Are Metaverse Experiences the Future of Customer Support?
In today’s dynamic world, there is often a tendency for current trends and realities to impede the progress of future advancements. Brands and enterprises prioritize establishing solid foundations for their strategies before committing resources such as time, processes, and people to bring them to fruition. This cautious approach means that emerging technologies like the metaverse may encounter hurdles before gaining significant investments.
When considering individual technologies in isolation, they may not appear to offer compelling value relative to the associated risks. For instance, Meta (formerly Facebook) stating that the metaverse is still 5-10 years away raises the question of whether it is worthwhile to invest in an area that may not yield returns for a decade. However, it is not necessary to go all-in on a metaverse-centric future. There are numerous opportunities to leverage metaverse technology to deliver immediate business value through new and innovative experiences.
Rather than fixating solely on the concept of “the metaverse,” the focus should be on creating captivating customer experiences. The key question to ask is, “How can we develop engaging experiences and offerings for our customers?” By prioritizing customer delight, technology can be viewed as a facilitator rather than an obstacle. Integrating various technologies together actually simplifies the delivery of delightful experiences. Immersive, Web3, and generative AI technologies play a crucial role in enabling these novel experiences.
A Closer Look at Immersive Technologies
Immersive technologies are rapidly emerging as the preferred channel for enhancing customer experiences (CX). The ability to dive into an immersive experience that engages all our senses—such as sight, sound, and touch—lies at the core of our envisioned metaverse future. While virtual reality (VR) is a prominent form of immersion, it is not the sole option. Mixed reality is supported by mobile phones, and web browsers can also enable immersive experiences. The real challenge then becomes content creation and management. How can businesses generate and handle the content necessary for next-generation CX while ensuring profitability?
A compelling illustration of how immersive experiences are reshaping an industry can be found in the world of fashion. Innovative platforms like OpenFashion, which recently launched, exemplify this trend. OpenFashion utilizes technologies such as Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, ChatGPT, and more to create most of its videos, sounds, images, and text. In the fashion industry, we observe a proliferation of immersive experiences, ranging from DIY fashion facilitated by textual prompts to virtual fashion weeks and the use of virtual models. Fashion companies are harnessing the power of generative AI to rapidly produce content that enables more immersive and dynamic experiences. As generative AI continues to advance, we can expect immersive experiences to become increasingly prevalent in the fashion world, driven by a rich tapestry of user-generated content.
Discovering Generative Artificial Intelligence
Generative AI has recently transformed from a mere gimmick into a robust platform. Its true value lies in its content creation capabilities. Tools like ChatGPT have demonstrated their effectiveness in augmenting human efforts and speeding up content production. With the ability to configure tone, context, and textual output in response to prompts, generative AI enables the creation of immersive experiences at a reasonable cost to businesses. However, it should be noted that generative AI is not well-suited for generating finished, high-quality content, and any content it produces cannot be copyrighted. While this technology enhances efficiency, it is best utilized by a small team of skilled prompt engineers. The question then arises: How can you monetize this technology?
Generative AI excels in generating fresh and unique perspectives that would be difficult for humans to achieve at scale. A compelling example of this is Pharma.AI, a drug discovery platform. By creating and evaluating various combinations of compounds as input data, a team of researchers was able to develop a promising new cancer drug within a month. It is important to note that generative AI does not replace the expertise required for drug testing, but it empowers medical experts with tools to accelerate the discovery process and analyze data more efficiently.
Learning to Leverage Web3
Web3 has transcended the hype cycle and entered the realm of reality. Rather than revolutionizing the internet, enterprises are focused on monetizing digital experiences. The existence of digital experiences relies on people’s willingness to create them, while enterprises will only invest in developing and selling digital experiences if they can safeguard them against piracy. By harnessing the power of Web3, customers can enjoy these experiences while enterprises can ensure ownership of their digital offerings.
While most people are familiar with NFTs (non-fungible tokens), they may not fully grasp that tokenization is the foundation of Web3. Tokenization involves using a token to represent and replace the value of sensitive data. Tokens can serve as a representation for various assets, such as currency, intellectual property, trading cards, and art. This concept also holds tremendous potential for enabling cooperative commerce.
Companies like Xange, for example, are leveraging tokenization to build a sustainable future. They have developed a method that allows carbon credit providers to offer their credits for purchase within a trusted model, utilizing blockchain technology to mitigate the impact of climate change. One of the key challenges in the realm of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is the issue of greenwashing and fraudulent carbon credits. The lack of trust in the marketplace hinders enterprises from investing in carbon credits. Web3 provides an opportunity to establish a trust model that can be easily created and monetized, supporting even the most complex commerce models.
The Metaverse is Coming – It’s Just a Question of When
Although the widespread adoption of the “metaverse” may not be imminent, metaverse experiences can be implemented today. The key to unlocking this potential lies in three foundational technologies: immersive experiences, generative AI, and Web3. Forward-thinking brands are already leveraging these technologies to create tangible business value.