The Metaverse is unfolding the landscape for new value streams and real-world use cases powered by blockchain technology. Brands can create virtual stores, conceptualise and develop virtual real estate, host events, sell physical merchandise and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and do a lot more to engage their audiences. This is best understood through some examples of Indian brands’ experiments with the metaverse.
Earlier this year, IT firm Tech Mahindra announced the TechMVerse, a metaverse environment to drive commerce with workable business use cases across sectors. The company tied up with its sister firm and automobile maker Mahindra & Mahindra to create a metaverse environment with DealerVerse – a virtual car dealership ecosystem, Meta bank – a virtual bank, and a gaming zone.
Flipkart intends to set a new standard for e-commerce with the launch of Flipkart Labs which will harness emerging tech, and Web 3.0, and further develop existing cutting-edge tech. Flipkart has already implemented immersive shopping experiences applying 3D and augmented reality, and is working on developing a more superior user experience through the metaverse. It will also explore metaverse e-commerce with NFTs, immersive stores, and the lucrative play-to-earn segment.
Tata group companies are also leveraging metaverse immersive experiences for their consumers. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is leading the metaverse-based innovation for many Tata group companies with its Evapresence platform built on solutions like Blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT), along with core XR (extended reality) elements.
Group companies such as like Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Croma, and Tanishq are in talks with TCS to develop immersive solutions and digital twin store environments.
Tanishq recently launched its bridal jewellery collection, Romance of Polki, on the metaverse, allowing virtual visitors to experience the collection in their 3D avatars and see them in great detail. Meanwhile, Tata Tea recently hosted the world’s first Holi party in a metaverse environment called Yugverse. As guests logged into the metaverse, they could select digital avatars of their choice and play Holi-themed games. The party also witnessed performances by the artist duo Sachet-Parampara.
NFTs – Call it a brand booster or your digital wealth
Many brands have launched NFT collections to boost their brands, connect with millennials, create an echoing buzz around their brands and sound contemporary. NFTs are essentially cryptographic tokens that can act as certificates of ownership of an item like an image, audio, or video. Various celebrities and brands are participating in the metaverse story through NFTs.
Instead of opting for exclusive ownership rights to a select few, MG Motors is appealing to the masses with its NFT collection. You can own a piece of the brand in the form of themed NFTs at prices starting at INR 500. Meanwhile, another carmaker, Mahindra & Mahindra, auctioned an NFT collection of its iconic vehicle brand Thar for INR 26 lakh!
Travel platform MakeMyTrip has launched ‘VirtualVacations’- a beautiful NFT collection collaborating with NFT artists, using iterative loop programming and AI to bring alive India’s top destinations. The NFTs are licensed to the purchaser with limited rights and allowed to use under the conditions mentioned in the license agreement. The ownership remains with the creator of the NFTs.
Actor Amitabh Bachchan recently sold his NFT collectable series – his father’s famous poem Madhushala, vintage posters, along with other works – for a whopping USD 9.6 million/INR 7.18 crore on Beyondlife. You can access these vintage posters and Big B Punks NFT collection on Beyondlife.
Entertainment, sports, gaming, even weddings: Events thrive in the metaverse
Brands associated with sports, entertainment, gaming, and music may find tremendous relevance on the metaverse for live entertainment, poised to be a USD 200 billion industry. The organisers of the Australian Open (AO) created an AO virtual Hub, a virtual Australian Open tournament experience, using the ‘Infosys Metaverse foundry’ (see the YouTube video). The Foundry helps companies build new metaverse environments and improve their existing ones with AI, simulations and data analytics with ready-to-apply templates, use cases and execution roadmaps.
On the AO virtual hub, users around the world can watch matches at 3D match centres, attend live musical performances on AO’s live stage, experience virtual shopping at the AO shop, network with fellow virtual guests at the atrium, and play virtual tennis games.
Back home, singer Daler Mehendi bought a land parcel on a metaverse called Partynite and named the land ‘Balle Balle Land’. Partynite hosted Daler Mehendi for India’s first virtual concert. A Daler Mehendi store has been created on his virtual real estate to sell physical merchandise and NFTs. He will also be hosting Bollywood movies and music concerts in his Balle Balle land.
In news for event planners, the first-ever Indian wedding happened in the Yugverse, a metaverse platform, on February 5, 2022. The Bhopal-based bride and the groom wanted their friends all over the world to witness the big day of their lives. The event was conceptualised and implemented by the media agency Wavemaker India. ITC and matrimony.com were roped in as partners. Fabelle, a premium chocolate brand of ITC, was the gifting partner.
By pushing the limits of space, time, and imagination, the metaverse offers brands the opportunity to fuse reality with intense and magical experiences to wow their customers and stakeholders. The rapid growth in computing and internet speeds and the fast-unfolding use cases for NFTs might mean that the metaverse could redraw the frontiers of the internet sooner than we think. To draw a parallel with the internet revolution of the early 2000s, the metaverse could be the next big thing to fundamentally and irreversibly alter how people, and brands, connect with each other.
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