Concepts that were once only found in science fiction and video games are breaking through the boundaries of reality and entering the physical realm, with the potential to change many aspects of business and personal interactions. The metaverse is the next-generation internet, with content that has progressed from text to graphics to video to immersive digital interactions. It is a type of digital interaction in which linked virtual experiences mimic those of the real world.
Two key drivers of the metaverse are advancing technology which promoting connectivity and immersive experiences through high-speed advanced networking, and people are spending more time than ever before interacting with digital systems and socializing in digital environments, especially expedited by the pandemic. For businesses, in order to prepare metaverse adoption, edge computing capabilities, faster connectivity, servers, networking hardware, devices – headsets, gloves, improved cameras, sensors, and other peripherals, are required to power this ecosystem.
The metaverse has the potential to change existing business models in a variety of ways in the near future. Consider the range of possible applications as the metaverse evolves:
The board’s role in metaverse discussion
Boards may even benefit from exploring their possible uses to familiarize themselves with the technology and better understand its applicability to the broader organization. For instance, a board meeting wearing a pair of glasses that overlays physical surroundings with digital information. Wearing these glasses, the meeting agenda could be overlaid on the wall, and board documents could be overlaid with data sources or the recency of information to provide additional context. At a shareholder meeting, a gaze on a specific audience member could produce a biographical sketch of the person—background and context that might be important when the person approaches a microphone to speak.
Even though these ideas might seem far in the future, they are accessible now. The list of uncertainties, potential risks, and opportunities for boards to understand and explore related to the metaverse is considerable:
Questions for the board to consider asking:
1. What is our company’s business case for pursuing the metaverse? What opportunities does the metaverse present for our company’s growth, innovation, and talent experience?
2. Should our organization pursue metaverse adoption and development on its own, or are there any alliances, partnerships, industry associations, or other enterprise relationships that might be leveraged as we consider opportunities?
3. What controls or processes are in place for our company to explore the opportunities and risks associated with new domains such as the metaverse?
4. Should we consider standing up a technology committee to drill into opportunities and risks associated with emerging technologies underpinning our company’s performance?
5. What policies or processes do we already have in place with respect to digital assets and digital currencies? Do they need to be reconsidered?
6. What risks might ensue from each potential use case, including the ethical implications of new technology and digital experiences?
7. What risks might ensue from becoming an early adopter versus a follower?
8. Who has regulatory authority over the metaverse, and how might that affect our opportunities to leverage or exploit the metaverse?
9. What are our peers doing with respect to leveraging or investing in the metaverse?
10. What processes do we have in place to monitor the evolving metaverse environment and continually reevaluate opportunities and risks?
Metaverse might illustrate a tremendous and promising business opportunity and open up new ways to interact and replicate stimulations with less limitation. However, similar to any emerging technology, the benefit comes with risks that businesses must explore in each use case. Therefore, it is vital that the board of directors has a responsibility to help companies remain focused on how this period of transition in the evolution of technology can be leveraged to achieve the company’s strategy and mission, and to collaborate with related parties to drive the company to the next chapter.
Dr. Suphamit Techamontrikul
Chairman of Audit & Assurance | Deloitte Thailand
Published : Aug 10, 2022
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By : THE NATION