Brian Kramer, General Manager at Germain Toyota of Naples, is on the cutting edge of metaverse adoption for the automotive industry. His team has been experimenting with and developing a virtual showroom that has led to metaverse-based purchasing options for customers. This experience has given him unique insights into current and potential metaverse applications.
Brian gave an entertaining and informative talk at Digital Dealer regarding what he has learned and where he sees the Metaverse taking dealers who are ready for the ride.
What is the Metaverse, and how do we get there?
Brian started by explaining that the Metaverse is a new form of the internet based on Web3. Web3 technology is an exponential expansion upon Web 2.0, which is what the internet as we have come to know it uses. He explained how companies and individuals buy and customize space within Web3, using services such as decentraland.org. People like Brian who have entered the space are already making money on the investment.
Versions of this technology have been around for a while. VR headsets, interactive social platforms like Second Life, and augmented reality tools are all elements of Web3, to name a few. The technological leap Web3, 5G, and modern processing power grants set our current understanding of the Metaverse apart.
Is there a consumer demand for metaverse retail?
In short, evidence points to yes for Brian and his team.
Many experts believe the Metaverse is the next generation of the internet. Money is already being made within the space for virtual products and physical retail. Brian cited recent projections by Citi saying the Metaverse economy could be worth between $8T and $13T by 2030. Mr. Kramer himself holds the honor of completing the first retail automotive sale in the Metaverse earlier in 2022; proving applications are there for those willing to try.
Companies across industries are entering the space and finding new applications by thinking creatively about what unique offering their company has.
What is holding back the more widespread application of the technology in automotive?
The infrastructure required is emerging and will be here before many are prepared. It is up to us to be where the puck is going, not where it is.
What can we do to prepare?
Kramer asserted that becoming familiar with the existing building blocks of Web3 technology is the first step to preparing for the future of Metaverse transactions. Additionally, the idea is to start clearing the pathways of friction now so that as transitions in technology come, we are more prepared to provide this kind of digital experience as an industry.
A blockchain is an unchangeable digital ledger used to track ownership of digital assets and, more recently, real-world transactions. Blocks are added to the chain using decentralized processing over an entire network of users. Contributing to the block-creating process rewards participants with digital currency or Crypto.
Digital currency or cryptocurrency is generally awarded to crypto miners as "proof of work." The work being proven is adding a block of data to the blockchain by way of powerful processing machines that perform a part of the complicated task of creating a new block of information on a chain.
Non-Fungible Tokens are unique digital images that exist within a blockchain. They are often art or other collector items that grant the owner unique opportunities among groups or within the Web3 space. Non-fungibility means that while a screenshot of the image can be taken, its unique existence and place in a blockchain can never be replicated or changed.
Virtual reality is a self-enclosed virtual space people can visit using a headset or computer. Think of a video game you can control with your body.
Augmented reality is when digital things are added to the material world to be interacted with using technology such as a smartphone camera. Think Pokemon GO but with a lot of room to grow.
AI is strangely familiar but still a foreign concept to many of us. The Terminator series has been telling us for almost 40 years that Artificial Intelligence will be our doom. Still, in reality, AI has more commonly been used to manage simple conversation tools, but more advanced functions are being developed daily.
If Brian Kramer's message can be summarized in one insight - the future belongs to those who prepare for it today. Brian knows The Metaverse is only getting bigger and that it will change the way people do business. What are we doing to prepare?