The next wave of digital change is here, providing forward-looking companies with an opportunity to act today to be ready for the future.
Welcome to the Metaverse Continuum—a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities and business models poised to revolutionize life and enterprise in the next decade.
It applies to all aspects of business, from consumer to worker and across the enterprise; from reality to virtual and back; from 2D to 3D; and from cloud and artificial intelligence to extended reality, blockchain, digital twins, edge technologies and beyond. As the next evolution of the internet, the metaverse will be a continuum of rapidly emerging capabilities, use cases, technologies and experiences.
The Metaverse Continuum will transform how businesses interact with customers, how work is done, what products and services companies offer, table tennis tables how they make and distribute them, and how they operate their organizations.
Multiple worlds, multiple projects
The physical world is coming alive with new capabilities, environment by environment, each with its own rules. We already have small-scale intelligent physical worlds like smart factories, intelligent cruise ships and automated ports. Tomorrow we’ll see these grow into smart neighborhoods, cities and countries, where massive digital twins mirror physical reality. And purely digital worlds are expanding as well. Major companies will have their own internal metaverses to let employees work and interact from anywhere. In our free time, new consumer metaverses will transport us to almost any type of world we can imagine, to play games, socialize or relax.
While we are in the early days of the metaverse, leaders who shy away from the uncertainty of the metaverse will soon be operating in worlds defined by others.
Businesses will find themselves on the front lines of establishing safety and defining the human experience in these worlds. Trust will be paramount; existing concerns around privacy, bias, fairness and human impact are sharpening as the line between people’s physical and digital lives blurs. Leading enterprises will shoulder the charge for building a responsible metaverse, and are setting the standards now.
As these developments challenge our basic assumptions about technology and business, we’re entering a new landscape with no rules or expectations. It’s time to build and shape the worlds of tomorrow.
Architecting tomorrow’s continuum, today
Just like in the early years of the web, businesses are racing toward a future utterly different from the one they were designed for. Over the next decade, we will witness a complete transformation of nearly every environment in which companies do business.
The good news? There’s still time to get ahead—but companies need to start making decisive technology investments. At a minimum, they need to prioritize the remaining gaps in their digital transformation, from delayed cloud migrations to sidelined data and analytics programs.
But to really start this new journey, they must build on that digital foundation. It’s time to finally pick partners to build a digital twin, go beyond data and analytics to use AI in more visible and collaborative ways, or launch the “moonshot” project that increasingly feels mission critical. Only with a mature and well-oiled digital engine will enterprises be prepared to participate in (or build) new environments and worlds.
Meet Me in the Metaverse: four trends
In this year’s Tech Vision, we explore how today’s technology innovations are becoming the building blocks of our collective future. The trends investigate the entire continuum, from the virtual to the physical, across humans and machines alike.