Jennifer walks into her new office, where she has taken the role of a plant maintenance engineer. She meets her HR manager and completes the onboarding formalities. She is assigned mandatory training modules on equipment maintenance and safety and security procedures. She gets into a training room and goes through hands-on training programs with an expert guiding her. After the training is over, she walks to the lobby, where she meets John, her new boss, the plant manager. He is about to join a meeting to discuss an issue in one of their plants. He invites Jennifer to the meeting. There seems to be a machine failure in the plant. So both John and Jennifer decide to go to the plant to inspect what caused the failure and troubleshoot the issue. It was a long day for Jennifer, and she wanted to take a break. She picks up her running shoes and goes to the park for a jog. Once done, she visits the supermarket and orders the grocery for her dinner to end her day.
What if Jennifer could do all these just being in one place without a need to leave her home or office?
Welcome to Metaverse!
Metaverse is a digital experience that aims to provide the user with a higher level of immersion and interactivity with virtual objects in a distributed and decentralized environment. Think of it as a digital replica of the respective physical environment or a totally imaginary world, or a combination of both wherein one can explore, interact and experience objects as if they were real. At the core, metaverse offers freedom to the users and enables them to have a better experience by leveraging multiple technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, Blockchain, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), etc.
There are many definitions and interpretations of Metaverse used in the industry. One such definition describes it well. It is from the Metaverse expert, William Burns III, in his modern definition of Metaverse. He defines Metaverse as “a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet”.
Reimagining business operations using metaverse
With the growing popularity of metaverse and its ecosystem, many research firms and analysts have come out with wide applicability of the metaverse for enterprises. Enterprises can, across all business functions, deploy metaverse applications and improve overall efficiencies.
Some global leaders like Walmart are using the metaverse to reimagine their consumer experience. They have designed a metaverse of their store along with a virtual AI shopping assistant. Nike built Nikeland, where users create their own avatars, buy virtual goods and indulge in different sports activities. BMW, in partnership with Siemens and NVIDIA, is creating a digital twin for their factory with realistic visualization of the factory operations in a virtually simulated environment. Honda and Ford have deployed VR for their design prototyping process.
Metaverse is still in an exploratory phase, but the initiatives taken by some of the global leaders indicate the huge potential it has for enterprise adoption. The global market size of the metaverse is expected to reach $5 trillion by 2030, and it is expected that more than 15% of this revenue is going to be contributed by enterprises in their metaverse adoption, according to the report ‘Value creation in the metaverse’ by Mckinsey.
Enterprise guide for metaverse adoption
With the world slowly moving into Web 3.0, many reports are available on the internet talking in great detail about the possible metaverse solutions for different industries. BCG has published an article, that talks about the metaverse boom and possible areas where it can be applied in various industries.
Although it is early to say, but in an enterprise context, the metaverse can have the following (but not limited to) use cases:
How to get started with metaverse?
Metaverse is in a fluidic state, which means there is no one standard path to be followed. For each enterprise, depending on its current digital maturity and roadmap, the metaverse strategy will be different. We recommend a five step approach that an organization should take to venture into the metaverse.
- Define your metaverse objectives
The first step is to lay down the clear objectives the enterprise aims to achieve by deploying the metaverse and its related technologies. It could be anything from cost optimization to enhancing employee experience to reimagining customer experience in the B2C segment.
- Redefine digital roadmap
Based on the objectives to be achieved, the enterprise needs to access and redesign its digital roadmap to incorporate certain tech enablers in its existing systems to make them future-ready. Metaverse requires digital adoption at various levels, and to have a smooth experience, the digital foundation needs to be laid out, be it going cloud-native, 5G rollouts, remote workforce solutions or cybersecurity.
- Plotting a metaverse roadmap
Post updating the digital roadmap, a metaverse roadmap containing details about which solutions to launch when and at which locations. This will ensure a smooth deployment process and an enhanced experience for the users.
- Build a partner ecosystem
Metaverse is a collection of many technologies that all need to come together with open, interoperable and extendable platforms. Identify and establish partnerships with the right technology providers to build the metaverse platform and an implementation partner who will build solutions on the metaverse platform.
- Evolving metaverse – embrace the change
Allow your organization’s metaverse to evolve, let the users decide how they want to experience it and enable it with technologies, tools and solutions. Leverage the existing digital assets and systems with connectors to integrate into the solutions developed on the metaverse.
The conundrum, “Seems like a lot of work with huge costs”
Metaverse is out there. The younger workforce joining the organization is already exposed to parts of it through multi-player games like Minecraft and social media platforms like Discord. It is a matter of time before it becomes mainstream and used for critical business applications.
And for an organization to adopt it, it involves collaborating with diverse technical minds, understanding the business and technical requirements, and ensuring smooth deployment with robust backend tech support. Many enterprises might find themselves in a fix when they think about adopting the metaverse, due to which their shift to web 3.0 is restricted.
At HCLTech, with our diverse domain expertise and years of engineering experience, we help customers to accelerate the adoption of advanced digital technologies like the metaverse within their business and engineering functions. HCLTech brings in a unique combination of core engineering and digital services along with ready-to-use industry solutions and a strong partner ecosystem that includes leading Hyperscalers, ISVs, device manufacturers and telecom network providers. That is the reason why we are widely recognized by industry analysts as Leaders in Avasant RadarView 2022 for AR/VR/XR Services, Everest leader 2022 in Product Engineering Services, Everest leader 2022 in Digital Twin Services , thus positioning us as a trusted partner for customers in their metaverse journey.