With its potential to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030, the metaverse is too big for companies to ignore (Mckinsey Insights). MetaX conference discussed the business impact of Metaverse.
According to Rustum Usman from Cognizant Consulting, there is a euphoric level of investment happening in the metaverse space. Billions of dollars are thrown into the development of metaverse infrastructure. The first five months of 2022 alone recorded an investment of 120B USD, which is almost ten times that of 2021.
Facebook changing its name to Meta and budgeting $10 billion+ annually for the development of technology itself reflects the intensity at which Big Techs are
pursuing the metaverse as the next internet. “Metaverse + Web3 together offer a sense of immersion, real-time interactivity, and user agency,” he said at the MetaX Conference on Business in Metaverse. This event was a part of Utopian Dystopia Kochi’22, a festival hosted to celebrate the intersection of Technology, Art and Design.
Co-panelist Aishwarya Jaiswal, Consultant at Microsoft says, “We are still just scratching the surface of the metaverse. This is a technology which has got infinite possibilities. 90% of the people still don’t understand what exactly it is & confuse it with a concert or simply as a virtual world. But there is more to it. “
She has been in the NFT space for some time as a Web3 consultant and heads the building of NFTydreamsdao. She commented, “I look at Metaverse, mostly as a technology solving a lot of problems. Let’s take healthcare- We cannot still get a good doctor to our rural fronts. Imagine, after a few years, a doctor sitting in New York can examine the patient of a rural village in India and prescribe treatment.”
Adding to her view, Rustum mentioned that Web3 and Metaverse are two different things, yet, people use them as synonyms. Metaverse is focused on providing a browsing/internet experience beyond the 2-dimensional screens of our smartphones or laptops. An immersive experience that spans the spectrum of our real world to the fully virtual and in between using AR/VR. Metaverse doesn’t always require a Web3.
There are many metaverse products which run on Web2. Second Life, Roblox, and Fortnite are some examples. On the other hand, Web3 is an emerging trend that redefines where internet data should be stored. It proposes a replacement of the current centralized data infrastructure with a decentralized and distributed one- Where data is owned, validated and authenticated by the individuals. Some of the technologies under this umbrella are blockchain and tokenization. Decentraland, The Sandbox, and Cryptovoxels are some examples of metaverse powered with underlying data infra such as Web3.
Rustum quoted some fascinating enterprise solutions in the metaverse. “Cognizant is building enhanced remote collaboration tools infusing XR (Extended reality: a merger of the virtual and real-world). Increasingly flexible work options like work from home, and work from anywhere demands a shift from flat-screen experience to multi- dimensional one.”
Being a digital ethicist who grew during the Web2 revolution, Rustum doesn’t hide his scepticism of Web3 as decentralisation of the internet. “I believed in this utopian idea of web2 democratizing the internet during my teenage years. Later we witnessed the Internet being dominated by a handful of huge platforms. So in this era of Web3, I want to stay reasonable, I know for a fact that the internet is going to change into something big and deep but I don’t buy the ideology part.”
The moderator of the session, Afreen Bai, concluded that the questions from the audience reflected the concerns of sustainability, ethics and human well-being aspects of Metaverse.