The imagined future of the internet will be based on the possibilities and novel opportunities ushered in by the different applications of the metaverse. Digital communication will become more immersive and innovative as online-enabled interactions with other individuals and even digital contents will become more life-like or closer to real-world experiences
Of course, as a backgrounder, the metaverse is a term that represents always-on shared virtual environments that allow users to create their individual virtual presence and interact in an immersive and graphics-intensive digital realm using relevant technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as artificial intelligence.
Several Big Tech companies have placed their hopes on this upcoming technological revolution. Facebook even changed its company name to Meta Platforms to reflect its transition from a social media company to a social technology company. Microsoft has an ongoing plan to integrate this concept into its Xbox gaming platform and its Microsoft Teams app.
A Look Into the Different Applications of Metaverse
Upgraded Social Networking Experience
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are confined within the two-dimensional plane in which interactions with users are limited to screen-to-screen. Even the sharing and consumption of contents are not immersive.
The metaverse promises to elevate the social networking experiences of internet users to create a true digital citizenry. The resulting platforms will provide these social media participants a sense of an actual presence in a three-dimensional environment.
Meta Platforms chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in his October 2021 letter to the stakeholders that the next platform will be an “embodied internet” in which users are in the experience instead of simply looking at it.
Business Communications and Productivity
Some of the practical applications of metaverse also revolve around productivity and communication in the workplace. Resulting platforms will allow participants to hold meetings face-to-face using their avatars in an actual virtual office.
Furthermore, an executive or manager can simply project his or her hologram to the physical office or a dedicated virtual office of a client for a true-to-life business presentation that goes beyond the limits of platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
Other examples would be a real estate company hosting virtual tours within the digitized versions of their properties, an outsourced manufacturing company hosting a walkthrough in its facilities for its prospective clients, and an immersive virtual store of a retail company.
Collaboration also becomes more effective because of the highly immersive nature of the shared virtual space. There are fewer barriers to effective and efficient communication because interactions closely resemble real-world experience.
Using these virtual environments in a workplace setting supports online-enabled business communications to include work-from-home or remote working arrangements while promoting the advantages and resolving some of the drawbacks of telecommuting.
Applications of Metaverse in Marketing
The internet and the subsequent rise of social media platforms have taken marketing to another level. Channels for marketing communication have become more accessible, less expensive, and more convenient to businesses of all sizes.
Compared to the limited reach of traditional mediums of communication such as traditional media, outdoor displays such as through posters and billboards, and the individual dissemination of marketing paraphernalia, the reach of digital media is customizable.
Because the metaverse is an upgraded online experience, it provides businesses with new platforms for innovatively marketing their products and services. Take note of the following specific applications in digital marketing:
• Branding Through an Online Presence in a Virtual Environment: Businesses can create their avatars in shared virtual environments similar to how they pursued branding in the digital age by creating websites and social media accounts.
• Promotion Through Non-Paid Digital Marketing and Paid Advertising: The same virtual environments serve as digital platforms for marketing promotion such as the distribution of marketing contents and placing online advertisements.
• Distribution Through Electronic Commerce or Virtual Storefronts: Businesses can also create and maintain virtual storefronts that can provide a more immersive and interactive online experience for their customers.
• Sales Through a Virtualized and Immersive Sales Process Experience: The virtualization of the sales process experience makes interaction with the customers and customer or after-sales support more immersive and engaging.
Digital Infrastructure for Learning
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced educational institutions to build technological capabilities and utilize online-enabled tools to ensure uninterrupted learning despite the absence of actual face-to-face interactions due to community lockdowns and restrictions.
But the learning experience from using video conferencing platforms and asynchronous mode of instruction has been considered by some as challenging and counterproductive. Specifically, the overall quality of communication has been regarded as one-sided and passive.
Nevertheless, through an immersive and graphics-intensive digital platform of communication, some of the promising applications of metaverse center on providing online-enabled instruction and enabling distance learning that are more life-like.
Students can use their avatars and virtual reality gears to create an online presence and participate in a shared virtual environment wherein they can actively interact, collaborate, and engage with their classmates and instructors.
Virtualized learning materials or the creation of immersive three-dimensional digital learning contents serve not only as visual aids but also as tools that can make instruction more engaging and interactive. Active participation from students becomes possible.
Support for Different Blockchain Applications
Blockchain is the underlying technology beyond cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin, as well as specific blockchain platforms from Ethereum and Cardano. It is specifically a digital database used to securely record and retrieve digital transactions.
The applications of blockchain include the implementation of decentralized digital currencies and decentralized finance, the creation of digital assets as NFTs or non-fungible tokens, so-called blockchain gaming, other digital transactions, and digitization of physical assets for tracking.
Note that blockchain technology has allowed the creation of new use cases for the internet and novel digital products and services. It is somewhat similar to the metaverse in concept because it allows participation while facilitating different forms of digital transactions.
A metaverse platform can be integrated seamlessly with different blockchain applications. Remember that these applications transpire in the digital realm. A prime example would be the use of crypto-coins or crypto-tokens as native currencies of a shared virtual world.
Other examples include using decentralized currencies and decentralized finance to create a virtual economy existing in a shared virtual space, the tokenization of digital assets, and the delivery of digital products and services using a distributed ledger of transactions.
FURTHER READINGS AND REFERENCES
- Dionisio, J. D. N., IW. G. Burns III, and Gilbert, R. 2013. “3D Virtual Worlds and the Metaverse.” In ACM Computing Surveys. 45(3): 1-38. Association for Computing Machinery. DOI: 1145/2480741.2480751
- Lee, P., Braud, T., Pengyuan Zhou, Lin, A. W., DianLei Xu, Zijun, J. L., Abhishek Kumar, Bermejo, C., and Hui, P. 2021. “All One Needs to Know about Metaverse: A Complete Survey on Technological Singularity, Virtual Ecosystem, and Research Agenda.” DOI: 13140/RG.2.2.11200.05124/6
- Zuckerberg, M. 2021. “Founder’s Letter, 2021.” Meta. Available online