Sunitha Chandrasekaran, Manager, Software Engineering, Sabre Bengaluru GCC, has over two decades of experience. She currently leads a team that builds software to make the travel easy and efficient for Corporate Travelers. She loves learning and applying new technologies, and is curious to see how one can use technology to make life simpler and better.
With all the commotion with Facebook announcing its entry into Metaverse, and Microsoft working on the enterprise Metaverse, people have started to sit up and take notice. That said, the work on Metaverse or the underlying Web 3.0 is not something that happened overnight. We can say that the idea of decentralization, encryption, bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology have been pioneers in getting the Web 3.0 wave started.
So, what is Web 3.0 and metaverse and what is the impact of these on organizations running businesses over the internet?
Web 3.0 in simple words, is the third version of the internet, where it is expected to bring autonomy to the existing internet through decentralized technology and application of Artificial Intelligence. To understand the context of what is Web 3.0, it would make sense to see what Web 1.0 and 2.0 is.
Web 1.0 which started in early 1990s, was about having simple static websites with the information available to end users as read only content.
At the beginning of 2000, transition to Web 2.0 happened as we started to see user created content, dynamic and responsive websites, interaction on social media, video platform and more- all using centralized servers. For example, the dynamic, responsive content on servers of Google or Facebook or any other controlled network.
Now, with the evolution of Web 3.0, the content would move from centralized to decentralized technology. Effectively, that would mean that the content is not controlled (or residing under the control of governments or corporations). Best example of decentralized network use can be seen in the success of BitCoin. However, note that Bitcoin is just one application in Web 3.0 like Facebook or Youtube is an application in Web 2.0. Many more decentralized applications would be built on top of decentralized networks to make it a complete Web 3.0. Few of the already popular applications are Steemit, a blockchain based blogging and social platform, Everledger blockchain based supply chain platform, OpenSea, a marketplace for buying and selling NFTs and many more.
Metaverse is an immersive, social, and persistent version of the internet. It can be considered as a front end for Web 3.0. It will be more of a digital alternative for the physical world created using technologies like VR, AR and blockchain. Metaverse is a place where virtual avatars come together to work, shop, play, engage in online communities and explore the digital space. Already we have very popular metaverse games like the Sandbox, Decentraland, Axie Infinity etc. Iconic fashion house Gucci has entered the metaverse by buying a plot of digital land in The Sandbox, a virtual world on the ethereum blockchain, as the Italian brand looks to tap the Gen Z market. Metaverse platform Decentraland is hosting its first Metaverse Fashion Week, with many global brands and thousands of visitors able to virtually experience fashion shows, attend live sessions, and buy and wear digital clothing directly from catwalk avatars.
Effects of Web 3.0 on existing organizations:
Now we know that this new version of the internet is a paradigm shift from Web 2.0. To understand the impact of Web 3.0 on the current industries and what we can do about that, we can take a few lessons on how organizations adapted during the transition from Web 1.0 to 2.0.
A case in point would be that in the late 90s and early 2000s when Web 2.0 came in the picture, organizations that were able to innovate and adapt were successful. One such example would be Amazon as they got onto the bandwagon early adapting to the dot-com fever (as they called the Web 2.0 wave at that time)
The transition from 2.0 to 3.0 is going to be similar, not technically – but from a logical point of view. So, what are the options for the organizations watching these new changes unfold.
Consider getting onto the Web 3.0 bandwagon as treading into uncharted waters. Literally if there are unexplored rivers in our path forward, here are some of options that lay ahead.
- Get into water
- Stand on the shore
Get into the water is an option where we would see organizations both new and old getting into the Web 3.0 river and building products. This can be a startup or big organizations like Facebook, Microsoft, Unity, Roblux, etc, trying to cash in early. Within this category there are two ways it can unfold:
- In the enthusiasm to get into the Web 3.0 wave, organizations would end up building products that may not require the use of metaverse technologies – meaning you end up going against the tide and expending your energy.
- The other option is that one picks the right problem and arrives at the right product, thereby using the power of the tide to conserve energy and reach the destination ahead of competition.
Stand on the shore is the option where we would see organizations that would not take an immediate plunge into Web 3.0. Within this category, again, there are two ways an organization can react:
- Just stand on the shore and watch others swim, discuss about it while ignoring the change.
- Stand in the shore and watch, prepare to get into the water in a safe way. With insight, this option can ensure the organization don’t miss the bandwagon.
Each of these options have its own advantages and disadvantages. Each of the above options may work differently for different organizations. So, the question is to figure out how your organization can benefit the most by figuring what category your organization belongs to!