Experts of the Foundation discussed prospects of the metaverse market

We consider it our main task to develop new development ideas for our partners, taking into account the challenges of the time. It is important for our team to stay abreast of the latest trends in the areas of the Fund's activities - these are, first of all, new industries and scientific, technological frontiers, education, organizational development, strategic planning of regions. Therefore, the Fund's expert team regularly conducts analytical studies and discussions on new topics.

Today on the agenda is the market of the metaverses. The term appeared back in 1992, but there is no unambiguous interpretation of the direction yet.

The concept of metaverses involves the formation of an analog reality in a digital environment, where various services related to everyday life (shopping, banking, entertainment, etc.) are transferred, as well as entire companies and industries. This is, in fact, a new economy with its own rules, opportunities and effects for its participants. Today, video games (for example, Fortnite, Roblox, Decentraland, etc.) can be called the prototypes of the metaverses, but this is only the beginning.

The metaverse market is still in its infancy, its boundaries have not been formed, and investments are rated as high-risk. It includes ready-made platform solutions (use cases, for example, BMW used Nvidia's Omniverse platform to simulate a factory, and Hyundai Motor and Unity are collaborating to create a meta-factory) and technologies that allow you to create such digital environments - VR / AR, AI , internet of things, 5G, 3D engines, blockchain and cryptocurrencies. McKinsey & Company predicts the growth of the metaverse market (use-cases (ready-made platforms), individual technologies) up to $4 trillion by 2030.

So far, there has not been a single full-fledged business model in the world that is completely based on the technologies of the metaverses. For example, the company Meta (formerly Facebook, recognized as an extremist organization in Russia) has just begun to move along this path. At this stage, business rather prefers to invest in certain technologies - cryptocurrencies, AI, AR / VR, cloud storage, etc. However, already now some of the most advanced companies are starting to develop strategies for the transition to the metaverse model, hiring specialized CEOs for these tasks (for example, Disney at the beginning of the year announced the appointment of an executive director for the development of the metaverse). Finding a specialist with such competencies who knows the subject is a challenge in itself; in the labor market, they, by and large, do not exist.

Here are just a few examples of what we can expect in the future. Avatars of engineers are designing a concept car in a virtual environment, which will be assembled in a virtual replica of a real factory. Clothing designers from a well-known brand select a style for a dress that they will wear to a virtual concert. A large bank opens an office in a virtual space to receive visitors, and all transactions are carried out in cryptocurrency.

As in any new direction, in the topic of the metaverses, now is the time to form hypotheses. Based on the analysis, discussions, opinions of external experts, we allowed ourselves to formulate our own - a metaverse as a federation of digital platforms on which individual business processes (organizations and industries) are based. The main question is their compatibility, safe and seamless operation, and the expected effects for business. Perhaps the metaverses will act as the "closing" technology of a large technological package of the global Internet industry. For example, airports have acted as such a closing technology for aviation.

Industrial enterprises have already learned how to create virtual factories (digital twins) that help transform their existing production facilities, train staff and introduce new technological solutions into practice. The Metaverse is more than one digital twin can provide. The effects are colossal - from reducing production costs by optimizing costs to mastering the production of new products.

Experts from the St Petersburg and Moscow offices of the Foundation took part in the seminar. The seminar included a discussion on the role of metaverse technologies for companies in the production sector, on the differences between the metaverse and digital twins or virtual reality, and on possible criteria for the maturity of the metaverse.

Organization of the seminar and preparation of analytical materials - Elena Tibina and Alexander Purgin.

We continue our research on this topic. We invite all experts who are as interested in it as we are.