Are we ready for the Metaverse?

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Over the last many decades and centuries, the pace has been the most important deliverable of technology to society. Whatever is touched by technology, it brings an immense change in the whole existence of everything, the whole experience of everything, and the whole future of everything.

So-called social media never existed a little more than a decade ago. The experience of being connected now that we see today was non-existent a few decades ago. Often at the beginning of drastic technologies, they are seen as fads and not breath-taking or life-changing for that matter. The early days of Facebook were too no different.

Of course, evolution has its way, and it paves a path towards more and more interactivity and engagement and establishes leaders. While Facebooks and Twitters cherish, Orkuts and many others die a natural death. Some of these platforms grow and grip the whole society in such a manner that they can trigger a behaviour change cumulatively in the society on a mass scale. They end up bringing in a huge change at a social level, political level, economic level, and interpersonal level in due course.

We are hearing about metaverse, which seems like a new world order is going to be unveiled soon. Various theories are doing the rounds, multiple ideas, possibilities, expectations, and of course news is being flooded around us to keep guessing and understanding what it will be like.

As such we are living in a somewhat little form of metaverse with our long hours of screen time, be it laptops, computers, mobile phones, tablets, or even smartwatches for that matter. Our morning walks are often bound with the smart wearable device, our movie shows are often tracked and monitored by our browsers, and the mobile apps often track our activity and suggest what to do. In a limited way, the metaverse exists for us in its infancy.

Virtual reality is already here in many offerings be it via games or other experiential. It will soon seep into our mainstream experience of media consumption. An increase in the number of virtual worlds, the emergence of user-owned data, blockchain coming into the picture, transactions becoming digital & secure, and maybe financial transparency for a large size of the population, etc., many things will be creating a whole new world.

Something that the visionaries have been imagining now as what could come into the future will mean a lot for the communications professionals. Will it just be one more touchpoint for the brand communicators to reach out or will it displace traditional touchpoints and create many touchpoints within the metaverse touchpoint is something only time will tell us.

A much more decentralised and far more complex and detailed web environment will not only pose challenges but also will present us with opportunities. There could be a rise in the number of influencers from the current scenario and more and more common people could become influencers in some form. An increase in the number of celebrity influencers might just reduce their importance and thereby open up the presence of a large number of influencers with lesser but more targeted followership.

In the recent past with excessive digitalisation, there has also been a rise in sophisticated cyber-attacks, scams, and frauds which often target those who are less tech-savvy and knowledgeable about the digital world. Many well-educated people, professionals, and businesspersons have shown to be gullible towards such crimes get easily targeted. Issues of privacy, data security, and getting exposed to unknown are expected to be among the initial challenges as we move into the metaverse.

Corporate communications can however put in place with some planning and by seeking the help of visionaries and think-tanks on how to leverage this evolving scenario. After all, the more effort you make in understanding the evolving scenario, the more benefits you can reap from this!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

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