Kevin S. Parikh, CEO & Chairman, Avasant, featured in Forbes - From Omnichannel to Omniverse: Preparing for the Next Evolution of Customer Engagement
Originally featured on Forbes.com
Picture this: You are browsing the online marketplace to purchase golf shoes for your upcoming tournament. You find a style you like from your favorite brand, so you click on it to see the color options and available sizes. You are pleased to find a blue and white pair—your favorite. And how convenient—it matches the colors of your team’s shirt!
You are more thrilled to see that if you also purchase the augmented and the virtual versions of the shoe, you receive 10% off your total order! You think, “How cool would it be to have the team’s logo embedded on the augmented shoe, so that everyone on the golf course who has augmented sunglasses can see it?” You also think the virtual version would be ideal for golfing with your friends next weekend in the “verse,” the successor to the internet that utilizes digital communities that represent how we will work, vacation, socialize, learn and engage in all aspects of our lives, virtually.
Excited, you purchase the three versions of the shoe—the physical, the augmented and the virtual—and claim your 10% discount. What a deal!
This describes an example of the opportunities for us in the near future in the omniverse. The omniverse is a collection of verses, with each verse comprising of immersive communication platforms, digital assistants, workplace collaboration tools, entertainment and retail to support the digital communities where people meet friends, work, play games, shop and much more. The omniverse brings new channels and platforms for producers, distributors and consumers of goods and services, across the:
- Physical World: The tangible and real world where we physically exist in. In the example above, the physical golf shoes are those purchased for wear in the physical world.
- Virtual World: The world where everything you observe and experience is fully online and digital. The shoes here are those purchased for your avatar, or hologram, for golfing on the virtual golf course.
- Augmented World: The convergence of the digital experience and physical reality. From the example above, your augmented shoes are the physical shoes you wear in the physical world. But, for anyone with AR-enabled glasses, the logo of your golf team on the shoe will be visible to them. It will not be visible to the naked eye or those with non-AR-enabled glasses.
The omniverse can unlock three times the value for consumers and producers. It represents the next stage of engagement between buyers and sellers, beyond traditional channels such as brick-and-mortar stores, social media, chatbots and call centers—in other words, it goes beyond omnichannel.
Beyond Omnichannel: The Key Tenets Of The Omniverse
Like omnichannel, the ability to provide a frictionless customer experience remains a key tenet in the omniverse. However, the magnitude, scale and pace of engagement taking place in the omniverse call for all businesses, governments, institutions and any other organized bodies with intent to capture an audience to reimagine their outreach and go beyond an omnichannel approach. These organizations need to understand that the new channels across the physical, augmented and virtual worlds must not only be frictionless, like omnichannel, but they must also be:
- Unified and seamless with users and consumers able to flow freely between multiple verses and the physical, augmented, and virtual worlds.
- Transboundary and without borders to engage and enable anyone around the world to participate and collaborate.
- Immersive and multi-sensory, as no matter what verse or world we are interacting in, we should always feel present and feel human, whether we are communicating as our physical self or a digital avatar.
- Instantaneous and always connected. Verses, like the internet, will always be on. Owners of the verse, sellers, producers and distributors must act or respond instantaneously.
The Digital Prerequisites For Interacting In The Omniverse
Given these tenets of the omniverse, organizations will be required to invest in new technologies and platforms to meet the above criteria to compete and participate in the verse. These investments include:
- Advanced networks, such as 5G, 6G and Wi-Fi 6, that will allow for better and faster networking.
- Biometric identification to identify or authenticate a person, which is especially important for ensuring secure transactions; identifying who is present, what they are doing and whether they are a safe actor; and processing payments.
- Digital currencies. The cross border, multinational aspect of the omniverse makes handling currency more complicated. Digital currencies simplify issues such as exchange rates.
- Holograms and digital twins, which will improve our sense of reality in virtual worlds, as well as make collaboration more effective.
- Non-fungible tokens for the augmented and virtual worlds where ownership of products, real estate and other virtual assets will need to be tracked and maintained.
- Quantum computing and supercomputers. The omniverse requires significant computing power to render the digital world, stream entertainment and track data. Quantum computers have the potential to not only do that faster but at a savings both in terms of cost and environmental impact.
- The verse of things. If there is an internet of things, and we are moving from the internet to the verse, then there must be a verse of things. The verse of things connects our devices and data across the physical, virtual and augmented worlds to ensure seamless, secure and hyper-fast interactions.
The Omniverse Will Bring Companies Closer To Their Customers
Whichever industry you operate in, it is crucial to connect with people differently—to successfully compete, retain existing customers and attract new ones. Businesses need to start investing in the new digital prerequisites and building the channels and platforms to support customer engagement seamlessly across the physical, virtual and augmented worlds. Companies that are successful can realize, based on my predictions, up to three times the value of a product or service and will be drawn closer to their customers.