Stereoscape’s creative strategist, Janne Iäpiiri, shares his tips for how to enter the metaverse.
What does the metaverse mean to you?
The metaverse combines content built on the web, 3D, game engines and other emerging techs such as 5G and 6G networks. To me, the metaverse is one place – where companies and individuals can build their worlds, bringing together aspects of the physical and digital worlds.
Is metaverse just hype?
Whether you like it or not, the metaverse is already there! Most companies have gone through the process of digitalisation in the past 10-15 years, and now create 3D content, videos, images to internet, gamified content, 360 images… all of those are part of the metaverse.
Virtualisation is just another layer of the digitalisation process, and most companies today already combine physical, digital and virtual processes in a mix that suits them. Metaverse is just there to connect the dots. The real question is, who are the businesses and individuals that connect the dots, and who are the players to benefit the most.
How are marketers using the metaverse?
Many consumer companies are joining the metaverse online through platforms like Decentraland to create digital fashion and other assets that can be bought and sold in the metaverse and the digital world. For example, Nike has been doing this for five years already.
The music industry has also been an early mover in the metaverse, organising virtual events during the pandemic, taking advantage of the multi-player logic of the metaverse and creating opportunities for people to meet over shared passions when physical meetings were impossible.
How does the metaverse relate to the more traditional marketing channels?
The metaverse is a marketing channel and platform that complements or encompasses all the other, more traditional channels through which brands engage customers. When you create content for the metaverse, you also create content for social; when you create 3D assets, they can also be used to generate 2D content, and so on.
Is the metaverse useful for B2B companies?
Many forward-looking B2B companies utilise the metaverse in their operations from marketing to training and process optimisation. Finnish companies like Valmet and Wärtsilä, for example, have created interactive presentations of their products and services to engage their clients. Meanwhile Nokia has long been at the forefront of seeking innovative ways to present their vision using the latest technologies
available, including multi-user virtual reality experiences, interactive presentations and augmented reality.
How is the metaverse used for training and onboarding?
“The virtual space is a great way to introduce people to their workspaces remotely or train for dangerous situations safely.” Digitising and virtualising aspects of training can create huge cost savings in
situations where companies have to train or onboard large numbers of staff on a regular basis.
Using virtual reality has some unique benefits over more traditional class-room methods. How can you teach people how a ferry ship or oil-rig works, when you can’t visit the location? How can you train people safely to move in a hazardous environment or factory floor?
In virtual reality, nothing is impossible – you can go under water or inside a car engine, you can see what happens during an oil leak or a fire – all these things that you could not experience otherwise. The benefits are pretty easy to see, whether we’re talking about routine tasks like cleaning or more complex maintenance processes.
Aside from savings, training people in virtual reality improves memory retention. Several studies have shown that people remember things learned in virtual reality as if they happened in real life – as opposed to seeing something on a screen or memorising from a book.
Aside from re-call benefits, using virtual reality for training can simply be more engaging, fun and motivating for learners, especially when gamified elements such as competitions and points are included.
How can industrial companies benefit from the metaverse?
The metaverse provides a platform for companies and other organisations to create digital twins of their operations. Utilising virtual and interactive technologies can be as simple as creating digital, interactive manuals to help workers in their day-to-day jobs. There are also lots of great tools available to enhance worker productivity and reducing mistakes on production lines, for example by providing remote support to workers through augmented reality tools which help them complete tasks in real-time.
How can companies get started with metaverse?
It all starts with identifying the business need and a suitable pilot project. Many companies don’t realise they already have many assets in place that can be easily extended and modified for new uses. For example, CAD models can form the basis of interactive 3D animations, and content created for augmented reality can double as social media content. Our role as immersive and metaverse experts is to find where the new technologies can bring real added value to our partners, and ultimately, help engage their clients and achieve real business goals. A small extra investment now can create so many benefits in the future, as long as resources are used wisely.