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Introducing Meta: What is the metaverse and what does it mean for your brand?

by Jade Halstead

November 8, 2021

Connection is evolving and so is Facebook. Sorry, I mean Meta.

Facebook, for a long time now, has been at the forefront of social interaction, leading the way – along with Instagram and WhatsApp – when it comes to connecting people around the world. Now Mark Zuckerberg and the team see an opportunity in the metaverse to go all in. But what is the metaverse?

A short history of the metaverse

The term ‘metaverse’ first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science-fiction novel ‘Snow Crash’, which tells the story of a virtual reality-based follow-on to the internet, where people use digital avatars of themselves to explore online realms. These worlds were created for people to escape the real world as the global economy collapsed and federal governments lost power to a handful of giant corporations. (Awks).

Fast forward to 2021, and the metaverse refers to a series of virtual reality (VR) spaces, or augmented reality (AR) scenarios, in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.

Meta, led by Zuckerberg, want to bring the metaverse to life and give people across the globe a way to connect using technology and AR, a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. Technology is always evolving, and this is just the next step.

“Imagine you put on your glasses or headset and you’re instantly in your home space,” says Mark Zuckerberg. “There are parts of your physical home recreated virtually, it has things that are only possible virtually and it has an incredibly inspiring view of whatever you find most beautiful.”

Within the metaverse, you’ll be able to do anything you can imagine. Joining virtual rooms and worlds, getting together with friends and family, working, learning, playing, shopping, creating, and doing things we haven’t even thought of.

You can bring real things from the real world into the metaverse, and you’ll also be able to take things from the metaverse into the real world in the form of holograms and AR.

What did Zuckerberg speak about at Connect 2021?

Zuckerberg’s ultimate goal is to produce AR glasses that will host the metaverse.

There is so much technology and billions of dollars going into building the metaverse, but it will be years until it reaches its full potential. However, Meta wants to lead the way with this technology.
Zuckerberg wants to do this with Quest, Meta’s AR headset. This will be the future of entering the metaverse. But what features will Quest have?

Horizon Home

This will be the first thing you’ll see when you put on your Quest headset.

The goal: To be able to invite your friends to your virtual home as avatars. You’ll be able to hang out, play games and interact as if you were in the same physical space.

Mark Zuckerberg designing his avatar

Horizon Worlds

Horizon Worlds can be used to create new worlds, games, surprise parties, etc.

Working from home is here to stay, and Meta can see a future in virtual office spaces. You’ll be ‘in’ the office without the commute. Everyone else will be ‘in the office’ too. You’ll be able to talk to one another, make coffee together and interact as if you were in the physical office. Anyone for awkward kitchen chat?

Education

My favourite area of the metaverse. Imagine immersing yourself in a world you’re learning about, like walking the streets of ancient Rome or landing on the moon.

This will be such a huge step in the education sector, especially for those who prefer a more visual experience when learning.

Meta has set aside $150 million dollars to train the next generation of creators to build immersive learning content. They are also creating a professional curriculum and certification process to make it easier to monetize.

Although the goal is social connection, Mark Zuckerberg wouldn’t create this if there wasn’t money to be made. So, how will the metaverse be monetized?

Commerce

With a rapidly growing ecosystem and billions of people loving their apps, Meta (or Facebook at the time of growth) knows how to make a thriving business and they plan to use this business methodology when building the metaverse.

They’ll continue to subsidise or sell devices at cost to make them largely available to everyone, continue to support sideloading and connect with PCs so developers have choice and options, rather than forcing them to use the Quest store.

The plans: Zuckerberg believes that if we all work together, within 10 years, there will be billions of people in the metaverse and it’ll host hundreds of billions of dollars of digital commerce.

Meta’s goal is to provide a way for as many creators as possible to build a business within the metaverse. Can you imagine visiting your favourite store at any time of day and night without leaving your home?

Along with stores, there will be learning experiences such as courses and huge worlds for you to step into.

Within the metaverse, you’ll be able to buy physical goods that will be delivered to your door along with digital goods for you to store in your virtual world such as clothes for your avatar to wear.

And in true Facebook (Meta) style it will be ads galore within the metaverse.

What can you and your brand do to make the most of the metaverse?

Currently, there’s not a huge deal you can do right now as the space is still in development, however, having a team ready to jump into the metaverse as soon as you can is crucial.

We’ve seen time and time before brands that jump onto new platforms first and start experimenting tend to be rewarded.

As mentioned above, Meta will be launching certifications and inputting a lot of money into training resources. Ensuring your team have the knowledge and skills asap will benefit you.

Plus, brands already looking into AR/VR will be in a much better place to get involved than those that haven’t.

Do you have products that can be sold within the metaverse? Homewear, clothes, art, jewellery, car – literally everything. Is there a way you can start your NFT process now?
Nike, for example, doesn’t miss a trick and has already filed new trademark applications for ‘Nike’, ‘Just Do It’, and the swoosh logo for virtual products.

Nike knows that in the future when the metaverse is booming, there will be plenty of Nike lovers who will want their avatars wearing Air Force 1s, their most popular trainer.

Finally, let’s not forget the power of ads within the metaverse. This will be a game-changer for all brands, and those who are most creative will win.

Read our post on the future of marketing for an insight into where we think the industry is moving next.

I highly recommend watching the entire keynote as it’s extremely interesting, just click here.

Or, here’s everything you need to know in 11 minutes.

Tags

Metaverse
Facebook
WhatsApp
oculus
Oculus VR
Virtual Reality
virtual world
augmented reality
marketing