Simply put, the metaverse is a virtual space that allows people in the real world to interact digitally over a shared virtual space
According to McKinsey & Company, 79% of active consumers have made purchases on the metaverse so far, and over $120 Bn has been invested to power the metaverse marketplace by 2022
The metaverse will be useful in expanding experiential opportunities for business innovation if it is implemented with strong security and monitoring tools
India has been at the forefront of adapting and adopting new technologies for many years. The metaverse is one such technological innovation which has witnessed a surge in demand in the last quarter of 2021.
Simply put, the metaverse is a virtual space that allows people in the real world to interact digitally over a shared virtual space. It is the convergence of cutting-edge technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR), a hybrid of AR and VR, and blockchain.
The physical and virtual worlds are constantly overlapping nowadays. The metaverse platform’s primary goal is to create and deliver immersive interactive virtual experiences that transcend the real world.
Breaking Down The Metaverse Market
By applications, the metaverse market can be divided into content creation, social media, digital marketing, gaming, online shopping, events & conferences, and so on. By industry vertical, it can be segmented into retail, education, BFSI, media and entertainment, automotive, and defence, among others.
The Metaverse Of The Enterprise
After social media behemoth Facebook rebranded itself as ‘Meta,’ digital natives’ curiosity about the ‘Metaverse’ knew no bounds. Following suit, giants right from Microsoft, to Apple, to even Ralph Lauren, forayed into the world of Metaverse. Following suit, companies ranging from Microsoft to Apple and even Ralph Lauren entered the Metaverse.
According to McKinsey & Company, 79% of active consumers have made purchases on the metaverse thus far, and over $120 Bn has been invested to power the metaverse marketplace in the first five months of 2022.
It was fascinating to see leading retail brands like Nike, Zara, and H&M take a risk by launching virtual stores and product collections. With first-hand knowledge of the metaverse, these brands gained a competitive advantage in the virtual marketplace.
L’Oréal, the global leader in beauty, partnered with Snap Camera in November 2020, allowing customers to virtually test cosmetics via a conversation on video-communication platforms such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, and Houseparty.
Sony Music partnered with online gaming platform Roblox to host a two-day virtual concert featuring Lil’ Nas X in December 2020. This drew over 30 Mn users to Roblox.
Even non-believers in the metaverse, such as the Olive Group of restaurants, became the first Indian restaurant chain to drape itself in the Metaverse flag.
Peace And Security Landscape Of The Metaverse
The hype surrounding the metaverse and its applications is growing by the day. However, there are currently no established regulatory protocols in this space.
While having enterprises and their audiences on the same platform is a fantastic opportunity to increase brand awareness and sales. Businesses will require strict access control tools to limit who can access virtual spaces within the enterprise metaverse.
Check Point, an Israeli-American cybersecurity firm, reported a 50% increase in cyber-attacks on corporate networks per week in 2021 compared to 2020. This naturally raises security concerns because it expands the attack ‘surface area’ of enterprises worldwide.
A key feature of the metaverse is the use of digital avatars. Unfortunately, this opens the door to online fraud. If identity theft is so prevalent in the real world, what are the consequences of the same mirroring virtually?
In all likelihood, a virtual world crisis could spread across geographies at breakneck speed in comparison to the real world, negatively impacting enterprises worldwide.
To combat the spread of phenomena like ‘Deepfake’ and ‘Digital Twins’ in the metaverse marketplace, centralised and decentralised governing bodies will need to collaborate to implement stringent security measures and controls.
A standard security practice could include using tokens or biometrics assigned by organisations to establish trust among their users to ensure data protection, customer privacy, and production liability. It is also critical to create an environment conducive to staff training, as few people are fully aware of the characteristics of the metaverse, let alone the security protocols of the platforms.
Enterprises will also require robust monitoring and logging tools to detect malicious data access attempts in these complex 3D contexts. Furthermore, the design of these 3D immersive spaces must take into account the confidentiality of the information that will be accessible through them.
On the positive side, Indian behemoths such as Infosys, HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra, TCS, and Wipro, among others, are developing metaverse security services for businesses in India and around the world. Blockchain is also being considered by businesses as a powerful security marker for correctly identifying users.
Impacting Growth Factors Of The Metaverse Market in India
The pandemic fundamentally changed the way businesses, employers, employees, customers, and stakeholders function. By integrating our physical and digital worlds, our heavy reliance on the internet established a solid foundation for the metaverse market.
The popularity of Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies, AR, VR, and MR all had a positive impact on the metaverse market growth in India. The popularity of virtual goods and digital currencies among millennials and Generation Z boosted the country’s metaverse market.
According to Chainalysis, sales in the NFT space jumped to a whopping $44.2 Bn in 2021 from $106 Mn in 2020. Such instances help propel the global metaverse market in today’s digital landscape.
The Metaverse Road To 2023 And Onwards
The global metaverse market was estimated to be worth $38.85 Bn in 2021. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.4% between 2022 and 2030.
The Metaverse will be a place where employees and stakeholders can collaborate and interact with one another and with data in an interactive and visual manner. The metaverse will be useful in expanding experiential opportunities for business innovation if it is implemented with strong security and monitoring tools.
This has the potential to usher in a paradigm shift in how businesses interact with their customers and stakeholders.