Hyper-realistic Metaverse, Travel & Beyond
If the metaverse is only about gaming in virtual worlds then there is no need to think seriously about how bricks and mortar and web 2 businesses can consider the metaverse as a new distribution channel. Of course hundreds of global brands have already started experimenting with the leading gaming-based metaverses like the Sandbox and Decentraland.
But the early adopter traditional brands experimenting with the metaverse are primarily leveraging these experiments to learn and to engage in brand activation with metaverse users. Put more simply, if done well, early presence in the metaverse is cool for legacy and web 2 brands.
Yet we are in the early days of what the metaverse can and will be. I subscribe to the thesis that the metaverse will represent a more immersive (frequently 3D) version of the internet. As such, there is so much more traditional brands will be able to do, not just to be cool, but to grow revenues by leveraging a more immersive, hyper-realistic internet.
Iomob has been building a decentralized internet of mobility (IoM) network since 2018. Many months ago, our first investor and ongoing advisor and personal mentor, David Lee, encouraged us to seriously explore pathways for engaging with the metaverse. While we were initially a bit reluctant as we are committed to being a force for IRL impact, we became increasingly convinced that indeed the metaverse will transform every industry including travel and mobility IRL and that we had a window in time to be a first mover to support travel and transport brands to gain exposure and revenues in the metaverse.
The IoM already supports demand partners in delivering seamless mobility to web, kiosks and mobile. Supporting seamless mobility in the metaverse, in our opinion, is about creating a new distribution channel and interface for travel and transport users who will seek more immersive ways of discovering places to visit, journey options for getting there, places to stay and of course activities to engage in upon arrival. In May of this year, TechNavio published a market report where they projected booking revenues in the metaverse will reach $180 bn USD by 2026 and concluded:
“The real value of metaverse offering in the tourism and travel industry during a booking process is their ability to increase overall booking volumes. This occurs due to the enhanced customer experience due to the usage of metaverse wherein customers can gain inspiration from virtual and augmented reality travel technology, and the actual experience of booking hotels, travel, restaurant tables, and other services becomes more enjoyable, informative, and a tool for influencing buyers purchasing decisions.”
Next Earth is the first blockchain and earth-based metaverse. Just a few months ago, Iomob announced our first initiative connecting travel and the metaverse through a partnership to deliver the IoM digital transportation layer to Next Earth. Vueling Airlines with 120+ destinations mostly in Europe and 30mn+ annual passengers is our first customer joining us in the metaverse where they will indeed work with Iomob to allow bookings not just of air journeys but seamless door to door journeys that can be booked through the metaverse and/or a metaverse travel companion app which IoM has already built. The companion app allows the user to seamlessly incorporate a journey booked in the metaverse (or other interfaces) and to solve their first and last mile dynamically as well as solve destination mobility without downloading local apps in every city.
Our effort with Next Earth is just the beginning of our journey to support early adopters in the transport and travel industry seeking to not just activate their brand but to grow revenues from bookings in the metaverse. We have been assembling the growing list of transport and travel enterprises who have already started investing in the metaverse. The ones below are only those who have made some public statements or formal product launches and does not reflect the dozens more we have spoken with offline.
It is our opinion that hyper-realistic metaverses, preferably 3D or those enabling additional mixed reality capabilities (e.g. AR/VR). Stay tuned as IoM continues to expand our own effort to support these enterprises offer seamless mobility via web, mobile and the metaverse and if you happen to be in Singapore, or able to watch online, I will be sharing more of these insights at the GWEI Summit in Singapore, at the invitation of David Lee.
About the Author
Boyd Cohen is the CEO and Co-founder of Iomob, a decentralized internet of mobility (IoM) network. Since obtaining his Ph.D. in strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado in 2001, he spent the past two decades focused on accelerating the path to a low-carbon sustainable economy. This included publishing 3 books, multiple peer reviewed articles, frequently contributing to Fast Company and starting a handful of ventures in the smart cities and sustainability arena.