The metaverse is not the future. The metaverse is now, and technology impacts how we market our companies and connect with our customers today.

Fox’s Alter Ego,” where contestants perform as avatars, as well as various gaming platforms, give here-and-now examples of how the metaverse can be used in entertainment, though not yet at the Ready Player One or Tron levels of sophistication. 

“The metaverse just means living in this online realm,” Shannon Malkin Daniels said in her appearance on the Publio Podcast. Daniels is CEO of encaptiv, an audience engagement platform for virtual, hybrid and in-person presentations and events, including the Encaptify series Publio and encaptiv hosted this fall.

Yes, encaptiv operates in the metaverse, as do all of us – especially after two years of COVID-induced lockdowns, work-from-home arrangements, and endless virtual meetings and conferences. We’ve experienced the opportunities and pitfalls that life in a metaverse presents. Of the pitfalls, Daniels talks about a former boyfriend’s experience with online gaming.

“He lived more in World of Warcraft than the real world, hence why we broke up,” Daniels recalled. “He ended up losing friends and girlfriends and other things because of it.”

Events and Meetings in the Metaverse

Living in an alternate universe presents risk if you do it wrong. The metaverse also presents opportunities for business applications, especially in encaptiv’s bailiwick – the events and meetings space.

“The technology isn’t quite Ready Player One quality, but the opportunity is real. A lot of virtual events platforms have implemented really cool virtual 360-degree spaces that you can move around in,” Daniels noted. “However, we chose to hold off on that because our market research told us people want usability because the technology (for the cool stuff) is not quite there yet.”

It’s a matter of whether people can use the technology correctly, she explained. “Enough people are not tech-savvy enough, so encaptiv has to appeal to the different generations, the different skill sets, and technical capabilities, and find the middle ground.” 

In the meantime, Daniels said her team will watch customers’ wants and needs, and improve the technology when the market is ready for more metaverse magic.  

“The customers will tell us when it’s time to do that.”

For now, business users want to log on, focus on the tasks, and attend the meetings that they came for. 

“Keep simplicity at the core,” Daniels said. 

That’s how you do business in the metaverse.

Whether you think the metaverse is “a thing,” Reynolds notes the scale of the market in reflecting on his conversation with Shannon Daniels:

“There were about 20 million American adults on the internet when I started teaching WWW marketing in 1996. Today, there are over 4.5 billion active internet users out of the global population of ~7.8 billion. Moreover, VR users worldwide exceed 171 million and I recently heard that 50 million headsets were activated this past Christmas day.”

Certainly, metaverse or not, there are benefits to considering VR as part of your content strategy – even if it is just keeping tabs on your audience’s adoption of the technology at this point. 

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