A new report from Accenture reveals that the “Metaverse Continuum,” a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities and business models, is redefining how the world works, operates and interacts. According to the Accenture Technology Vision 2022, “Meet Me in the Metaverse: The Continuum of Technology and Experience Reshaping Business,” businesses are racing toward a future that is very different from the one they were designed to operate in — as technologies, such as extended reality, blockchain, digital twins and edge computing, are converging to reshape human experiences.
To help organisations take advantage of this opportunity, Accenture is launching the Accenture Metaverse Continuum business group. The new group will be led by Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive – Technology and chief technology officer at Accenture and David Droga, CEO and Creative Chairman of Accenture Interactive.
“The next generation of the internet is unfolding and will drive a new wave of digital transformation far greater than what we’ve seen to date, transforming the way we all live and work,” said Daugherty. “Our vision of the metaverse as a continuum challenges prevailing, narrower views and highlights why organisations must act today, or find themselves operating in worlds designed by, and for, someone else.”
As part of the report, Accenture surveyed more than 4,600 business and technology leaders across 23 industries in 35 countries including the UAE. At this early stage, 71% of executives believe the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organisation and 42% believe it will be breakthrough or transformational.
According to the same report, 70% of surveyed consumers agree that they are spending substantially more time online. In the UAE, this number is even higher – at 84%, in comparison to pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, in the UAE – 97% of sampled executives agree that emerging technologies are enabling their organisation to have a broader and more ambitious vision.
“We are recognised as an early leader in metaverse-related capabilities, with 600 patent filings and more than a decade of experience,” added Droga. “Our new business group combines these capabilities with the creative strengths of Accenture Interactive, with teams of innovators and creators introducing new applications in the decentralised environment of the metaverse.”
Accenture also operates its own metaverse, the Nth floor, where the company’s people participate in new hire orientation and immersive learning or meet and socialise as teams. This fiscal year, the company expects 150,000 or more new hires will work in the metaverse on their first day.
Daugherty added, “As the line between people’s physical and digital lives further blurs, organisations have the opportunity and obligation now to build a responsible metaverse — addressing issues like trust, sustainability, personal safety, privacy, responsible access and use, diversity and more. The actions and choices they make today will set the stage for the future.”
The Technology Vision 2022 report identifies four key trends that companies will need to address:
- WebMe: Putting the Me in Metaverse – Enterprise strategies are built for the internet of today, a digital world where platforms often lack interoperability and data portability. Metaverse and Web3 are poised to reshape the internet; rather than it being a disparate collection of sites and apps, looking ahead, the metaverse will lead to a persistent 3D environment in which moving from one “place” to another will be as simple as walking from one room to another. 97% of UAE executives, compared to 95% globally believe that future digital platforms need to offer unified experiences, enabling interoperability of customers’ data across different platforms and spaces.
- Programmable World: Our Planet, Personalised – As emerging technologies such as 5G, ambient computing, augmented reality and smart materials advance, digital environments will be increasingly woven into the fabric of our physical world. These environments will reshape not just how people engage with worlds, but also redefine everything built in it, how people sense and interact and the control they have over it. Tellingly, 92% of executives – 100% of UAE executives, agree that leading organisations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for persistence and seamless navigation between the digital and physical worlds.
- The Unreal: Making Synthetic, Authentic – Businesses and environments are increasingly supported by artificial intelligence-generated data that convincingly reflects the physical world. More than ever before, artificial intelligence is top-of-mind for businesses, as companies and consumers alike shift away from considering what is real versus fake, to what is authentic—not just in terms of a company’s content and algorithms but its entire brand. With the unreal world about to become reality, now is the time for leaders to ready their businesses. Already, 96% of executives globally, 98% in the UAE, report that their organisations are committed to authenticating the origin of their data and genuine use of artificial intelligence.
- Computing the Impossible: New Machines, New Possibilities – The emergence of a new class of machines is empowering organisations across industries to stretch the boundaries of what computers can solve. Tools like quantum computing and biology-inspired computing are allowing businesses to solve problems that may be too expensive, inefficient, or flat out impossible for traditional computing. As “grand challenges” become trivial operations, how enterprises compete, provide value and partner will radically change; nearly all 94% executives vs. 90% in the UAE agree that their organisation’s long-term success will depend on the next generation computing they leverage to solve the seemingly intractable problems not addressable by classical computing.
Forward-looking companies are simultaneously navigating the uncertainty of today’s markets while beginning to compete in the Metaverse Continuum. For example, working with Microsoft and Accenture, Mars is embracing digital twins, which is one of the foundational elements of the metaverse, to reduce waste, increase speed and capacity, and empower its associates to make real-time decisions across its supply chain. Mars is now extending this concept to product development with digital simulations factoring in variability, such as climate and disruptions, and maintaining greater visibility from the point of origin to place of consumption.
For 22 years, Accenture has taken a systematic look across the enterprise landscape to identify evolving technology trends with highest possibilities to disrupt businesses and industries.