How the metaverse is reshaping MICE

Guest Blog

Tay Ling, Vice President of Pico Japan, delves into the metaverse’s growing influence on the MICE industry and the impact of generative AI.

The metaverse has slowly been establishing itself in various industries, and has been the subject of debate in the MICE industry for a length of time.  This piece looks at the potential of this new virtual world and how generative AI is influencing the MICE industry’s metaverse, for better or worse. 

Growing the metaverse: a universe of commerce

It only took a couple of years for the idea of the metaverse to grow its foothold in industry and the public imagination. In that time, what the metaverse is and what it can do has gradually come into focus, particularly with recent advances in technologies such as VR, AR and generative AI. Precedence Research estimates the global metaverse market’s value will reach US$92.46 billion in 2023 and predicts that it will surpass US$1.3 trillion by 2030. 

 Tech giants are not the only businesses that have moved into the metaverse; a whole range of companies have started to build their presences in this ambitious new virtual universe, and here’s how the metaverse is taking shape in the MICE industry.

How corporations are using the metaverse

Pico’s recently launched metaverse experience is realised by YAOLAND, its metaverse platform supported by Pico Group, Net263 Ltd. and China Unicom’s subsidiary Shanghai Wocheng. Pico metaverse provides a virtual but realistic and effective immersive social experience for users everywhere. Its functions include virtual meetings with multiple parties, business consultation, job application and real-time interaction. Users can create unique identities through virtual avatars with customisable appearances, clothing and accessories, then visit the platform’s three ‘centres’. Each of these uses 3D models to showcase Pico’s history, culture, and brand activation capabilities.

By harnessing cloud technology, Pico Metaverse consolidates data to create the diverse environments and activities needed to reach a wide audience through multiple channels.

Metaverse users can interact not only through text, but also express themselves with movements such as dancing, laughing and hand gestures. The platform’s gamified elements include a treasure box hunt and quiz sessions, points collected can be used to experience the metaverse world with customised appearances.  

The integration of the metaverse into the MICE industry 

One evident example of the metaverse’s role in the MICE industry is its influence on virtual events. The metaverse has provided a platform for hosting virtual events and conferences, allowing participants from around the world to attend and have intimate interactions without physical travel. Users can create personalised avatars and connect with each other in virtual environments, attending keynote speeches, presentations, panel discussions, and networking sessions. 

Alongside personalising virtual events, the metaverse has contributed to the development of immersive exhibitions. As opposed to traditional exhibitions that involve traipsing around a vast air-conditioned hall, the metaverse has enabled immersive digital exhibitions. Companies and organisations can create virtual booths or spaces to showcase their products and services, allowing attendees to explore, interact, and gather information virtually. Exhibitors can also leverage interactive elements, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) technologies to enhance the experience.

With this in mind, the networking opportunities are endless. Not only is the metaverse able to accommodate accessibility far more than traditional events, but language barriers can be mitigated through real-time translation features, enabling seamless communication among participants from different regions. Attendees can engage in one-on-one or group conversations, join industry-specific communities or interest groups, and explore collaborative spaces. This can help recreate the serendipitous encounters and networking experiences that often occur during physical events.


The future of metaverse with generative AI

Potentially, generative AI could further scale up and accelerate metaverse development. Unique content could be generated easily, and not necessarily by expert developers, creating enormous new potential for art, entertainment, and communication. Also, by integrating generative AI itself into the metaverse, virtual environments could become dynamic and engaging as they adapt and respond to users’ actions.

An early example is the digital twin of the HP Garage in Hewlett Packard Enterprises’ virtual company museum. There, the company is investigating the possibilities offered by generative AI technology in the instantaneous creation of 3D models, images and environments – even  using voice commands. If integrated into the metaverse, similar tech could enable users to transform their ideas into text, images, or full-blown 3D content and experiences.

As technologies evolve and new tech is unveiled, the metaverse itself will expand its scope and capabilities – and from a business perspective, increase its feasibility. We can expect to see innovative new applications not just accross the MICE industry, but corporations as a whole.