The shared virtual worlds making up the metaverse hold great potential for brand new human-to-human and human-to-brand experiences. From fashion and lifestyle industries to healthcare, the metaverse is expanding the limits of everything from brand experience to healthcare quality.
Have you heard of the metaverse? It’s defined as a shared, persistent virtual space accessible by anyone in the world. The metaverse does not refer to one single technology, but rather a broader concept encapsulating the integration of physical with digital lives, through using multiple technologies both hardware and software, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
Organisations have jumped on board the metaverse vision, with many across different industries developing technology or services that can operate in it, and Facebook renaming their parent company to Meta in a nod to the metaverse and to highlight the company’s vision to provide the infrastructure for the metaverse.
Countless articles, podcasts and even celebrities have come forward expressing their thoughts on the potential of all these emerging technologies to shape the future of how humans interact with each other and with technology, but much fewer articles highlight some of the real-world use cases of metaverse tech that are already in place.
Here are some recent real-world use cases of the early metaverse technologies:
Fashion and luxury players go big on virtual fashion experiences
Generation Z and later millennials have been researched to spend the most time on their screens per day out of all generations. The younger consumers also have a different mindset towards fashion, dressing to express their individuality as opposed to dressing to conform to certain standards of prestige.
Brands such as Gucci are leveraging metaverse worlds to showcase their collections. Gucci, in 2021, marked its 100th anniversary by unveiling the Gucci Garden, an immersive space on Roblox, where visitors’ avatars absorb elements of the exhibition as they explore the different rooms and spaces in the virtual space.
More recently in March this year, a Metaverse Fashion Week was launched on virtual real estate platform Decentraland. Digital fashion collections from brands like Dolce & Gabbana were showcased, with a luxury shopping arena selling both digital and physical items too.
Metaverse Entertainment and the Music Industry
Musicians like Justin Bieber, Travis Scott and Ariana Grande have hosted digital metaverse converts on metaverse gaming platform Fortnite during 2020-2021 when the world was largely in and out of strict Covid-19 restrictions. These events served as a platform to connect with fans when physical global tours were not possible.
These virtual concerts allow artists to engage directly with their audience in ways never previously imagined possible, through highly-customised virtual experiences not limited by physical limitations of venue capacity, venue architecture, and logistics, which hence allows for new entertainment experiences.
Metaverse and optimising healthcare experiences
Augmented Reality (AR), one of the key pillars of technology enabling the metaverse, is already being tested in healthcare use cases. With the help of AR, a vein viewer has been developed to easily identify veins and produce better visualisations of veins to medics.
In 2021, it was found that the developed system is capable of detecting veins accurately and would assist medical personnel for improved venipuncture. This helps to solve current problems of incorrect venipunctures, which hence helps to reduce patients’ unnecessary pain and chances of infection, thus improving the patient experience.
Did you know that there’s also already technology to improve patient care in the operating room? Virtual reality surgical platform EchoPixel allows surgeons to identify anatomy and enhance detailed medical images in real-time.
The technology helps to improve understanding of 3D anatomic relationships, which is a challenge the medical industry currently faces as it works mainly with 2D views, which can lead to procedure complications and inefficiencies.
With metaverse technology creating holographic experiences, this improves the situational awareness and anatomical understanding for physicians.
Metaverse and the Advertising Industry: Expanding brand experience
The metaverse also increases the range of marketing opportunities brands have, allowing for more immersive marketing experiences which may hence increase advertising effectiveness. Apart from virtual billboards in virtual worlds, metaverse advertising could also see a brand craft a customised digital experience to engage with their brand community.
Marketing to an attention-scarce world, having the metaverse at brands’ disposal means that brands can now deliver a fuller brand experience that encompasses visual, audio and potentially touch, multi-sensory experiences that can grab consumers’ attention more than a traditional ad or paid social media campaign.
A recent example of this was shoe brand Vans’ “Vans World” skatepark experience in the Roblox metaverse, where Vans allowed users to create their own style and build their own skateboard in the metaverse. Vans World players could practice skate tricks with friends, try on and buy exclusive Vans merchandise through the online store, and create their unique avatar identity too.
Here’s why this is so exciting: such moments make for much more authentic brand exposure, where consumers ‘consume’ the brand through ways that do not stick out oddly in their lives: brand moments are mixed into gameplay and function as ads in very natural places such that they do not feel like ads.
Decentralised networking in the Metaverse clubhouse
Another already existing use case of the metaverse is in private clubs. Private member clubs have taken to virtual worlds, launching private clubs to connect changemakers and web 3 leaders all over the world, as opposed to connecting members within the same physical location.
This marks the rise of decentralised, global elite community building, where membership grants one exclusive access to a wider international network pool, compounding the perks of real-world private member clubs.
For these clubs, membership comes in the form of NFT ownership. Clubs such as Figment Country Club, or The Wolf Club are such examples of this.
Such clubs have strict requirements for screening new members to join these virtual communities, maintaining the exclusivity found in real-world club memberships still. In addition, some of these metaverse clubs may have phygital elements such as real-life clubhouses and events too from time to time for members in the same region to do some real-life networking.
Club membership can also become a basis of passive income for members through play-to-earn models or leasing out the NFT memberships, which is something traditional real-world memberships do not offer.