Bloomberg estimates that the metaverse market may grow to $800 billion by 2024, and Facebook has changed its name to Meta to capitalize on this looming technology. The metaverse is a collection of immersive online technologies that include virtual reality, augmented reality and interactive video.
At the corporate level, CIOs are also taking note of metaverse, but most CIOs are adopting a wait-and-see approach, and instead are focusing their efforts on more deployments of artificial intelligence to aid in innovation and digitalization.
SEE: Quick glossary: Metaverse (TechRepublic Premium)
Nevertheless, it’s not too early to visualize how metaverse technology could transform corporate business processes, and even how companies conduct business. The key, as it is with most new technologies, is to look at where metaverse technology is already working.
Here are some practical business use case examples:
Furniture companies are enabling customers to drop pieces of furniture into virtual representations of their homes to see how the furniture will fit; real estate companies are conducting virtual walkthrough tours of homes for sale; and clothing retailers are letting their customers virtually try on shoes and garments before they purchase. In all cases, the virtual visualizations enable customers to try out the merchandise in a virtual universe before they buy the physical items.
Digital twins, which are computer programs that use real world data to create virtual simulations that can predict how a product or process will perform, are being used in new product design, the modeling of manufacturing processes and in aerospace flight simulations. The simulations save time spent in developing and trying out physical models and can predict fail points in models and processes that can be corrected digitally and architecturally before they are ever created physically.
SEE: Why a safe metaverse is a must and how to build welcoming virtual worlds (TechRepublic)
Virtual reality is being used for therapeutic pain management in medicine. By placing a motion-sensing VR headset on a patient, the patient is able to enter a 360-degree virtual world that distracts his or her mind away from the pain. With VR, the patient can interact with his or her virtual world.
Augmented reality is being used in construction and architecture projects to foresee (and circumvent) clashes that can occur between design and actual construction. The AR superimposes a 3D model of a proposed design onto an existing space using mobile devices and 3D models.
IT’s next step in the metaverse
Although the metaverse is still a futuristic concept for most CIOs, there is benefit in examining the existing use cases where metaverse has already demonstrated value. It is possible that some of these use cases can be applied to business problems in the enterprise, such as new product design.
In other cases, the metaverse is central to the company’s main line of business, such as online gaming companies.
In all cases, CIOs and data architects should be thinking about the role that big data plays.
This data will need to be carefully prepared so it is of high quality. It will need to be integrated with systems of records and business processes. And it will need to be carefully curated so that the metaverse models that use it are dependable and replicable in performance.
In the short term, big data’s primary value will continue to be in analytics and AI—but it’s not too early to be thinking about the metaverse as big data’s next new thing.