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Today, the Internet is a disparate collection of websites, applications, and platforms. Because they are separate from each other, they lack interoperability and data portability. So despite the tremendous progress made through digital transformation, this current model will ultimately limit the business. In fact, 95% of executives surveyed for 2022 Accenture Technology Vision report I believe future digital platforms must offer unified experiences, enabling interoperability of customer data across platforms and geographies.
However, thanks to two emerging concepts, a new form of Internet is emerging that will overcome these limitations; and 2) Web3, or emerging efforts to create a “distributed” layer on the Internet through technologies such as blockchain and tokenization.
Taken together, these show us the next generation of the Internet, moving beyond today’s fragmented interactions into a new world of connected immersive experiences.
Simply put, the digital world is in the early stages of evolution, and eventually, metaversion and Web3 will become critical components of how businesses orchestrate their digital strategies. The online footprints that companies have built over the last decade will be reimagined, from which services are sold and which data is accessed, how advertising is delivered and content is created.
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With Metaverse, the Internet will be reimagined as a sustainable 3D environment imbued with a sense of place, where moving from work to social is as simple as crossing the road. Meanwhile, Web3 technologies will create a data layer that enables verisimilitude, trust, and even scarcity. This new internet will be more human-centric and exponentially more valuable.
Now is the time for companies to decide what role they will play in the future of the Internet. Do they want to be part of the wave that creates this future, or will they be content to just watch it unfold?
Signs of change
Developments in the digital world over the last 18 months have made it clear that a wait-and-see approach will soon become a look-it-has-been approach. In fact, businesses are already thinking differently about the digital world and capturing new values.
For example, BMW recently build digital twins from 31 different factories. The models use real-time data to create a photo-realistic 3D environment that recreates everything from the machines on the floor to the people populating the stations and their individual work order instructions.
Digital twins are used to train robots to navigate factories, experiment with designers around the world, and conduct training simulations for individual tasks. Employees can also use the environment to trigger software updates, monitor individual cells for failures, assign new “missions” to robots on the floor, and even remotely operate machines for individual tasks.
A good example of Web3 innovation is coming InterruptSolid’s creator allows users to control their data and store it in Personal Online Data Stores (Pods). Large organizations and governments can now build websites or apps that interact with Pods and allow people to access the data they need for those tasks. Like all Web3 technologies, Solid creates a layer of transactions and trust on the web, making different parties the arbiters of their data.
In digital, technology adoption and related services often snowball. After all, it only took 15 years from the launch of the first iPhone to a world with 6.6 billion smartphones. Tomorrow’s Internet will be today’s Internet before you know it.
Actions to be taken now
Business leaders need to start exploring the potential of new products and services today while educating their managers about the technologies that will soon be fundamental to their businesses. As metaverse and Web3 technologies continue to mature, companies that are ready and willing to experiment with new platforms and data structures will be the ones defining the next generation of digital business. There are several factors to consider.
- Invest in the cloudThe metadata that emerges will be defined by the services and platforms it includes. To even have a presence, enterprises must have the infrastructure to share applications widely and securely. That means rebuilding applications in the cloud with microservice architectures and APIs so they can be easily consumed and shared with others. These steps must be taken today, even if the final state of the metaverse remains uncertain.
- Focus on skillsEnterprises will require 3D artists, game designers and experts in built platforms for Metaverse. Companies pursuing Web3 opportunities will need experience with multiple blockchains. They must establish relationships with various consortia, find partners to go to market, and build new business and operating models. Fortunately, the increasing sophistication and democratization of immersive design tools makes it easier than ever to start experimenting with these technologies.
- Find partnersForging new partnerships and ensuring your organization can participate in future collaborations is also important. Consortia and industry standards bodies will be important, enabling greater interoperability between companies and making it easier to deliver cross-platform experiences or collaborate on experiences together. By agreeing to a common framework when the technology is in its infancy, businesses can set themselves up to provide more compatible services to future common consumers.
Metaverse and Web3 are important technology shifts that simultaneously work to remove the friction that exists between today’s many digital platforms and reinvent how data moves and is used in digital experiences. As they create a new Internet, they will offer new ways of doing business, new ways of working, and new ways for businesses and people to interact. For many organizations, now is the first and best opportunity they’ve ever had to build a new kind of digital world.
Marc Carrel-Billiard is the global leader of Accenture Technology Innovation. He oversees all of Accenture’s research and development activities and leads the delivery of the company’s annual Technology Vision.
Michael Biltz is the Managing Director of Accenture Technology Vision at Accenture Labs.
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