Despite origins in gaming and social media, the Metaverse’s application has extended beyond entertainment to traditional sectors. Several practical applications of Metaverse technology including Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have facilitated the buying and selling of goods in an entirely virtual environment. These virtual environments enable companies to obtain greater exposure without geographical constraints, changing the way in which we shop and make payments altogether. This has led to a redesign of customers’ purchasing decisions and interactions, creating the next evolution of consumer spending patterns.

Aside from retail, the future of work is also being reshaped by Metaverse technology, with examples being witnessed in the financial services industry. Propelled by remote working conditions catalysed by COVID-19, VR and AR have enabled colleagues to collaborate efficiently while not in the same space, using features such as chatting, annotating and screen-sharing. These technologies are also particularly useful in an individual capacity for data visualisation to analyse financial risks. However, the crown jewel of the Metaverse’s practical applications is its ability to bring greater convenience to professionals and clients alike, with VR and AR being implemented in client-facing contexts.

The inclusion of digital technologies in traditional sectors, such as finance, has been an impetus for the increased expectations held by consumers regarding the services they want to be provided with. Once providers have made these services available, competitors who wish to remain relevant must keep up with advancements.

The proliferation of the Metaverse is considered the next unstoppable development in tech, with millions of dollars being injected into virtual experiences and infrastructure, and constant incentives for innovation and competition in the market. However, this does not come without challenges, with the EU’s Digital Competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, stating that antitrust regulators will be faced with the challenge of crafting a comprehensive virtual reality environment.

As with any technological development, companies must implement the Metaverse strategically. Virtual expansions require human touchpoints to generate a higher rate of adoption among customers. This will ensure Metaverse services are a ‘no brainer’ when compared to existing non-virtual offerings. Mass adoption of Metaverse also brings forth ESG concerns, which companies must address responsibly.

To create Metaverse services that customers can trust and which line up with their ideals, companies must use it wisely, examining expected business outcomes while managing its environmental impact. This must include each stage of its rollout, from strategy and design to engineering and implementation.