The Metaverse is Coming: How Should Organisations Prepare?

Miikka Rosendahl, CEO of the XR studio ZOAN, and Futures Platform’s Foresight Analysis Manager Max Stucki discuss how the next evolution of the internet will transform industries.

November 30, 2021, Gökce Sandal

2021 has been marked by a surge of interest in the metaverse. Despite all the hype, however, the metaverse remains a largely uncharted territory, and the details of how it will work in practice are still hazy. In our webinar, Miikka Rosendahl, CEO of the XR studio ZOAN, and Futures Platform’s Foresight Analysis Manager Max Stucki discuss practical next steps for organisations to prepare for the metaverse.

With the pandemic-induced shift to virtual events, the rise of NFTs and Facebook’s rebranding as a metaverse company, the interest in virtual open worlds has recently peaked. Most people may have heard the word metaverse for the first time this year, but behind the scenes, the concept has been in the making for decades.

Miikka Rosendahl, the Founder and CEO of the XR studio ZOAN, is one of the pioneers who have been pushing the development towards metaverse worlds together with his team. From building a digital replica of the city of Helsinki to creating a new metaverse world for the metal music band Nightwish, ZOAN has been building virtual worlds, events and experiences for various use cases across a wide range of industries.

Our webinar “Metaverse: How Should Organisations Prepare?” brings Rosendahl’s extensive experience in building metaverse worlds together with Futures Platform’s expertise in foresight, featuring an insightful discussion between Futures Platform’s Foresight Analysis Manager Max Stucki and Miikka Rosendahl on the metaverse-related future trends, innovation opportunities, and risks.

Watch the full webinar

 

What is the Metaverse?

Rosendahl defines the metaverse as the next evolution of the internet, namely Web 3.0. The first iteration of the internet, Web 1.0, involved only static webpages, where internet users browsed the web without much interaction. With the arrival of social media, Web 2.0 ushered in a new era of interactive experiences and user-generated content, giving the internet its participatory dimension.

The metaverse brings the internet its spatial aspect, allowing users to explore virtual worlds and have more immersive experiences that blend with our physical reality. This is why Rosendahl thinks the metaverse is much bigger than one technology, company or place. While the metaverse will have its dominant players, much like the social media giants that dominate the internet today, it will nevertheless be an extensive ecosystem with many different players and providers.

 

What future opportunities does the metaverse unlock?

From virtual offices and remote education to entertainment and shopping, the metaverse presents brand new opportunities to re-imagine business operations, products, and services across sectors. Rosendahl gives the example of the virtual Helsinki that they’ve been building at ZOAN. As a real-life digital twin, the virtual Helsinki is an exact digital replica of the physical city, and this Helsinki metaverse has so far been used for multiple purposes across many different projects.

In the context of cities, metaverses can function as virtually explorable spaces where, for example, tourists or future residents can explore the city before arriving there. Cities can also lease virtual land to brands to set up shops or to display advertisements. They can also bring history to life with an additional AR layer on top of the city, where viewers can see how the city looked at a certain time in the past. 

 

A 3D Digital Replica of Helsinki by ZOAN

 

Rosendahl adds that the metaverse can also be a powerful tool for future simulations of things that don’t yet exist. It can help promote a shared future vision among employees or simulate potential future scenarios that can be utilised in various use cases, ranging from strategy development to job trainings.

Other business operations, such as product development or product launches, can also take place in the metaverse. For example, brands can set up exclusive virtual showrooms to showcase future product concepts to investors and early adopters to receive feedback.

 

How to invest in metaverse? Practical next steps for organisations

After being under development for many years, the metaverse market is now moving from early proofs-of-concept to proven solutions. With the market entering a more mature stage, Rosendahl stresses that the time for businesses and governments to act is now.

He advises organisations to start by considering the different types of plans or challenges they may have, and then assess which ones could benefit from this technology. Since the metaverse encompasses a vast domain, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to it, and organisations should establish a roadmap for entry that fits in with their larger organisational goals and strategies. For some businesses, the metaverse could be a marketing channel, and for others, it could be an immersive R&D environment or an engaging office space to conduct workshops in.

For organisations that don’t have the internal capacity to assess metaverse’s implications or develop virtual experiences, Rosendahl recommends having a conversation with a company that has experience working with real-life applications of the metaverse.

Last but not least, Rosendahl highlights the importance of considering the future of your products and services in light of generational differences. As evidenced by the popularity of open-world virtual games like Roblox and Fortnite, younger generations today are already spending a lot of time in metaverse worlds, and some of them value their virtual possessions more than their physical ones. How will this digital-first generation engage with your products in the next 10 to 20 years?

Identify the most relevant trends shaping the future of the metaverse in your operating environment with Futures Platform. Start your free trial today to explore the interactive Metaverse foresight radar curated by our futurists.

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