“We believe it has the potential to deeply engage with consumers and enhance their digital experience,” Khosla told ET. Metaverse will enable deep engagement in genres such as gaming, entertainment, retail, education, e-commerce, and social networking, he added. However, Khosla pointed out that to enable immersive experiences, it was “imperative” that the devices ecosystem achieve scale and economies quickly to reach critical mass.
Rival Bharti Airtel became the first operator in India to foray into the Metaverse through its Xstream multiplex. Analysts said telcos will look at Metaverse differently for their business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) segments. For B2C, the platform will eventually culminate in faster adoption of the telcos’ 5G services, which are expected to be rolled out by the end of this year. Prashant Singhal, global TMT emerging markets leader at EY, said: “Right now, no one (retail customer) is asking for 5G.
But once you offer experiences enhanced by faster speeds, low latency and more bandwidth, the consumer will start using it. That’s what we saw happen with 4G as well.” For the B2B segment, which is expected to drive revenues in the near term once 5G rolls out, analysts expect telcos to team up with stakeholders to develop use cases for the Metaverse. Video conferencing is one of the most logical applications integrating Metaverse into the enterprise offerings of telcos. Globally, telcos have used the Metaverse to solve various problems. For example, Japanese telecoms giant NTT has created a “digital twin” of the Tour de France to give operations staff real-time visibility of race data to ensure the continuity and safety of the cycle race and to provide insightful visualisations and immersive fan experiences.
A digital twin is a digital replica of a physical entity connected seamlessly to enable transfer of real-time data. The concept can be applied to smart factories to monitor machinery, for inventory management at warehouses, and even for surgery preparation and planning, experts said.