees the power to present in other worlds enables the capability to engage and collaborate with peers and the brand. From an industry perspective, Metaverse can enable more transparent and efficient visibility and collaboration in manufacturing, logistics, and engineering processes. From a sustainability perspective, part of the business can be done from anywhere in 3D virtual and hybrid worlds, minimizing the need for physical travel every time.
RC: In a future Metaverse platform, what kind of economy will support a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for all participants- players on the commercial side of the value chain and future consumers in the Metaverse?

AM: A digital currency, for sure, that is legitimate will be required. The currency will have to be legitimized so that money is genuine and transactions are traceable. To be precise, Web3 components based on a decentralized Blockchain, such as DAO, DeFi, NFTs, Cryptocurrency, or Smart Contracts, will play a key role in monetizing in the Metaverse. It remains to be seen how this will be tied to other existing world currencies.

RC: What skill sets are critical for success in the Metaverse?

AM: I would say three kinds of skills will be significant:

  1. Technology skills– On Web3 technology, Unity is a crucial skill required from a development perspective. It’ll be imperative to create apps on mobiles and AR/ VR devices in addition to web development and websites. In addition, Blockchain will play a key role.
  2. Content Creation– Metaverse dulls the line between real and virtual. Campaigns that will run on the Metaverse will differ from those we are accustomed to now. The content created on Metaverse will have to complement this change. Designers and architects will be required to create virtual content using Maya/Blender. 
  3. Behavior Skills- To understand consumer behavior to run campaigns and influence business, behavioral skills will be imperative. As Metaverse is the meeting point of several technologies, legal and regulatory challenges will increase. So, legal skills around NFTs and blockchain will remain relevant. Skills required in the real world will also remain significant in the Metaverse. 
RC: What professional guidance would you offer young professionals seeking careers in Metaverse?

AM: Two pieces of advice going forward:

  1. Look at Metaverse from a business perspective, not a Gaming perspective. Define your business problem in Metaverse, consider increasing the RoI for the business, and provide solutions to simplify life for the end consumer, which, in turn, will drive business.
  2. The next few years will be a phygital world. Existent web, mobile, and phygital technologies will operate for some more time to help consumers and business leapfrog into the Metaverse. It’ll be a few years before everything becomes completely virtual.
RC: What is at stake with Metaverse? Do we have to be careful?

AM: Metaverse is inevitable- it is a natural expanse of technology. We can’t shy away from it and have to adopt it. Defining real business cases to simplify life for the end customer will drive the Metaverse. Caution needs to be exercised about defining reality and virtuality.

RC: How do you, at Capgemini, perceive the Metaverse?

AM: I believe the Metaverse is a Collective 3D space that combines Virtuality and Reality. It will make the experiences more “Immersive” with Virtual worlds and identities, and it will be decentralized based on Web3 and blockchain technologies.

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