WEB 3.0 AND THE METAVERSE
We know that Web 3.0, the third generation evolution of web technologies, will be a semantic, block-chain-based web underpinned by privacy, decentralisation, cryptocurrency and AI. The Metaverse is a fundamental component of this insane development, which is still in its infancy. While several definitions of Web 3.0 and the Metaverse exist, everybody agrees on one thing – they complement each other. So despite differences such as the Metaverse being initially closed-source and built using VR, not HTML, one will rely on the other very much.
WHAT IS THE METAVERSE?
That is a good question. The term was first coined in Neil Stevenson’s 1982 novel, Snow Crash, a virtual place where characters could go to escape dreary, totalitarian reality. Fast-forward more than 30 years to the release of Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, a movie set in an open and shared virtual world. Users could be whoever they want and do whatever they want via their avatars. And that about sums up the Metaverse, a multi-user online environment that merges physical reality with virtual reality. The Metaverse also emphasises 3D social connection. To help you understand what ‘metaverse’ means, replace it with ‘cyberspace’ in any sentence. Most of the time, the sentence will retain its original meaning. The Metaverse doesn’t refer to any specific technology but rather how we interact with technologies. Deborah Lovich, MD of the Boston Consulting Group, says of its imminence:
“Within a couple of years, we’ll see a massive adoption and uptake. It’s just a matter of time.”
HOW WILL WE USE IT?
If you are still a little bamboozled about how the Metaverse will manifest itself, here are some concrete examples showing how we will apply the technology in our daily lives:
- online shopping, marketplace, and e-commerce
- refining work output
- social media
- digital assets such as NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)
- concerts, social and entertainment events
A MASSIVE ECONOMY
The Metaverse is a work in progress. In 2019, Facebook debuted its social VR world, Horizon, while the technologies have been integrated into modern internet-enabled video games for some time now. Second Life, first released in 2003, is an online multimedia platform that enables people to create an avatar and then interacts with other users and user-created content within a multi-player online virtual world. Perhaps the first virtual world containing avatars, Second Life has an annual online economy worth $650 million. In addition, Fortnite, popular with Gen Z, generated $5 billion in revenue in 2020. Clearly, when it comes to the Metaverse, money talks. Other popular monetised applications include Pokémon Go and Roblox, which have 50 million daily users and 24 million digital experiences, making them a gateway to a fully immersive Metaverse experience.
SAME BUT DIFFERENT
Web 3.0 and the Metaverse are not the same things. Instead, the Metaverse is a subset of our new web. Being underpinned by blockchain and decentralisation, Web 3.0 is much more secure than its predecessors, making it more difficult for hackers to target specific databases. It is, therefore, the perfect companion for the Metaverse, for which privacy and online safety are both concerns. However, two fundamental differences between Web 3.0 and the Metaverse are apparent when you consider the target and application:
- As a target, Web 3.0 is a blockchain-controlled, peer-to-peer network facility, while the Metaverse is a world facility that uses VR and AR (Augmented Reality).
- From an applications perspective, Web 3.0 is a democratic, permissionless network, while the Metaverse focuses specifically on virtual gaming, health surgery, 3D training, and social events.
At a basic level, it is a new way for people to use the internet by transforming it from 2D to 3D.
THE IMPACT ON BUSINESS
The Metaverse promises to be such a powerful online technology that Facebook rebranded as ‘Meta’ in October 2021. The social media giant has hired 10,000 people to work on developing the Metaverse, thereby boosting the American economy by $50 million every year. In addition, apple is going all in on AR, an endeavour that will probably transform our use of smartphones. Put simply, the Metaverse means big business. As Web 3.0 authority Cathy Hackl says:
“When someone says $800 billion or $1 trillion by 2024, that’s possible, especially when you start to look at commerce beyond just virtual-to-virtual commerce but thinking of physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-physical commerce and unlocking those at scale.”
The Metaverse will offer endless interactive experiences and marketing opportunities for businesses. Coca-Cola recently collaborated with Fortnite, launching a “flavour born in the metaverse” mini-game. Nikeland opened in Roblox last year, while in 2020, 12 million people attended a single virtual concert by rapper Travis Scott, hosted in Fortnite. There are no rules. As Deborah Lovich emphasised to business leaders:
“If you’re trying to reach an audience of 15-30-year-olds, they’re probably not on the internet or on social media anymore; they’re probably in the Metaverse.”
GETTING YOU READY
We are entering a new online world that is rapidly evolving and one which will undoubtedly bring both joy and worry. With over 20 plus years of experience in professional business IT, I am here to help your IT and your business transform and be ready for Web 3.0 and the Metaverse. But, of course, both will come with cybersecurity challenges. As an expert and best-selling author in the field, I can advise you on strategies to keep your data safe and secure. So contact me today, and together, let’s prepare for what the future will bring.