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The Metaverse Is Not New. The Opportunities Are.

“And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.” –William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Image courtesy Julien Tromeur

What is the Metaverse?

The Metaverse is an immersive, digital community which replicates some real world elements to allow users to virtually interact with each other socially, culturally and economically. Though it has been around for several years, this nascent, pixelated realm is now coming into its own as we enter the ‘third wave’ of the Internet Age.

Over the last thirty years, as the Internet has become a mainstay in many people’s lives, it has gone through two distinct phases: Web 1.0 was comprised of email and accessing information. Web 2.0 took those features further and gave us social media and the mobile web.

And with those advancements Web 3.0 now possesses the infrastructure necessary to assemble an even more experiential digital world — the Metaverse. We are now able to bring to life that which could only be imagined by our technological forebears.

What does this mean for business enterprise?

The Metaverse opens a cornucopia of opportunities for enterprises to engage with the market in ways that were not previously possible.

Imagine being able to try on new apparel or test drive a new car––in an environment of your choice––before purchasing them. Imagine walking through the streets of Tokyo, seeing someone wearing an item that you would like to have and being able to purchase that item right then.

What this means is a dramatic reduction in costs and labor for marketing campaigns, the sales cycle and operations compared to what is spent today. As well as a never ending supply of *digital* products. Furthermore, it will provide the ability to attend a trade show, conference or store opening without limits due to geographic boundaries or maximum number of attendees. Granted, we are not there now and will not be for at least a few more years.

Moreover, the interoperability of moving your avatar from world to another is likely being overhyped by Meta (formerly Facebook). Nonetheless there are major advantages. Branding alone is proving to be a whale in the metaverse. Leading the way is Gucci’s $4,000 sale of one of its *virtual* bags––that sold above the price of the physical bag!

Watch for the many companies following Meta’s lead by going all in on setting up proprietary infrastructure in the metaverse. That’s a green flag.

Think this is all crazy? Doesn’t matter. Think it’s unhealthy? No more than Web 1.0 or 2.0 is today.

There is nothing new under the sun and a lot of technology in the real world is used for nefarious as well as good purposes. Just like the internet, those who wish to use the metaverse for good will do so; those who use it for evil will do so.

Humans have always adapted to new environments and each individual person will be responsible for their choices and actions––just like IRL!

Yes, I do share some of the concerns of those who view the metaverse as potentially harmful but it is not rebarbative. As far as I can judge what is coming is no different than what the internet has brought us thus far.

Human nature does not change and it will not be changed in the metaverse. All the good and all the bad will be brought into it. As Shakespeare said, the poet’s pen gives shape to the airy nothing of imagination.

Like it or not, the poets are here with their pens.

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