Metaverse Overview and Market Potential
Metaverse may be described as a virtual world or a shared digital space where people participate as avatars to interact with each other in a multitude of digital objects and environments. It attempts to extend reality and make available unprecedented and immersive user experiences. HCL Technologies (HCLTech) views Metaverse as an addition to the existing mobile channels poised to disrupt the market. Replacing workstations with Meta Quest and HTC Vive-like head-mounted devices will catalyze the evolution of two-dimensional applications into three-dimensional interactives..
The market's prospects are estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars within the next decade. Per a recent report titled "Opportunities in the Metaverse" published by JP Morgan, the metaverse will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues. JP Morgan has also become the first bank to enter the metaverse, opening a lounge in the popular blockchain-based world of Decentraland, one of the most popular metaverses. Similarly, Digi-Capital predicts the Metaverse market to reach $70 billion by 2030 and up to $1 trillion by 2040. Per a recent report by Greenlight Insights, the Virtual Reality (VR)/ Augmented Reality (AR) market will itself reach $94 billion by 2027.
Metaverse – Possibilities and emerging use cases
Metaverse has endless possibilities and its use cases span across verticals like Healthcare, Education, Banking, Media and Entertainment, Tourism, Manufacturing and Retail. It attempts to bridge the physical and virtual worlds with cutting-edge technologies such as AR/VR/ Mixed Reality (MR), resulting in a better and more immersive user experience. A few of the emerging use cases are highlighted below:
Employee onboarding (All industries): It has the potential to transform traditional employee onboarding into a virtual reality experience where new employees may meet individuals within the organization, collaborate with others in real-time, and better comprehend its culture without any physical visit to the premises.
Digital shopping experience (Retail): Metaverse elevates digital shopping experiences to the next level for both physical and virtual products. It lets customers take a virtual tour of the entire store, learn about the products, and interact with sales assistants in real-time, allowing them to make reliable buying decisions.
Digital Twins (Manufacturing): It also addresses real-world manufacturing problems through the creation of Digital Twins of entire infrastructure and feeding live data streams on top of 3D replicas through IoT. It offers engaging ways of conducting training where complex or expensive machinery may be involved. It is more cost-effective than regular training and eliminates the need for physical classrooms and equipment.
The graphic below depicts the traditional method of employee onboarding versus Metaverse-based employee onboarding:
As a part of onboarding, employees must travel to the workplace and go through the security process to enter the premises. Whereas in the metaverse, employees may virtually visit the workplace from the comfort of their own home.
Employees must wait and meet with HR and bank personnel to complete the document submission and banking processes. Employees in the metaverse, on the other hand may virtually submit papers and engage with HR and bank professionals in real-time.
Instead of conventional classroom training that needs a physical meeting room and audience. Metaverse allows employees and trainers to virtually participate in training sessions.
Traditional methods of holding Townhalls/Live events need more effort in terms of booking the venue, organizing the event, and bringing people together but Metaverse helps in conducting live events/Townhall meeting virtually where the Leadership team may address hundreds of employees/new joiners.
Instead of tangible goods that need procurement and distribution, new employees can be given virtual tokens that can be redeemed in a Metaverse based brand store as part of their onboarding.
- As a part of onboarding, employees must travel to the workplace and go through the security process to enter the premises. Whereas in the metaverse, employees may virtually visit the workplace from the comfort of their own home.
- Employees must wait and meet with HR and bank personnel to complete the document submission and banking processes. Employees in the metaverse, on the other hand may virtually submit papers and engage with HR and bank professionals in real-time.
- Instead of conventional classroom training that needs a physical meeting room and audience. Metaverse allows employees and trainers to virtually participate in training sessions.
- Traditional methods of holding Townhalls/Live events need more effort in terms of booking the venue, organizing the event, and bringing people together but Metaverse helps in conducting live events/Townhall meeting virtually where the Leadership team may address hundreds of employees/new joiners.
- Instead of tangible goods that need procurement and distribution, new employees can be given virtual tokens that can be redeemed in a Metaverse based brand store as part of their onboarding
Metafinity: HCLTech's foray into the Metaverse
Metafinity is HCLTech’s flagship offering under digital metaverse accelerators. Built atop its proven XRStudio platform, Metafinity platform has the below capabilities:
Repository of verticalized solutions and pre-built algorithms It helps customers to create 3D digital avatars Design and develop scenes Integrate with HCLTech’s OBOL Tokenization framework with key capabilities to provide enterprise scale decentralization & tokenization features It supports a wide range of high to low-end devices like Oculus Quest2, VR Headset with smartphones, Windows PC / Mac / Linux.
The Metafinity solution harnesses AWS Cloud Services for Development, Storage, Compute, Analytics, AI/ML and Deployment – Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon SNS, Amazon RDS, Amazon ElastiCache, AWS Lambda, AWS Polly, AWS Kendra, Amazon API Gateway and Virtual Bots via Amazon Lex. In addition, our Meta Auto solution ingests real-time telematics data and vehicle status information from the IOT sensors available in the car into the virtual replica of the Metaverse by leveraging Amazon Kinesis and AWS IoT services. These complex functionalities need high-speed bandwidth and low latency. AWS Wavelength is leveraged with 5G to achieve ultra-low latency application.
Metafinity solutions across industries:
HCLTech's Metafinity platform comprises several solutions developed for various industries and use cases like Employee Engagement, Retail, Banking, Automotive etc. While all solutions support MMO (massively multiplayer online) capability to ensure numerous users join concurrently, which is essential for any Metaverse solution, each has unique flows and features tailored to the target industry. Some of these solutions are detailed in the graphic below:
- TALENT ONBOARDING – Metafinity consists of people & flow process that enables organizations to on-board geographically diversified talent, conduct customer & leadership connect and host HR Townhalls within its own Metaverse
- META BANKING – Leveraging the Metafinity platform, banks can also now foray into the Metaverse to conduct KYCs for prospective customers. With real people personating various roles within the virtual branch, customers may seek information about various products and provide e-documentation to a bank’s existing AI/ML backend systems for verification purposes.
- META EVENTS – Metafinity resonates with the unprecedented, immersive, and extensible nature of the Metaverse. It can be used to host large events to create larger-than-life experiences through setup of virtual booths or convention centers allowing attendees and participants to experience the venue and location as they would offline
- META TOWNHALL – The HR Townhall solution brings together employees in the metaverse to participate & communicate. Plush with private meeting rooms, host & run down presentations in groups on demand. An organization wide event area to host & address large scale gatherings and the ability to conduct one on one interactions, the Townhall use case offers a precipice to create new age Townhall meetings
- META RETAIL – Meta retail offers a better shopping experience to consumers with a wide range of virtual showrooms. It provides a personalized experience using Meta Analytics by sending exclusive offers & discounts, provides exhaustive 3D product selection and shipping Virtual Try-On and payment using crypto.
- META AUTOMOTIVE – An end consumer use case with a re-imagine four-wheeler dealerships experience that emphasizes forging brand perception, providing unique experiences & providing an avenue for potential customers to interact with brand representatives.
For instance, for Banking, HCLTech designed a Metaverse rendition of an electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) workflow. The application gave arbitrary end users the ability to walk into, explore, and talk to bank’s representatives inside the Metaverse.
A self-service kiosk would help signify the nature of the query. It could be used by end consumers to upload identification documents, which are further processed through an AI/ML-powered KYC workflow. On successful completion, a fungible token was transferred to the client's wallet on the blockchain.
For Retail, HCLTech developed a Metaverse solution that provides an ethereal experience to end customers. Customers can choose their own ‘Avatars’ that closely resemble their physical selves. In the virtual world, customers can walk into a showroom inside a shopping mall, which is plush with multiple articles of clothing and apparel that may be picked up and tried on the customer’s avatar using virtual try-on. Extended analytics can be run on customer choices, user preferences and interest zones and provide valuable feedback to the retail store. The metaverse retail experience offers higher engagement and intrinsic user feedback.
Few screenshots from the Meta Retail solution can be found below
HCLTech Metafinity platform differentiators
HCLTech Metafinity comprises a wide range of starter kits, reusable components, 3D assets that are highly optimized for all the platforms and support the creation of look-alike avatars. HCLTech's Metafinity platform harnesses HCLTech's expertise in the realm to craft superior user experiences and caters for a wide range of benefits:
- Uplift end-consumer engagement by 20–30%
- Reduce time to market by 30%
- Reduce the development cycle by 40–50%.
- Any Platform, Any Time Approach: The solutions can be developed once and distributed across platforms such as Mac, Windows, Linux, Google Cardboard, iOS, Android and Oculus. Since solutions developed with Metafinity are cloud-enabled and have edge computing capabilities, they stay performant when used on any device at any given time.
The Metafinity platform makes it possible for organizations to swiftly execute exploratory Proof of Concept (POC)’s and test them with a limited audience to comprehend technology and test user acceptance of a variety of envisioned use cases.
HCLTech will soon be rolling out the Meta Townhall solution internally, which brings employees in the metaverse together to participate and communicate. Plush with private virtual meeting rooms, the ability to host and run presentations in groups on demand, an organization-wide event area to host and address large-scale gatherings, and the ability to conduct one-on-one interactions, the townhall use case offers a new age of meetings that are immersive. In addition, the Twin and 5G will augment the Metaverse and its possibilities.
To know more about the HCLTech Metafinity solutions, to inquire about the Proof of Concept, or to discuss your unique business needs in embracing the Metaverse, write to us at email@example.com