The metaverse, or Web3, makes continuous headlines for its chaotic and unpredictable future. From purchasing virtual land to the promise of floating avatars, blockchain scams, decentralization, NFTs, and the potential for branding, it’s difficult to understand what consumers should expect.
But what about the business-to-business (B2B) side of things?
Rolf Illenberger, CEO of a virtual reality (VR) platform called VRdirect, offers a more grounded, practical, and even sensible understanding of how the metaverse is currently working within enterprises across the globe.
According to Illenberger, most organizations are overwhelmed by the Web3 competition between major companies like Meta, Apple, and Microsoft. From choosing hardware to applying VR purposefully, it’s unclear for many organizations where to begin. “Right now, it’s a nightmare for anyone who’s a decision maker in a normal enterprise,” he says.
By solving two key problems for large companies –– how to easily create XR (extended reality) content for VR devices and how to share that content on those devices within a big business – VRdirect aims to standardize VR content project creation and distribution.
“We want to enable everyone to create virtual environments as easily as people are creating PowerPoint slides today,” says Illenberger.
It’s important to note that, like PowerPoint, VRdirect’s software isn’t built to be flashy -- another distinction in the realm of B2B virtual technologies.
Illenberger often tells clients to downsize and adjust their expectations. “Forget about the glossy B2C games, forget about the marketing videos from Mark Zuckerberg where he is playing table tennis with his avatar; that's not the reality, at least not with the reasonable B2B budget today,” he says.
Many of VRdirect’s clients -- such as Nestle, Porsche, and Siemens -- utilize this software through immersive safety trainings, virtual tours, or virtual product demonstrations. They begin with 360-degree images or videos taken of their physical facilities or products –– a relatively quick, easy and affordable process that provides a company with the ability to connect with each other via great distances.
Illenberger says that in order to virtualize a warehouse from a car manufacturer, for example, it takes VRdirect’s clients a day with 360-degree cameras. From there, they can add objects and information into the virtual space.
“If you would want to recreate this warehouse in a 3D-modeling software, this would take weeks or months, would cost a 6 or 7 digit budget, and would still look like a Tetris warehouse,” adds Illenberger.
Nestle recently began a project using VRdirect’s software to virtualize 40 of their sites around the world.
Coolness and graphic-quality aren’t as necessary in the current B2B space for several reasons. Impressing one’s trainee or coworker with VR content isn’t as relevant as it is when attracting a consumer to buy your product –– optimization and scalability are the prime focus for VRdirect’s clients.
Ultimately, VRdirect is preparing their clients for what’s to come.
Illenberger says, “a lot of these companies, getting their first 10 or first hundred VR headsets, getting their first software decision, creating the first pieces of content, establishing an organization, establishing a team, establishing guidelines, understanding what content makes sense for them and whatnot; these are the very basic steps.”