The next-level Internet is going to be transformative, but we’re ready for it.
There’s a lot of buzz now about the metaverse and how it’s going to revolutionise everything from the way we do business to the way we live. But what, exactly is the metaverse? And how should we be preparing for the coming revolution in technology and lifestyle?
According to Jayne Leung, VP greater China for Meta, (the company formerly known as Facebook), we can take a deep breath and relax about being left out or left behind. She explains that the metaverse is “still in the earliest stages; many of these experiences and products won’t be fully realised until the next 5-10 years”.
“The metaverse,” says Leung, “will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together – and do things you couldn’t do together in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies.”
If that description sounds a lot like the virtual online and mobile worlds we already live in now, you’d be right. Imagine the metaverse as the next evolution in online social technology. The expanded capabilities of next-gen AR and VR tech will make our virtual worlds less virtual, more real. Instead of calling friends via video, the tech will let you have “the feeling that you’re right there with another person, no matter where in the world you happen to be,” says Leung.
While that immersive future is some way off, the research and development, as well as the investments, are in the works right now. Meta has launched a two year, USD50 million investment in global research and partnerships. And according to Leung, more than 700 million people use AR across Meta’s technologies and devices every month. “We’ve already seen businesses use AR to allow customers to virtually drop furniture in their home to see how it would fit, or use AR to let people try on makeup or glasses right from their Facebook feed.”
The mobile internet is the best space for an innovative company to begin preparing for the future, says Leung. Local Hong Kong companies are jumping in already, experimenting with AR technology in their marketing. That experience will be invaluable in the transition to the metaverse as the various technologies begin to come online.
As was true with the mobile internet, business opportunities will follow consumer behaviour. “That’s why it’s important for businesses to continue building for today’s opportunities by innovating, experimenting and growing your audience… the connections that they're building on existing platforms now will still apply in the metaverse.”
Ultimately, says Leung, the metaverse will be positive, creative, and transformative. “I’m excited about what comes next as we move beyond what’s possible today, beyond the constraints of screens, the limits of distance and physics, and towards a future where everyone can be present with each other, create new opportunities, and experience new things. It’s a future that is beyond any one company, that will be made by all of us.”