It has been a year since the buzzword “meta” was thrown all over the world. Since then, “metaverse” has slowly made its way to mainstream industries wanting to adopt it in their operations or businesses. With the current hype of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, is metaverse just hype or what we call FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)? Or is it the new future of how internet will be used? Maybe or maybe not. It depends on how metaverse technology is expanded through its use cases and utilities within the stakeholders’ organizations.
So What is Metaverse?
Metaverse is not new. It has been visualised since the mid-1950s, and through time, many technological experimentations have made it possible. These include Sensorama, shooter gamification, multi-user dungeon (MUD), cyberpunk novels, Tron and The Matrix short films, architectural research by MVRDV, social media enhancement, centralized and decentralized virtual worlds, and many more.
Metaverse, in layperson’s terms, is another type of universe within the digital realm. Some people say a fully immersive online realm that looks similar to the real world but is computer generated. It could be real or surreal, depending on how you create and envision it. A metaverse has three characteristics: 1) immersive for social connection through spatial engagement, 2) persistently shared space for everyone to use, and 3) able to create a tradable economy within its environment. Currently, there are four types of a metaverse in the market: gaming, dependant, interdependent, and big data.
Real-world Use Cases of the Metaverse
According to Mckinsey’s metaverse analysis, the leading sectors in metaverse explorations are energy, media, and entertainment. While the construction and transportation sectors are pretty much left behind. A diverse range of companies spanning industries is experimenting with the metaverse for everything from marketing to education to commercial use.
Examples include Coca-Cola through product marketing, Gucci on Roblox for its customer engagement, Walmart and its immersive shopping experience, Adidas BAYC collaboration for brand loyalty, Helpshift customer support tools, various virtual campus designs, BMW digital twin factories, Seoul City metaverse for the public, Ariva digital wonderland for recreation, and many more. The sales of digital land in Sandbox and Decentraland have opened up many eyes to the possibilities of having a 3D estate address in the digital world. These innovations are unique, as metaverse technology has scratched its surface without high-speed internet and Artificial Intelligence integration.
Adoption in the Malaysian Market
While we think that metaverse is a new phenomenon in Malaysia, various industries such as fashion, entertainment, education, events, commercials, real estate, tourism, agriculture, automotive, healthcare, oil and gas and afterlife businesses have slowly embarked on this journey. One of the earliest metaverse adopters was the KL Fashion Weekend 2021, which used a phygital approach in organising physical fashion show exhibitions. This was followed suit by immersive metaverse fashion week at Decentraland, joined by various brands such as 8sian, Stoned & Co, and many more.
In the lifelong learning sector, SEGi University has announced its meta campus. Accenture Malaysia, on the other hand, uses metaverse for its career fair, while other companies use it in new employee induction platforms. Big announcements in real estate are the integration of a leisure park by i-City digital tourism metaverse, Sendayan City Sales Gallery metaverse, and Sime Darby Future Home winner of non-fungible terrace developments, to name a few.
In the agriculture sector, Rimaunangis Sdn Bhd is partnering with Sangkara Misa to build the first agriculture metaverse. While in the health sector, local companies are looking into the potential of the medical rehabilitation metaverse. Currently, many architects are teaming up with web3 programmers and gaming companies. Their objective is to create metaverse as a service (MAAS) for innovative metaverse in banking, sports, outer space use, and afterlife digital remains storage, etc. These efforts are truly remarkable as Malaysian businesses are slowly immersing themselves in the metaverse technology to create more comprehensive and borderless possibilities for expanding their businesses.
What Can We Do to be Part of Metaverse?
As an organization or a business, several approaches can be taken to start your journey in metaverse. You can begin by attending metaverse courses, talks, seminars and expert networking to understand the theories and practicality in different industries.
Then you can think of how metaverse works on a computer, mobile phone or even headset devices. It would be best to explore existing metaverse galleries, on-chain or off-chain, such as Mozilla hubs, Spatial, Oncyber, Decentraland, Voxels, Sandbox, and many more.
You can also learn using online 3D design software, such as SketchUp and Blender and various gaming engines that serve different project types. Among the popular web base are Mozilla spokes, PlayCanvas, Amazon Sumerian, Spark AR, Unity and Unreal Engine. The 3D engine’s use depends on your project intention and outreach to potential clients and the public. So do not miss your chance to be in the metaverse and start collecting your digital asset.
In conclusion, it can be argued that the metaverse is here to stay and will continuously be adopted by many industries in the future. But what will the future look like? Will the metaverse be with purpose and extend its possibilities towards creating a phygital sustainable impact to the real world? The exploration continues, and with the continuous support from the institutions by churning metaverse talents and professional services defining proper multidisciplinary scopes, many more things will be unravelled in the future. Technological adoption and transformation are already here, and interdisciplinary education is the way forward for future generations.
by Prof. Madya Dr. Mohamad Fakri Zaky Bin Ja'afar
by En. Azari Bin Mat Yasir
Technology & Innovation Metaverse:
by Ar IDr Ts Ridha Razak