One of the most inspiring and memorable conversations at this year’s Cloud Wars Expo was the fireside discussion with Bob Evans, Category Pirates’ Christopher Lochhead, and business advisor Christian Anschuetz.
Christopher and Christian butted heads over the idea that digital natives are digital-first, and anyone who still relies on analog is ultimately set to lose out. In fact, Christopher went as far as to say that digital natives would cause the downfall of the S&P 500.
He steered the conversation towards the idea that digital natives see the real world as a distraction — and backed up his claims with some healthy stats around smartphone ownership and usage. So, where does the Metaverse fit into this perceived future?
What Is a Digital Native?
For those unaware of the term, a digital native has grown up with digital technologies and the internet from a very early age. You could call a millennial a digital native, but the most recognized cut-off point is 35.
Above this age, you can be described as an analog native, where analog technologies were the norm during childhood.
How Will the Metaverse Impact Digital Transformation and Adoption?
It goes without saying that Metaverse adoption will start with digital natives. It’s a short jump from gaming platforms to Metaverse technologies, and hundreds of millions of users are ready to make the leap.
For digital natives, the Metaverse will be intuitive, combining the many technological and digital elements already familiar into one — perhaps not so neat — package.
So what of archaic analogs? Well, the Metaverse will be the gateway to personal digital transformation. And for three key reasons.
Firstly, the digital technologies that the Metaverse will employ are embedded in the internet. The Metaverse is, in many ways, the next iteration of the internet. Even if an analog first consumer is unaware of how to gain followers on a TikTok account, they will undoubtedly be familiar with the functions and processes required to operate online.
Secondly, digital communication has become more widespread and accessible thanks to the pandemic. Many users who may not have been exposed before are now apt with programs such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Ultimately, interactions and experiences in the Metaverse will be rooted in digital communication protocols and technologies.
Finally, the Metaverse gold rush is, for some, a travesty and, for others, fair game. However, the barrier to entry is lowering with so many trusted brands and technology companies investing in Metaverse platforms and initiatives. Why? Because brands want to make it easy for customers to adopt their investments. And, unlike specific digital technologies, banks, fashion labels, fast food chains, and many more enterprises bridge the digital-analog gap.
A Gentle Warning
If what Christopher Lochhead says is accurate and digital natives see through a digital-first lens, we must be cautious. The Metaverse will be, for some, a fully immersive experience.
While Metaverse technologies will undoubtedly encourage the transition to digital, there is a concern that users could become detached from physical reality. It’s the platform creators’ responsibility to ensure safeguarding measures are in place. Digital-first is fine. Digital-only is another matter altogether.
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