The avatars join a reunion in virtual format, exemplified in Facebook’s presentation of the Metaverse, which rebranded itself as Meta in October.
Jumping into a virtual avatar to interact with friends and colleagues, shopping for clothes and digital accessories for avatars, and purchasing virtual plots for future development might seem wacky years ago, but these features are now available. . Welcome to the metaverse.
The name Metaverse came to light after Facebook announced in late October that the company was renaming the company to Meta to reflect its direction towards the Metaverse of helping people connect, find communities, and grow businesses.
The Metaverse is touted as the next iteration of the internet, supporting a decentralized and persistent online 3D virtual environment where people can engage with each other in an immersive experience.
This virtual space is accessible via virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality (AR) glasses, smartphones, PCs and game consoles.
Related use cases are under development in gaming, business, education, retail, and real estate.
The Metaverse brings together AR / VR developers, content creators, marketers and more to celebrate the momentum and growth of the industry, exploring what the Metaverse could present over the next decade, social connections to entertainment, games, fitness, work, education and commerce. .
Besides Facebook, other global tech giants like Microsoft, Tencent and Alibaba are making inroads into the metaverse, while Amazon and Google are reportedly keeping an eye on this development to find ways to get involved.
It remains to be seen how quickly the metaverse will gain crucial momentum, but businesses and individuals can explore new opportunities in this burgeoning internet trend.
Policymakers are supposed to monitor the phenomenon to prepare the infrastructure to support it as well as to fight against illegal activities capitalizing on this virtual world.
Akaradet Diawpanich, president of Cryptomind, a pioneer in digital asset financial services and investment product development, said the metaverse is part of the new internet wave called Web 3.0, which offers user-centric functionality. that allow people to carry their own identity and data across platforms.
This differs from the era of Web 2.0, in which platforms own user data while consumers have to register to create their own accounts on different platforms, he said. Web 1.0 involved people searching for information online.
The metaverse integrates blockchain, cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), open systems, and devices.
âMetaverse could gain momentum in 3 to 5 years,â Akaradet said. “Digital natives under the age of 15 could be the first to adopt this technology in the next three years.”
He said the metaverse is a digital world parallel to the physical world. Metaverse users can purchase branded digital clothing for their avatars or even virtual lands.
Users can try to find preferred virtual locations, such as the Silom region, Akaradet said.
One of the main metaverse platforms is The Sandbox, which provides gamers and creators with a decentralized platform to create immersive 3D worlds and gaming experience as well as to store, trade and monetize their creations.
Sandbox users secure property by producing virtual spaces and in-game items via NFTs and trading them using SAND cryptocurrency.
It is now expanding its commercial reach to fashion, architecture, virtual concerts, virtual shows and art galleries as well as virtual museums. The sandbox recently raised US $ 93 million from investors led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2.
Another potential player in the metaverse is the American gaming platform Roblox.
Roblox allows users to create, trade and use games themselves, while all transactions are done through its digital token, Robux. It averages 43 million users per day, bringing together a large number of digital natives.
South Korea’s Zepeto, a virtual social platform where users interact, play and create content as 3D avatars, has also caught the metaverse wave with popular global brands such as Gucci, Adidas and Ralph Lauren who have made a foray into the platform to sell digital clothing for avatars.
According to Mr. Akaradet, lifestyle brands can seize business opportunities in the metaverse by offering limited digital items for avatars, in which value can be added to the identity of users.
Southeast Asia, he said, could experience a metaverse boom. Vietnam already has a few metaverse game startups.
Thailand can capitalize on the metaverse wave through employment opportunities, Akaradet said, highlighting virtual land designers and developers, AR / VR savvy people, game developers, experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and NFT traders.
Investors should carefully study investments in digital assets to minimize risk, while individuals can catch up with the trend by requalifying and upgrading their skills, he said.
“The metaverse is a decentralized world that can provide opportunities for skilled Thais, especially in terms of marketing approaches. It is not like the past when Silicon Valley was at the heart of new innovations,” Akaradet said.
Policymakers and regulators should support sandbox systems where new products and services can be tested, rather than seeking control through licensing, he said.
Tuong Nguyen, senior senior analyst at global research firm Gartner, told Bangkok Post the metaverse is both exaggerated and real.
He said there was a lot of hype surrounding the metaverse after Facebook and other companies announced their focus on this trend.
Mr Nguyen sees the current state as an ’emerging metaverse’, which means it still doesn’t exist today, but rather gives a glimpse of what the metaverse might look like in the future.
âGiven the expected magnitude of this change, it will potentially introduce a new set of leaders, while displacing some from the previous era,â he said.
âCountries can start now by evaluating different use cases and applications of the metaverse to understand how it applies to their people and government. This includes related technologies and trends such as AI, advanced computing, AR / VR, and the Internet of Things. “
Mark Raskino, senior vice president analyst at Gartner, wrote on the Gartner blog that one day business will be conducted in a fully immersive 3D visual metaverse.
“Let’s call this phase of economic development a ‘metaversial enterprise’,” he said.
Referring to the metaverse trend, Group Managing Director Charoen Pokphand (CP) Suphachai Chearavanont told the Bangkok Post the company is studying this opportunity.
Mr. Suphachai said virtual reality is the next evolution in e-commerce.
The functionality of the metaverse is being developed by many gamers, but there is still a long way to go to understand user behavior online, he said.
“It is difficult to say which forms of metaverse will be successful,” Suphachai said.
âCP is trying to find a way, but we need to connect it to our Makro, Lotus and 7-Eleven stores in a way that would make us more competitive. “
Siam Piwat, owner and operator of Siam Paragon, Siam Center and Siam Discovery shopping malls, recently announced their parallel global strategy, including an upcoming app that will integrate the offline and online worlds, giving customers access to new shopping experiences.
The company has a plan to evolve into the Metaverse in the future, aimed at making deeper connections between the physical and virtual worlds.
Pairoj Waiwanijchakij, vice president of VVR Asia, an AR / VR and mixed reality solutions provider, said the AR-based metaverse is expected to gain momentum in three years, while the VR-based metaverse shines. in 10 years.
The metaverse will be a boon for user engagement, leading to e-commerce sales opportunities, Mr. Pairoj said.
“The metaverse will change the economic, political, social and cultural spheres,” he said.
Metaverse virtual assets will have increasing value, with no physical limits to purchase and ownership, Pairoj said.
âThe Metaverse will unlock the constraints of the physical world which has finite resources, such as land and property,â he said.
The metaverse creates new mediums, such as designers and developers of new features in this virtual world.
“This is a major development for which we must prepare,” said Mr Pairoj. “It can happen faster than we think. It can pose challenges in terms of consumer protection, justice and anarchism.”
Pathom Indarodom, a member of the Creative Digital Economy Committee of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the metaverse is taking shape because there is a complete ecosystem, encompassing blockchain, cryptocurrency, 5G and digital natives.
It could take at least three years to develop the Alpha Generation and make VR glasses costing around $ 100 to support the Metaverse experience, he said.
People need more affordable devices, Pathom said.
He said companies should think about creating their own metaverse platforms, while policymakers should open the door for the private sector to move the metaverse forward.
The government should support sandbox programs to test metaverse-related technology and watch out for scams and other suspicious activity, Pathom said.
âA user can be a good person on one metaverse platform, but can be a bad guy on another,â he said. âWe can have our own metaverse ecosystem rather than relying on foreign global platform operators. Otherwise, it will be the same as the huge spending we are currently making on foreign social media giants. “
When the metaverse grows, it will create a new virtual world alongside the physical world, Mr Pathom said. Businesses can create “digital articles” that can be used in the metaverse, he said.
The metaverse should not be created in a closed system, Mr Pathom said.
âIt has to be created in an open system to be successful,â he said.