🌌 The Metaverse, Part 3
Issue #42 introduced the term Metaverse. The last issue gave an overview of a week's worth of reporting on the topic. Today, we finally look at sample opportunities.
In part one, I concluded that there are common themes among every attempt to describe the Metaverse:
- Diversity and interoperability
- Collaboration and interaction
- Personal and shared experiences
Due to the lack of a single definition and the variety of opinions about what the Metaverse actually is, it is unclear what these themes refer to. So let's look at the term itself. "Meta" means "beyond." That means to take a step back or to look at something from a different level. And this brings me to the analogy of "layers."
For me, layers above the real world help me think best about what the Metaverse can be or already is, and how opportunities can be identified. Some examples:
- Virtual Reality (VR) is a way to go if you want to create a 3D virtual world or a spatial representation of the real world. This is basically the "classic" approach based on Snow Crash and Ready Player One and is what the video game industry pushes.
- Augmented Reality (AR) is a way to enhance the real world with digital information. This ranges from glasses to mobile phones, to audio (who said that AR has to be visual?).
- The concept of Digital Twins can generally be used to create a digital copy of an entity. This is not restricted to VR or AR representations. Digital Twins are common in manufacturing, where they capture sensor data from the shop floor, for example.
- The Mobile Internet can be seen as an enabler for the Metaverse or being another layer, e.g. for collaborative experiences.
The layers are not mutually exclusive and can be combined as fit. Think of it like layers in an image manipulation app. Depending on what layers are active, the way they overlap and interact defines your view on or of the final image. For example, VR and Digital Twins point to your digital copy, your avatar. Whereas the Mobile Internet is a cornerstone for AR solutions.
With this in mind, let's look at some idea briefs after our journey around the Metaverse combined with other signals I caught up lately.
Brief 1 - Make commerce an experience. "Ecommerce took the social, experiential act of shopping and reduced it to transactions." This is a quote from Greg Isenberg on How to beat Amazon with your E-Commerce Company. Earlier this year, Marie Dollé wrote about Retailtainment: a deep dive into the new shopping experiences. Both articles are crammed full of ideas and inspiration, implicitly and explicitly targeting the Metaverse. What I would do: find small designers and creators and give them a novel way to let potential buyers experience their products. I'd most likely drill down further and focus on a single type of product. Digital art and music come to mind first. (Or food.)
Brief 2 - Interoperability of digital assets. If the Metaverse spans several gaming, VR or AR experiences, chances are that users want to appear similar in all of them. Sure, the big players might either build high walls around their gardens or lure you into these gardens with interop tooling of their own. Just read Matthew Ball's Interchange Tools + Standards and the Metaverse and Content, Services, and Asset Businesses in the Metaverse to get an idea. What I would do: find open platforms that use open asset standards or APIs to allow asset creation. Then offer a way to easily create assets for/ share across all these platforms. The solution can be "visual", i.e. an editor/ web app, or low-level as in "a conversion API."
Brief 3 - Digital Fashion. Funny enough, you can think of this as a melange of the two briefs above and the AR layer. And of course, Marie already wrote about it in Digital Fashion: experiencing what doesn’t exist and why it will rock your world! Or look at just one more example of AR fashion. What I would do: find one designer and collaborate with her/ him to solve a pain she/ he has. Yes, this does not scale initially. Which is a good starting point to create something great.
Now go create. The virtual world is yours.