The Metaverse and the Future of Events
Andrew Meranus, EVP of Sales at PRophet
These days online discourse is revolving around emerging technologies like cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Web3. The metaverse, in particular, is one of the trendiest topics in all of tech today.
“Metaverse” has become a buzzword, propelled into the public eye by Facebook’s awkward pivot to Meta last year. Simply put, it’s where the physical and digital worlds merge, made possible through the use of virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality (AR) glasses or other applications. However, many are still learning the ins and outs. Specifically, a January survey found that 62% of U.S. adults have little to no knowledge of the metaverse. While the metaverse may not be fully understood by the masses yet, it’s on its way there, winning over more populations and industries as it grows. As of this March, 12% of U.S. internet users are very interested in using the metaverse — and that number will only continue to rise as younger generations lead early adoption to the metaverse.
The rise of the metaverse coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, setting a unique stage for the events industry. The pandemic curtailed in-person events for the greater part of two years and organizations scrambled to set up virtual solutions. Even though more events are returning to in-person contact, not everyone wants to revert to the previous way of doing things. Going forward, there need to be virtual options available to accommodate all who are interested.
Entertainment seems to be the common thread for metaverse events, especially in a time where remote work can become monotonous. In the past two years, we’ve seen everything from weddings to fashion shows pop up. Through platforms such as Decentraland and Sandbox, users have the tools to build virtual galleries, arenas, concerts, and almost anything else that can be conceived. An added bonus? The metaverse allows events to proceed safely through a pandemic, and will continue to provide experiences that are engaging and accessible to those who are chronically ill or have limited mobility even as in-person events return.
Despite the benefits, these events aren’t without drawbacks. Considering that this is still a relatively new concept, many are unlikely to have access to the tech needed to participate. Eventually, this can lead to a gap, leaving behind those without the requisite technology.
The metaverse isn’t mainstream just yet, but many more are likely to catch on to the convenience and benefits of these events over time, and some will even find their community through the metaverse. As VR continues to advance, its applications for good will be recognized, hopefully breaking past its stigma of being mass-produced, overly-marketed, and its negative association with Mark Zuckerberg and Meta/Facebook.
Considering Meta’s leadership position in this space, the brand should step up and improve its educational efforts to boost the public’s overall understanding and awareness of the technology and its vast potential for immersive and engaging experiences.
The best thing we can do is remain open-minded to the metaverse and its capabilities. Just as early skeptics of the internet have been proven wrong, the same scenario could repeat itself with early skeptics of the metaverse. Although there’s still plenty of work ahead, the growing interest and potential benefits indicate that the metaverse is more than just a fad; it’s the future.
About the Author: Andrew Meranus is the EVP of Sales & Revenue at PRophet, the AI-driven DaaS platform that predicts media interest and story sentiment before sending a pitch. In this role, Andrew directs the overall growth, sales and revenue strategy for the company along with CEO & Founder Aaron Kwittken. Prior to joining PRophet, Andrew was SVP, North America at Piano Software, the leading digital experience cloud platform that allows customers to create customized digital experiences and build commercial relationships with end-users.
Andrew has extensive experience in partnerships, alliances and sales having held senior leadership roles at ScreamingMedia/Pinnacor, PR Newswire and Cision.
Andrew resides in Montclair, NJ with his wife, two children and a dog named Cody!
PRophet is the first-ever A.I.-driven platform, built by and for PR professionals, to use a proprietary combination of natural language processing and machine learning to predict media interest and story sentiment before you ever send a pitch.