Posts tagged with "metaverse"

Lowe’s expands into the Metaverse with a tool to help customers visualize home projects

June 22, 2022

It seems like every company is getting into the Metaverse—a collective virtual shared space including the sum of all virtual worlds and the Internet—these days. And Lowe’s doesn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to use it to help builders imagine projects, reports CNBC.

But unlike other retailers, which chose a particular virtual platform or game, such as Fortnite or Roblox, Lowe’s’ Metaverse assets—including free downloads of 500 product assets, including items such as chairs—are available on its own hub.

“It’s all emerging, and it’s all up for exploration,” Lowe’s EVP and Chief Brand and Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg told CNBC in an exclusive interview. The retailer decided not to choose one Metaverse platform, but rather “a kind of an agnostic and kind of democratized approach,” she said.

While other brands have found immediate ways to make money in the Metaverse, even on an experimental basis, Thalberg said “this isn’t about immediately jumping in and trying to make an event or immediately commoditizing it.”

Rather, she told CNBC, “Our goal really is to take this new frontier and help people use their imaginations and help them make their virtual spaces as exciting and inspirational and enjoyable as their real-world spaces. And that’s the only benefit we seek to obtain at this point.”

At least that’s the only stated benefit. As the first major home improvement retailer to enter the Metaverse and make its applicable assets available for free, no doubt a key goal is watching consumer behavior to eventually capitalize on the opportunity that might exist. The assets are based on real products the company currently sells online and in its stores. 

Seemantini Godbole, Lowe’s EVP and chief information officer, told CNBC in an exclusive interview the retailer is applying many of the principles it currently uses for shoppers for this metaverse project.

“What we have noticed in our current mediums like Lowes.com and in our stores … people like to experiment and while they’re shopping and getting inspired they like to put things together in the virtual world before they start their project,” she said. “It’s the same idea for the Metaverse. That you want them to experiment, feel and understand how it’s going to look before they start the project in the real world.”

Godbole said many of these Metaverse assets had already been created as 3D digital versions of physical products available for purchase, to help online shoppers visualize the real-life dimensions and features. Lowe’s is already using virtual and augmented reality technology to allow shoppers to design an entire kitchen online or map their home’s floor plan using their smartphone as examples.

“There is just a huge appetite from our customers to use emerging technology” like the VR and AR tools Godbole said. “We are applying some of those lessons in the Metaverse.”

Right now, Lowe’s isn’t offering a physical good with the purchase of a virtual one, or any link back to its website from any Metaverse platforms, Godbole said. But that could change.

“In the future, we could absolutely think about, how do all these different things link, and make sure that [Metaverse users] are able to shop these items on Lowe’s dot com or in our stores,” she said.

Thalberg acknowledged that the typical metaverse participant “skews really young,” likely younger than the typical Lowe’s shopper or homeowner today.

“But if you look at kids who’ve used platforms like Minecraft and Roblox, a lot of what they do there, is fascinatingly enough, build and design. This idea of being able to build and decorate and design and improve is kind of core to how these spaces are emerging,” she said. “And so if we catch them young, that’s great, but we see a real utility too, as we look to a huge wave of millennial new homeowners who aren’t afraid of technology.”

Research contact: @CNBC

Iceland takes a swipe at Zuckerberg’s ‘Meta’ announcement in new viral tourism video

November 15, 2021

If the goal was to get people talking about Iceland, a new tourism video is more than succeeding, reports CNBC.

Ineed, a video posted yesterday by Inspired by Iceland as part of a marketing campaign for Icelandic tourism takes aim at a Mark Zuckerberg video released in October announcing Facebook’s name change to Meta. In it, Zuckerberg hypes the so-called “metaverse”—a virtual world that “will be the successor to the mobile Internet.”

The metaverse’s defining quality, said Zuckerberg, is “the feeling of presence … like you’re there with other people.” Icelandic tourism authorities seem to think they can offer something better.

In the new video, a Zuckerberg lookalike—complete with his Caesar cut, minimalist garb and hand gestures—introduces viewers to “Icelandverse,” a place of “enhanced actual reality without silly looking headsets.”

“Today I want to talk about a revolutionary approach on how to connect our world—without being super weird,” the speaker deadpans to the camera.

The video extolls Iceland’s “completely immersive” experiences, such as its real rocks, real humans and “skies you can see with your eyeballs.”

Press materials sent to journalists continue the parody, explaining that Icelandverse was created “after millions of years in development” and that “users can explore and navigate their way through the many different layers of captivating reality, just by visiting.”

Officials, too, are in on the act.

“Icelandverse has been built with experts in government, industry, nature and academia, plus a few volcanoes,” said Sigridur Dogg Gudmundsdottir, head of Visit Iceland, in the video’s press release.

Reactions to the video have been overwhelmingly positive, with people praising the “Olympic-level trolling” by Iceland officials, and many expressing a desire to visit.

It isn’t the first time Iceland has relied on humor to draw attention to the Nordic island nation.

Videos by Inspired by Iceland use comedy to explain why not to wear jeans or high heels to Iceland. Its 2017 video entitled “The Hardest Karaoke Song in the World” has garnered nearly 14.5 million views on YouTube.

Research contact: @CNBC