Navigating the metaverse – by Accenture’s David Fregonas

Accenture Song's David Fregonas looks at the opportunities and challenges in the convergence of physical and digital worlds

By David Fregonas, Accenture Song lead, Middle East

As we know it, the world is buzzing with metaverse fever, brimming with potential, excitement and unanswered questions.

Early adoption of crypto and web 3.0 technology in the Middle East is among the highest globally, and governments support first movers, investing in talent, technology, and infrastructure. In Saudi Arabia, for example, NEOM is the first “meta-city” building a replica on the metaverse for everyone to experience the city, no matter where they are, serving as a digital twin for the city for better construction and operations. While recently, FIFA allowed fans in World Cup Qatar stadiums to experience real-time data points about players and the game as it was being played in front of their eyes.

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Today, the metaverse, the convergence of our physical and digital worlds, is the internet’s next frontier. It’s a place where people can meet, interact, and create and buy digital assets such as land, buildings, items, avatars, and even names. It holds the potential to shift cultures and digital behavior for decades to come, and businesses that succeed in the metaverse will have a deep understanding of their customers and how they exist in this new world.

But even with current advancements, there’s still work to be done to build bridges between platforms. There’s a need for standards and uniformity to enable digital assets to transfer across platforms with different designs. Businesses, brands, or creators wanting to operate in the metaverse must be ready for a lot of trial and error and concentrate on the end-user experience. Additionally, businesses will need to define their consumption value propositions for digital products and experiences, as there is a question about whether people value digital products as much as physical products.

Experimenting with the metaverse comes with risk, as with anything new, and the rewards are not guaranteed. However, technology constantly evolves, and choosing not to participate may mean a business is left behind. At Accenture Song in the Middle East, we have identified five local customer archetypes that brands should know when considering their approach to the metaverse.

  1. The Early Adopters that are ready for the next iteration of the internet, poised to dive into the immersive and integrated parallel world it will forge
  2. The Co-creators and future users who are narrowing the gap between consumers and creators, by co-shaping experiences, assets, products, and environments and redefining the relationship between brands and consumers
  3. The Experience Seekers that take it to the next level and use every new and existing technology to enhance the full spectrum of their accessing experiences within these realms
  4. The Investors believe in their own agency and the power of collective action. Now that they have succeeded in becoming a market-moving collective, they will remain part of the drum that propels awareness
  5. The Late Adopters who will stick with familiar and comfortable ways of doing things because the old ways work well enough, and there is no compelling reason to change

There is no doubt that the metaverse is a new frontier of the internet, offering endless possibilities and opportunities for businesses, creators, and consumers alike. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges and risks. Businesses must be prepared to experiment, learn and adapt to succeed in this new world. With the support of governments and early adopters in the Middle East, we expect to see progress and innovation in the metaverse in the coming years.