The Metaverse is here - Is Trinidad and Tobago Ready?
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the rebrand and expansion of Facebook Inc into Meta. The company will keep its group of companies which includes Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp while expanding its communication technologies to create the “next evolution of social connection.”
But what does this mean for Trinidad and Tobago? Especially with such a large engaged Facebook audience and many businesses relying on it for marketing.
Let’s find out.
What is the Metaverse?
Meta Platforms Inc is the rebrand of Facebook’s parent company, a multinational technology conglomerate that owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other subsidiary businesses. However, the Metaverse is Facebook’s expansion into “3D digital spaces” that will, as the company states on its website, “allow you to socialize, learn, collaborate, and consume entertainment in ways that go beyond our imagination.” This includes virtual reality, augmented reality and smart glasses.
When will it be ready?
Zuckerberg announced that the implementation of the metaverse will take five to ten years to go mainstream. Facebook has already invested heavily in virtual reality in both apps and headsets.
Is Trinidad and Tobago ready for the Metaverse?
Trinidad and Tobago has over 770,000 Facebook users. The platform has not only become one of the main social media platforms used for social activity but has quickly become a main avenue for digital marketing. The country is also highly connected online, Trinidad and Tobago has 77.3% internet penetration and 1.08 million internet users in the country.
Local users that are active on Facebook and through Facebook subsidiaries such as WhatsApp will face one primary barrier that can affect the access to the Metaverse in T&T. This depends on our accessibility to Virtual Reality devices and tools such as smart glasses, virtual headsets and high-speed internet. Part of its 5 to 10-year plan is to make these services and products widely available across the world and close to cost for widespread adoption. We must keep in mind that our dollar value is six times that of the US, and shopping online has proven to be an expensive practice. We can rely on the demand for the devices to be imported in bulk by our top local retailers if the demand for Metaverse devices is high.
While Facebook has been one of the main spaces that locals spend their time online, social media managers still struggle to explain to local companies how to sustainably grow on the platform. Many expect automatic success, rather than organic growth or long-term customer retention and success. Social Media Managers still face this challenge with explaining the two-dimensional platforms that we currently use. Imagine explaining a less tangible concept to clients who frequently express doubt?
Similarly, the need to effectively describe the Metaverse and virtual reality marketing will be a necessary skill for local digital marketers. Especially in highlighting the new ways businesses can connect to audiences through VR.
How will the metaverse affect commerce?
A large part of the metaverse is going to be metacommerce which aims to create virtual reality commerce. This would include one of the future projects that they showcased during the announcement which includes avatars and digital products. The Metaverse will be able to allow your avatar to try on the latest trends and purchase the products for delivery through simple gestures.
This would present a completely new and interactive way for potential customers to engage with brands. However, social media managers need to first test its effectiveness and if proven they will have to find a way to teach and show clients the new digital infrastructure, illustrating how best it can help achieve their marketing goals. They may have to develop their own Metaverse space where they can demo this level of interactivity to clients.
How can marketers in Trinidad and Tobago prepare for the metaverse?
Local marketers need to keep themselves updated with Facebook and any of their announcements about the Metaverse. Facebook has many programs offered to the public to learn about advertising on their platforms so they will likely invest in learning tools and applications for the Metaverse.
Social media managers, digital technology technicians and creators who want to expand their skills may want to start learning about augmented and virtual reality if they want high-demand skills of the future.
Social media managers will especially want to keep their eyes out for any updates, inclusive of courses related to the metaverse and any articles as it relates to the reality of a virtual economy and the channels to advertise on this new platform. It will be beneficial to learn technical concepts early and develop the necessary skills to persuade clients to use Meta's products and services as they become available.
Will the Metaverse be Expensive?
Currently, Facebook is spending US$10 billion on the project. Here at Connective Pros, we predict that in the early stages the Metaverse will be reasonable for the majority of the world's economy to access. However, similar to Facebook’s strategy for payment, the price will likely increase with use.
A prime example of their strategy is the high levels of organic traction on posts at the onset of Facebook Business as opposed to now where companies struggle to achieve any engagement unless they pay for ads. We believe that the benefits will outweigh the cost in the early parts of the project, to ensure widespread adoption and use. However, the costs will likely increase in the future.
The cost for their virtual technology, however, is yet to be determined.
What are your thoughts on the Metaverse? Is it the next big thing in digital marketing or just a hyped Facebook project? We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts with us or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to feature your thoughts on a blog!