Sydney L!VE – Metaverse is 'a new frontier of interaction'

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 8 June 2022

Alexandra Sloane, the ANZ marketing director for Meta, said that we all have a role to play in bringing the metaverse to life, in the opening presentation for AdNews L!VE Sydney.

Sloane began by defining the metaverse, saying that if the internet of today is something that we look at, the metaverse is an internet that we're inside of. 

“It's a set of digital spaces and immersive 3D experiences that we'll be able to move between. They'll be interconnected and it will enable the next generation of online social technology.

“It incorporates technologies that we already know and love like AR and VR, and many of [the technologies] are still in development or yet to be imagined. None of these technologies alone are the metaverse."

Explaining that the digital world can create connections when it’s not practical or possible to be together, Sloane said the metaverse will take this a step further, offering a range of educational, experimental, and economic opportunities through sharing a space, rather than a screen. 

“Our vision of the metaverse is not purely about being transported to another world or pure escapism: it's actually about enriching our experiences and not replacing them. It's about deepening connection and understanding.”

To assuage any concerns that Meta will seek to build, own or run the metaverse by itself, Sloane reinforced that Meta will collaborate at every stage with policymakers and industry partners. 

“The metaverse is an idea built by many, many creators, a lot like the internet. The term ‘creators’ is one that refers to anything from an individual artist to creative agencies, advertisers, companies and the industry at large. 

She outlined three key attributes that will underpin the metaverse.

“The first is a sense of presence, that feeling that you're really there with someone else, whether that's to play a game, to shop, to work or create almost anything you can imagine. This sense of presence is the holy grail of connection and social communication. 

“The second one is continuity, the idea that you'll be able to access the metaverse and pick up where you left off. There'll be a continuation of where you were before and you can take things with you; for example, a piece of digital clothing. 

“Lastly, it will be interoperable. You'll be able to access the metaverse from many different devices and different levels of fidelity. Whether it's an app on a phone, a PC, a VR or an AR device, you'll be able to go from one experience to another seamlessly without having to exit and restart.”

Analysing how business can leverage the metaverse today, Sloane said that 72% of Australians see AR as a bridge from online to offline worlds, with 700 million people already using AR effects globally each month across Meta’s technologies. 

Some possible applications discussed for the future revolved around retail, an important industry considering two thirds of online shoppers say they'd like to try things on virtuall at home if they could.

“You can think about turning your Facebook and Instagram shop into a virtual shop in the metaverse and giving your customers the experience of your products and brands just like they would have in a physical shop.”

“As marketers, we're always thinking about our brand assets and the intangible things we want people to feel when they walk away from an experience with our brand. This all applies in the metaverse, as we get to build a much more immersive space for customers.” 

Although Sloane said that this is just the start of a five-to-10-year journey, people are clearly already engaged with the idea of the metaverse - conversation on Facebook around the term has increased 689% over the last 15 months.

“We know that the shift from desktop to mobile created a whole new world of opportunity. 

“From creating a digital storefront to messaging a customer across the world, the mobile internet expanded a business beyond its physical shop and put it in everyone's pocket. 

“With that in mind, let's just imagine what the metaverse can do.”

The event is powered by supporting partners Dentsu, LiSTNR, Pubmatic, Foxcatcher and Boomtown as well as associate partners Piano, Amobee and Resolution Digital.

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