Metaverse is here. It has arrived in real-life

The wedding of Indian couple Abhijeet and Sansrati, who tied the knot on 3D Metaverse, has brought everyone’s attention back to Metaverse. Who so over argued that the Metaverse is not yet a reality, but it could be the next evolution of the internet? Think again. Metaverse is here, and it has arrived in real-life.

Those who time and again insisted that it would take some time before it becomes mainstream, here are some recent news that had taken everyone online and offline by surprise:

  • One in Four people is expected to spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse by 2026
    As per a Gartner report released early this week, one in four people is expected to spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education, social, and entertainment by 2026. Gartner Vice President Marty Resnick said, “from attending virtual classrooms to buying digital land and constructing virtual homes, these activities are currently being conducted in separate environments. Eventually, they will occur in a single setting – the Metaverse – with multiple destinations across technologies and experiences.
  • Samsung will launch the Galaxy S22 in the Metaverse
    The launch will be held in downtown New York City within Decentraland, called 837X. A media report explains that the company has built a virtual store inside Decentraland that is “a cavernous, dayglo-colour, techno music-infused space.” The publication explains that the virtual launch venue showcases glowing orbs and Samsung marketing all around. Players can even purchase outfits of their choice from the venue.
  • The wedding of Abhijeet and Sansrati who tied the knot on 3D Metaverse
    Abhijeet Goel, a tech entrepreneur, and Dr. Sansrati from Bhopal met online through a matrimonial site. They decided to tie the knot and wanted their friends and family across the globe to be a part of this ceremony virtually.

    Media reports the digital avatars of the couple had their ceremony hosted on a scenic beachside venue where the guests also joined in via their digital avatars. The wedding took place on February 5th, 8 – 9 pm, coinciding with Bhopal’s physical event. Users could change their avatars, walk through the event and enjoy the dancing floor too.
  • Nina Jane Patel’s sexual harassment experience on Metaverse
    The news has taken the internet by surprise this week. London-based Nina Jane Patel said a gang of three-four avatars sexually harassed her. “They essentially, but virtually, gang-raped my avatar and took photos as I tried to get away,” Patel, co-founder and vice-president of metaverse research Kabuni Ventures, wrote in a post on Medium.com. “It was surreal. It was a nightmare”, she wrote in the post. Nina talked about the male avatars touching her character’s body inappropriately and took screenshots for several minutes.
  • One can put their metaverse avatar to work — and make actual money from it
    An article in Fortune reported that a new project created by Singapore-based OWNFT World, plans to release 6,888 avatar non-fungible tokens (NFTs) built on the Ethereum blockchain later this month. Each user can pitch its avatar NFT—which will cost 0.18 ETH ($514) each—for starring in virtual fashion shows, music videos, and animated series. The project, called ‘Guardians of Fashion,’ or GOF, has teamed up with Warner Music Group alongside streaming networks and fashion brands to produce the videos and shows. When an avatar is cast in a show or video, its owner receives a portion of the revenue via GOF community tokens, which can be swapped for other digital assets like stablecoins, a class of cryptocurrencies that are pegged to a ‘stable’ reserve asset like the U.S. dollar, through a decentralized exchange.

All these are testimony of the fact that Metaverse has already touched people’s lives. And it is going to be a massive part of everyone’s life sooner.

Metaverse: Isn’t it just arrived?

The term ‘Metaverse’ gained widespread awareness when Facebook announced it was renaming its portfolio of companies’ Meta’ to align its businesses with its ambition to build the Metaverse. Soon after, it has caught the public’s attention. Several theories are making rounds as to what ‘Metaverse’ is actually. It is a ‘new concept in progress,’ and no one really knows how and when it will shape. Technologists are going back to the 1980s, referring to the beginning of the internet and its entry into the public’s lives. No one knew then the transformation that it would bring to humanity.

Having seen the impact of the internet, it is not difficult to imagine how this new wave of technology would engulf our lives. Very soon, our identity might change and we would be known by our digital avatar. It is quite possible we might end up having a glass in front of our eyes all the time. Quite possible. We have seen these shifts in the past. Technologies dominate our lives, and we have moved from the real world to the virtual over the years. And this shift was so smooth and gradual that no one even realized it.

The startup entrepreneur, Shaan Puri, has explained this beautifully in a Twitter thread in October 2021.

He wrote:

Metaverse: Much Beyond Facebook’s Meta

It is extremely tough to define ‘Metaverse’ since it is not a technology.

To simplify it we might refer to USA Today’s article:

It combines multiple technology elements, including virtual reality, augmented reality, and video, where users “live” within a digital universe. Supporters of the Metaverse envision its users working, playing, and staying connected with friends through everything from concerts and conferences to virtual trips around the world.

Shaan Puri, in a Twitter thread, explains what Metaverse is:

Part I – Everyone is wrong Most people think “the metaverse” is a virtual place. Like in the movie Ready Player One. A virtual world, like Minecraft, Roblox, or like Zuck showed in the facebook demo yesterday. But what if it’s not a place?

Part II – It’s Not a Place, It’s a Time A time? wtf? Yes, a moment in time. You know in artificial intelligence, there’s an idea of “the singularity”? It’s a moment in time where AI becomes smarter than humans. The moment when artificial intelligence > human intelligence

Part III – What it is The Metaverse is the moment in time where our digital life is worth more to us than our physical life. This is not an overnight change. Or an invention by some steve jobs type. It’s a gradual change that’s been happening for 20 yrs

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, estimates it could take five to 10 years before the key features of the Metaverse become mainstream. But aspects of the Metaverse currently exist. Ultra-fast broadband speeds, virtual reality headsets, and persistent always-on online worlds are already up and running, even though they may not be accessible to all.

Metaverse is going to change everything. Actually everything. It might sound awkward now. That’s what will happen – from social life to business activities, the Metaverse is going to play a leading role. From the time we wake up to finally to bed – we would need Metaverse. The way we interact with our family, friends, colleagues, do business, connect with customers, entertainment, order food – you could do everything you can imagine in the virtual world.

One thing we need to know, Metaverse is beyond Facebook’s Meta. There are other major players like Roblox, Nvidia, Microsoft,
ByteDance, Tencent, NetEase, Lilith, miHoYo, and ZQGame.

To strengthen our connection with the virtual world and realize its full potential, we would need equipment like haptic gloves, VR headset (virtual reality helmet), Electronic tactile skin ReSkin and Wristband AR sensor, AR glasses, etc.

MetaHuman or Human 2.0: More than a digital avatar

With one in four people expected to spend at least one hour a day in the Metaverse, It is predicted that the upper- and middle-income people in their late 20s and 30s will become the primary buyers and drivers in the next few years of avatar NFTs.

Melanie Subin, Director of the Future Today Institute, a research consultancy that helps businesses measure future risk and opportunity said in an article in Fortune that today’s hyper-social and influencer-friendly world means that people using online avatars to make money could grow—in particular, using such avatars to work as online influencers to generate passive income.

The online or digital avatar we are all aware of it. Aren’t we? It is a graphical illustration of a user either in 2D icon or a 3D figure. After the boom in the NFT market, people do not now mind investing millions of dollars for their digital representation – right from Bored Ape to CryptoPunk. There are ample choices.

Apart from these entertainment elements, digital avatars are to revolutionize several industries, including healthcare, advertising, and soft-skills development.

However, what would be more interesting is beyond this 2D icon or a 3D figure, wherein in Metaverse, major human capability, Intelligence, and responsiveness could be enhanced through technological interventions. Many startups are engaged in bringing digital Humans into life which can be more responsive on Metaverse.

Linking Metaverse to real-world economic activity

Gartner’s report suggested brands have already started building the infrastructure to allow users to digitally replicate their lives. It further says 30 percent of organizations in the world will have products in the Metaverse by 2026.

The Metaverse is also expected to connect with the real-world activities economy powerfully. It will certainly change the way brands connect with their consumers. Over the next few years, brands will collaborate to unify the Metaverse.

To conclude, let’s refer to Shaan’s tweet that rightly summarises what life could be after a few years:

Everything goes digital.
Your friends, your job, your identity.
And now with crypto, your assets are online too.
Bored Apes are the new Rolex.
Fortnite skins are the new skinny jeans.
If everyone hangs out online all the time, then your flexes need to be digital.

Sevashree Mohapatra
A strategic Corporate Communication leader and technology enthusiast, I have more than 20 years of experience in content, corporate communication, and Strategy. Having worked in major media houses and MNCs like Hindustan Times, Ogilvy, ArcelorMittal, and Suez, I have helped brands to create value for their customers.