We see the metaverse as the intersection of immersive experiences in the spectrums of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Businesses can use it, as many already do, to enrich experiences, products and services with virtual overlays for navigation and context. Others are creating new, fully immersive environments and finding a way to engage customers in them.

Behind these new experiences is not one, but several technologies. Many of these Metaverse-enabled technologies, like 5G, blockchain, and AI, have matured over time, and things that were once technically feasible but impractical have become more commercially available, affordable, and consumable, like ChatGPT.

  • There has been a fundamental transition from closed centralized platforms where users access free information in exchange for their data to a connected, open and immersive world known as Web 3.0 or Web3. An example is Roblox, which has almost 50 million active users and a huge economy within the metaverse.
  • There is also a growing trend that users expect to be compensated in some way for bringing their attention to a platform.

Who are the business users of the Metaverse?

The typical image of a Metaverse user as a gamer with headset and dual-handed controller playing Fourteen days is not wrong. But that image overlooks a rapidly growing wave of business adoption.

Consumer brands were early and enthusiastic adopters. Take Gucci. The luxury goods brand has partnered with Roblox to launch Gucci Town, a digital destination on Roblox “dedicated to those who seek the unexpected and want to express their individuality and connect with like-minded people from around the world.” Additionally, Gucci has built an immersive concept store showcasing rare pieces, encouraging conversations between contemporary Gucci creators and even offering digital collectibles for purchase.

Another top brand, Nike, is assembling a cohort of Metaverse brand ambassadors by allowing users to create virtual products and monetize them on a Web3 platform called Swoosh. In turn, Nike may create physical products based on these designs. At last check, Nike had generated $185 million from NFT sales and trading fees. The bottom line for these brands: their Metaverse presence generates new revenue and increases brand exposure—a win-win situation.

In the production, Companies have seized opportunities for upskilling and training, for example by making available Real-time guided build instructions in an assembly process, or “see what I see” expert assistance when someone is troubleshooting equipment. Mercedes-Benz has invested in AR-based Metaverse experiences to educate its service technicians at their dealerships by providing a virtual overlay of its products.

Other companies are looking to digital twins to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and streamline operations. For example, BMW has created a simulation of one of its assembly lines that may allow it to simulate what may happen in a specific environment before moving operations to the production floor.

Financial services firms also believe the Metaverse is “on the money.” JPMorgan Chase was the first company to open a Metaverse “branch” in Decentraland, and many other financial services brands are trying to figure out how to engage with customers, employees, partners, and other elements of their human ecosystem in the Metaverse.

Additionally, developments in the crypto space and digital wallets have enhanced the ability to transact in the Metaverse, with financial institutions – both traditional and startups – looking to capitalize on the Metaverse economy.

How should companies proceed?

Successful companies focus on providing products and services in any technology context. With this goal in mind:

  • Determine your organization’s appetite for innovation (versus its appetite for risk; it’s too early to speak of ROI in the metaverse).
  • Align with a business goal for the Metaverse: Are we trying to target a specific customer population? Are we trying to improve efficiency? Are we trying to enter a new market?
  • Create some use cases, considering the technological possibilities you have or that you might be able to implement. (Partnerships are an option.)
  • Build a small, cross-functional team with autonomy and guard rails to experiment, innovate, and play.

Protiviti dives deep into the Metaverse VISION by Protiviti. Learn more at vision.protiviti.com/metaverse.

Connect with the authors

Christina Livingstone
Managing Director, New Technologies

Lata Varghese
Managing Director, Technology Consulting

Alex Weishäupl
Managing Director, Digital Transformation


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