Metaverse on the rise, but AI reigns supreme for now

metaverse nike2The metaverse might still be a mystery to many, a preposterous concept to some and just “the Internet” to many but a whopping 85% of ecommerce, marketing and IT business leaders reckon it will be essential to their businesses in the next two years.

Even so, the far more tangible and “oven ready” artificial intelligence has topped a list of new technology which brands crave, with 91% leaders viewing it as crucial to their firms’ success.

AI also ranked as the tech that companies are most comfortable working with, and 94% go as far to say that their firms are already well equipped to harness it; over half (51%) have already implemented some form of AI, with a third (33%) saying it was in the works.

That is according to the Disruptive Technologies Report, conducted by Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology and based on interviews with IT, ecommerce and marketing leaders in the UK, US and China.

It reveals that 92% of respondents have already adopted or are in the process of implementing at least one of the six leading disruptive technologies: AI, Web 3.0, the metaverse, blockchain, decentralised identity technology and extended reality.

Despite high levels of confidence in adopting technology, however, on average, two-thirds (67%) of leaders still believe they will benefit from working with specialists to implement each of the disruptive technologies. And over a third (37%) are still struggling to find the right strategic partner.

Even with rising confidence and investment, a level of uncertainty and lack of understanding continues to plague businesses’ ability to adopt these technologies. Just over half (51%) of small businesses in particular feel unsure about the benefits of Web 3.0 and two-thirds (65%) view the metaverse entirely as hype.

Wunderman Thompson Commerce head of technology Nick Harry said: “Technology enables businesses to create new solutions, services or products to meet consumers’ ever-changing and often lofty demands.

“We now expect to be amazed by the latest technologies and ideas but are equally quick to dismiss bewildering, slow or unreliable solutions. It’s why the metaverse remains in relative infancy – because it’s difficult to visualise what a working, entertainment and even shopping world might look like in the merged virtual and physical environment.

“Taking a leap forward for any business is still fraught with challenges and a lack of understanding. Crucially, it’s about having the right technology partners in place, investing in the right skills and taking the time to understand how innovation can create meaningful, positive change in the customer journey.

“Companies must strike the balance and invest in the right technology that is going to future-proof their business and customer base for years to come.”

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