The challenges and opportunities with the Metaverse

CTO at HealthKey Technologies† IT executive, thought leader and contributing writer with a passion for innovative technologies.

It is often said that challenges are opportunities in disguise. Indeed, this mantra applies to the metaverse, where many challenges present huge opportunities for both consumers and businesses.

The metaverse is being touted as a phenomenal new, highly immersive experience and as the “successor to the mobile web,” going beyond our current two-dimensional experience of browsing, viewing, working, socializing, and interacting with others. Some see it as an embodied or updated version of the Internet.

To clarify, the metaverse is usually a user experience generated by devices and tools such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and haptic gears that allow the perception of users’ body movement and response to the experience. Moreover, the metaverse is formed by the software platforms that enable the creation of those experiences.

With the metaverse market value estimated at $758.6 billion by 2026, it cannot be ignored. Companies compete to create metaverse platforms as well as what can be called the operating system of the metaverse. Obviously, no vendor will own the metaverse, and many vendors are competing for devices, tools, and delivery platforms.

In addition to cybersecurity and privacy issues, this article will focus on three critical challenges facing the metaverse. Without addressing these three challenges, the metaverse might not succeed as a mainstream platform and could become a niche technology that mainly serves the game industry.

Platform Interoperability

The lack of interoperability and uniformity between the different metaverse platforms is one of the biggest challenges.

The HTML protocol acted as a connecting framework to enable the Internet. You can surf the web from any browser and from any device, all thanks to HTML. A similar protocol is desperately needed to facilitate the movement of users between metaverses and devices.

The alternative has a few dominant players with integration protocols or APIs, such as the dominance of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android operating systems. Despite having different devices, users can still exchange information and interact with each other. Content and app makers can deliver their products on both platforms with minimal effort. The metaverse devices and platforms should provide such capabilities to both users and content providers.

Usefulness and ease of use for consumers

Usability will come mostly from ease of use, and usability will come from the different content and apps that consumers can experience in multiple metaverses.

For consumers, usability means it’s worth spending their time and money playing, buying and interacting with content and collaborating with others in the metaverse. Since the metaverse currently requires expensive and not so easy to set up AR/VR tools, this will limit the metaverse to a smaller consumer segment.

However, these consumers could potentially be the more affluent and tech-savvy segment that is highly desirable for many businesses. Clearly there needs to be more content and apps that generate value for consumers, and this presents an opportunity for many industry verticals to provide usability.

Value for companies

Businesses would need to extract value from the metavers to succeed. For this to happen, businesses of all industries need to research this new platform and, at a minimum, explore it as a new delivery and interactive channel in an omnichannel delivery architecture, similar to how businesses use the internet, social media, or smart speakers to communicate. . with or supply their products to customers.

A prime example is how we’ve seen fast food chains set up “stores” in the metaverse, mostly just to be there and let customers order real food in a virtual world delivered to their physical doors.

How the metaverse should evolve

Early successful opportunities for businesses and consumers are already there in the gaming and fitness industry. However, other industries can create valuable user experiences and products.

For example, the healthcare and medical sectors have a great opportunity to provide extremely enhanced telemedicine experiences and better access to healthcare that overcomes geographic limitations. The metaverse offers the opportunity to create what is known as the digital twin of a body organ or even an entire human body in a 3D format that would allow for surgery as well as diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Metaverse implementations are already successful in medical education and training.

The publishing and entertainment industries also have opportunities that will undoubtedly provide unique experiences in the metaverse. In addition to blockchain and NFTs that shift power from publishers to authors and musicians by protecting publishers’ rights, the metaverse offers a huge opportunity to create uniquely immersive experiences. Consider how to deliver live concerts, shows and sporting events through immersive experiences with remote participants who are fully involved in the events. Other entertainment modes such as movies can also provide immersive, interactive, unique and exalted experiences.

When viewed as an additional delivery channel, the metaverse can offer more than just regenerating existing content onto the new platform. It provides the ability to recreate an interactive version of the content, immersing and engaging the users in the content.

This is an extremely important point in the creative process of generating content that is relevant, competitive and unique to the metaverse. It should be powered and guided by an interactive user design experience. The design should emphasize activities with the environment and with external devices that enhance the immersive experience.

The metaverse is still evolving, and some argue that it is still in its infancy. We are far from integrated or low-dominant metaverse platforms with a rich array of useful apps and devices. The technology is still evolving with many challenges. However, this should not stop companies from experimenting and exploring content and services on these platforms. There will be tremendous learning experiences that will enable companies to be ready for this platform with the ability to turn the challenges into great future value.

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