Research firm Gartner has identified six trends that are driving the use of metaverse technologies today and will continue to drive their use in the next three to five years.
Gartner defines the metaverse as “the next level of interaction in the virtual and physical world.” Technologies in this context allow people to replicate or improve their activities, transferring or extending them into the virtual world or transforming them physically.
“While large-scale adoption of metaverse technologies is still about ten years away, there are practical ways organizations are already taking advantage of some of its opportunities, supporting, for example, employee engagement, sales enablement, higher education teaching, medical and military training and creating immersive shopping experiences,” said Marty Resnick, analyst and vice president at Gartner.
The analyst estimates that several emerging metaverses begin today. But leveraging these technology trends, with proven use cases and business results, is just the beginning of the value innovation brings to organizations. Long-term investments are the points that can create real disruption for the entire industry.
‘Initial and fragmented’ adoption
However, despite the hype surrounding the topic, analysis shows that adoption of metaverse-related trends and technologies is still nascent and fragmented. Gartner recommends caution when betting on a particular metaverse, as it is too early to determine which environments will be sustainable in the long term. In addition, the ethical, financial and reputational risks of initial investments are not yet fully understood.
“Use this time to learn, research, and prepare for a deployment-limited metaverse,” comments Resnick.
According to the analysis, the six trends that stand out at the moment are:
The game industry, especially the video game industry, has been one of the most innovative in the application of new technologies in practice for years. Metaverse will use game technologies, with methodologies, development tools and even their theories to create entertainment experiences and training simulations.
Companies will create “serious games” (serious games, literally translated), using game technologies, experiences and narratives, to train and simulate specific tasks and work functions. Gartner predicts that by 2025 the “serious gaming” market will grow by 25% due to the impact of metaverse technologies.
Digital humans are artificial intelligence (AI)-driven interactive representations that possess some of the characteristics, personality, knowledge, and mindset of humans, typically represented as digital twins, digital avatars, humanoid robots, or conversational user interfaces. They can interpret speech, gestures and images and generate their own speech, tone and body language.
Organizations are already planning to use digital people to act as identified digital agents in metaversal environments for customer service, support, sales and other interactions with current and potential customers. Gartner predicts that by 2027, most marketing leaders in B2C companies will have a dedicated budget for digital people in metaverse experiences.
A virtual space (or virtual world) is a computer-generated environment where groups of people come together using personal avatars or holograms. Such environments involve multiple senses and provide participants with opportunities for immersion and interaction. For example, they can be used to increase the reach of customers who are unable or unwilling to attend in-person engagements, to provide new travel alternatives, or to enable team collaboration.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, 10% of workers will regularly use virtual spaces (in activities such as sales, onboarding, remote teams), up from 1% in 2022.
A shared experience brings together a group of people in a virtual space, and the metaverse will provide this in immersive applications. Therefore, it will enable more opportunities to meet, collaborate, interact, participate or exchange experiences between applications, events and consumer services. In this sense, the metaverse will democratize immersive experiences.
According to Gartner, by 2028, 10% of public events (such as sports and performing arts) will offer participation in these environments, encouraging the rapid construction of shared experiences from the commercial metaverse.
Tokenized assets offer new business models for content creators. In experiments with the metaverse, most of them will use non-fungible token (NFT) technologies and such creators permanently retain most of the proceeds from the sale of their works. The new features and functionalities enabled by the metaverse will encourage other ways not only to compete and monetize virtual products and services, but also to acquire physical goods (in the real world).
Gartner predicts that by 2027, 25% of retail organizations with an e-commerce presence will have completed at least one proof of concept for a tokenized asset using technologies in the metaverse.
Spatial computing combines physical and digital objects to digitally enhance real environments. This enables organizations to get more out of physical and digital assets, re-examining digitized information and “invisible” content that is connected and anchored to people, places and things. For example, digital content can augment physical objects or environments, such as digital coloring of Greek and Roman statues or additional information about products or things.
Gartner predicts that the second and third iterations of spatial computing glasses will arrive in 2026, creating a more immersive experience of the metaverse connected to the physical world.