University of São Paulo: Metaverse can benefit from social networks, with easy adaptation by Brazilians

The term metaverse gained prominence in the media after Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of the company Facebook to Meta in October of last year. With the popularization of the term and the curiosity of the population on the subject, companies began to invest in technology and use the virtual extension of the physical world to expand their business.

Professor Ildeberto Aparecido Rodello, from the Faculty of Economics, Administration and Accounting (FEA-RP) of Ribeirão Preto, USP, a student of virtual and augmented reality applied to business scenarios, says that “the metaverse is a virtual digital representation of an real” and believes that, despite having a long way to go for its implementation, it can be a new option for companies.

The expert says that currently there are two types of companies that use the technology. The first refers to those typical of the metaverse, in which all the action takes place in the virtual world, and cites the universe of games as an example: “It is a pure electronic commerce, where all agents, processes and products are digital”.

The second type refers to physical companies that use technology to move their business, giving the customer the possibility to enter the virtual world, choose their item and receive the purchase at their home. International brands like Nike and Gucci are already using the metaverse to attract a greater number of customers.

As it is a little explored environment, Rodello says that “it is still too early to really talk about what benefits the metaverse can bring to companies”, but he says that, because it has its origin in the context of social networks, its benefits are related to them, such as greater disclosure of a brand or a product.

Metaverse and the Brazilian consumer
When analyzing technology from the perspective of the consumer in Brazil, the professor believes that the metaverse can be well received by the population, since “Brazilians have a propensity to use social networks, internet access and virtual shopping as well. I believe that adaptation can be easy.”

However, he points out that this adaptation would not apply to all product categories. When talking about clothing, the professor does not believe that Brazilian consumers would use technology to buy clothes, even though there are already ways to try the item through augmented reality.

In relation to other types of products, such as electronics, appliances and large equipment, such as agricultural harvesters, Rodello thinks that companies can obtain better results within the metaverse. Demonstrating these products within the virtual universe is more practical, compared to the ritual of buying clothes.

Impact on work relationships
The expert says that, in addition to changing the dynamics between company and consumer, technology can bring changes in working relationships. In the same way as the transformations that took place during the covid-19 pandemic, such as the greater use of remote work, the metaverse can help with the barriers of the physical world.

“The metaverse will be an extension of the relationships that already exist today. Being able to work in distant environments, working in another country, without necessarily having to move to that country”, explains the professor. And he also emphasizes the possibility of working with different avatars, in different environments within the metaverse.

The professor also draws attention to another important change, which concerns legal issues related to work by technological means. “How people will have hours computed, their work will be evaluated, in short, how they can formally act within a virtual work in the metaverse is a point that needs to be analyzed with caution.”

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