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The Metaverse Is Set to Transform the World, and Companies Are Diving In
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March 23, 2022 News

 

Written by: Martin Dale Bolima, Tech Journalist, AOPG.

It turns out, it is not just Meta that is betting big on the Metaverse.

Accenture, a leading professional services company with offices worldwide, is also all-in on the Metaverse, as are a number of big companies around the world, including personal care brand L’Oréal, renowned auctioneer Christie’s Auction House and fashion company Gucci. This was one of the main talking points of Accenture’s Technology Vision 2022 —Meet Me in the Metaverse: The Continuum of Technology and Experience Reshaping Business,” a virtual event where Accenture launched its annual technology vision report.

The report highlights how the Metaverse is a continuum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities and business models, which are collectively redefining how the world works, operates and interacts. And organisations seem well aware of the game-changing potential of the Metaverse, which Paul Daugherty, Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Accenture, likens to the internet when it was first coming up in the late 1990s. Put simply, the Metaverse is poised to be as transformative as the internet, even though its impact will hardly be felt in the near term.

“The next generation of the internet is unfolding and will drive a new wave of digital transformation far greater than what we’ve seen to date, transforming the way we all live and work,” said Daugherty. “Our vision of the Metaverse as a continuum challenges prevailing, narrower views and highlights why organisations must act today, or find themselves operating in worlds designed by, and for, someone else.”

Diving Into the Metaverse

Organisations have taken notice, at least according to the Accenture Technology Vision 2022 report. In fact, Accenture found out in a survey of more than 4,600 business and technology leaders across 23 industries in 35 countries that 71% of executives believe the Metaverse will have a positive impact on their organisation, while 42% believe that its impact will be transformational.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, among the top believers of the Metaverse is Accenture, whose Nth Floor is a fully operational Metaverse where Accenture staff primarily participate in new hire orientation and immersive learning, as well as to meet and socialise as teams. This fiscal year alone, in fact, the Ireland-based company expects 150,000 or more new hires to work in Nth Floor on their first day.

“We are recognised as an early leader in Metaverse-related capabilities, with 600 patent filings and more than a decade of experience,” said David Droga, CEO and Creative Chairman at Accenture Interactive. “Our new business group combines these capabilities with the creative strengths of Accenture Interactive, with teams of innovators and creators introducing new applications in the decentralised environment of the Metaverse.”

Daugherty noted: “As the line between people’s physical and digital lives further blurs, organisations have the opportunity and obligation now to build a responsible Metaverse—addressing issues like trust, sustainability, personal safety, privacy, responsible access and use, diversity and more. The actions and choices they make today will set the stage for the future.”

On top of having its own Metaverse, Accenture is also launching the Accenture Metaverse Continuum Business Group, ostensibly to set the stage for the future and help organisations take advantage of the opportunities the Metaverse would bring.  This new group will be led by Daugherty and Droga.

The Key Trends of the Metaverse

Among other things, the Accenture Metaverse Continuum Business Group will help companies address the four key trends that companies will need to address as regards their own journey into the Metaverse. These trends as identified by the Technology Vision 2022 report are as follows:

  • WebMe: Putting the Me in Metaverse. The Metaverse and Web3 will reimagine the internet by ushering in a persistent 3-D environment. But for that to happen, current enterprise strategies will also have to be reimagined as they are currently configured for the internet of today only, not for the internet of tomorrow. In other words, future digital platforms must be able to provide unified experiences that enable interoperability across different platforms and spaces.
  • Programmable World: Our Planet, Personalised. The virtual and physical worlds remain disparate, with clear boundaries separating the two spheres. A blurring of these boundaries is crucial for the success of the Metaverse, and emerging technologies such as 5G, ambient computing, Augmented Reality and smart materials can blur said boundaries, making virtual worlds more real, with people having considerable control over their digital environment and weaving from the virtual to the physical and back seamlessly, and in real-time.
  • The Unreal: Making Synthetic, Authentic. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a game-changer in its own right, and AI-generated data have greatly supported businesses—so much that AI is a top-of-mind tech for organisations. But as these organisations dive into the Metaverse, they will need to leverage AI to delineate the real from fake, both in terms of content and algorithms and the organisation’s entire brand. That means committing to authenticating the origin of all data, as well as to the genuine use of AI.
  • Computing the Impossible: New Machines, New Possibilities. Machines are getting better, more powerful and more transformative, helping organisations solve a wide variety of problems that the machines of yesteryears could not address. The same will be true in the future when businesses will have to rely even more on super machines to solve even greater challenges.

Meeting at the Metaverse

With Accenture now at the Metaverse, it appears it will not be long before other forward-looking companies meet them there. A most notable example is confectionery, pet care and food company Mars, which is already tapping into digital twins—a foundational element of the Metaverse—to reduce waste, increase speed and capacity and empower its staff to make real-time decisions across the entire supply chain. Another is L’Oréal, whose initial foray into the Metaverse was via NFTs and is expected to follow it up by next allowing people to buy, sell and trade virtual cosmetics in the Metaverse.

For more information on this year’s report, visit www.accenture.com/technologyvision.

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