Using the latest advances in simulation and 3D technology, the “metaverse” is an immersive virtual reality (VR) world where, as David Needle describes, “People use avatars to represent themselves, communicate with each other, and virtually build out the community.”
While it’s been a turbulent year for Meta, with the company value plunging $700 billion since the beginning of 2022, the idea behind the metaverse is as solid as ever. Goldman Sachs pegged its value at $8 trillion, and for channel partners this creates an almost limitless set of opportunities for business growth. The metaverse seems destined to transform life as we know it — from purchasing products, watching movies, and medical visits to hosting meetings and industrial design and manufacturing. Here are some ways that channel partners can leverage the breakthroughs of this new integration of the physical and virtual worlds.
Embrace the Right Mindset
The metaverse is the culmination of the last 15 years of technological progress, beginning with the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, followed by the full realization of the cloud era in 2010. The democratization of big data and artificial intelligence that has infused everyday applications has brought us to the edge of this next digital frontier. According to Rony Abovitz, what we have now in the metaverse really “encompasses broad categories of technology (including computing, connectivity, artificial intelligence, and machine learning) that come together in rich ways to create new and unprecedented value.”
Some would suggest the plunge of Meta stock over the past year is an ominous warning and a throwback to the dot-com bubble burst. But that’s shortsighted; the metaverse is inevitable and the result of the cyclical nature of technology. Moreover, the metaverse is an inflection point of emerging technologies that will transform everything about how we work, live, and socialize.
Experience the Metaverse for Yourself
Imagine demonstrating products and services in real-time to your customers in a VR meeting. Many top brands are already creating VR customer experiences, showcasing everything from fashion to fast food. To prepare for this immersive experience, why not buy VR glasses and try out the metaverse? The barrier to entry is relatively easy, not unlike finding a dial-up provider in the early days of the Internet. VR glasses allow you to host a meeting, visit different virtual showrooms, or even create your own environment. The business applications and possibilities of the metaverse are unlimited.
Understand Market Impacts
According to the Global CIO Forum, the top industries being disrupted by immersive environments are healthcare, education, workforce development, manufacturing, and automotive. Channel partners are in a unique opportunity to become early adopters of the metaverse. They should be ready to answer two central questions every vendor and client will eventually ask: What are the business impacts of the metaverse, and how can we shape these impacts to our advantage?
Suppose you’re a partner for a manufacturing company. In that case, it’s important to understand how VR rooms, 3D modeling, and haptic feedback will change the way companies design and produce products. As an early adopter of the metaverse, you can share various use cases of how VR/AR/MR are transforming the entire value chain from initial research and development to product and process engineering through sales and after-sales support and service.
The metaverse is slated to become the biggest technological transformation in the history of innovation. It will bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, and the business impacts are monumental. Channel partners are uniquely positioned to drive significant business outcomes for their vendors by innovating in the metaverse.
Like any new venture, leveraging the power of VR for business will take creativity, persistent action, and innovation. However, the potential payoffs are tremendous. Alex Walsh sums up the opportunity best by saying, “Those vendors with the best channel programs know they can never stand still, and they will do well to take some time and consider what the metaverse could do for them.”