By 2026, 25 per cent of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social and/or entertainment, according to data and analytics firm Gartner.
“Vendors are already building ways for users to replicate their lives in digital worlds,” says Marty Resnick, research vice president at Gartner.
“From attending virtual classrooms to buying digital land and constructing virtual homes, these activities are currently being conducted in separate environments," he says.
"Eventually, they will take place in a single environment – the metaverse – with multiple destinations across technologies and experiences.
Gartner defines a metaverse as a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. It is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences, as well as device independent and accessible through any type of device, from tablets to head-mounted displays.
Because no single vendor will own the metaverse, Gartner expects it to have a virtual economy enabled by digital currencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). The metaverse will impact every business that consumers interact with every day.
It will also impact how work gets done, according to the analyst firm.
Enterprises will provide better engagement, collaboration and connection to their employees through immersive workspaces in virtual offices. Businesses will not need to create their own infrastructure to do so because the metaverse will provide the framework. In addition, virtual events that have gained popularity over the last 18 months will offer more collaborative and immersive networking opportunities and workshops.
“Enterprises will have the ability to expand and enhance their business models in unprecedented ways by moving from a digital business to a metaverse business,” says Resnick.
“By 2026, 30 per cent of the organisations in the world will have products and services ready for metaverse," he says.
Resnick says the adoption of metaverse technologies is nascent and fragmented, and Gartner cautions organisations about investing heavily in a specific metaverse.
“It is still too early to know which investments will be viable in the long term, but product managers should take the time to learn, explore and prepare for a metaverse in order to position themselves competitively,” he says.
A metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. In futurism and science fiction, the term is often described as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets. The word “metaverse” describes a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the one in which we live. It was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” and the concept was further explored by Ernest Cline in his novel “Ready Player One.” An expanding universe.