How the Metaverse Could Offer Marked Changes in Workflows and Utilization
The Metaverse, a digital reality built on the internet, has the potential to revolutionize how we work. In this virtual space, people could conduct meetings, collaborate on projects, and learn new skills without ever leaving their homes. This episode discusses how Metaverse can allow for more flexible work arrangements and impact our lives and workplaces.
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How The Metaverse Could Offer Marked Changes In Workflows And Utilization
We tend to make a mistake because we don't appreciate that disruptive technologies create a whole new paradigm. We never thought that this big brick of a telephone, some of our readers are old enough to remember times like this, would one day be how we navigate the world and communicate with our family. It's not how we just make a call. We run a central life through this.
We, as human beings, are biased to take the frame of reference we have for how technology is now and superimpose that on mediums of the future like the Metaverse. I think there is certainly disruptive potential to change workflows and deeply impact certain sectors. I appreciate the examples you gave within training and education and also within retail. To dive into that, for example, an older analogy. Flight simulators are a multi-billion dollar industry and it is critical. It's nonsensical for a pilot to take a plane and put themselves in dangerous situations because that's reckless, expensive and that would never be approved.
Flight simulators are critical to ensuring that pilots are able to train safely and go through many scenarios and rewire the way they handle emergencies. A lot of the hard part of being a pilot is forecasting and predicting dangerous situations and responding to them when they happen. There's one example. Could you give further examples within retail and training and education wherever you can about how specifically people are using these experiences as part of the workflow?
Maybe I can touch on healthcare a little bit, which I think has one of the most important and crucial outcomes in terms of success metrics. Everybody on the earth has received a lab test in the mail. That's either in the mail physically or via email that's 1,000 pages long, and you're trying to figure out what is what. Imagine simply panning your phone to the document and the augmented reality highlights exactly, within seconds, what you need to focus on.
It's using these features, these tactics like that to get the learner or the shopper specified on specific information. If we bring it back to retail, it could be rewards, gamification or promotional, having them focus on specific areas of interest. Education is obviously the easy industry to talk about because there's been so much traction, but I think retail is on its way. The in-store retail experience, maybe 2017, 2018, there was some interest in having users walk through their stores, pan their phones to specific clothing or to specific tags and getting these little discounts or these little tidbits, but that didn't take off.
The in-store experience is exactly that. It's in store. It’s technology less. For the most part, people want to go with their friends. They want to try things on. They want to return things. They want to buy those little lotions that are ten times the cost they should be at the counter. I think the in-store experience is different, but when we start to look at the scale of retail and the ability to look in different rounds and different verticals, I think the Metaverse is there for them. That's an advantage they need to take.
I think when we look at Adidas, Nike and some of these other major brands that you've mentioned, they don't know where they're going. That's fine because if they don't get started, they're going to be in trouble in a year when their competitors already have a foot ground. In my opinion, a lot of this industry is backed by those who've made significant amounts of money in crypto. We have to figure out a way to diversify that pool to make things more functional and realistic for brands, both for retail and education.
There are many use cases. Right now, the first perception you get when you visit these current iterations of the Metaverse is that it's a very gaming-heavy use case. You've talked about retail trading education and health as well. There's also adult entertainment, which lends itself very well to the medium. There are real estate use cases too. When people think of the Metaverse, I assume they're not necessarily thinking about the VR headset and what's available there.
They're currently thinking about what's been taking a lot of media attention, which of these online platforms. There seems to be a version of Roblox, a version of Fortnite, a version of Second Life on these online platforms. These are all platforms where people go into these virtual worlds and explore in a social environment and they get to engage in activities. It's a medium of gaming.
In your view, is that where these online platforms, like the ones I've mentioned, that's the use case they serve or can there be more than gaming? Is there a mass-market use case or use cases beyond gaming for the online? I don't want to use the one online, but it's easy to appreciate that. You go into a browser and you enter this virtual world and you can navigate with your keyboard. Is this real? Is this a gaming platform? Is the Metaverse separate from that? How do you address all these questions?
Metaverse trailblazers have a responsibility to make everyone understand the benefits of this growing space.
There are many case studies in gaming, not to say that the Metaverse can't do more. I see the Metaverse as three pillars and this is just me. First is work. How do we work in the Metaverse? How do we socialize and play in the Metaverse, and how do we learn? I think those three pillars, your example of gaming, would fit in the gaming and entertainment section. How we work in the Metaverse is coming.
How we learn is coming in. More specifically, how we learn, how can we get school systems, school districts and universities in the Metaverse? They can build their own little virtual ecosystem to learn these different buildings and experience what's happening in the buildings, talk to different students and teachers in the classrooms, and make it real-time. How can we bring those students, teachers, and faculty into the experience? It’s important to to understand that the Metaverse is early and gaming is the only real traction.
In the future, we're going to see concerts and we're going to see conferences. We'll see Apple or Google with a virtual world where employees can go and learn and talk with one another and see the R and D that's happening the first time. They necessarily don't have to fly out to California to see it. These three pillars will continue to populate. It's up to us. It's up to the trailblazers in this space to make these people listen. It's not the other way around. We need to make them listen and show them the benefits. That's our job, especially to show the benefits and those other two pillars.
An interesting use case outside of gaming that I came across was there is a foundation or a charity, a Jewish foundation, that's created a virtual presence. They bought some land in Decentraland and they created the space called the MANA Chabad Jewish Center, which basically is a place where people interested in learning about Judaism can come to and they can learn.
They can talk to other virtual characters and learn about their religion. They're even thinking of creating a place to study the Torah, have community events, connect with other Jewish people, and even shop in that context. That shows you if you can bring religion in, you can bring a lot of different aspects into the Metaverse. What are you seeing on the real estate side? How is the Metaverse potentially going to impact prop technology and real estate?
When I think of the real estate aspect, I think about ecosystems in the Metaverse. This is my opinion. You'll probably get a different opinion from others. I don't think you're going to be able to do quite well if you're looking at this strategy as a non-ecosystem. Let me explain what I mean by that. Let’s say you can build a community of 20, 25, 30 houses and also a few other experiential activities, for instance, a concert hall or a shopping center. Let's take a shopping center, a conference hall, a concert hall, and 20, 30 houses. All of a sudden, you have 30, 35 buildings up for sale. If you look at this like an ecosystem, you can say to yourself that these houses will rely heavily on the shopping center's experiential activities and the concert hall.
The way I see this is that let's look at the houses as fixed to $50,000. They'll rarely ever go up. The experiential activities, you have to focus on getting great experiences in. That's top hip hop artists, rappers, top jazz, top performers, and magic shows. Same thing with shopping. Let’s say you're able to get great brands, it could be for 1 or 6 months, for a week, for a day. If you're able to get great brands in where your community can then go shop and your community can then go experience the concert, you're going to start to see that the cost of your houses will increase. Your argument is, “The cost of the houses might increase regardless of there's experiential activities or not.”
My argument would be, I don't think so. I think you need to build these ecosystems where it's a gated community, where you need to own a house or be a guest of somebody who owns a house to come into this community. Once you’re in the community, you're a community member. You can experience all the activities that there are to offer.
You have to provide for the community. In order to increase the value of buildings or in houses in the Metaverse, we need to look at the surrounding ecosystem and say, “How can we indirectly improve the cost?” If we look at the real world, we're thinking about better school systems. My house might be terrible, but if a great school system came in that's a mile away, I might get a 5%, 7% bump. I think that's how we have to look at it in the Metaverse
It sounds like you're saying you're taking the urban design mindset, which you can apply in the real world. When you're literally constructing cities, you have to look at all the amenities and things beyond housing. You bring that to the Metaverse is what you're saying. It does imply there are opportunities for people as they would be in the real world to set up a gas station. I'm not saying a gas station in the Metaverse, but you need a gas station in the real world. You need a supermarket, a cinema, and a school. Many things make a city, a city. In the Metaverse, you’re saying there is an opportunity there to create this.
If we go slow and steady here, and we remember those street pillars, at this stage, we have to identify what will get people to the community. The gas station, the school, I'm with you. That's coming. Right now, what is exciting and engaging is entertainment and gaming. That has to be strategy number one to entice people to come to the community. You're absolutely right. The more your community grows based on the supply and demand of the community, you can add all these other different features, which then you get a transactional fee. Shopping, gas, or continuous education, workshops, all sorts of stuff. You're on the right track.
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Zain Jaffer is an accomplished executive, investor, and entrepreneur. He started his first company at the age of 14 and later moved to the US as an immigrant to found Vungle, after securing $25M from tech giants including Google & AOL in 2011. Vungle recently sold for $780m.
His achievements have garnered international recognition and acclaim; he is the recipient of prestigious awards such as “Forbes 30 Under 30”, “Inc. Magazine’s 35 Under 35,” and the “SF Business Times Tech & Innovation Award.” He is regularly featured in major business & tech publications such as The Wall Street Journal, VentureBeat, and TechCrunch.
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