With the announcement by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg that the company will now be known as “Meta,” many are asking “What is the Metaverse?”, “What does it mean for my business?” and “How will the ‘Metaverse’ use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology?”
In a world made richer by the crossover between reality and virtual worlds, these are excellent questions.
In this article, we will explore how the creation of the virtual reality “Metaverse” (or, rather, the announcement of the creation of the “Metaverse”) will impact virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) businesses.
What is the “Metaverse”?
In its most simplistic terms, the “Metaverse” is a shared digital space where the real-world blends with the digital world, allowing users to interact with computer-generated elements that represent people, places, and things, as well as real-world elements such as the pen in your hand or the coffee in your cup.
In the future virtual reality “Metaverse” you can pick an avatar (such as a digital representation of yourself or something as wild as a multi-limbed robot) and then watch TV with your friends in a virtual living room. Or, you could sign into your virtual office, complete tasks with your co-workers (who are also represented by avatars or holograms), write notes on a pad at your real desk, and then “go home” by simply removing your VR headset instead of commuting.
While there are still many unknowns here are a few things we can glean from the introduction of the “Metaverse”.
Virtual reality is here to stay.
For anyone who has been paying attention to VR technology in the marketplace, we know that VR and AR technologies are thriving. Let’s look at a few statistics from IDC Corporate. The virtual reality industry is growing quickly, with spending on AR and VR technologies projected to increase from 16.3 billion AUD in 2020 to 99.2 billion AUD by 2024. Not only are individuals and corporations intrigued by virtual reality; they’re investing in it.
It’s not just the commercial sector that is interested in VR and AR technologies. In 2020, the consumer sector made up 53 percent of global VR and AR spending. This demonstrates that your average buyers are becoming comfortable using virtual technology and will be looking to see it integrated into their buying experiences.
Virtual spaces matter
In the past, virtual reality has been a place for gamers to join in combat or for business associates to conduct video conferences. However, the “Metaverse” will normalise spending time in and utilising virtual spaces in all of our daily lives.
In Zuckerberg’s video announcement, he walks into a floating space station designed by a creator in LA and joins a virtual table of friends playing poker. They proceed to chat and receive a video call from a friend in the real world who isn’t using an avatar. It demonstrates the potential to seamlessly combine real-world and virtual elements in one space.
While this is still a concept with Facebook it has already been done in the real estate sector and is being used today to sell properties. Through the technology created by EnvisionVR, potential homebuyers can explore off-the-plan properties in 1:1 scale, as if they were built, by putting on a VR headset or using a tablet or phone. Just as Zuckerberg “walks” through a hallway to meet his friends playing poker, potential homebuyers can walk through living rooms, see the actual view and talk in real-time with other people in the same virtual viewing. This technology helps potential homebuyers envision their futures in spaces they’ve never visited in the real world.
Not only can EnvisionVR’s technology increase buyer conversion and generate interest, but it can also decrease the costs normally associated with property marketing. And what’s even better, it can all be done right now, without having to wait for the “Metaverse” to become a reality.
Let’s wrap it up
While a virtual reality “Metaverse” is an exciting concept that is both imaginative and expansive, some of the details of how it will be rolled out to users are not fully developed. However, this doesn’t minimise the importance of this announcement for businesses currently offering VR and AR experiences. VR and AR technologies have the potential to impact every field of business: ranging from education to manufacturing-driven enterprises to the real estate sector. Here at EnvisionVR, we are excited to see how it will unfold and are looking forward to seeing how our technology evolves with it.