How to prepare for the Metaverse quickly in 5 Ways

Posted by Marbenz Antonio on February 2, 2023

A Marketer's Guide To NFTs And The Metaverse

Creating customer experiences in the metaverse is more about the approach rather than the headset itself.

Jeffrey Castellano, an expert in spatial computing and extended reality (XR), assists clients and partners in identifying the genuine benefits of the metaverse, a system of emerging technologies. He believes that the emphasis should not be on virtual reality (VR) headsets but on enhancing customer experiences.

According to Castellano, a sole focus on technology can give the wrong idea that businesses have to wait for a dominant metaverse platform to arise before they can start developing. He views the metaverse as evolving, similarly to how the internet became. The internet is not just a technology but a framework for connecting information and the same is true for the metaverse which is about creating connection points. This distinction is crucial as the reasons why companies seek opportunities in the metaverse are driven by cultural factors and not the success or failure of specific hardware or technology platforms. Castellano’s goal is to promote improvement in customer experiences by considering the cultural and paradigm shift.

According to Castellano, an overemphasis on technology can result in a backward approach to building for the metaverse, like “starting from the finish line”. Instead, he suggests designing for the customer experiences that already exist and finding ways to enhance these experiences through metaverse-like features. This could range from incorporating avatars in meeting software to enhance collaboration to developing a digital twin of a jet engine to enable engineers to solve issues remotely. The goal is to improve existing experiences rather than starting from scratch.

When designing improved user experiences, haptics, and augmented reality (AR) glasses are merely a few of the many tools available. The metaverse is a collection of constantly evolving technologies that immerse users in a real-time social network of commerce-enabled 3D spaces. This encompasses virtual reality, characterized by ongoing virtual worlds that persist even when the user is not present, as well as augmented reality, which blends elements of the digital and physical worlds. Moreover, virtual spaces like those in online multiplayer video games such as Fortnite, which can be played on existing computers, game consoles, and phones, are also part of the metaverse. This means that organizations don’t have to wait for the metaverse to fully emerge before they can start building for it.

According to researchers at Gartner, it is estimated that by 2026, one-fourth of the population will spend a minimum of one hour daily in the metaverse for work, leisure, or education. Given the significant potential customer base, estimated by J.P. Morgan to be over USD 1 trillion, enterprises cannot afford to wait for a platform shakeout to realize their metaverse aspirations. Adopting a gradual approach to building towards the metaverse reduces investment risk and each step taken will yield a return on investment. Castellano believes that this process will be self-sustaining, with the end goal eventually paying for itself.

Here are five steps that businesses can take to develop cutting-edge customer experiences that keep pace with the evolving metaverse.

1. Define your metaverse

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to unlocking the metaverse. Each organization must create its own approach and experiences that align with its specific needs and goals, such as offering 3D try-before-you-buy options or virtual spaces for customer interaction. The metaverse implementations will vary greatly between industries, such as retail, banking, and manufacturing. Developing a clear definition of your metaverse, sometimes referred to as a micro verse, will help keep you focused and ensure a well-thought-out strategy. Castellano emphasizes that success depends on understanding what your customers and employees need. The IBM Institute for Business Value report offers insights into how enterprises are approaching this strategy.

2. Map the user experience

When it comes to creating immersive experiences, there are numerous options, including 3D interactions, spatial computing, virtual world-building, and identity management. Businesses that are building for the metaverse should view themselves as the creators of their customers’ experiences. The first step is to match potential customer journeys in the metaverse with existing use cases that are already successful for your customers. This will help you develop digital assets and metaverse experiences that complement existing paths.

3. Architect your infrastructure

According to Jeffrey Castellano, enterprises should focus on “horizontal enablement” when developing their metaverse. This means ensuring that the metaverse infrastructure is connected with the existing technology and has a unified back end, allowing for seamless integration and diverse experiences. Castellano suggests building metaverse experiences that complement the existing ecosystem and APIs, enhancing customer interactions with metaverse moments.

4. Prepare your people

In order to successfully integrate your customer experiences into a 3D environment, your teams need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to work in this new landscape. As you work to enhance your technical capabilities, it is important to also invest in training your personnel in the various aspects of this digital world, including production workflows, blockchain technology, system interoperability, virtual storefront management, cryptocurrency, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). By developing these specialized skills, your teams can gain a competitive advantage.

5. Secure the virtual perimeter

Security and identity are key concerns for businesses as more customers are attracted to the metaverse. With the risk of malware, identity theft, and other data threats, it is crucial for organizations to integrate security measures like smart identity, cryptography, and access management into their metaverse experiences. Otherwise, they risk not only data breaches but also losing customer loyalty. The cost of a single data breach in the US is the highest in the world at $9.44 million, which is more than five times the global average. To ensure the success of their metaverse, businesses must take steps to protect their customers’ data and maintain their trust.

Stepping into the metaverse can seem challenging given the unknowns of how it will be adopted by the general public. However, this has also been the case in the past with the introduction of the web, social media, and mobile technology. Those who delayed taking action in those technological shifts eventually fell behind. As the metaverse is still in its early stages, it is the ideal time to start exploring it. This is not a futuristic concept, but something that is happening now, according to Castellano.

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