How Data will Shape Metaverse?
The concept of a metaverse offers an inclusive digital world that empowers online interaction with other people or platforms. For instance, rather than just talking to someone over a voice call or through texting, you can use your digital avatars to take a walk with your friend while chatting or even have some coffee in a virtual cafe. The metaverse opens up new avenues for marketing and advertising as well, a lot of which relies upon utilising data effectively.
Let’s take an example of a user who only visits FPS (first-person shooter) gaming communities in a virtual world. With this data, the virtual world can choose to show the user advertisements or digital banners of a new FPS game launched by a game studio. The same kind of utility applies to all kinds of products and services.
Marvel, Hasbro, Balenciaga, Adidas, Gucci, and many well-known companies have started advertising in these virtual worlds. It is possible that companies might even be able to reach more people in the near future on these platforms than through their general marketing tactics.
Let us explain why. A company like Roblox or Hasbro manufactures toys for kids. Yes, the parents are the main buyers but it is the kids who convince their parents to purchase the products for them. Now, kids are not always on social media and they do not go out as much as adults, especially with remote classes during the pandemic. With the help of the metaverse, companies can reach these kids who are at home playing games in virtual worlds.
Sandbox is the prime example of a virtual world that is based on the concept of owning real estate. Companies purchase digital land here in order to showcase their banners or advertisements. Now, how is data involved here? Well, without utilising user data, there will neither be any standardised audience nor will it be possible to target specific users.
Business owners and marketers must get in the loop as there are innumerable possibilities with the advent of metaverses. Unlike the pre-gen web platforms, most blockchain networks and Web 3 platforms will be maintained and governed by the community behind them. Thus, due to the way metaverses operate, many traditional data collection techniques might also start becoming obsolete.
Data in the Metaverse
In order to understand how data will be utilised in the metaverse, we must understand what the metaverse is. The objective of this digital universe is to create a virtual or augmented reality that users can experience in real-time. Users can not just communicate with each other but also work, shop and find entertainment in these worlds.
Let us learn more about the role of data in the metaverse and some recent trends:
Let us take an example where a platform sells NFTs such as OpenSea or Binance. In blockchain networks, contracts are generated based on every token that is traded, sold or minted. Using these kinds of market data (trade volumes and floor price), companies can make better business decisions when launching their new tokens or when choosing the user experience of these tokens. There are many tokens that are used across multiple platforms due to being on a certain blockchain network like Ethereum; thus, metaverses also need standardisation of data.
There is one single problem in harvesting data from these kinds of networks, the structure of the data. Data extracted from metaverse is generally unstructured, and new methods of data pre-processing must also be incorporated in order to truly utilise the vast amount of data properly.
Advertising in the Metaverse
Facebook has transformed itself into Meta; however, the data it has collected over the years can still be used to power its own metaverse. There will obviously be new users but there will be many users of the old Facebook platform that will get access to the coming metaverse directly. Along with their identities, their associated marketing data will also be imported into Meta’s digital universe. This data can be used by advertisers and companies to market their products in the virtual world as well.
Sandbox already has over 500,000 users who have their own in-world assets and even games. Now, if an advertiser could effectively process all the data available from this entire population of users, then marketing campaigns can greatly be enhanced through the segregation of various demographics. Similarly, data that has been generated from external sources can also be used to advertise specific tokens or properties to users based on their interests.
Data Engineering and Network Capabilities
Metaverses will keep expanding and innovating at an exponential rate. By 2032, it is estimated that just the metaverses will have increased our current data usage by 20 times. Thus, in order to truly deal with these amounts of data transactions, more modern data solutions must be adopted.
If companies do not prepare for processing and utilising this data, then it will be hard to catch up. The flow of data will have become incredibly thick and the generated data will have reached incredible numbers. Data platforms must be prepared to handle this data so that business owners can collect and process internal or third-party data to gain insights or to power other business processes.
There might be certain challenges such as unmanageable amounts of data sources and siloed data. However, if we start now, then we will definitely be able to keep up with the rapid pace of the metaverse.
Privacy and Security of Data
Other challenges we will definitely face are issues with privacy and regulations. It is essential to ensure that data is collected ethically and cannot be used for any malpractice. In the metaverse, we can also be anyone we want; however, it is still important to protect ourselves. There will be more automated systems introduced that will protect our data integrity in virtual worlds and prevent us from getting scammed.
Unlike other data centres, blockchains are digital ledger technology, creating new blocks when there are transactions of any type on the network. Compared to other networks where data can be manipulated, data cannot be manipulated in a metaverse. This is great news for both users and companies as the information, facts and figures are as accurate as possible.
Edge Cloud Computing and Complimentary Devices
The future of data in metaverses will also be governed by edge devices, Augmented Reality systems and VR devices. Thus, companies and data scientists must also take data generated by these devices into consideration. The point of the blockchain is to promote decentralisation, and thus, edge cloud computing is something companies will start looking into. With edge computing, devices will be capable of autonomously working on data that is created or processed in client devices.
Training Data for AI-Based Platforms
High-quality training data is required to build platforms that are heavily driven by AI or for AI-based programs, especially on decentralised networks. Now, the way Web 3.0 platforms or blockchain networks operate is quite different from traditional systems, and thus, a different approach is required for building blockchain software.
For example, the data that is required to train the platform to correctly identify fraudulent activities or malicious acts must be sourced, and if not available, then it must be generated. A lot of this data is new as there are very few ways to bypass blockchain security except phishing methods. AI is being trained by companies such as Meta for enabling them to identify threats and abuse in order to protect the various users of their metaverse.
Unlike the real world where physical and tangible goods are mostly what we interact with, metaverses allow us to have digital assets and let us experience virtual environments. These assets and platforms are all composed of multiple layers of data and it is this data that we actually interact with. We all know data has multiple dimensions and these dimensions can all be cross-analysed, compared, and extracted for any business purpose.
Adapting to the data requirements of these real-time decentralised networks will also lead to more complimentary devices that enhance the experience of the metaverse. The metaverse is the future, and data has a huge part to play in determining how standardised the future will be.
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