Dr. Pero Mićić

Suddenly everyone is talking about the metaverse

It is supposed to be nothing less than the next Internet. The next big thing. They say that we will go to concerts and meet friends there, in the Metaverse. That we’ll work in the Metaverse, that we’ll make a living making digital products and providing digital services. That we’ll be able to travel into history to witness, say, the storming of the Bastille. Like on the holodeck. Or into the future to experience scenarios of life in 2050. That we can have experiences beyond our imagination in virtual space. Is that realistic? Will it really happen?
What threats and what opportunities does the metaverse bring for you professionally and for your business? Hear my answers to these questions now.

The next big thing?

If you see the Metaverse as a gimmick, you’re making the same mistake as those who dismissed the Internet as a nerdy gimmick in the 1990s. In fact, if even a part of it becomes real, it will be one of THE greatest human-made things in history! Then it will dramatically expand the boundaries of our lives. Then it will create new markets with trillions in sales and value. And with it, more prosperity and quality of life. For all.

Yes, it will also bring new dangers. More about that later.

If it’s said that two-thirds of today’s children will work in professions and jobs we don’t know about today, then a good portion of them will be created in the metaverse. No matter what profession you have or what business you are in. Now is the time to understand the Metaverse, to classify it, and to take the first actions.

Where can I see the metaverse already?

Since the 1970s, it has been clear to technology visionaries that there will one day be something like the Metaverse. The metaverse is just emerging. But all its elements are already there.

One of the most famous virtual worlds is Fortnite. Millions of users attended a single Ariana Grande[1] concert there, for example. Of course, you can play in Fortnite, but that was only the first step. Fortnite is already getting pretty close to the Metaverse, because they have made it possible for their users to interact with users of other platforms as well.

Or take the city of Seoul in South Korea: they have started to build a Metaverse platform for public administration. Yes, you hear that right, public administration as a Metaverse experience for citizens. The first events took place back in September 2021[2[3][4] .

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, runs “Horizon Workrooms,” which, the name says it all, is meat to be a work environment. And Horizon Home is the virtual home. In effect, the dream home you’ve always wanted, virtually for free, just virtual[5].

The CEO of Microsoft recently gave his keynote in Altspace VR. Already today, anyone can collaborate with colleagues in a virtual world in Microsoft TEAMS[6].

NVidia is investing heavily in software for their version of the Metaverse, which they call Omniverse. This allows companies to design, simulate and optimize their factories, plants and sales floors.

But the real future of the Metaverse is best demonstrated by Decentraland. That’s because it belongs to the users, not to a traditional centralized company that retains 100% of the revenue, like Facebook. It’s basically an artificially intelligent cooperative. Decentraland is based on a DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization. It’s effectively a code-only company. Decentraland is technically based on an Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts. These are the rules and the processes by which the organization operates. The rules are designed by the users. Completely democratically. And because the rules are blockchain-protected, there can be no misconduct. It is then not don’t be evil, it is simply can’t be evil. It’s impossible to behave evil even if you wanted to[7][8][9][10][11]. Fascinating!

What exactly is the Metaverse?

The Internet is flat. It hides in the screens and displays. The Internet is 2D, but we are made for a 3D life. The Metaverse will make it possible for us to truly be IN the Internet not just at it. Just as today you go from one website to another with one click, in the Metaverse you go from one virtual world to another. It feels like teleporting, or more simply, beaming. So the metaverse is not one virtual world, but many interconnected virtual worlds. Hence the word meta.

In a broader sense, the metaverse also includes the digital virtual layer that is placed over our real world. irtual reality plus augmented or mixed reality.

Today, we look at our smartphones when we walk through an unfamiliar city. In the future, but only if we want to, we will look out into the world again with smart glasses and see everything we want to know at the moment, added as a digital layer onto the real world.

Even if you don’t want to go into the virtual metaverse, you will hardly get past the metaverse in the future because it will also come to us in our real world[12].

You can also use the MV with a normal screen. But the real three-dimensional experience we will have only with headsets and smart glasses. In some situations also with full body suits to be able to physically experience the virtual reality.

Do I think we’ll spend our days in the future with clunky displays right in front of our eyes? No, of course not. We’ll dive in when we want to or when we need to. And headsets will be much smaller and lighter.

Why should I take the Metaverse seriously?

There are two main reasons:

1. We now have all the building blocks for the metaverse

We now have the computing power, the bandwidth, the AI, the software, the blockchains, and the smart contracts to create the metaverse. And there is a massive investment in infrastructure.

Today, the visualizations of the experiences are already amazingly lifelike. The boundaries between reality and virtuality are disappearing in the coming Metaverse.

If you’ve seen the movie Lionking, you’ve seen how lifelike the Metaverse will be in the future. Lionking was created in Unity, a development platform for virtual worlds[13]. The Mandalorian series was produced on the Unreal Engine by Epics Games, which also powers Fortnite[14].

2. Now big and important companies are investing billions in the Metaverse

You may not be familiar with virtual world developers and providers like Epic Games, Immersive Tech, Roblox, Matterport or Unity. But names like Facebook, now Meta, Microsoft, Alphabet and Google, Apple, Amazon, SAP, NVidia, Disney, those you know.

Each of these companies is already investing billions and billions over the next few years to make the metaverse a reality and to play a central role in it. And not just because they want to grow. But also because some of them have really big things to lose. Facebook and Instagram could go under as social networks if they miss the Metaverse.
Apple wants and needs a successor to the iPhone. An Apple headset for VR and/or AR has long been in development. Apple’s AR Creation Tools provide the software to create your own virtual world as part of the Metaverse.

And, of course, Amazon won’t miss the chance to create virtual shopping worlds.

Even the old companies like Siemens, BMW, Daimler [15] , all the big industrial companies have been developing their products and business with virtual and augmented reality for years. All of this will be part of the Metaverse.

What dangers will the Metaverse bring?

The Metaverse will be fantastically seductive. And that is at the same time one of the greatest dangers. The more perfect the experience becomes in a virtual world, the greater the danger of addiction. If I can be the beloved, strong, successful hero in the virtual world, who can experience a new fantastic adventure every hour. If I am eternally young there. And if in the real world, at the same time, I lead an average life. Or even worse, a difficult life full of problems and conflicts and illness. Then why should I live in the real world at all? Why should I have a partner? Why have children at all? So it may come to pass that the metaverse will lead us into a very different society. In the long run, we will find solutions for this. But until then? It’s a real danger.

Social media has changed our societies and politics in ways we couldn’t have imagined at first. Without Facebook, Trump probably wouldn’t have become president, the UK would still be in the EU, and mistrust among each other wouldn’t be so great. Mind you: The political indicator of a threat of civil war is frighteningly high in the U.S. right now. Unimaginable. If the experiences in the metaverse become even more emotional, it will either drive humanity into chaos, or we will tame the harmful through regulation and truth technologies like blockchains, smart contracts, and NFTs. Appealing to the good in people won’t be enough.

How will the Metaverse change your business?

Just like the Internet 1.0 and then 2.0. It brings threats for those who realize it too late and it brings great opportunities for those who join in early. Mind you, not as early as possible, but in time.

It is almost certain that while you are listening to me now, several teams somewhere in this world are working to bring exactly your industry and business into the metaverse.

In engineering, you will design and test your machines in MV first, before you manufacture the machine. Digital twins are just the beginning. Each physical machine is then just a copy of the digital original. What each machine learns through its application will be sent to the digital original, which will be continuously improved.

In the real estate business, the digital original will be authoritative from the moment the idea for a building is conceived, the construction and for the entire operating period. BIM, building information modeling, is also just the beginning. And you can already be amazed at how many millions are already being paid for virtual properties today. Incredible, but true.

If you run a bakery, you will be able to use artificially intelligent bots from the metaverse in sales. And progressive artisan businesses will train their apprentices and employees using the Metaverse.

The virtual experience, selection and shopping of real as well as digital products will shape the future of retail.

If you’re a trainer, coach or teacher, you’ll see how the MV can create much more effective experiences that people know will help them learn more easily and successfully. And for psychotherapists it will open up entirely new possibilities for therapies, for example, for all kinds of phobias, starting with arachnophobia.

Just as virtually every industry today is dealing with Internet 1 and 2, in the future every industry will be on Web 3 and thus in the metaverse. If your gut says that’s nonsense, it’s not because it’s really nonsense, but because you probably haven’t had enough experience with virtual reality.

What should I do now?

Nobody knows exactly how fast the metaverse will develop. But for sure it will be exponential and therefore faster than most believe. Therefore:

1. Step: Educate yourself extensively about it – now. Watch the videos and read the articles I linked to in the description.
2. Step: Experience it: it’s high time you and your team spend a few hours experimenting with virtual reality and augmented reality. Get VR headsets for everyone on the leadership team.

3. Timing: Put the MV in the right future horizon for your business.
Horizon 0 is your day-to-day business. That which you probably spend too much time on.
In horizon 1, you are strengthening your current business.
In horizon 2, you are building future business.
In horizon 3, you develop opportunities.
For most businesses today, the metaverse will be in Horizon 3. For some in Horizon 2, for a few in Horizon 1.

Nowadays, everyone is overworked, no one is short of tasks. Therefore, there is a risk that you put the Metaverse in Horizon 3 only because your comfort zone signals you that you don’t have time to specifically take care of it right now. This is how tragic failure usually starts. Therefore, get over yourself and apply rational criteria.

If the MV is on horizon 3 for you in your industry, fine. Then the goal is to get informed and develop visionary opportunities with your team without time pressure. You don’t really have to implement anything yet.

If it’s on horizon 2, assign two people to research, have conversations to identify the biggest opportunities, work them out and test them in practice. Get regular reports.

If you’re putting the Metaverse on Horizon 1, that is, if you believe it can help you strengthen and grow your business today, it takes an ambitious goal and a dedicated project team.

4. Investment: Invest now.
Now is also the time to invest in businesses that will benefit from the Metaverse. Today the opportunities are the greatest. So, of course, is the risk. The companies I have linked to in the description are also listed publicly to a good extent. I have linked to two publicly traded funds that invest in the future Internet and the Metaverse with more diversification. With a long-term investment horizon, of course. Take at least ten years. Mind you: Don’t use this as an investment advice.

Do you want to explore your opportunities with the Metaverse and other future technologies systematically?

Do you want to make your business future-proof as a whole? We have developed our FUTURE STRATEGY PROGRAM exactly for this purpose. Especially for small companies. Let’s talk about whether this is also something for you.

By the way, if you want to find new future opportunities for your company, systematically and solidly, let’s talk about how we can do it together. It’s easy and affordable even for small businesses, it’s fun, and it can take your business into a whole new successful era. That’s been my mission and our mission for 30 years.

I wish you a bright future. Have a bright future!

X


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[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiM0moNk74o&ab_channel=ArianaGrande

[2] https://ada-magazin.com/de/metaverse-in-suedkorea-die-digitale-stadt

[3] https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20211103002700315

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnqC2zLtya0

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgj50IxRrKQ

[6] https://altvr.com/

[7] https://decentraland.org/

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5-QaCq9mh8

[9] https://market.decentraland.org/lands

[10] https://dao.decentraland.org/en/

[11] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5-QaCq9mh8

[12] https://youtu.be/uVEALvpoiMQ

[13] https://youtu.be/7TavVZMewpY

[14] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srAXcBP_u8w

[15] https://www.daimler.com/innovation/produktinnovation/technologie/fahrsimulator.html