Navigating the Mobile Metaverse

We explore the trends and implications of mobile technology and the Metaverse in 2024

As technology continues to advance, the integration of mobile technology and virtual capabilities is reshaping the mobile space and transforming the way we interact with digital environments. This shift presents both users and businesses with exciting opportunities and new challenges to tackle, not least the metaverse, the convergence of physical and virtual space accessed through computers and enabled by immersive technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality.

The growth of the industrial metaverse

A panel at the recent Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona said that the industrial metaverse is already being used in a wide range of industries and will continue to grow.  Jane Rygaard Peterson, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Nokia, said in her role she sees the whole industry working together to make the industrial metaverse happen. 

“It's how do we have a digital representation of the physical world but at the same time, how are we able to impact back in the physical world,” she said. “It is not enough just to have the image, there has to be an action coming out of it into the real world again. We have to consider how people fit in too.”

Ingrid Cotorus, VP of Technology Engineering and Reality Labs at Meta, says: “If we think about the metaverse, it's just the natural evolution of how we're all going to connect to the next internet. It’s the natural evolution of the consumer metaverse,” she said. “It is a place of collaboration, education and training. It defies distance and time barriers. It's a place where you get to data faster, you get to solution faster.”

Mobile gaming and the metaverse

Mobile gaming has witnessed a remarkable surge in popularity, with an increasing number of users seeking immersive virtual experiences on their smartphones and tablets. The global metaverse in gaming market size surpassed US$22.7bn in 2023 and is anticipated to reach over US$119.2bn by the end of 2028, according to the Markets and Markets report of 2023. 

The surge in mobile gaming, viewed through a metaverse lens, is driven through a hybrid of digital experiences with real-world activities. Mobile devices serve as convenient gateways to immersive virtual worlds, allowing users to engage with augmented reality (AR) games and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) on the go. Advancements in mobile technology, including enhanced graphics and augmented reality features, have empowered and digitally enriched the gaming experience, attracting a growing audience of mobile gamers to the metaverse.

Social interactions in the mobile metaverse

Social interactions are being transformed by the emergence of mobile metaverse social apps. These apps seamlessly integrate virtual environments into social media and communication platforms, allowing users to interact and socialise within digital realms directly from their mobile devices. These innovative platforms introduce users to virtual hangouts, immersive chat rooms and other features that redefine digital communication. By incorporating Metaverse elements, mobile social apps are fostering new ways of connecting with others.  

McKinsey research shows that 33% of surveyed brands invested 10-20% of their budgets in metaverse projects in 2022 and the global VR headset market was valued at US$4.1bn, which will undoubtedly continue to affect social networks and the growth of the Metaverse in this space. 

Retail in the mobile metaverse

Retailers are at the forefront of leveraging mobile commerce and the metaverse to redefine the shopping experience.

In fact, the metaverse ecommerce market is poised for significant growth, projected to reach a staggering US$30.6bn by 2024, according to Statista.

Through innovative mobile commerce platforms and virtual storefronts, a growing number of companies are buying up space in the metaverse so that they can set up shop there. These firms include the likes of Adidas, Burberry, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Samsung, Louis Vuitton, and even banks HSBC and JP Morgan.

According to the RetailX Metaverse Almanac 2023 report these retailers are using the metaverse in a variety of ways, primarily categorised as ‘events’. These initiatives encompass a spectrum of activities, spanning from the establishment of pop-up shops and the integration of NFTs into gaming environments, to hosting virtual events where consumer avatars can actively participate. Additionally, retailers are also leveraging the metaverse by featuring their brand names on virtual billboards within existing gaming platforms.

Security and privacy in the mobile metaverse

The UK Government has recently announced that it is carrying out vital research into the potential cybersecurity implications for technologies related to virtual worlds in which people connect with each other and digital objects (such as virtual and augmented reality). 

The research seeks to define the term ‘metaverse,’ introduce the technologies involved, possibly including the role of AI and cryptocurrencies, and the potential opportunities they present.

It will also consider potential types of cyberattacks and discuss the possible causes underpinning cyber security challenges. For example, inconsistent security and privacy practices, a lack of consumer protections, especially related to consumers’ data, and challenges in verifying that the people and content encountered in the metaverse are what they appear to be. 

Crucially, the research will also provide an overview of current legislation and potential implications of the metaverse for regulation, law enforcement, national jurisdiction and cross-border cooperation.

It's no secret that as users immerse themselves in virtual environments via their mobile devices, they encounter risks such as data breaches, identity theft and virtual harassment.

The mobile metaverse presents boundless opportunities for users and businesses alike. As mobile devices serve as gateways to immersive virtual experiences, understanding the latest trends and applications is essential for navigating the metaverse and unlocking new avenues for innovation, connectivity, and exploration. Embracing this transformative paradigm shift opens doors to a future where the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds blur, offering a myriad of possibilities limited only by imagination.

 

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