In Part 1 of our two-part exploration, Neil laid out his vision of what the Metaverse will be from an experiential standpoint and what that will mean for retail. Neil’s Metaverse is a place to be, and to be with others. Like the mall of our teen years — but also not the mall. Shopping happens, yes, but as an organic outcome of our getting together, expressing ourselves, and sharing.
My view lines up well with Neil’s, though I would put it in different words: the Metaverse is the future of community, communication, and commerce. The digital tools that have insinuated themselves into every aspect of our lives are getting a major upgrade, becoming fully real-time, spatial, and collaborative — a network of persistent virtual worlds and immersive experiences that reflect and subsequently shape our physical reality and perception thereof.
In Part 2, we look at trends in computing infrastructure and what brands and retailers should be doing today to get ready. Every big tech buzzword we’ve been hearing for the last decade — virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, computer vision, 5G networking, internet of things, blockchain, and Web3 — is converging to power the next iteration of that grand experiment in global connection we know as the Internet. And like the two generations before it, this new Internet will give rise to new ways of living and entirely new industries, and in due course render certain aspects of existing daily routine obsolete. While some of what follows describes a future that will likely manifest more toward the end of this decade, much of it is already happening, and the time to make plans is now.