Exploring the future of the metaverse and what it could mean for the insights industry
Ben Leet, CEO
Last week, team Delineate attended the Association of Survey Computing – Meet the Metaverse conference at the Oval in Kennington. We heard from some amazing speakers and we are proud to have sponsored the event!
It was a day packed full of insights and learning, kicking off with Carl Hayden Smith covering the fact that the term metaverse really refers to extended reality, which is a broader umbrella term covering virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, and that we’ve probably been exposed to it more than we think we have.
We then came to learn about how the metaverse has evolved over time. It turns out that it’s been around for longer than you might think – it was born in 2003 with the release of Second Life, a popular computer game in the virtual world, and today brands that are advertising through online games such as Fortnite are considered to be advertising in the metaverse – it turns out I have visited this mystical realm then, albeit whilst trying engage with my teenage son in the only language he currently understands!
Later on in the day, Josh Drean dialled in from the US and spoke about how the metaverse is going to affect how we work in the future. He made it clear that organisations should begin to understand that the 9-to-5 corporate model of working at a desk isn’t going to be the norm, and that employment contracts may cease to exist!
The younger generation has been bought up playing video games, and we’re now seeing people earning money from social media and YouTube and from playing video games, so will this be the same in the Metaverse? And what does this mean for businesses in the future?
He spoke about the potential concerns of a younger generation not wanting to enter the corporate world, so will we expect employees to work from home, and enter the metaverse into a virtual office with the rest of the team? Will physical offices still exist? There are so many questions around the metaverse, and with it being in such an early stage, I wonder how and when this will essentially begin, and when and if we ever enter a fully immersive digital workplace.
So, the more important question is how this will affect the survey and insights community? Parves Khan from Esomar helped us to understand the data and privacy laws that may come into play for individuals and organisations that will affect us, but regulation tends to follow trend which means that for now, we’re a little way from this in the research and insights industry.
However, it is clear that there is a significant opportunity to engage better with our respondent audience, either through the metaverse or through interactive game-based research approaches that were so passionately described by Betty Adamou.
One thing is for sure – nobody really knows what the future of the metaverse looks like, but we do know that it has the potential to change the way humans behave forever, which means that our way of researching them needs to change with it.
Hear the thoughts from some of the the Delineate team who attended:
Michaela Giasullo, Client Success Manager
–I never truly understood what the Metaverse was before the conference, but it turns out I had interacted with many of the different elements that comprise the metaverse in my day-to-day life.
I was really interested in how the metaverse with effect my clients in the future, and I’ve already started to think about how we can evaluate the effectiveness of such experiences in the future.”
Chris Bunyan, Product Strategy Director
‘”The event was really thought provoking. The mix of speakers provided a really good overview of the metaverse and its applications, and how Web 3 can be used in survey research more widely. The use of the metaverse itself within survey research itself is going to be limited at this stage – instead, the insight community will benefit from data that is captured. For example, using a virtual store (either through a fully immersive experience using a headset, or extended reality using glasses) can deliver incredibly rich data – how people are drawn to a particular item, their facial expressions when choosing etc.
A controversial point of view was how Web 3 (distributed, decentralised systems like Blockchain) could affect how we work. It was suggested that people would no longer have standard employment contracts and would instead sell services to companies using blockchain. This felt far-fetched – the speaker mentioned this was years, not decades away – as it would mean companies ceding control and ownership of work created by individuals. But the whole point of an event like this is to challenge thinking and approaches, and it got people talking.”
Jaimi McIlravey, Marketing Manager
“It was great to hear from a variety of speakers, each discussing many elements of the metaverse. I’ll be honest, I’d only heard of the metaverse regarding crypto/blockchain. As technology grows, so will the metaverse, clearly, it’s already being discussed as the next big thing, and is already part of the way there. I wonder where it will sit for market research and b2b industries as this develops. Will those taking part in market research be interviewed from the metaverse or will the market research industry create a new way to survey people. After hearing about the opportunities and possibilities in the metaverse, it made me think about how our industry will change.”
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