Investing in the next wave of technology is always a gamble. To business owners just a few decades ago, the idea of developing a web presence seemed like a low priority, and perhaps even a waste of money, when compared to making investments in their brick-and-mortar establishments. Why spend precious budget dollars on technologies that seem so futuristic that they are barely even relevant in the present?
Fast forward to today, and now we understand how those businesses that leapt on the internet wave early rode that surge to astounding success, while those that lagged behind have mostly closed up shop. It’s the difference between Netflix and Blockbuster Video.
When we talk about the metaverse in its current form, it may seem vague and even irrelevant to your business model. But the clear trend toward deeply immersive technologies and entire lifestyles built around online interactions means that, someday very soon, the metaverse can and will be a household concept.
What is the metaverse?
Not long ago it seemed wonderous to be able to connect to the internet and load webpages on demand or download a smart phone app for use on the go. Today, this technology is old news. Users know how to browse the web, use applications, and consume content like it’s second nature. With this familiarity comes a sense that the massive expansion of the internet has peaked, and the novelty has worn off. Users are beginning to ask: What’s next?
Metaverse proponents want a newer, more interesting and immersive online experience than the one users have today. Think of waking up one morning and loading a virtual reality (VR) mobile app to show you, in real-time and life-sized proportions, what you should expect on your commute to work based on current traffic conditions. Or, imagine a world where frustrating, automated website bots have been replaced by seamless and helpful AI tools that can help customers find what they need at no additional cost to the business.
In a nutshell, the metaverse aims to blur the lines between technology and reality as they relate to our daily lives and online habits.
Will you be ahead of the wave, or are you going to wait and see? If you choose to step into the metaverse, here are a few ways you can expect the metaverse to change everything around us. And, with enough creativity, you can leverage metaverse principles in your application development strategies to stay ahead of the curve.
Plan your applications and web design for artificial intelligence.
You likely already use some artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning algorithms on your business platforms. Machine learning guides the advertisement results users get when interacting with applications, for example, while AI fine-tunes other aspects of the user experience.
So far, AI has been somewhat limited in its capacity. While impressive and useful, AI has yet to come into its own as the powerful and revolutionary technology it will soon be.
AI is already used to:
- Automate and simplify the programming process to allow non-programmers to use low-code or no-code platforms to develop applications
- Design microchips
- Create virtual worlds within video games
- Emulate natural human speech and writing
- Predict interest in products and services
Several new developments are already on the horizon. As you develop applications for the metaverse, expect AI and machine-learning technologies to influence nearly everything you do. In fact, every concept in this article will probably be combined with and enhanced by AI and machine learning in some ways we can predict now, and other ways we haven’t realized yet.
Embrace gamification and immersive technology.
Gamer culture isn’t something that most businesses outside of the gaming industry have put much thought into. However, video games are here to stay. Forward-thinking companies have already put together gamified apps and tools to hook users and create immersion while using services that have nothing to do with video games. When it comes to the metaverse, expect those existing gamification principles to escalate to a new level.
Imagine whole communities of your target customers gathered in game lobbies, surrounded by a digital environment carefully curated to encourage brand recognition and loyalty. Users can connect with each other and with your business, have an enjoyable experience, and leave the game feeling satisfied and more familiar with your company.
Interestingly, the gamification of business applications isn’t just great for consumers. Consider adopting video game formats for training your employees on new concepts or allowing them to collaborate in a familiar online setting.
As video game technology advances, expect the opportunities in this realm to become even more plentiful. Consider augmented reality, virtual reality, and whatever the next phase of super-immersive technology brings to the table as a prime opportunity for setting your business apart from the crowd.
Your employees’ VR avatars clustered around a virtual water-cooler, for example, can have nearly the same level of human-to-human interaction they would have in an office, but in the convenient remote environment of their choice. Take this example far enough, and you could replicate your office environment for your employees at home, boosting their collaboration and teamwork without having to maintain the overhead costs of a physical office.
Even better, gamifying work itself could help your employees become more efficient and goal-oriented. Many gamers dream about playing video games for work and clearing objectives from to-do lists with the satisfying reward system of a video game as motivation. Soon, this dream could be a reality.
If you think this sounds far-fetched, consider the hours that players pour into cooperative online games to accomplish objectives on a team, and then apply that idea to your own business’s objectives. Implemented correctly, gamified working environments could be a win-win for everyone involved.
Don’t underestimate the popularity of wearables.
Rather than requiring users to sign into a game and don a VR headset in order to join your virtual world, what about bringing your world into their daily lives?
Depending on your industry, you could create applications for wearable technology that stays with your customers wherever they go. There are numerous possibilities for companies in the healthcare, fitness, nutrition, and overall wellness fields to bring helpful wearables to market.
If you’re in another industry, you might need to be a bit more creative. Automobile manufacturers, for example, could include wearable rings or wristbands to unlock cars, recognize a user’s personal settings for the radio, heater, and seat adjustments, and make sure everything is ready to go as the wearer approaches.
Focus on intuitive interactions.
While it’s not exactly difficult to click on windows and scroll through pages, those actions are hardly relevant to our real-life experiences. In the early days, when browsing the web was a relatively unfamiliar phenomenon for young kids and previous generations, many people required computer classes to learn the basics.
With the advent of new and more advanced technologies, one hurdle to cross will be how to minimize the learning curve and make each development accessible and intuitive for new users. This is another realm where AI can help guide users through intuitive processes designed to teach complex concepts in an accessible manner.
Aim for seamless integrations.
Just as people in the real world can use their cars to travel to any building in a city, participants in the metaverse will want their experiences to be seamless as well. Work, commerce, and entertainment will all happen side-by-side in the metaverse, similar to how you can find an office building, a grocery store, and a movie theater in the same plaza in the physical world.
To make each transition seamless, business application developers will need to emphasize smooth and collaborative integrations with other businesses so there are no disruptive, inconvenient hiccups in the experience.
Promote brand loyalty with creative metaverse marketing.
Remember that virtual reality lobby filled with your potential customers? Make sure each virtual reality wall has a subtle logo banner and every loading screen gives helpful tips about how your business can solve problems.
With enough creativity and subtle marketing, users can be educated about your company’s services without having to sit through annoying advertisements or have their experience disrupted with irritating pop-ups.
Put your brand’s stamp on the metaverse.
Do you want to look into developing applications for the metaverse but aren’t quite sure yet where to begin with developing commercial software applications? AVI can help you put together the digital solutions that fit your idea of what the future should look like.