Enabling the next iteration of the Internet: the Metaverse


In my opinion, it is this continuity of technology that will shape the future. I think you mentioned Walmart when you said, “What are companies doing there now?” What I’m seeing is that many companies interested in testing MetaVas want to anticipate disruption. They want a deep understanding of what the opportunities are, what the threats are and what it means for their business, and how to strategically engage, learn, test and learn, but also to gain sustainable value by engaging with Metaverse.

So instead of sitting on the sidelines, they are trying to figure out their role. For the majority of young users, about 80% of them grew up playing games and consider themselves gamers. TL I can’t wait to talk more about this, but in many ways it’s about finding the next generation of consumers, the next generation of users, and building and strengthening loyalty with them. And so a lot of brands, a lot of companies, are getting into the metaverse because of that. But from the enterprise side, experimenting with Metavas, because they want to see how it drives efficiency, how it brings better collaboration. So, that’s what we see unfolding now.

Laurel: Well, that’s great. Along those lines of collaboration at TLL, we’re discussing the metaverse within a business framework, but there’s a community element that goes much deeper into the history of the Internet. So where are we now in the historical timeline of virtual environments?

TL: Yes, it is very interesting to hear Dennis’ reflection. I really have a couple of points about the internet of places and the internet of ownership because really those two aspects go back to the early days of MUDs, multi-user dimensions, text-based, multi-user online networks. Playgrounds. Those actually originated in the late 70s, if you can believe it. So we have versions of these people gathering online for decades to play, create, communicate and build community. We are seeing the latest iteration of that. So I always like to look back, looking forward, some of the experiments we’re doing now have already been done, and it might be useful to think about what’s the next iteration, what are the next challenges to extend that long story and conversation?

Laurel: So yes, how do you see the Metaverse or as it is now conceived as an opportunity for a new way of working and life in the virtual world, and how is this reincarnation different from previous years?

TL: Well, I’m really curious to see if people who are working now can identify what they’re doing differently. Because now I’m seeing a lot of the same things we’ve seen before and there are some important lessons there. It’s not enough, for example, to just build a store in a virtual world and expect people to come to it and buy things. That was done, for example, in the second life. I mean, Second Life is a very interesting time in the history of virtual worlds. In some ways it was the second wave, it was the 3D world. We had the internet infrastructure, we had enough people with computers to be in that space. And if you even look back at what happened, a lot of vacant lots were built. So I think there’s a big challenge for the parties that are solving this problem now to focus on some of the big ticket issues that they still have to deal with.

Some are technical and infrastructural. People want meaningful engagement in online spaces, and that means we need to be present to pretend in virtual spaces. How do we develop sophisticated communication, including non-verbal communication, that we do well offline in these online spaces? I think another very important thing for people looking forward to is understanding that technology is not a pure innovation driver. Social innovation is something that communities and users are constantly doing. And it is important to look at the context in which communities work and play. So, those are the only two things that come to mind in terms of thinking about the future, and I wonder what people might notice if they really tackled the next round of challenges.

Laurel: Well, it’s a great sight. And Dennis, when we think about that kind of technological innovation and social innovation, what opportunities are there now. Americans and people in general spend a lot of time online, but it’s probably a read-only experience, you’re not necessarily typing into your response or creating something.



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