The metaverse will have a big impact on every sector in the coming years. Image: UNSPLASH/Muhammad Asyfaul
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- The metaverse will be positive for business, according to most respondents to an Accenture survey.
- It will be “breakthrough” or “transformational”, 42% say.
- This reimagining of the internet is one of four tech trends identified by Accenture.
- The metaverse will be worth more than $1 trillion in annual revenues, according to JP Morgan.
- Many companies are already embracing it, including Disney, Gucci and Warner Bros.
The metaverse: while some of us are still coming to terms with the idea that we’re likely to spend increasing amounts of time in a 3D version of the internet, companies are already scrambling to define the space, carve out their niche, and even snap up virtual real estate.
The shift to the metaverse is likely to have a positive business impact, according to 71% of respondents to an Accenture survey, and 42% say it will be “breakthrough” or “transformational.”
The metaverse will infiltrate every sector in the coming years, culminating in a market opportunity worth more than $1 trillion in annual revenues, according to JP Morgan. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta says the metaverse will be “the biggest opportunity for modern business since the creation of the internet”. He has outlined plans to spend more than $10 billion on developing virtual reality software and hardware.
“While we are at the early days of the metaverse, it will advance very quickly,” Accenture’s Chief Executive Officer Julie Sweet and Chief Technology Officer Paul Daugherty say in the report. “If companies don’t act now, they’ll find themselves operating in worlds designed by, and for, someone else.”
The business of the metaverse
Advances in technology are becoming more reliable than economic, political or social trends in informing businesses’ long-term strategy, say almost all the global executives surveyed.
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Disney has patented metaverse technology for its theme parks. Meanwhile, Warner Bros hosted a party in Roblox to celebrate its musical film, In the Heights, and Gucci has constructed a garden experience in the metaverse.
And there’s a reason these companies are all piling in: money. A digital version of Gucci’s Dionysus Bag created for the Roblox marketplace sold for over $4,000 – more than the price of the real version.
How is the World Economic Forum ensuring the responsible use of technology?
AI and other tech trends
The reimagining of the internet in this way is one of four major tech trends identified in Accenture's report. The others are augmented reality taking hold, the rising risk of malicious AI use – in particular to create deep fakes or to spread disinformation – and “next generation” computing, like quantum computing.
Vail Ski Resort in the US state of Colorado is another example cited by the report as offering a vision of what’s to come. The resort has built a digital twin mirroring the physical mountain, with details of snowfall and years of weather data. This, alongside investments in remote monitoring and automatic snow machines, helps the resort’s managers to increase the predictability of skiing conditions and could eventually let them extend the typical season.
The metaverse and related innovations are transforming the fundamentals of the virtual world, the Accenture report says.
“Now is the time for companies to decide the role that they will play,” it adds. “If they want to be part of the wave, or merely watch how it plays out.”
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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