By Paras Lohani
Founder & CEO B2B Sales Arrow
An Indian couple from Tamil Nadu made waves across the country when they hosted the first wedding reception ever in the Metaverse with nearly 500 guests. While several industry leaders and technology experts hail the latest in the tech revolution as the next evolutionary step of the internet, others predict the phenomenon will be a fad. Although no one has answers to these questions, the applications of the Metaverse are on a rapid rise with each passing day.
A Sea of Opportunities: Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that global Metaverse revenue opportunities will reach $800 billion in 2024, compared to $500 billion in 2020. Technology-related businesses, such as IT and engineering companies and AR/VR companies, are expected to benefit from the uptrend. Small wonder, numerous Indian global technology giants are keen on gaining a foothold in the Metaverse gold rush with heavy investments in developing indigenous Metaverse platforms.
Krishnan Ramanujan, Head of Business and Tech Services at Indian IT outsourcing titan TCS, terms metaverse an "exciting phenomenon" with "multiple use cases" for the various companies and industries and that metaverse has provided "significant space of opportunities for Indian companies."
Observing the expanse of possibilities, Ramanujan shared that "The easiest opportunities would surely be employee onboarding and experience-related things. There are many training, education, and skill development related use cases. Beyond that, there are many opportunities that are currently in the ideation stage".
As part of its Metaverse Foundry, Infosys assists organisations in creating their environment, delivering signature experiences in an existing metaverse, and extending advanced AI-powered data analytics and simulations to it. Similarly, Tech Mahindra announced the launch of ‘TechMVerse’, a metaverse-related business vertical offering immersive customer experiences. The technology leader prefers leveraging native AI, blockchain, and AR/VR capabilities to develop B2B use cases across segments. The company plans to cash in on business opportunities in the metaverse through the Dealerverse (the virtual car dealership), Meta Bank, Middlemist, a virtual marketplace and a gaming centre.
Challenges: The initial adoption of new technologies goes through various phases, and the metaverse stands no different. Although blue-chip IT organisations invest billions of dollars in developing their capabilities around the metaverse, speculations prevail over the ROI. As the metaverse transcends the sphere of humans into more virtual realms, data privacy and confidentiality concerns remain. Moreover, the probability of cyber breaches, virtual identity theft and fraudulent financial transactions cannot be ruled out. Therefore, in collaboration with cyber law enforcement agencies, governments worldwide will be required to combat the challenges with stringent regulations in the upcoming years.
Events in the Metaverse groups across geographies to attend seminars, workshops, panel discussions or even take part in entertainment events and converge in a way that mitigates the differences between in-person and virtual events. The technology allows networking, collaboration, brand building, and lead generation at a much larger scale without investing in logistics like travel and stay, which may bring a better return on investment.
The majority of the design and development tasks can be outsourced to India. Hence, Indian IT firms are poised to capitalise on the growing opportunities in the metaverse landscape, provided they invest in developing a highly-skilled workforce and launch relevant service offerings ahead of their global competitors.