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Here are three mindsets for pharma companies to adopt now to reap the rewards of early action in the metaverse.
At first, the metaverse might seem to represent way too much uncertainty for life sciences organizations. After all, this virtual world it still evolving. The promise of the metaverse is an interoperable, persistent space within which people can virtually travel, interact and perform a wide variety of tasks, all with a single identity.
In reality, the metaverse has yet to deliver on that promise. Currently, it’s a disparate set of platforms, applications and games, with each experience walled off from the next. What unites the metaverse today is a common set of technological building blocks that underpin these different experiences: augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), blockchain and gamification, among others. (See our eBook “A pragmatist’s guide to the metaverse” for more on this topic.)
That’s a lot of unknowns. It is understandable, then, why so many life sciences companies—whose actions directly impact public health—have thus far viewed the metaverse with trepidation and have been slow to explore the space.
On the other hand, the life sciences industry also rewards the intrepid. Scientific experimentation is the industry’s lifeblood, and new, groundbreaking therapies require exploration of the unknown. And while the metaverse itself is still evolving, its potential impact is clear. The fact is, there’s a sound argument for staking out a place now—when the barriers to entry are still low and the possible missed opportunity costs are high.
The art of the possible
The metaverse can bridge the physical and digital worlds to advance science and improve health outcomes. This could pave the way for new digital approaches to care delivery and more value-based models that incentivize measurable real-world patient outcomes.
Data sharing and interoperability could gain more prevalence as well, helping to reduce operational costs and improve stakeholder experiences. The metaverse could also enhance collaboration between payers, providers and manufacturers by several orders of magnitude, accelerating therapy development.
Getting started in the metaverse
Life sciences companies that wait until the dust settles may find themselves in catch-up mode. Here are three rules of thumb for traditional pharma companies to follow when planting their flag in the metaverse.
Build your metaverse muscle
The primary challenge of investing in the metaverse today is bridging the gap between what it is now and what it promises to be. Build too pragmatically for its current state, and you’re likely to find yourself with a suite of VR and AR applications that do not take true advantage of the metaverse’s open-ended, collaborative nature. Build too much for the future, and it might be difficult to find those early wins that will help to justify a continued business case to leadership.
The sweet spot, then, sits between these two extremes. We recommend thinking of the above tips as muscles to be exercised. Hone your metaverse abilities now to make yourself fit to adapt as the metaverse itself rounds into form. You’ll be preparing, in a way, for the somewhat unexpected.