The Future of the Metaverse

July 20, 2022
Nicola Stewart

As explained in the first part of this series, the metaverse aims to unite several forms of digital communications technology into a revolutionary and immersive 3D environment, thereby reducing the need for stand-alone, text-based social media platforms.

Such an achievement would open up new possibilities not only for consumer entertainment and e-commerce, but also for businesses to communicate at a high level internally. It is therefore no surprise that a number of heavy hitters in the tech industry are helping to develop aspects of the metaverse, or working to adapt their services to succeed in such an environment.

From travel and tourism to the retail, property, and finance sectors, companies around the world are preparing to do business in a metaverse-based economy. But how exactly will this work, and what will the end result look like?

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The real world, only better

Imagine looking out from the top of the Eiffel Tower, or spending hours looking at paintings in the Louvre, without ever flying to Paris. Imagine your university professor teaching students around the world, with an interactive digital white board that lets the whole class participate. Imagine scanning your body and your apartment, so that an augmented reality algorithm can give you a preview of how a new shirt or a new sofa would look in real life.

Imagine walking around 19th century England, or living among the dinosaurs in a prehistoric world. Imagine attending digital concerts, with your metaverse avatar wearing a t-shirt from your favourite band.

Sooner or later, all of these scenarios could come to pass. From cryptocurrency trading to digital health check-ups, the metaverse could come to represent a new frontier in global culture. Although Meta (formerly known as Facebook) plans to build this digital universe in-house, the sheer scope of it will eventually require collaboration with external developers. In short, every company with the right talent and strategic vision will have a role to play in helping the metaverse reach its potential.

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A new landscape of opportunity

Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia could benefit enormously from a well-designed metaverse, as long as its tech-savvy businesses take advantage of the opportunities it provides. Thailand’s own retail and healthcare industries can benefit directly from metaverse integration, while its 5G implementation, Industry 4.0 upgrades, and smart city initiatives put additional digital gains within reach.

Ordinary consumers will likely be drawn to the e-commerce opportunities made possible by the metaverse interface. Moreover, as each user has their own unique avatar that is fully customisable within the platform, people can look however they want within this virtual world. Special purchases would unlock customisation options for users, letting people express themselves creatively within the digital space.

An intriguing possibility involves the potential for such purchases to be made using cryptocurrencies or even NFTs. While it is impossible to predict if or when such a feature will be introduced to metaverse-based consumers, forward-looking software developers are already preparing for the possibility.

Other business opportunities include video games which give players the chance to purchase in-game items with real money to enhance the gameplay experience. It may even be possible to develop a business inside a business, such as buying property or land in the metaverse and using it to generate income. Users or companies may be able to design and build their digital dream house, and rent it out should they wish to do so.

There are already highly qualified people in Southeast Asia who can take part in these types of promising developments, and the right investment of talent and capital can potentially reap big rewards. Indeed, a growing number of esteemed organisations in Thailand have big plans for the metaverse, as we will show in our next article in this series.