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The Metaverse is Coming

The metaverse has been getting a lot of media attention recently, mainly because Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook plans to shift from being a social media company to a metaverse company.

So what is the metaverse?

There is no standard, widely accepted definition. The Wall Street Journal, in its article “Facebook, Roblox See the ‘Metaverse’ as Key to the Internet’s Next Phase,” describes it as:

“The metaverse concept, rooted in science-fiction novels such as “Snow Crash” and “Ready Player One,” encompasses an extensive online world transcending individual tech platforms, where people exist in immersive, shared virtual spaces. Through avatars, people would be able to try on items available in stores or attend concerts with friends, just as they would offline.”

Facebook’s first metaverse effort is a virtual conference room service called Horizon Workrooms. The application allows users to meet in virtual reality conference rooms and collaborate on shared whiteboards or documents while still sitting at their own physical desks.

Facebook’s video below provides more details on the virtual conference room.

 

The online game industry is also promoting the metaverse.

TechCrunch’s article “Fortnite’s Ariana Grande concert offers a taste of music in the metaverse” describes the integration of the metaverse and popular music artists. Fortnite (an online gaming company) also held a virtual concert featuring rappers Travis Scott and Marshmello. More than 12 million people watched it live, and the concert video (below) has been viewed more than 60 million times.

While most of the current metaverse hype is around its use by consumers, there’s also a growing array of industrial applications.  Wunderman Thompson’s Building the Metaverse describes a joint effort by virtual reality chip producer Nvidia and BMW to build a “digital twin” of the car company’s factory in Regensburg, Germany. This will allow BMW to virtually to test changes in the plant’s configuration and workflows digitally before implementing them in their physical factory – saving BMW time and money.

In many ways, and despite the title of this article, the metaverse is already here, but its use and applications – both consumer and industrial – will become much more common over the next few years.

 

This article was originally published here. 

 

Steve King

Steve King is an advisory board member of JEM and a founding partner of Emergent Research where he leads the firm’s ongoing research identifying, analyzing and forecasting the global trends and shifts impacting consumers, small businesses, the gig economy, independent workers and Web 3.0’s role in future of work. Steve enjoys wide industry recognition as an expert on the future of work. He is an active public speaker and has written for the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, U.S. News and World Report, Venture Beat, Wired and other publications.

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