Meet the metaverse: Women’s summit deep dives into internet 4.0 era
The metaverse, cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and e-sports are now driving the digital era, female business leaders at the Global Summit of Women 2022 declared on Saturday.
The three-day international summit wraps up at Bangkok Convention Centre in CentralWorld today (Saturday).
Patama Chantaruck, country managing director of management consultancy Accenture Thailand, said the pace of change has accelerated over the past three decades – from the internet of data era in 1990s to the internet of people in the 2000s, internet of things in the 2010s and internet of place and ownership in the 2020s.
She said the latest change is powered by blockchain, which is driving the metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrency and e-sports with its transparency, immutable transactions, security and smart contracts.
"Lots of people want to spend not just cash but also cryptocurrency," she pointed out. She also noted that more men were investing in crypto than women.
The metaverse, meanwhile, was being popularised by leading business figures and celebrities such as Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and boxing great Mike Tyson.
Even car manufacturers are getting in on the act.
"For example, famous German automaker BMW is allowing customers to see production from beginning to end by working at the [metaverse] factory then bringing in e-sport to ensure they are in touch with potential customers," said Patama.
The global e-sports audience is expected to reach 532 million this year, up 8.7 per cent from 2021.
She also advised entrepreneurs to build a growth mindset across their organisation, create investment roadmaps, define their metaverse strategy and establish new ecosystem partnerships in order to benefit from the metaverse era.
Thanks to modern technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), the metaverse closely resembles our real lives, said Maria J Alonso, founder and CEO of Qaleon, a software company in Spain.
She said the metaverse was a shared platform of virtual products and digital experiences that are highly immersive and interactive.
"Metaverse is a shared world because you see it as real and unreal at the same time," she explained
She said metaverse helps create virtual products with real, not hypothetical, value – including everything from bags, hotel rooms, experiences, and luxury cars to education.
She highlighted new tech that would power the metaverse era, including 5G and 6G networks, Cloud, Edge infrastructure, chips, processors, VR headsets, AR glasses, high-res graphics, and artificial intelligence (AI).
"When you wear glasses or goggles, and you can handle things in your hand, you'll be completely immersed in the [metaverse] situation," she said.
The metaverse can be used for a variety of activities, such as entertainment, commerce, education, health treatment, safer training, accident prevention, operations and infrastructure testing, she added.
She also pointed out that sectors facing metaverse disruption are fashion, retail, gaming, sports, fitness, real estate, financial services, cybersecurity, advertising, workplaces and collaboration tools, education, events and law.
"In fashion, start-ups are selling hi-res virtual-only fashion to be overlayed on to buyer's photos and videos.”
Alonso said the final stage of the metaverse is still uncertain and in the hands of consumer trends such as digital identities.
"The metaverse is a vision, not a specific technology, and there’s still much more to come.”
Meanwhile NFTs are not as complicated as you might think, said Monica Jimenez, chief metaverse officer of Chameleon 3.0, an organisation in Mexico that creates tools for digital disruptive communities.
She explained that NFTs can take the form of vehicle registries, land registries, patent ownership databases, copyright registries, property titles, degree certificates, voting rights, carbon credits, painted canvasses, baseball cards, trademark lists, concert tickets and club memberships.
She said a basic NFT contract comes in the form of a two-column list, similar to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, with identity details tagging the token and its owner, represented by a blockchain public address.
NFT contracts also have a "transfer" function to change the ownership, "minting" to add the number of owners, "metadata" to make NFT more meaningful, and royalties which give a percentage of the income from secondary sales to authors.
"Everything that can be digitalised will be digitalised," she predicted. "It's the meaning we decide to give NFT that actually provides the value.”