The Metaverse as a business opportunity in Latin America

September 26, 2022

The Metaverse promises to be the next leap in the evolution of the Internet.  Discover what the development of this new virtual world could mean for Latin America.

Access to information through the network of networks is allowing us to witness a process of change in the global digital ecosystem.  It is true that it is still in its early stages, but it is also indisputable that it is something that is happening and will not stop.  We are talking about the Metaverse, a term that emerged 30 years ago in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel and is now becoming a reality.

What is the Metaverse?

The idea of Metaverse has to do with three-dimensional immersive environments where people interact through the digital representation of their physical image, known as an “avatar”.  Although this type of experience has existed for some time in video games, the Metaverse goes much further.

Its purpose is to link virtual scenarios where users can obtain an experiential interaction.  In this case, it not only refers to the use of virtual and augmented reality but its integration with other technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G networks and blockchain.

It could be said that the Metaverse is a digital parallel universe, where it is intended that people perform the same activities that perform in the real world.  In the same way as the Internet, it is about the integration of different platforms and technologies.  But this time, not only is information presented in the form of text, voice, video, and images on flat screens, but individuals can live 3D experiences within virtual environments.

Although it still sounds too far away to immerse oneself in a three-dimensional Internet using virtual reality devices operated by gestures and thoughts, the first steps are being taken.  Experts in the field estimate that it will take between 10 and 15 years for the Metaverse to become an everyday and massive issue.  In fact, for some times now, there have been independent professionals and companies preparing to be part of the next technological boom.

Possibilities of the Metaverse

Internet users in general are changing.  They no longer want to be just consumers of content; they now want to be owners and creators of digital products and environments.  We are in the process of building a digital ecosystem that offers a wide range of possibilities in different areas.  From education, to entertainment, to health and business, the Metaverse promises to create spaces without the limitations of the physical world.

In this regard, the goal is to achieve the interconnection of millions of virtual and augmented reality environments in real time.  In this way, people will be able to play, work, collaborate and participate in a new and different way.  In fact, it is estimated that 25% of individuals will spend at least one hour in the Metaverse by 2026.

This scenario is especially favorable for the commercial area.  In this sense, virtual shopping experiences will be characterized by virtual interaction with salespeople and product testing in 3D simulated stores.

Current reality of the Metaverse

The truth is that currently the development of technological infrastructure worldwide is not sufficient to support the Metaverse concept.  This requires a high-performance network to meet the requirements of millions of users from the cloud.  This implies an uneven implementation and growth of this technology in each country or region, according to their possibilities.

However, the interest in raising digital worlds has led to project that the most desired technology platform of recent times could become a market of 800 billion dollars by 2024, according to a survey by Bloomberg Intelligence.

In the meantime, some companies are making efforts to take advantage of the current opportunities offered by the Metaverse.  One of these is in the field of upselling, using software to conduct virtual tours and showcase products.  Also, it is possible to build customer loyalty through the use of NFT (Non-Fungible Token) of digital artists, as a vector that makes to remember unique experiences, as well as maintaining contact.

The Metaverse in Latin America

Specifically in Latin America, Metaverse-oriented technologies continue to gain momentum.  Today, more than 100 million people in the region make use of augmented reality-based effects.  On the other hand, some areas of Latin America have become a cradle of creative talent, such as Mexico and Brazil, which are on the list of the top 10 countries using Spark AR to develop Facebook and Instagram filters.

Undoubtedly, the commercial opportunities in Latin America are immense.  In a decade, the Metaverse economy in this region could reach $320 billion, according to a recent study by the consulting firm Analysis Group.  Evidently, an industry of this size will generate thousands of jobs in diverse productive scenarios such as transportation and logistics, security and defense, manufacturing, education, tourism and health.

In this regard, Latin America must combine certain elements to make the most of the new technological trends.  Among them: proactive regulation, innovative and resilient companies, as well as a consistent market.  Radically changing the way, we produce, study, work and entertain ourselves requires profound transformations.

In short, the Metaverse is inevitable; it is up to governments, companies, and independent professionals to make the necessary adaptations to take advantage of its full potential for their own benefit and that of their citizens