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The development of the metaverse is expected to grow the market for digital collaboration tools to $22 billion by 2030, according to a new report by technology intelligence firm ABI Research.
There’s a growing appetite for digital and virtual technology—many of which are being developed due to interest in the metaverse— that allow employees to interact, a phenomenon called “immersive collaboration.” According to the ABI, the immersive market’s growth will eventually account for 35% of the total collaboration market, which extends beyond digital and virtual to include tech such as software and services and hardware.
ABI’s report focuses on the duration of time in which the metaverse is being developed (referred to as the “build-up” period), as opposed to a future in which the metaverse is fully established. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, has said that his company’s vision for the metaverse will likely not come to fruition until the next decade. Certain technological and behavioral transformations will therefore need to occur in the meantime, Michael Inouye, metaverse markets and technologies principal analyst at ABI Research, said in a statement.
Read more: Metaverse glossary for brands
Many of these tools are already becoming more popular, in part due to the rise of work flexibility and hybrid office modesl, as a result of the pandemic. The expansion of video-enabled meeting spaces, normalization of virtual communications, movement of workflows to the cloud and the growing presence of immersive technology, such as avatars, are all tools that are fueling work collaboration in the metaverse.
The enterprise space is paving a clearer path toward the metaverse than the consumer space, according to ABI’s report. For example, the concept of interoperability—a tenet of Web3 in which users can freely move their avatars and assets between applications—could pose significant improvements in workflow efficiencies.
In the ad world, agencies have been one of the more active groups in acquiring virtual land in platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox in an effort to familiarize clients with these spaces. Mediahub opened an office in Decentraland not only to help clients, but also to recruit talent. As metaverse assets like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) become more commonplace, their use cases on the enterprise side will be further developed.
Finally, the ABI specified that the arrival of smart glasses will propel adoption of metaverse tools for both the enterprise and consumer spaces. While Google’s product, Google Glass, has been around since 2014, there remains hesitancy toward buying and using virtual headwear. Meta is hoping to change this by positioning its Oculus product as a key part of its metaverse plans, and Snap is also developing a pair of augmented reality spectacles. Considering people are more comfortable with metaverse tech that ties back to the real world, such as through AR or VR, these types of products could see major development over the next several years.
In this article:
Asa Hiken is a technology reporter covering digital marketing, social media platforms and innovation. A graduate of Northwestern University, he joined Ad Age after writing for Marketing Dive, where he focused on the alcohol space and digital privacy.