What will we actually do in the metaverse? Looking at the landscape of startups today, it seems that anything is possible. Companies are working on a wide array of concepts, from a mindfulness metaverse to virtual sports stadiums. Despite the exciting possibilities, the question of adoption still looms. Will the metaverse become a part of our everyday lives?
MeetKai, a conversational AI and metaverse company, believes that the metaverse can be used to enhance everyday interactions like shopping online or spending time with faraway friends. They’re giving users a peek at what this looks like with a free pass to MeetKai’s Phase 1 Beta Metaverse in Times Square. The activation turned a Times Square billboard into an anamorphic portal that will give users instant access to the Metaverse with nothing more than their smartphone. It will be live from July 11th until August 11th, 2022.
Once in MeetKai’s virtual Times Square, users can interact with other users and enter an alternate Louvre metaverse. Most importantly, they’re able to claim a rare “Key to the City – NYC Edition” NFT that unlocks exclusive features and prizes from iconic Times Square stores. One of these keys will also give its lucky winner the chance to own a customized street in the metaverse.
This exciting offer points to one of the key attractions of the metaverse: customized spaces. Imagine walking down a street that automatically reconfigures itself to suit your design preferences, generating only the shops and spaces you want to visit. MeetKai will also offer this level of personalization in other venues like virtual museums, stores, and wellness environments, all within a realistic mapping of the real world instead of purely fictional spaces.
Other interesting applications of VR are those that could remove some of the risks and costs of experiences like dating. Imagine going on a first date at a zen garden, and playfully trying a couple’s yoga lesson with virtual AI trainers. Likewise, envision a family of limited means being able to visit the Louvre museum virtually to take in the latest exhibitions and guided tours on-demand. Most importantly, in MeetKai Metaverse’s case, everyone will be able to access such experiences via any browser-compatible device, with no headsets or hand controllers needed.
Real Life in the Metaverse
While the idea of exploring virtual environments is exciting, it still remains to be seen whether it’s inviting enough to become widely adopted. While many still struggle to imagine how the metaverse would fit into everyday life, MeetKai has done just that. Their website shows different applications of metaverse technology like immersive e-commerce, 3D collaboration with work peers, and social metaverse experiences like hiking and painting. They have also released an AR Restaurant Ordering app demo, where users can visualize AR versions of the dishes they choose on their table mats before ordering with family and friends.
Will the metaverse become prevalent on the scale that the internet is today? According to MeetKai’s Co-Founder and CEO James Kaplan, the key to the future of the metaverse lies in technological developments. Perhaps the most important is the development of affordable VR equipment. While inexpensive VR headsets like the Google Cardboard are on the market, they can’t deliver the type of truly immersive VR experience that will attract people to the metaverse. With devices that enable more immersive experiences still at a rather high price point of $300 or more, Kaplan believes that affordable accessibility could be the principal factor limiting mainstream metaverse adoption.
In addition to technology for users, companies also have to develop technology that lowers the barriers to VR content creation. One of the keys to widespread use of the internet has been the ability of individuals and businesses around the world to share content online, and Kaplan believes that this will be the case for the metaverse as well. The metaverse industry may still be in its infancy, but as these technologies continue to develop, we will be able to see what form it ultimately takes in our lives.