“Red and Black” of the Metaverse

What kind of changes will the Metaverse, which has been on fire since last year, bring to the world?

Recently, Accenture released the latest “Technology Outlook 2022” report. The report shows that the development of multiple technologies, such as extended reality (XR), blockchain, digital twins and edge computing, has laid the foundation for shaping the enterprise-level Metaverse and will change people’s lives and business development in the next decade.

From the perspective of Accenture, Metaverse interprets the dimension of “interconnection” from the perspective of place and data ownership, and brings new business opportunities and challenges to enterprises in terms of network, coding, and computing power. But at the same time, as an emerging thing, the rise of the Metaverse is also accompanied by new issues such as data rights and data protection. 

The Metaverse: A Technological Complex

Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain… In the past 22 consecutive years of technology outlook releases, Accenture has focused on cutting-edge technology fields. This year, however, for the first time, Accenture’s Technology Vision focuses on the more conceptual matter of the Metaverse.

According to Jia Jin, president of Accenture’s Greater China Enterprise Technology Innovation Group, Metaverse is a combination of technologies used in the past. “In the Metaverse we will talk about cloud, we will talk about artificial intelligence, we will talk about extended reality, we will talk about blockchain, we will talk about digital twins, edge computing, the Internet of Things, all these technologies form the most basic composite elements of the Metaverse. “Jia Jin said.

Jia Jin pointed out that, as a new field of Web3.0, the Metaverse will give a new interpretation of the “interconnection” of the Internet. One is the interconnection of places, the connection between the virtual world and the real world,involving technologies such as cloud, digital twin and edge computing. Jia Jin mentioned that BMW’s digital twin factory enables experts from all over the world to be immersed in the scene. “No matter where the physical factory is, you can go to the new factory to see the debugging of the production line and the design of the factory.”

Another is the interconnection of ownership. “In the past, all data was actually not in the hands of users. When the platform mastered consumer data or personal data, it actually hindered some rights and interests of users, and also hindered customers’ cross-platform experience.” Jia Jin believes that the Metaverse will define data assets and data rights, subverting the current status quo of data ownership.

Under the transformation of the Metaverse to the way of interconnection, companies need to consider four aspects. The “future network” will change the operation mode of the virtual world, and data ownership will reshape the relationship between production and consumption; in the “coded world”, everything can be controlled by programming.At the same time, the technology of “virtual and real symbiosis” has attracted more and more attention; on the track of “unlimited computing power”, high-performance computers, quantum computers, and biological computers are being explored.

These changes have brought new business opportunities to enterprises. “In the future, we are likely to be inseparable from the Metaverse, so in the process of leapfrogging, companies need to make changes in all aspects,” Jia Jin pointed out, “Although there are still many immature technologies, business operators need to start thinking now. “

Enterprise-side applications have broad prospects

In the context of the great popularity of the Metaverse, a company at home and abroad has begun to deploy in the field of the Metaverse.

In 2021, Facebook officially changed its name to Meta, announcing its entry into the Metaverse, and its first “Metaverse” store will open in May this year; there are also many domestic apps under the name “Metaverse” that have sprung up like mushrooms: Baidu “Xiyang” of 360, “N World” of 360, and the social software “Jelly” that has been removed from the shelves.

Although users can perceive that the application scenarios of the Metaverse are mainly concentrated on the consumer side, Accenture is very optimistic about the potential of enterprise applications. Jia Jin pointed out that the Metaverse will bring about all-round changes in user interaction, employee collaboration, products and services, production and sales, business and operations.

Accenture itself has begun to experiment. According to reports, last year Accenture purchased 60,000 AR devices to enable employees to communicate and train in the Metaverse scene. Jia Jin pointed out that in the process of Metaverse application, enterprises can choose application scenarios according to their needs and purposes. “Accenture is used for employees, BMW is used for production, Nike or Shiseido is used for customer interaction.”

Qiu Jing, Dean of Accenture Greater China Business Research Institute, believes that from the perspective of experience, the C-end is biased towards various immersive experiences, while for the B-end, digital twin is the most direct and realistic landing scene. “In fact, these two are (to) first make the connection, and after the connection is done, there will be a better experience layer below. On the experience layer, whether it is the personal experience of C-end consumers, or some B-end enterprises. The operation of the factory, etc., can have a better experience improvement.”

However, entering the Metaverse is not easy. Meta’s listed company, Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: FB), disclosed in its first quarter earnings report that revenue during the reporting period was $27.9 billion, a year-on-year increase of 7%; billion, a year-on-year decrease of 21%. The report said that its Metaverse sector strategy and investment are not going well, which may have an adverse effect on its business, reputation, financial condition.

It is even more difficult for small businesses to enter the Metaverse. Jia Jin said that all attempts must start from the basics, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other aspects to lay a solid application foundation.

“The proposal of the multiverse does not completely subvert what enterprises are doing now, but only indicates the direction in the future,” Jia Jin added, “If the information system does not have a good cloud-supported structure, or if the information system does not have a good cloud-supported structure, The application of machine learning has not penetrated all aspects of the enterprise, and it is a little difficult to step into the multiverse.”

In his view, enterprises should unswervingly invest in digital transformation at this stage, from organizational structure, IT structure to personnel training to accelerate digital transformation. In addition, Jia Jin believes that although the market is a blue ocean, the cycle of the Metaverse is relatively long and will focus on the next ten years.

Ma Xiaoyi, a member of Tencent’s general office and senior vice president, also said in a recent sharing exchange at the Fudan University School of Management alumni meeting that it is too early to discuss the details of the Metaverse, and some key technologies to realize the Metaverse will be implemented in 2025-2027. It will be launched on a large scale, and it will take until 2030 to really roll it out.

Responsible Metaverse?

During the vigorous development of the Metaverse, new problems have also begun to arise, one of which is the security involved in data rights.

For example, the current popular NFT is based on the principle of distributed accounting, recording the initial issuer, release date and circulation information of a specific object, and each NFT is unique. However, as information becomes increasingly virtual, a new crisis of trust emerges.

On April 20, 2022, the first domestic NFT infringement case was held in Hangzhou Internet Court. The plaintiff Qice Company sued the defendant, a technology company, on the “Metaverse” platform operated by it, there was a “Fat Tiger Vaccine” created and published by users. The NFT digital works are exactly the same as the illustration works published by cartoonist Ma Qianli on Weibo, which infringes the right of information network dissemination of works. The court ordered the defendant to immediately delete the “Fat Tiger Vaccination” NFT work published on the platform involved, and compensate Qice Company for economic losses and reasonable expenses totaling 4,000 yuan.

The Hangzhou Internet Court held that the “Metaverse” platform operated by the defendant, as an NFT digital work transaction service platform, failed to fulfill its duty of care for review. The minting and trading of NFT digital works includes three aspects of reproduction, sale and information network dissemination of the work. If there are rights flaws in NFT digital works, it will not only destroy the trust mechanism established by the transaction subject and the platform involved, but also seriously damage the certainty of the transaction order and the legitimate rights and interests of the counterparty in the transaction, and shake the trust ecology under the NFT business model.

Jia Jin pointed out that when the Metaverse truly grows, all companies need to focus on trust, authenticity, kindness and sustainability. “Information is becoming more and more virtual. Our enterprise is not only the protection of internal data, but also the protection of other people’s information and the contribution to the construction of the entire Metaverse. These responsibilities are also to be considered by enterprises.”

“As everything can be programmed, all the worlds, the virtual and the real are combined, and so many things are interconnected, security and privacy are very important issues.” Qiu Jing said, ” How do we generate responsible content, we How to generate responsible rules may actually be a very new topic for everyone, and companies should take more actions.

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