The tech world has been abuzz with news on “the metaverse,” with the new technology being lauded as everything from the latest iteration of the internet as we know it to a groundbreaking means for businesses to connect with their employees, customers, and the world at large.
Unless you’re actively using the metaverse, you may be wondering what it is exactly, and what it specifically does. Deloitte has recently released a white paper geared toward people looking to gain more knowledge of the hot new technology.
Titled “A whole new world? Exploring the metaverse and what it could mean for you,” the report begins by clarifying that the metaverse is not one single technology or device, nor a service of any one company, but an amalgamation of several separate technologies that, when combined, can create an immersive, three-dimensional virtual experience for users to interact with their surroundings and other users. The concept of the metaverse also includes a native economy, with digital assets and trade that bridge the digital and mundane worlds.
The paper goes on to identify factors that will drive the future of the metaverse, which depends on consumer response as well as four key variables: standardization, market fragmentation, user interface, and governance. These unknowns will prove crucial to how the new collection of technologies will be developed by companies, adopted by consumers, integrated into daily life, and regulated by governments.
Deloitte also lays out three potential scenarios for the future of the metaverse within the next decade. It describes a range of outcomes, like the development of a highly-fragmented niche market with limited business utilization. Another possibility is a world where the metaverse seamlessly merges reality between the virtual and physical worlds, backed by open and interoperable systems that have been pervasively adopted by both consumers and enterprises, with regulation and enforceable rules protecting digital ownership and security.
While the metaverse is unlikely to hit critical mass within the next few years, Deloitte cautions CEOs to not underestimate its potential. The new technology could have the ability to transform the way we work, play, do business, and interact with the world around us, but will require extensive cooperation and intentional development to reach its full potential.