In the event industry, there’s a lot to keep up with. Between identifying emerging talent and gauging attendee preferences, most event producers are doing all they can to be informed and equipped for the next few months. But now and then, it’s important to take at least a glance at the forecast for the next few years or even decades. With all the chatter and business moves being made around the idea of the metaverse, this is one of those times. So let’s take a closer look at the metaverse. What is it? How could it work? Who are the major metaverse experts? And what could it mean for events?
The metaverse is not a totally new idea
Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson is given credit for first coining the term in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” in which he wrote about people using avatars to meet in realistic 3D buildings and other virtual reality settings.
Outside of the dystopian world of Stephenson’s creation — along with other fictional adaptations of the metaverse like in Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One” — the metaverse is an all-encompassing idea that incorporates virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D holographic avatars, video, and other technologies to create an immersive experience where users can interact with each other.
Though some of the key components are already implemented, a metaverse that features a single-use, immersive experience where users can navigate between platforms without exiting the experience remains an idea for now. Once it becomes a reality, it will allow us to meet, work, and play, using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps, and other devices.
Mark Zuckerberg, one of the original Metaverse experts, wants his company to lead the way in building the metaverse — so much so that he renamed it Meta Platforms — or Meta for short. Now, Meta, along with other tech giants like Microsoft, is working to make the Metaverse a reality.
What could it mean for events?
While the major defining characteristic of the metaverse — that is, the ability to access countless online communities as part of one immersive, continuous experience — is largely still considered an emerging technology, some other cool features are already playing out right now.
Oculus and Wave have put on several virtual reality concerts, headlined by acts like Justin Bieber and Imagine Dragons. Participants can chat with other fans around the world, send virtual expressions to their favorite artists and vote on what performers they want to see next.
We’ve also seen Epic Games host concerts inside their hit video game, Fortnite. Players are able to “attend” the event alongside a virtual crowd of other people as their created avatar via an interactive, in-game experience. Within Roblox Corp, another video game platform, Nike has revealed a virtual world modeled after its headquarters, where players can outfit their avatars with gear and explore interactive games.
To some, these examples may still feel like just a novelty or perhaps just another iteration of video games. But the truth is that the line between “a video game” and “a metaverse” is getting blurrier by the year, and it’s only going to accelerate. Brands like Nike, Fortnite, and countless others along with artists are recognizing and tapping into the potential of these virtual worlds.
The event industry is just a single case study in the monumental shift that the metaverse could usher in over the next few years. As your audience prepares for all the exciting possibilities, we’ve pulled together a few speakers who have the expertise and experience to help.
Metaverse experts who educate on its endless possibilities
Matthew Ball: Managing Partner of EpyllionCo; Metaverse Expert
Matthew Ball is a venture capitalist, Web3 expert, and author of “The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything.” Ball has built his career around revolutionary media, working for Amazon Studios and Otter Media before co-founding Ball Metaverse Research Partners.
Ball contextualizes the metaverse in an understandable way by educating his audiences on the technological progress that led up to this point in history. Ball has written about the future of tech and Web3 for several publications including The New York Times, The Economist, and Bloomberg, and has been covered by those publications, as well as The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and many others.
Sly Lee: CEO & Founder of Emerge; Co-Chair of World Economic Forum Global Future Council for Augmented & Virtual Reality
Sly Lee is the co-founder and co-CEO of Emerge, a platform helping to foster community in the metaverse. Emerge’s products use ultrasonic waves to simulate the feeling of touch in virtual reality. These innovations are helping to create more meaningful connections across the world. Lee is an authority on all things augmented and virtual reality. He serves as co-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council for AR and VR.
Cathy Hackl: Author & Globally Recognized Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality & Spatial Computing Thought Leader
Cathy Hackl is the CEO of the Futures Intelligence Group, a leading metaverse consultancy working with the world’s top brands on metaverse growth strategies, NFTs, gaming, virtual fashion, and how to extend their brands into virtual worlds. Hackl is a technology futurist and the author of “Marketing New Realities” a book that outlines how companies can use emerging technologies to market their products and brands.
Jonathan Herman: CEO of Baller Mixed Reality; Change Agent; Top 10 CEO in the United States
Jonathan Herman’s technology venture, Baller Mixed Reality, is pioneering the creation of metaverse collectibles as Augmented Reality NFTs autographed by legendary figures. Before founding this company and Bocazon.com, a Latin American e-commerce platform, this Metaverse expert was a philanthropy advisor for business leaders, celebrities, and professional athletes. Herman’s businesses have received international recognition for their innovative work in blockchain, e-commerce, and digital marketing.
We’re all keeping a close eye on the metaverse
Ultimately, the metaverse aims to connect individuals from around the world with shared immersive experiences. These technologists, business owners, and authors are striving to make the metaverse a more accessible and inviting place. To learn more about the latest digital landscape innovations and Web3 technology developments, contact us to book one of our Metaverse experts or other technology speakers.