Tag: metaverse

Planning for a career in the metaverse

The metaverse is set to become a major contributor to the world economy, with the potential to deliver a R2.3-trillion boost to the global economy by 2025, according to an assessment conducted by PwC. Augmented and virtual reality (VR) tech will impact a variety of sectors – from gaming and healthcare to EdTech and retail. With well-known consumer brands such as Nike and Gucci already investing in virtual product development and sales, the demand for metaverse-related skills could be on the rise. For young South Africans, preparing for a successful career in the metaverse starts now.

“There’s a lot of talk around the metaverse, and a lot of caution too. It’s important for parents and their children to understand the hype verses the reality, and how to prepare for the opportunities this will present. With artificial intelligence and VR positioned as the core technologies of the metaverse, building knowledge in these areas is a good start for students,” says Rebecca Pretorius, Country Manager at global mentorship company Crimson Education.

International universities like New York University and Stanford have already started incorporating the metaverse into their curricula, with students wearing VR headsets in their dormitory, or anywhere in the world, to take classes remotely. Not wanting to be left behind, other tertiary institutions are likely to follow suit. At the same time, existing degrees may start to incorporate elements of virtual reality into their curricula. Pretorius highlights four degrees that are likely to emerge as key to success in the metaverse:

Law: With people spending time creating digital art, buying property, and even opening businesses in the metaverse, metaverse lawyers may become indispensable in building and upholding a digital legal system.

Asset management: Big companies and financial institutions have their eye on the metaverse. Universities will need to teach students how to manage and invest money in both the real world and the digital one. Digital asset advisors will need to be able to provide suggestions on investments in Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), blockchains like Ethereum, or even virtual collectors’ items.

Software engineering: Expertise in large-scale system design, networking and data storage, as well as artificial intelligence is crucial to building a seamless virtual experience. While schools will need to start laying the foundations for this knowledge, universities are expected to dedicate an increasing number of resources to the study and development of the metaverse.

Art and the humanities: While the metaverse is powered by ones and zeros, the look and feel of a virtual universe is what really draws the average person in. From metaverse avatar stylists to journalists and Chief Meme Officers, Humanities degree holders may be responsible for bringing the fun – and the humanity – to the online world.

“When it comes to the metaverse, opportunities for success seem endless. High school students interested in building a career in a virtual space can get a head start by investing their time in extracurricular activities that develop their digital skills and help them hone their ability to innovate. This will also ensure they stand out when applying to top universities around the world,” says Pretorius.


By Francis Agustin for Business Insider US

Walmart will join Facebook, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Bumble, Disney, and a string of other companies with plans to claim their own corner of the metaverse.

The retailer, the largest private employer in the US, quietly filed several trademark applications in late December, which described extensive plans to sell virtual merchandise. CNBC was first to report on the applications.

Walmart is directing its attention to the virtual world, like many others, including Facebook, which rebranded itself last year to Meta and publicly announced its goals to invest and expand into the metaverse, a virtual space where people can interact digitally using avatars.

According to a filing, Walmart lists a variety of virtual goods it plans to sell, including electronics, appliances, apparel, home goods, toys, and personal care products.

A separate filing shows the company’s interest in creating its own cryptocurrency payment method and collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Walmart filed seven separate applications on December 30.

“Walmart is continuously exploring how emerging technologies may shape future shopping experiences,” the company said in an email to Insider. “We don’t have anything further to share today, but it’s worth noting we routinely file trademark applications as part of the innovation process.”

Despite many companies’ plans for the metaverse, business leaders remain unsure of how to create a fully-fledged metaverse. Analysts at Morgan Stanley have said that the metaverse could be an $8 trillion opportunity, but the challenge would be getting consumers to buy into it. However, Walmart saw its online sales thrive in 2021, with sales at $11.1 billion in its third quarter according to a Digital Commerce 360 report, which could prove useful for Walmart’s metaverse ambitions.

A number of apparel-based retailers have already begun making their own metaverse experiences. Gap launched its first-ever NFT art collection last week, with digital art pieces starting at around $9 a piece. Nike has spent over three years on patents outlining digital avatars to “cryptokicks,” with the company establishing its Metaverse Studio and acquiring digital sneaker company RTFKT in December.

Other apparel retailers like Urban Outfitters, Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch have also filed trademarks in recent weeks with intent to open their own version of a virtual store, trademark attorney Josh Gerben told CNBC on Sunday.

Source: BBC News

Mark Zuckerberg has laid out his vision to transform Facebook from a social media network into a “metaverse company” in the next five years.

A metaverse is an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets.

The Facebook CEO described it as “an embodied internet where instead of just viewing content – you are in it”.

He told The Verge people shouldn’t live through “small, glowing rectangles”.

“That’s not really how people are made to interact,” he said, speaking of reliance on mobile phones.

“A lot of the meetings that we have today, you’re looking at a grid of faces on a screen. That’s not how we process things either.”

‘Infinite office’
One application of the metaverse he gave was being able to jump virtually into a 3D concert after initially watching on a mobile phone screen.

“You feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness,” he said.

Facebook is also working on an “infinite office” that lets users create their ideal workplace through VR.

“In the future, instead of just doing this over a phone call, you’ll be able to sit as a hologram on my couch, or I’ll be able to sit as a hologram on your couch, and it’ll actually feel like we’re in the same place, even if we’re in different states or hundreds of miles apart,” he said. “I think that is really powerful.”

Facebook has invested heavily in virtual reality, spending $2bn (£1.46bn) on acquiring Oculus, which develops its VR products.

In 2019, it launched Facebook Horizon – an invitation-only immersive environment where users can mingle and chat in a virtual space with a cartoon avatar through Oculus headsets.

Zuckerberg admitted current VR headsets were “a bit clunky” and needed improving for people to work in them all day.

But he argued that Facebook’s metaverse would be “accessible across… different computing platforms” including VR, AR (augmented reality), PC, mobile devices and games consoles.

Metaverse origins
The concept of a metaverse is popular with tech companies who believe it could be a new 3D internet, connecting digital worlds where people hang out in virtual reality.

Its origins come from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where it served as a virtual-reality-based successor to the internet.

Tech firms have tried to implement metaverse elements in popular games including Animal Crossing, Fortnite and Roblox.

This includes planning live events such as concerts and tournaments where millions of players can interact from around the globe.

Behavioural data
“Part of the reason Facebook is so heavily invested in VR/AR is that the granularity of data available when users interact on these platforms is an order of magnitude higher than on screen-based media,” Verity McIntosh, a VR expert at the University of the West of England, told the BBC.

“Now it’s not just about where I click and what I choose to share, it’s about where I choose to go, how I stand, what I look at for longest, the subtle ways that I physically move my body and react to certain stimuli. It’s a direct route to my subconscious and that is gold to a data capitalist.

“It seems unlikely that Facebook will have an interest in changing a business model that has served them so well to prioritise user privacy or to give users any meaningful say in how their behavioural data in the ‘metaverse’ will be used.”

Tech giants like Facebook defining and colonising the space, while traditional governance structures struggle to keep up with the technological change could cause further issues, she added.

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