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Trying on clothes or setting up a situation for a recruitment: in VivaTech’s workspaces, the virtual worlds of the metaverse concern more and more diverse sectors, driven by very important investments made so as not to miss this technological shift. “Companies are arming themselves: the big ones in video games, the big ones in technology, but also the big brands that don’t want to miss this train,” Eric Hazan, a partner at McKinsey, told AFP on the occasion of this exhibition dedicated to digital technology which opened Wednesday in Paris.
According to a study by this firm, investments in technologies paving the way for the metaverse have already reached more than $50 billion in 2021 and could more than double this year. “We are on quite colossal amounts, it is three times more than the investments in Artificial Intelligence in 2017,” according to Mr. Hazan.
The giants of the economy are rushing there
The luxury giant LVMH, for example, offers several immersive experiences on its stand, including “live streamingstreaming”, a way to show real or virtual events to wealthy customers remotely. “It’s a “microver” that allows you to get rid of time and space constraints,” Stephan Emanuely, head of IT services at Louis Vuitton, explains to AFP.
LVMH also welcomes DressX, a start-up that offers to buy and try on virtual clothes, and that you can therefore only put on a photo or an avatar avatar, for example for the very popular game platform Roblox.
Others see in the virtual world the opportunity for a communication operation, such as BNP Paribas which extends its stand thanks to the Spatial metaver or the French specialist in restaurant titles Edenred which presents in virtual reality (VR) its “10-year vision” of an employee using the full range of company services. “Without VR, we would have shown a phone screen,” explains the group to AFP.
Adecco, one of the world leaders in temporary work, is instead trying to find solutions to innovate in its core business. Thus, an experiment allows the group to place future recruits in a real 3D working environment pre-recorded by its customers with 360 ° cameras. “This can make it possible, for example, to evaluate their ability to work in a gondola at height,” Camille Mulquin, marketing manager of the start-up Uptale, explains to AFP.
Virtual collaborative space
But, finally, everyone has developed their own universe, without for the moment capitalizing much on shared immersive platforms such as The Sandbox or Decentraland, where however the sale of virtual land, the object of significant speculation, has already exceeded $ 500 million.
With its lead in the field, the Meta group (ex-Facebook) presents on a giant screen its maximalist vision of the metaverse which encompasses social, professional and entertainment activities. In particular, visitors try Horizon Workrooms, a virtual collaborative space, in open space or on the edge of a beach. “You completely lose your footing with reality. I don’t see myself working 2 hours with it but it’s difficult to fight the trend,” comments a user by removing her headset.
“If companies have an interest in putting a toe in the water to take its temperature, it is advisable to remain extremely cautious”
If the metaverse reaches the general public, the revenues generated could reach between 4,000 and 5,000 billion dollars by 2030, equivalent to the Japanese economy, according to the McKinsey study. “This means almost 40 to 50% of video games and a quarter of online commerce that pass on the metaverse,” says Eric Hazan.
But this forecast remains subject to many unknowns, in particular the simplification of access to cryptocurrencies and virtual wallets, or the interoperability of platforms. “If companies have an interest in putting a toe in the water to take its temperature,” it is necessary to remain “extremely cautious”, believes Alexandre Aractingi, partner at the Boston Consulting Group firm. Indeed, “as it is a buzz, many directions want to go there by passing by the industrial”, he regrets.