The metaverse for business

The Metaverse is here. It'll change everything so find out how PixelMax ensures your company doesn't get left behind.

What is the metaverse?

Despite the mainstream news headlines of the last 12 months, the metaverse concept is not new.

It predates Covid, hybrid working and Zuckerberg's announcement by almost 30 years. Yes, it was originally discussed in a sci-fi novel in 1992, but now it is very much a personal and commercial reality.

The metaverse is not the future of the internet. It's not a console game. It's not fancy video conferencing. The key to understanding what the metaverse is, is to grasp that it's not just a place – virtual or physical – but a new way to experience things – particularly the world of work.

It's a world that at first looks like it's only viewed via a headset or can only be controlled by an algorithm. Again, it's not. Only a decade ago some C-suites viewed Facebook and Twitter as a place for cat videos and now many businesses could not even exist without the social media giants.

So what actually is it?

It's a combination of interconnected technologies that connect to and amplify what real people are doing in the real world.

These technologies, such as AR and VR, can combine to create a new digital space – in many cases a space that closely resembles a familiar place such as a workplace or events stadium – and we access this virtual space by all the usual devices we're comfortable with: laptops, phones, and yes, goggles and headsets… although that's not as necessary as Facebook would have you believe.

This place is graphically rich and immersive. It's an enjoyable place to be that doesn't just mirror the environment in which we currently do everyday tasks but improves them.

What's really interesting is the fact that this world persists when we turn our devices off and unplug. We’re not just talking save-states, but a whole living and thriving ecosystem – and economy. And it's the economic advantages of the metaverse that has got forward-thinking leaders and companies really excited.

Again, a digital economy is in itself nothing new, but the metaverse isn't simply a new channel to sell and transact on like the internet was. The metaverse is interoperable. Your accumulation of assets or skills can cross digital platforms.

Right now, that may manifest in somebody buying a shirt and getting a digital replica for their metaverse avatar, and that digital version being worth currency in its own right, and the same shirt being transferable across all virtual identities, avatars, and inventories.

It may seem trivial. It won't be very soon. Everything can be digitized. Skills. Qualifications. Keys. Places. Interactions. Working relationships.

The metaverse is at the cutting edge of a new reality. You don't simply 'like' pages or videos, or subscribe to creators, you like, create, exist and live, and the digital metaverse weaves it all together to maximise the value and enjoyment of the experience.

The metaverse is essentially a highly immersive virtual world where people can gather to work, play or socialise.

Key features for business

Immersive
The metaverse is far more immersive than any virtual or digital experience. It doesn’t matter whether it is accessed via a headset or phone, it is realistic and interactive.
Living Entity
It can’t be unplugged or forgotten about indefinitely. The metaverse will evolve based on how people use it and act within it.
Decentralised
Just like blockchain, which will be a big part of the metaverse, nobody owns the metaverse. However, all users have more control over their private data compared to the current internet and social media platforms.
Experiential
It may be avatars and virtual environments, but for its users, it’s truly an experience they can’t have anywhere else.

How are businesses using the metaverse?

Many are using it as you would imagine… to sell.

As we said, the metaverse is a weaved web of commercialisation. People place a value on owning digital assets – especially if those assets can be used universally both online and in the physical world. It's purpose-built for everyone and commerce is in the code. It's not a place confined to a screen where you access it by logging on, but it's how you live and work and interact with almost everything around you.

It's real. It's practical and companies are already benefiting from it. Fashion brand Vans is selling digital and physical garments within the Roblox ecosystem. Nike is bought in Fortnite.

The gaming industry is the metaverse pioneer and many of its embryonic metaverse-like platforms owe their success not only to the entertainment value they offer, but to their virtual economies. Users take part in thriving marketplaces with all manner of transactions and new assets (like NFTs).

But like we said, the metaverse is not just a hi-spec marketplace.

Notable brands already benefiting from metaverse projects

Other companies are using it in a far more fundamentally human way.

Disney is preparing a "virtual-world simulator" – a full 3D reproduction of one of its vast, vast theme parks that would enable you to enjoy a "highly immersive individualised 3D virtual experience" with no need for goggles. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has plans to be the world's first metaverse city with a virtual communication ecosystem for all areas of its municipal administration.

Furthermore, many businesses are realising the potential of the metaverse to provide a stimulating modern workplace. More on that here.

More on that here.

5 examples of how brands are already using the metaverse

  • Creating unique sellable NFTs

  • Hosting or sponsoring events within the metaverse

  • Creating virtual workplaces

  • Creating virtual stores, showrooms or consumer experiences

  • To deliver immersive and engaging virtual training programmes

Metaverse for business FAQs

What is a metaverse VR headset and do you need one?

It's a piece of tech that lets you experience certain aspects of the metaverse. However, you don't need to use a headset and you can access the metaverse from any internet-enabled device, such as your regular phone or work laptop. In fact, for many of the more functional aspects of the metaverse, a headset would be rather impractical.

How do you, your employees, or your community enter the metaverse?

There is no single app named the Metaverse that can be opened. No sole program or provider can put you there. The metaverse is a continuous experience in which you'll take elements from one platform to another.

PixelMax wants to help you harness the power of the metaverse for your business. First and foremost that means we want it to be accessible for everyone you employ and engage with.  So unlike other metaverse experts, all you really need right now to enter the metaverse is an internet connection and device. Of course, the metaverse will require advances in new technology, just like the internet did. When tech has enabled the ability to host millions of people in a single instance or more sophisticated and less intrusive motion-tracking tools the metaverse will feel even more futuristic.

For brands and employers, the practical answer to this question will probably start with a virtual workplace – a digital space based on a familiar work environment such as an office or factory floor. Beyond that? There are literally endless possibilities. Another entry point to the metaverse is the virtual event. We are seeing brands are more comfortable to commit to the metaverse and a new way of working after hosting a one-off event.

Right now, brands enter the metaverse working with specialists who can build their world or provide them with templates.

What's virtual training and can it be done in the metaverse? 

A 3D virtual workplace isn't just a fancy chat room or project management tool, it's a full-on experience akin to going to work. That means being able to replicate all the things you do in the physical environment, so, yes, virtual training can be done in the metaverse.

In fact, metaverse training is one area that is really gaining traction across boardrooms and HR departments because it offers so many additional benefits rather than simply being 'remote': bring complex problems to life with AR and VR experiences, or tackle distractions and mitigate the boredom thresholds that plague current e-learning and remote training.

Every business will eventually need to provide a virtual workplace to both attract and retain the best talent and having metaverse training is the logical first step for many.

You can learn more about metaverse and virtual training here.

How is a metaverse showroom better than a traditional physical showroom?

Sales or customer showrooms are great examples of how the metaverse is capable of taking a familiar setting or experience and amplifying the benefits for both customer and business.

With a metaverse showroom you have the ideal opportunity to literally showcase your product and bring it to life in a way high-street retail units never could.

Virtual showrooms are already one of the most widely used applications the metaverse can provide because it's a simple transition. You can find out more about metaverse showrooms here.

Are virtual events a part of the metaverse?

Yes.

In fact, many people believe that the metaverse is the future of events. As we mentioned above, the most common entry point for businesses entering the metaverse is hosting a virtual or metaverse event. These can be built quickly using proven designs and ideas, or they can be unique creations that offer vast numbers of participants a truly unforgettable experience.

PixelMax has already created events for a number of household name brands including UEFA. See more of our metaverse event examples.