In the second of our three articles on the metaverse and how it will affect business in Singapore, we take a short look into the future and predict 5 areas where we think business and life will be affected.
Because, if your business is in any of these areas you will need to start thinking about how you will adapt to all the changes that web 3.0 is going to bring in the near future, now.
What Will I Learn?
1. Work Space
The Covid Pandemic multiplied by the Metaverse equals the death of commercial property. Maybe!
Companies have been learning over the pandemic that their large property portfolios are a very expensive overhead that is no longer an essential part of the business… as many companies were reporting 90% staff productivity efficiency.
Building on that, around the world, many employees have declared an unwillingness to go back to the office.
With the launch of the metaverse, it could be a cultural and commercial tipping point that sees the end of office days. And these end days (of the office) could come about sooner rather than later as Meta already has Horizons Workroom out in beta.
Teams at Meta are already conducting meetings in it. And Meta is also conducting media interviews there too. Check out this short video to see how it works.
As you can see, for staff to work in the Horizons Workroom, they will need an Oculus headset (which costs over $400), you might see that as a significant overhead. But, is it really?
When you consider rent, electricity (heating/air conditioning), service staff, and all the multitude of minute overheads needed to run an office space, that $400 actually seems tiny in comparison.
So if this does happen, we may have lots and lots of empty office spaces… what are all these commercial realtors going to do?
Some will go bust, in fact, many will, but the smart ones will pivot, taking their current skillset and turning it digital, as they start to work with large corporations designing, building, and maintaining the digital offices in the metaverse.
Each staff member may have their very own digital office, there will be meeting rooms, and entertainment rooms, everything we have in physical offices today could be in the digital office tomorrow (apart from the toilets).
Another area that may be affected is in the home, as more staff turn spare rooms into a comfortable working space distanced from the energy and atmosphere of the home, so expect a complimentary boom in a home office building.
So maybe there is an opportunity for you to become a digital realtor here in Singapore, or maybe you could get into digital construction.
More people are shopping online, even Grandma is comfortable purchasing her new iPhone on Amazon. But the experience is still very rudimentary, there may be videos we can watch but the experience is flat, there is still a large gap between our physical existence and what we see on screen. But this could all change.
Online retailers will change in the metaverse, we will be able to walk around digital stores, pick up products, try on clothes, feel the weight of items, and we will be able to put these products (using AR) in our homes to see what they look like.
Imagine, you want to buy the coolest new Smart-TV for your bachelor pad, you see the LG OLED 77”, for $30K, it’s a lot of money, will it look good in your pad… now with your metaverse AR glasses you will be able to have a holographic projection of TV in your pad, you can try it out in different locations, then you can sit back and watch a short clip… you really will try-before-you-buy.
It doesn’t have to be large goods like TVs, you could walk down a digital supermarket aisle and see the different product offers they have on this week. Our Smart-Goods (refrigerators) will communicate with the metaverse, indicating when the fridge is full with goods as you walk around the shop purchasing.
It’s also going to have a profound effect on e-commerce. As we know there is an eCommerce boom occurring right now… everyone is jumping in… it’s like the wild west.
People are selling junk from cheap and tacky websites… and making a tidy profit while doing it. But will this ‘stack’em high, sell’em cheap’ ethos survive in the metaverse? as consumers will demand a much higher customer experience (where they can project holographic versions of the goods being sold into their living room).
The clever entrepreneur is already thinking about how to support these new e-commerce entrants, by creating in-situ holographic demonstration packs which will help better sell their products.
3. Property & Decoration
As already mentioned, the world of commercial office space could come under tremendous pressure, and as such realtors may need to diversify and invest in the creation of a digital property portfolio.
And if digital property grows in the commercial sector, expect it to grow in the domestic sector too. Within the metaverse, the billion+ users could all have their own digital homes, where people will come and visit. Will it mirror the hierarchical town planning nature of modern physical cities, hopefully not! but users will either be able to build their own homes or get a professional to build it for them.
Is that really an option, getting someone to build a digital home? Well yes, remember Second Life (the application that allows people to create an avatar for themselves and have a second life in an online virtual world) people here in Singapore made millions building property for other people in there.
What we do in the physical world will be replicated in the digital world. It will be a representation of identity in the digital space. People will buy property, people will design its interior, they will buy furniture and art for that space.
As we get more comfortable living in the metaverse, we will start to entertain people in our digital homes. We will want this place to look as cool as possible.
It will also affect how we live in the physical world. Again, imagine putting your AR glasses on, you will be able to see what an extension to your home would look like, or what a complete interior redesign looks like. Or more simply, what a new couch will look like in your living room… you don’t like it in Blue, let’s try it in mustard yellow (as you can read I am no interior designer, but you get the idea).
What about when it’s time to buy a new place, it could be a house in the hills or an apartment not yet built, with the metaverse we will be able to walk around and see what the house/apartment feels like to us. Smart Realtors and designers here in Singapore need to start thinking about what their business will look like in the metaverse.
NFT’s, Non-Fungible Tokens… digital art sold on the blockchain is booming, but it is still tiny in comparison to the wider art market. Again, with the launch of the metaverse, and as we spoke about above, the massive potential growth in digital property, NFT’s digital art could explode.
The purchase of art is a reflection of the purchaser’s personality (even if they just see the art as a re-saleable asset). Currently, NFT collectors only have their limited 2D/flat websites to showcase their collections online.
Jump forward to the metaverse, large galleries could be created where people could walk around, you could talk to the artist before purchasing.
And when you do, you will have your new digital home to showcase your art (maybe you’re a serious collector, and you have your own gallery space, or maybe you’re just a hobbyist and the art sits pride of place in your digital living room).
How artists are paid could change, as indicated in Meta’s promotional video, you could tip artists to keep their piece active/visible in your space for a short period of time.
No matter the financial model, over the next few years we’re going to see traditional artists here in Singapore expand their practice to enable creation in the digital space.
Over the pandemic, we have seen a lot of innovation in this space, with Zoom Yoga and Zoom workouts classes. We have also seen the growth of streamed workout providers like peloton, who offer a group experience in isolation.
In fact, if you go back nearly 20 years, we saw the popularity of Wii sports & fitness, so the appetite for digitizing fitness is there. The Metaverse will accelerate this growth even further.
Expect a lot more class and group experiences to pop up. So if you own a gym here in Singapore, now is the time to start thinking about your digital equivalent, and how you will have to skill up your PTs.
Maybe for your clients working out in the metaverse is not really their thing, instead, you will be able to get your personal trainer into their living room (even if they live half the world away) they will be helping them stretch out properly, keeping their form perfect, pushing them to go one step further.
Having this ability to have the trainer in the room with the client will revolutionize how fitness is performed… This could affect everything from one on one weight sessions to dance classes, as the teacher moves around in their digital dance-room making sure everyone is maintaining their perfect pose, as a dancer here in Singapore could be dancing the tango (in a real physical sense) with a partner all the way over in Argentina.
Here we had five clever ideas for people working in commercial property, retail, interiors, the arts, and fitness. And if you are working in these areas, now is the time to strike, to skill up, and get those early adopters to jump on your competition, it will be worth it in the long run.
Tomorrow we conclude our 3 part series on what is the Metaverse, and how you as a business in Singapore can take advantge.