Evolving Enterprise into the Phygital Future– A Multi-dimensional Trek for a Data-Driven World

We exist in a Dickensian era of monumental dichotomies where it is at once the best of times and the worst of times. Just as technology in our globally connected world explodes into quantum realms, our planet faces an existential crisis with climate change, competition for resources, campaigns for economic, nuclear, and military dominance, and of course, global pandemics (which factored significantly in the explosive evolution of AR/VR concepts).1 Science has always been the finger-pointing to the moon. Data science gives us the stats, knowledge, and insights to know which new worlds hold promise.

One such world, or the infinite number of worlds, is the metaverse. Gamers step aside. The metaverse really is now the realm of everything, everywhere and all at once, and it’s elevating e-commerce in fundamental and innovative ways. It is the new horizon for global business tech and a hotbed of potential, forcing every smart business enterprise to think dimensionally about brand launches and immersive customer engagements in both the physical and digital worlds. Boldly going where enterprises have not gone before, business leaders are exploring the “Phygital Paradigm.”

Investment to Summon the Future of Work and Commerce

Investment costs in design talent, tech, and data engineering can be significant for enterprises wanting to onboard efficiently on Web 3 and the Metaverse. Job roles will differ, expand, and new ones will be formed, just as they shifted in the era of Web 2. Businesses struggling to adapt may outsource their initiatives to agencies with spatial computing and interaction design expertise to assist with the upload. Initial investments will be worthwhile in the long run as the opportunity for significant cost savings, enhanced productivity, efficiency, and revenue generation make enterprise forays into the digital realm attractive, economically sensible, ecologically wise, and a competitive necessity.

More than an emerging trend, the metaverse is revolutionizing business and making it strategically necessary to build and scale sustainably for a Phygital future.2 Within three years, 82% of corporate executives expect to be rolling out metaverse plans for what could be an $800 billion market by 2024.3 Recognizing the need to invest in skills, technology, and internal processes to achieve metaverse initiatives, 51% of companies are making organizational changes, designating new internal roles and developing curriculum for them, such as Chief Metaverse Officer (CMO).4 While 90% of business leadership positions are still held by men, 60% of metaverse initiatives are launched by women.5

Expansive Reach Beyond Niche or Time or Space

Although still early in its evolution, the metaverse is already impacting how we work, shop, socialize, collaborate, and consume entertainment. The interconnectedness of the real world is mirrored in an infinitely expansive, “mycorrhizal network” of symbiotic, collaborative technologies across the metaverse.6 Increasingly, it is less of an alternative reality and more an adjacent/auxiliary space where people can go for training, meet with individuals or groups from around the world, take in a concert, travel virtually, consult healthcare providers, review design plans or prototypes, go on digital shopping sprees, attend fundraising events, attend lectures, try on clothes, select furniture for their living space, and myriad other activities.

Lift Off Early, Strategically, and Creatively

Celebrities and brands propel into the metaverse daily, expanding their presence, growing loyalty, and building communities. The technologies that enable access are increasingly innovative, streamlined, powerful, and commonly utilized. Increasingly, people can move easily between the real and digital worlds. They create extensions of themselves in the form of their personal avatars, which they can customize, dress up and adorn with outfits and accessories, and use to explore dreamscape environments. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, and Balenciaga have pioneered the space to showcase and consumer-test their latest virtual (NFT) fashions.7 These design-rich and manufacturing-light digital products leave no wasted resources on the cutting room floor and potentially comprise a lucrative new revenue source.

Brand products can be displayed in digital showrooms, within digital twins of real-world spaces, across virtual billboards, and couched in imaginative, immersive experiences, all to reach a new and growing segment of consumers. Collaborative endeavors create further exposure and expand the brand presence in the digital space as brands and celebrities join their star power to present coveted events, including fundraising concerts, fashion runways, virtual games, and limited-edition unveilings.

All Systems Go

As the metaverse grows and scales in popularity, so too does the critical need for seamless connection between real and virtual financial systems. E-wallets and cryptocurrency facilitate transaction ease and, along with blockchain and NFTs, compose key building blocks toward opening marketing and sales channels and creating the “ultimate” metaverse. Successfully operating e-commerce in the metaverse means mindfully implementing all necessary security protocols and identity and data protections to keep customers safe, maintain their trust, and deliver a premier experience.

There’s No Journey Without a Flight Plan

Data is the foundational component of all metaverse products, experiences, engagement, and transactions. It is the raw material and cellular building block of every aspect of the digital realm. It gives the mission of any enterprise in the metaverse its structure, form, purpose, creativity, and impact and keeps decision-makers from exclaiming like the Star Trek character Data, “I could be chasing an untamed ornithoid without cause.”8

Data must be ethically gathered, optimized, analyzed, and enriched. It is any initiative’s lifeblood, rocket fuel, and north star. It is the source of business intelligence, enabling enterprises to anticipate customer likes, dislikes, preferred channels, and future choices/desires. Data contains immense value and power. Actionable data drives innovation and propels meaningful brand engagement.9

Live Long and Prosper

Creating tools and strategies for our time that will enable us to address some of the economic, ecological, and sustainability issues before us is a robust challenge that invites us to think imaginatively and dimensionally. The metaverse may provide a new way to live happily, successfully, and sustainably, creating new communities, new learnings, new economic opportunities, and exciting discoveries that compel our trying and doing. As Captain Picard said, “Things are only impossible until they’re not.”10

  1. Covid played a role in the Metaverse Development; https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/metaverse-market-report
  2. PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey; Build a Metaverse Strategy to Deliver Sustainable Business Outcomes; April/May 2022; https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/metaverse-market-report
  3. “Managing Data in the Metaverse: Four Lessons from the Supply Chain,” by Venkat Viswanathan, Forbes Councils Member, Founder and Chairman of LatentView Analytics; Forbes, May 13, 2022
  4. PwC 2022 US Business and Consumer Metaverse Survey; Build a Metaverse Strategy to Deliver Sustainable Business Outcomes; April/May 2022; https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/metaverse-market-report
  5. “Women are Making Their Mark in the Metaverse – Is it Time to Start Building Careers There?”; Jasmine Browley, Updated December 8, 2022; Essence – Taken from a McKinsey Survey
  6. Quote, Feb 2023; Mel Lim, CEO/Founder of Chateauz™
  7. Why Games Became Luxury Fashion’s NFT On-ramp; by Maghan McDowell, 10 August 2021; Vogue Business
  8. Quote: Data – Star Trek, The Next Generation; 69 Best Data Quotes from Star Trek TNG and the Star Trek Movies; Anthony Pollock, April 26, 2021; Soda and Telepaths; https://sodaandtelepaths.com/69-data-quotes-from-star-trek-tng/
  9. Quote: Mel Lim, CEO/Founder of Chateauz™
  10. Quote: Captain Picard – Star Trek, The Next Generation; “85 Star Trek Quotes to Help You Live Long and Prosper; Elsie Weisskoff; March 23, 2022; Redbubble Life; https://www.redbubble.com/life/star-trek-quotes/

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