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Metaverse to usher in new era of innovation, and what it means for business

By JOHN RUBIO Published Jul 27, 2022 5:00 am

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Two things became clear as we grappled with the effects of COVID-19 these past two years: We should prize the moments when we can be together with one another; and when that is not physically possible, the digital world can still help us feel connected.

But for all of the progress we’ve made, there’s still a lot to do to improve that digital experience. And the metaverse helps us answer this challenge: in the next five to ten years, it will enable the next generation of online social experiences to be more engaging and immersive than we ever thought imaginable.

Read what John Rubio wrote about Facebook in InBetween: Connected in times of uncertainty

While the metaverse won’t be built by Meta alone, it is ushering in a new chapter for our company, and we are excited to be part of this journey. This is a long-term vision that we are beginning to build, and it will take time, collaboration with other companies and entities, and a lot of creative vision.

Through the metaverse, our online experiences are made better and more meaningful

As we do this, we are still laser-focused on building and improving our tools and core apps that help you grow your business today, while we also look toward the future.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is made up of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create, and more.

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But the metaverse isn’t about replacing in-person experiences — this is about making what we do online better and more meaningful. It will enhance the feeling of being close to one another regardless of physical distance, like teleporting a friend or family member into your living room even if they’re on the other side of the world.

The metaverse is set to be the successor to the mobile internet, which has shown us what’s possible when we’re not tied to a desk. However, some elements of the metaverse already exist in a limited capacity today: Augmented Reality can add layers of context, meaning, and emotion to the physical environment around us, making our everyday more immersive; and Virtual Reality can unlock that feeling of being there even if we’re worlds apart. These elements can also be seen in gaming platforms like Minecraft, Second Life, or Roblox, which have proven that you can step into other worlds straight out of our imaginations.

How can businesses leverage the metaverse at present?

Since we changed our company name to Meta and shared our vision for the metaverse, many people have asked us about the potential economic impact of these emerging technologies.

A report we supported from the Analysis Group titled “The Potential Global Impact of the Metaverse” estimates that the metaverse could add $1 trillion to the Asia Pacific (APAC) economy by 2031. The study also suggests that the total contribution to global GDP would be $3 trillion after 10 years. While the researchers note that the economic impact of the metaverse will vary by region depending on the stage of economic development and technology adoption rates, it’s exciting to see that APAC leads all other regions with the highest estimated potential contribution to GDP.

Businesses that truly embrace the creative potential of our platforms won’t only be enhancing their customers’ experience today; they'll also be putting themselves in pole position for the metaverse reality of tomorrow.

It is interesting to note that APAC has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to digital and mobile adoption. Given the speed at which entire industries adapted to mobile and messaging here, it’s not far-fetched to imagine that the same will happen with the metaverse.

But while we invest in the future for everyone, we are not turning away from our existing, foundational products. In fact, our past investments — in communities, creators, commerce and computing platforms like Oculus — only help to articulate our vision for the future. Our foundational apps, products, services, will be a crucial part of the metaverse ecosystem.

New technologies are adopted by people first, which creates a domino effect that drives entirely new business models — at Meta, we’ve seen this time and again. So, business opportunities often follow consumer behavior, and the most successful brands in the history of business have evolved and stayed relevant by understanding their customers' changing needs.

That’s why it’s important to continue building your business for today’s opportunities by innovating, experimenting and growing your audience, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or WhatsApp — because the connections you're building on these platforms now will still apply in the metaverse.

How your business can use today’s technology to build a bridge to tomorrow

Given that elements of the metaverse are already at play, you can see how everyday technology is already adding value across the marketing funnel. There are foundational products from Meta that you can leverage today that will help you start:

  • Building Live Shopping to encourage virtual commerce.
  • Leveraging Meta Spark to change 2D interactions into 3D experiences, like AR try-ons to boost purchasing confidence or AR Ads to drive discoverability in new, engaging ways.
  • Enabling business messaging to ensure your community has a shared digital space to connect with you, or Messenger Rooms as a way to connect your community to each other during an important moment.

Understanding these critical building blocks can allow you to act faster when new technologies come to the center of consumer behavior and allow you to meet your customers where they already are. Some ideas we're dreaming up include:

  • Taking your Facebook or Instagram Shop and turning it into a virtual space in the metaverse for people to experience your products and brand just as they would physically in a shop; or car dealers finding new customers if they were to offer virtual test drives in the metaverse that are scheduled on Messenger or WhatsApp.
  • Enabling service-oriented businesses both big and small — such as painters or broadband services — to conduct home consultations in the metaverse using WhatsApp video calls for customer support.
  • Partnering with a creator on Facebook and hosting a live event in the metaverse to deepen engagement between your community and your brand.

Businesses that truly embrace the creative potential of our platforms won’t only be enhancing their customers’ experience today; they'll also be putting themselves in pole position for the metaverse reality of tomorrow.

Our vision is for the metaverse to reach a billion people in the next decade. For that to happen — for people to be able to engage in fully immersive experiences in new virtual spaces — we need to see a steep increase in access to hardware and significant improvements in connectivity across the world. In our region, we need to ensure that adoption is not skewed by factors outside people’s choice and control. That’s why we’re focused on increasing the availability and affordability of high-quality internet for everyone.

Our connectivity efforts have helped more than 300 million people access a faster internet. Bringing the next billion online will require many different strategies. I’m optimistic that in partnership with businesses in the Philippines, we’ll be able to take the steps needed to reap the economic and social benefits of a digitally connected world — and allow us to create an electrifying new territory together that we’ll all benefit from.