The Metaverse is coming, is your business ready?
For sourcing and procurement professionals, the future isn’t about fancy high-end gadgets as it’s about identifying new platforms and solutions for long-term efficiency and continuous business growth.
We all know about the enormous potential of digitalization for the entire business landscape, and how massively it has evolved over the past few years, opened up new opportunities, encouraged development, and enabled sustainability. Especially when it comes to B2B (and its shift to a digital-first approach).
Recently and unsurprisingly, a seriously loud buzzword in the world of business is Metaverse.
Still in its early stages of development and quite difficult to be defined precisely (as most of us are not involved in gaming or VR entertainment), Metaverse is steadily gaining relevancy for businesses, and it will soon provide a significant shift in the way we make use or interact with technology. Hence, it is imperative to have a proper plan for it.
What is the Metaverse?
The actual word “metaverse” was first used in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash.
In simple terms, it’s the future of the entire web. An interactive 3D platform where people can create, share, explore, and completely reimagine their online engagement. Enabled by high-end technology, it’s a blend of virtual reality with both physical and digital worlds. A merge of our physical and digital existence, so to speak.
Technically, Metaverse relies on:
- Augmented reality (AR)
- Virtual reality (VR)
- Blockchain technology
- Artificial intelligence
- 5G network
- Big data
- Innovations related to edge computing
- Digital identity and ownership
While the web 1.0 internet was a read-only web with highly limited reach and user-generated content, web 2.0 is a user-generated “explosion” of content, web 3.0 will represent a value, a virtual world where people create new and never before seen experiences.
That is why Metaverse is naturally leaning towards web 3.0 because it represents a sum of decentralized, user-owned, and controlled internet assets.
A recent report by Gartner (2022) forecast that 25% of people will be spending at least one hour a day in the Metaverse by 2026. Also, 30% of all companies will have their services and products in the Metaverse by that point in time. It is projected that by the year 2020, the Metaverse market will be worth between $8T and $30T.
The estimations are that there are over half a billion people who use the Metaverse on monthly bases.
It has everything real life does – jobs, malls, and places to hang out with your friends and family. Also, it has everything we need for doing business as well. At least, it soon will.
Metaverse is an evolution of B2B space, as it uplifts it to an unprecedented level. A place where businesses can have their virtual stores, employees, and currencies, which enables them to purchase and sell goods or services, sign/enforce contracts, recruit and train personnel, to interact with customers and communities alike.
A space where we can do business from any corner of the globe, in ways like never before. For example, as a business owner, all you need is a VR set and off you go to visit factories around the world, touch products, meet local people, and even find yourself in several places simultaneously. And all this from your current location. The same goes for consumers – as they can interact, play and complete their purchases.
What is even more exciting, nobody is actually an expert on this topic yet. That means we are still in the early days, even though there are many platforms that have already established a serious presence.
But, same as when the Internet was in its infant stage back in the day, Metaverse packages do involve a bit of risk as well, one that requires caution and careful consideration. However, if we explore lower-risk use cases and approach them in a practical and reasonable way, it will surely bring growth.
There are many Metaverse worlds out there (both web 2.0 and 3.0), with over 150 companies directly involved in their development. Currently, there are only 50,000 users of the "newer" Web 3.0 types of virtual worlds, as web 3.0 is still in its early stage of development.
Key companies that are investing heavily in the concept include the likes of Alphabet, Meta, Nvidia, Roblox, Snap, Microsoft, and Adobe Systems.
Roblox is considered the biggest Metaverse world at the moment, with over 200 million active monthly users, and around 50mil of daily active users. Other leading platforms include Decentraland, The Sandbox, Axie Infinity, and GALA.
Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, and Somnium are specifically focused on the real estate aspect of the Metaverse.
Also, various companies are already providing us with Metaverse starter kit equipment, which does not come cheap, as meta had increased its new version to 1100$ in late July 2022.
Digital Real Estate
Digital real estate is one of the hottest topics in the Metaverse, as it secures your space within it with virtual land.
Decentraland sold its piece of virtual real estate for $2.4M in 2017, while people spent more than 500mil on virtual real estate in 2021.
To buy your land, you purchase it as an NFT on a blockchain via a marketplace, where it acts as a title deed, and the transaction is publicly logged. Once you have purchased land, there are additional costs to be expected for custom building.
For example, land purchases could be done at places like Tilia, while a customized building can be ordered at Step On The Digital Stage.
Metaverse & B2B?
We can only imagine how impressive and potent this decentralized digital habitat can become for global business, as it can overhaul the consumer experience, bring new virtual products to life, provide better data management, better market products, and services, support finance, and offer new hardware and software solutions.
Even interoperability, its main concern at this stage of development, is showing promising results.
Metaverse has the potential to revolutionize the entire B2B landscape, as it could allow companies to promote, connect, engage and sell. Also to establish a cost-effective virtual presence, create economies, trade, and form partnerships in innovative ways.
It has attracted nearly every industry, including real estate, gaming, fashion, events, and education because AR and VR offer virtually endless opportunities for new revenues.
Global brands are viewing the Metaverse as a great opportunity. Many of them, such as Gucci, Nike, Acura, Walmart, Dolce & Gabanna, Estee Lauder, or JP Morgan, have already found ways to get involved usually via creating games on Roblox, by offering NFT collections or acquiring property (or creating events) via Decentraland or Sandbox.
The most potent benefits of Metaverse include:
For example, B2B collaborations of non-competing businesses (e.g. product launch, education, showrooms, PR events)
b) Meeting customer needs & demands
Creating a personalized buyer experience
c) New forms of advertising
Enhancing promotional activities and brand exposure
d) Boosted sales and revenue
e) In-house productivity
Real-time merge of remote and in-house teams, face to face
f) Cost management
For example, travel costs
g) Environmental friendly
Planning the Metaverse
Metaverse is evolving on a daily basis on so many levels. Therefore, both short and long-term strategies, plans, and actions, combined with a specific set of goals are key for finding specific opportunities and major positioning.
Your Metaverse “starter pack” should include:
- Get to know the concept, asap.
- Educate on its key aspects, such as Web3, crypto, NFTs, Defi, etc.
- Build a technical foundation for your business core
- service extensibility
- Try it out, by starting “lowkey”, and with minimum risk
- Build a reputation by focusing on security:
- privacy rights (avatars, property)
- regulatory compliance
- anti-fraud measures
- Don’t forget Legal and compliance:
- property rights
- Align your current core values with ones that the Metaverse requires
Titan & Metaverse
Metaverse is emerging as a huge B2B market, and it definitely deserves more transparency worldwide.
When it comes to strategic sourcing, procurement, and big data, platforms such as Titan MIS are highly complementary to the entire idea.
- Titan’s vision is to create procurement, sales, risk, ESG, and M&A features in Metaverse, segmented by access mode (virtual reality devices/desktop/web browsers) and the technology powering their internal economy (blockchain or not). Just another Titan “continent with city regions”, but in a new, virtual world.
- Titan’s office in Metaverse will also in the future showcase its complete offer of products and solutions, along with its segments, groups, and descriptions. What is more important, it will extend its risk framework in Metaverse and back it up with new standards.
For more details on our future plans in this area, or possible co-investment cases, please contact email@example.com (Titan's CEO).
The Metaverse phenomenon offers so much for the B2B landscape, as it can help businesses of all sizes to evolve and gain that competitive edge. Although there are many uncertainties associated with it at this stage of development, the actual potential and the timing are too important factors to be ignored. If we wait much longer for its implementation, it could be too late.
What are your thoughts on this matter?