In Italiathe extended reality it is a market that has already started: in fact, it has 231 active projects from 2020 to today. Many companies are exploiting it to use it for internal matters or to put it at the service of consumers. The speech for the Metaverso, however, is different: there are 212 virtual worlds, but the fully interoperable digital universe does not yet exist. Despite this, companies are very attracted to the Metaverse and how it could be exploited in their favor. But on balance, the Italians how do they conceive of extended reality and the metaverse?
Extended Reality e Metaverso
The concept of Metaverse and extended reality are known by most Italians but are not in depth. According to one research carried out by Osservatorio.net Digital Innovation in collaboration with BVA Doxa, 86% of internet users aged between 18 and 75 have heard of it, but barely 8% know the topic “for real”. I frequent visitors (Internet users over 18 years of age who access at least one virtual world every day) in Italy can be estimated at around 1.4 million. Half of these know the main virtual worlds of Fortnite e Minecraftmainly used for play or socialize.
The word to Marta Valsecchi, Director of the Augmented Reality & Metaverse Observatory
“The Metaverse represents the next great evolution of online interaction, through interconnected virtual spaces in which users interact via avatars – explains Marta Valsecchi, Director of the Augmented Reality & Metaverse Observatory.
A digital universe which, however, does not yet exist today: there are currently several worlds populated by hundreds of millions of users globally, but without full interoperability between them. Although the Metaverse has not yet been fully implemented, in the last two years companies have shown strong interest, testing their entry into virtual worlds to understand the business opportunities both in the relationship with the consumer and with other companies and in supporting their employees ”.
The opinion of Valeria Portale, Director of the Augmented Reality & Metaverse Observatory
“To give shape to the Metaverse, making it an increasingly complete, engaging and capable of creating value for all players, the collaboration of developers, companies, institutions and even users will be needed – he says Valeria Portale, Director of the Augmented Reality & Metaverse Observatory.
It will be necessary to define shared standards to make virtual worlds interoperable through Web3 and blockchain technologies, improve the user experience of both virtual worlds (in terms of graphic quality, fluidity of movements and methods of interaction between users) and access devices, develop a regulation on data collection and privacy, totally absent today, and, last but not least, populate the different worlds, accustoming users to frequently use this new method of navigation and giving them the possibility of using valuable contents, services and experiences ”.
The extended reality in Italy
The extended reality it is very exploited in Italy. Especially in the field of Tourism and Art: in fact, in the B2C (business to consumer) many Italian museums offer the possibility of a virtual visit, such as the Uffizi Gallery, or offer interactive content such as games or puzzles at the Royal Museums of Turin. This shows that in Italy, 231 public Extended Reality (XR) projects have been registered since 2020.
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However, as regards the B2B e B2E (business to business and business to employee), extended reality is mostly used for maintenance and quality control in the field of‘Industrial Production. Impossible not to mention l’Healthcareor healthcare, where XR is used for remote collaboration between doctors or the virtual simulation of an intervention.
Even the sectors ofUtility e dell’Education they have the extended reality at their disposal. The first for projects to support the field workforce and train employees in virtual environments. The second with the creation of virtual rooms for specific training courses.
The virtual world
Now let’s talk about the virtual worlds. Below we quote the definition of Metaverse drawn up by Osservatorio.net Digital Innovation: “an immersive, persistent, accessible to all, interactive and interoperable ecosystem, composed of interconnected virtual worlds in which people can socialize, work, carry out transactions, play and create assets, including access via immersive devices”. It is important to underline the fact that the Metaverse thus defined does not yet exist, but outlines and characteristics are beginning to be glimpsed.
If we speak of virtual worlds, however, we mean the fact that most of the initiatives are focused on the relationship with the final consumer, with mainly communication and marketing objectives, only in some cases sales. However, they also begin to see each other projects aimed at employees, with the creation of offices or the execution of interviews and meetings. There are still no projects aimed at enhancing industrial processes.