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WEDNESDAY, December 07, 2022
Metaverse pioneer: SMEs can now reach out and touch global consumers

Metaverse pioneer: SMEs can now reach out and touch global consumers

SATURDAY, August 20, 2022

The metaverse has opened a path to the global market for small businesses, a developer told the “Thailand Metaverse Expo 2022” in Bangkok on Saturday.

Phantabat Santimakorn, business development chief for Tree Roots Entertainment Group, said in the new internet era, our real world and the virtual world would blend in a seamless experience. This new hybrid reality would surpass current internet platforms of communication by offering people full sensory interactions, he added. 

Speaking at a seminar titled "Bridging Virtual and Physical Experience through the Metaverse", he said the platform was the next step in the revolution from radio to television to interactive media. And like all these previous steps, the metaverse would spur dramatic changes in people’s behaviour that brought huge new business opportunities.

Tree Roots Entertainment has teamed up with property giant MQDC as Thai businesses make early inroads into the metaverse.

Phantabat noted that the new virtual universe offered multi-sense experiences while also removing barriers between people and businesses.

But he cautioned that the immersive nature of early-stage virtual reality also carried risks and should be balanced with time spent in the non-virtual world.

He also addressed practical uses of the new platform.

“The metaverse can be used to construct prototypes of ideas or things that you want to build [in the real world].”

In a few years, he added, we would see the metaverse develop into far more than just a game. In the meantime, his role is to nurture people’s ideas and dreams by building a community to support creativity on the platform.

He also believes in equality of access to the metaverse, which is why his company is not limiting development to a single interface or device.

He said that although business is about making profit, it should also include long-term targets. In his case, these include providing value to others because “the metaverse is a long game”.

Phantabat noted that the number of metaverse users is still limited as the devices used to access the platform are not widely distributed while public awareness was still low. He advised removing these barriers to boost users.

He added that the metaverse offers young-gen buyers, for example, a new and virtual gateway to the real estate market.

Among other business sectors that will see benefits from the platform are small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

Thai SMEs should think about how they can enter the metaverse so they can gain greater access to global market, he said.

Although the virtual platform was still in its infancy, experience from early-adopter companies would help accelerate use of metaverse, Phantabat added.

Metaverse pioneer: SMEs can now reach out and touch global consumers

Parut Penpayap, project director of the MQDC Metaverse, explained the metaverse was similar to the Internet of Places as users of both perform transactions in a certain place with goods or digital assets.

The real estate developer is creating the Translucia metaverse of virtual worlds as a way to engage customers in Thailand and overseas.

So, what is the biggest challenge in creating a metaverse?

Parut identified two things: what to design and how to shape users’ experience.

Right now, MQDC customers can use Translucia as a bridge between the virtual and real worlds, walking around their metaverse property before being handed the keys to its bricks-and-mortar counterpart.

But to make the metaverse sustainable, it would have to encompass the economy and society, not just business, Parut said. Hence it was necessary to integrate the commercial with the social aspect.

Parut cited a study estimating the metaverse market in 2030 will grow to US$8 trillion and another projecting it would extend to every business sector.

He explained that emerging metaverse era would last until 2025 as sectors and businesses trialled the platform.

The advanced metaverse period from 2025 to 2030 would see more complete technologies and business models.

After 2030, the mature metaverse will be a self-sustaining virtual world.

However, he urged companies and SMEs to exploit first-mover advantage by jumping into metaverse business.

“Thailand Metaverse Expo 2022” is organised by Nation Group and runs at CentralWorld in Bangkok until Sunday (August 21).