In this episode we explore the near-term future of the metaverse and what we need to be doing to understand it in our current day context. We feature some of the work done by ATB Ventures – part of ATB Financial from Alberta, Canada. This group is emerging as one of the most forward thinking and practical resources on the metaverse.
Miranda Matey, a User Experience Foresight Strategist with ATB Ventures walks us through a framework called “Humans of 2030 and Beyond.” The report takes the idea of scenario planning and applies it to the metaverse. (We dealt with scenario planning in our very first 5 part series.)
One of the main points of this report is is that many aspects of the metaverse are here now – albeit in their early stages, and that we are already starting to experience some of them.
Some people, for example, gamers are already experiencing a metaverse environment. Some others are only beginning to perceive its implications, while some have no idea what it is all about.
It’s a model not unlike what we saw when personal computing was being introduced. Initially it was hobbyists and researchers that were at the forefront and who saw its implications. Then innovators and early adopters, to steal from Moore and “crossing the chasm” became interested. Overt time, the idea of personal computers became mainstream.
Much of this episode is conveyed through and interview with Miranda. We’d recommend listening to the podcast to get the full story. But in general, here is our summary of the main points from Miranda’s interview and how we would summarize the learnings from this five part series:
- The metaverse is not a thing. It’s not even a place or technology. It’s an era. If you want to think of it, think of it as something like electrification of our world. Or the way the internet happened. Or on a smaller scale – the mobile internet. Whatever works for you, that gives you an idea of how the convergence of technology, culture, commerce and world events progresses. Surprisingly it happens in stages. So you have the internet, someone invents a smart phone, networks expand their capacity and hardware and software grow. All of this happens over time but it changes a lot.
- People “join” in this change over time in different groups and at different times and with different needs. They won’t move before their time. They’ll have different motivations and different barriers. And they’ll have different impacts. Creating personas based on these reactions and timings is the way to go. You could do a lot worse than using ATB’s personas.
- Start small – but start imagining. And don’t always start with the “usual suspects.” Although you can learn a lot from gaming or what some giant like Facebook will do, try to reinvent your OWN business. For instance, you may want to focus on a subset of virtual reality. While everyone is talking about the metaverse and gaming and concerts – if you’re in manufacturing, or medicine or even just some place where it’s difficult to train people – the idea of using digital twins may be something to look at more closely. If you can create your own little metaverse where you can train people in a virtual or augmented reality, what would that look like? What impact would it have on your business? How would that be viewed by your different personas?
We are at a point in our evolution where we are no longer limited by technology. We are limited only by our imagination.
It’s silly to think in terms of timelines these days. Technology adoption is so fast that you cannot ignore new megatrends. You don’t have to be a true believer, and you don’t have to be “right” about the future. You just have to keep asking, imagining and understanding that you don’t have to be “all in.” You just have to be moving in the right general direction.
The final point from what we’ve discussed and discovered in this series – the future will be here sooner than you think.