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Growth & Jobs | Opportunities abound in the metaverse - Experts

Published:Tuesday | May 24, 2022 | 12:07 AM
Winston Wilkins, lead research analyst at MC Systems.
Winston Wilkins, lead research analyst at MC Systems.
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WINSTON WILKINS, lead research analyst at MC Systems, the technology company of The Jamaica National Group, says investors and business persons should look for the opportunities that will emerge from the metaverse.

“As investors, be aware of the trends in the technology and prepare yourselves to be present,” he said while addressing the JN Fund Managers virtual event, which was held recently under the theme ‘Welcome to the Metaverse’.

The metaverse is the next generation of the Internet, where digital experiences will complement real ones. It also refers to both current and future integrated digital platforms focused on virtual and augmented reality. It is widely known as the Internet’s next frontier and is seen as a significant business and financial opportunity for the tech industry and other sectors.

Wilkins explained that in preparation for this technology, investors should be looking at what crypto assets are doing well in the space and which companies, such as Microsoft and Meta (formerly Facebook), are developing the technology as well as the private companies that are creating the virtual experiences that attract young people.

Ricardo Dystant, chief, digital transformation and special projects, JN Bank, said The Jamaica National Group is poised to capitalise on the opportunities of the technology, especially through its mortgage business, where he said clients could use the technology to do virtual property tours and/or even start the mortgage application.

Citing other advantages of the technology, Dr Alison Manzer, a Canada-based attorney-at-law and partner at Cassels, Brock and Blackwell LLP, who was the event’s special presenter, said it will also improve communication. She said the technology has the ability to use artificial intelligence-aided avatars.

She said the technology can host trade shows, conduct press conferences, and create online shopping, sales, marketing, among other experiences.

She disclosed that already, the technology is being used in the automotive and airline industries. The medical field is using it to explore complex surgeries and the defence industry for war room-style defence planning.

ENHANCEMENT OF LEARNING CAPABILITY

“The metaverse is a better way of getting people to communicate the things that they need to communicate. Research has shown that there is an enormous enhancement of learning capability when there is interaction and manipulation,” she said.

Its mind-blowing experiences aside, the experts cautioned that the metaverse presents some potential harm.

Dystant pointed out, for instance, that similar to the Internet in its current form, malware, phishing attacks, ransomware – situations in which attackers encrypt computers for a ransom – are threats that also lurk in the metaverse.

In agreement, Manzer said that the technology has the potential to be a very harmful method of communication because of the immersive experience it offers via virtual and augmented reality. And in addition to cyber-attacks and pornography, it can greatly increase stalking, among other dangers.

Similar to Dystant, she advised that to minimise these potential dangers, one should be able to establish and guard one’s identity.

“The only thing that can protect that is not regulations or law. It is identity and the ability to ensure that the user has the capability of owning, controlling, and being able to manipulate and guard their own identity,” she said.