Metaverse ... is also not a strategy

Metaverse ... is also not a strategy

The Metaverse is one of tech's latest big things that await us on the horizon (no pun intended).

Erik Walenza and I are kicking off the new year with a digital roundtable that explores the potential benefits and challenges of using the Metaverse in the enterprise space. So we thought starting the new year with a medium-term future-facing topic would be good!

Every few years, there's a new big thing in tech: SQL, Web 2.0, Big Data, Twitter, and 5G. Each term surfs through the Gartner hype cycle and morphs into our societies, business, and daily life, yet rarely in the way we had anticipated.

Globally acclaimed tech analyst Benedict Evans takes us through the time journey with his recent essay on ways to think about the metaverse.


"Imagine it’s 1992, you work at the MIT MediaLab, and you’ve realised that tens of millions of people have a PC now, and that in the next decade a lot more people will get one, and they’ll all be connected together with networks of some kind. What would that be like? It sounds exciting! So, you get a whiteboard and start writing - words like interactivity, convergence, video, multimedia, graphical user interfaces and fibre optics. You fill the whiteboard, and draw a box around it and label the whole thing ‘information superhighway’. Who will build this?


"Going back to the mobile internet in 2002, many of us knew that this would be big, almost no-one thought it would replace PCs, and only a crazy person would have said that the telcos, Nokia and Microsoft would play no role at all and a has-been PC company in Cupertino and a weird little ‘search engine’ would build the new platforms. So be careful building castles in the sky."


And so when people start making highly specific predictions about how an entirely new thing will appear, a decade into the future, and explain how it will all work, that feels very inorganic. This isn’t how tech works anymore. The problem with this view of ‘the metaverse’ is not so much that there are huge practical problems in making assets portable between totally different types of game, but that you really can’t predict any of that in advance.

2021 was the year that Metaverse started to root itself in the form of VR taking off, with Oculus selling more headsets than Microsoft did Xbox's. And if it's up to Mr. Zuckerburg, we'll all be ditching our laptops soon enough for Meta's Meta Quest Pro.

Source: Jack Soslow

Can we dismiss the Metaverse as a hype? Not so fast. While the consumer VR market may have lost a bit of steam in the meantime, the enterprise applications of the metaverse are vast and varied. According to Tony Parisi, a virtual reality pioneer, the metaverse will be a "new and profoundly transformational medium" enabled by significant innovations in hardware, human-computer interface, network infrastructure, creator tools, and digital economies.

Ronit Ghose, Global Sector Head for Banks in Citi Research, and his team estimate that a device-agnostic metaverse, catering to various use cases, could lead to the total addressable market of the metaverse economy reaching between $8 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030. Real metaverse users would get to five billion.

Yet running large-scale virtual worlds will require computation beyond just operating a machine vision system in a factory production line with a strict electrical power budget. (source: Exponential View)

Citi GPS: "to make the vision of metaverse reality, we expect significant investment in a confluence of technology. Low latency, the time it takes a data signal to travel from one point on the Internet to another point, and then come back, is critical to building a more realistic user experience."

Raja Koduri, SVP and GM of the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group at Intel Corporation, estimated computational improvements of over 1,000x today's levels. Therefore, achieving this market potential will require significant infrastructure investment in computing, storage, network infrastructure, consumer hardware, and game development platforms. (source: Exponential View)

As Benedict Evans, Tom Doctoroff and others may continue to remind everyone, the Internet wasn't for sale, SQL wasn't a strategy, Twitter wasn't a strategy, and even 5G wasn't a strategy, nor will the Metaverse be a strategy.

(Dilbert, Friday, November 17, 1995)

That's what I wanted to share in terms of the excitement surrounding the metaverse coupled with the challenges it holds for the enterprise. So I look forward to exploring the value of the enterprise metaverse together with digital expert partners and a dozen corporate executives and tech leaders on the 12th of January.