The metaverse is ripe for business opportunities, especially for small and medium enterprises, in the Philippines and the rest of Asia Pacific (AsPac), according to technology firm Meta (formerly known as Facebook).
“We believe that the metaverse will be the single biggest opportunity for modern business since the creation of the Internet,” Dan Neary, Meta Asia Pacific vice president, said at a virtual event on Friday. “This is the next evolution of digital platforms.”
Metaverse refers to virtual spaces where people from different parts of the world can meet and explore.
He said that businesses have been using augmented reality, virtual workspace and other immersive features already, all of which were usually only used for the gaming industry before.
“Just think about what that means for businesses if you have a shop on Facebook or Instagram, you now have the ability to turn that into a virtual space,” he explained. “A lot of the way that you are featuring your brand and your products in physical world, you now have the ability to do that in the metaverse.”
Neary said that businesses—especially those with a very large following or customer base—can use the metaverse to introduce limited digital merchandise. “They [customers] get to demonstrate their love for your brand across the metaverse,” he said.
The metaverse, fortunately, is not limited to goods only. The Meta official said that it also caters to service-oriented businesses.
For example, Neary said professionals may conduct home consultations and customer support via the digital platforms.
The metaverse, in addition, may also host live events that can further promote the brand of the companies, he said.
“[Maybe] you want to partner with an influencer and do a live event in the metaverse and that’s the way you want to deepen your engagement with the brand,” he said.
With the promotion of metaverse, he said that Meta has invested $10 billion to ensure the safety and security of the digital users.
Some 40,000 employees are dedicated in monitoring the cyber security.
“We want to make sure that we are taking a very responsibly approach,” he said.
To support the metaverse, Neary said it is a must to further the Internet access reach and necessary upskilling.
Meta Asia Pacific Vice President for Global Business Group Karen Teo shared there are over 200 million businesses that use the apps by Meta—such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp—monthly to “create virtual storefronts and reach customers.”
Majority or 88 percent of the small and medium-sized enterprises across the globe said they were using digital tools for their business, she said, citing a study.
“The use of digital tools has increased during the pandemic, and is a lifeline for many small and medium-sized businesses [SMBs],” Teo said. “In Asia Pacific, 50 percent of MBs on Facebook reported at least 25 percent of more of their sales were made digitally.”
Teo added that majority of the SMBs in the region are operational but they registered significant drop in sales amid the pandemic.