Indian IT companies are tapping the potential of the nascent metaverse in a bid to help enterprises develop interactive and immersive experiences for their customers.
Last month, two of India’s leading IT services companies, Infosys Ltd and Tech Mahindra Ltd, announced their foray into the metaverse.
Infosys, for instance, has launched a metaverse foundry to help its clients explore the potential of the nascent metaverse. The foundry harnesses the power of technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), blockchain, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), Internet of Things (IoT), applied AI (artificial intelligence), cybersecurity and 5G to deliver value in the metaverse.
Infosys claims to have developed over 100 ready-to-apply use-cases and templates. For example, one template that is popular with many large enterprises is for setting up an immersive retail experience where shoppers can explore a branded metaverse environment, buy products as NFTs or connect to an online checkout counter to make purchases that are delivered in the physical world.
“The physical and virtual worlds are already smoothly and ubiquitously interwoven. The metaverse will deepen this overlap and in very experiential ways that will create abundant space for business innovation. We want to help our clients to quickly double down on those opportunities in a find-fast, learn-faster environment before they can reorient their own capabilities, processes and culture in-house to respond to this rapidly evolving space,” explained Ravi Kumar S, president, Infosys.
Likewise, Tech Mahindra Ltd launched TechMVerse, its metaverse practice to deliver interactive and immersive experiences for its customers. In its initial phase, Tech Mahindra will leverage the opportunities presented by the metaverse through various use cases in areas like car dealership, NFT marketplace, virtual banking, and gaming. Initially, the operations of TechMVerse will be spread across four hubs – Dallas, London, Pune, and Hyderabad.
“One of our key focus areas is helping our customers’ digital journey and technology is helping us build the differentiators. Metaverse is clearly a key differentiator. Like any other new technology, our metaverse offering will be initially incubated in a smaller group and then shared with our clients because for most of them, it is also a new way of running their business,” said C.P. Gurnani, CEO & MD, Tech Mahindra.
Sanchit Vir Gogia, CEO and chief analyst, Greyhound Research, believes the metaverse may soon take a “platformization” approach with industry-specific applications. “The concept of the metaverse is not new for IT services companies like Infosys, and a few others that have always offered it in bits and pieces through technologies like experience redesign, digital twin, AI, IoT, AR/VR, blockchain, and 5G. The only difference is now it is being offered as a bundled offering with all elements stitched together and in a more distributed/decentralized model,” he explained.
According to Gogia, “we will see platformization of the metaverse with industry-specific pre-baked applications. But, as of today, it is still in its early days, and what these companies are doing today will look very different in the next few years.”
The metaverse will evolve across three overlapping phases: emerging, advanced, and mature, corroborates research and advisory firm Gartner. “The market is beginning to explore and experiment with applications and use-cases with high, long-term value…Between 2024 and 2027, more direct opportunities for the metaverse will arise,” said Anushree Verma, senior principal analyst, Gartner. According to Verma, many of these opportunities will be focused on the content layer – data, information and foundation (non-infrastructure) of the metaverse itself.
"From 2028 onward, the vision and potential for the metaverse will become much clearer and easier to manage for both organizations and individual users," she added.
Verma believes that IT services companies will focus on "current high-value use cases such as gaming, wayfinding and navigation apps, and AR and VR experiences. The size of the deals would vary a lot by the use cases depends on the kind of products or services offered".