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A closer look at some Indian IT companies eerily reveals their growth plans in exploring the Metaverse, and other whimsical plans of using the technology to enhance the shopping experience, employee engagements, setting up virtual banks, NFT marketplaces, virtual automobile dealerships, and whatnot.
Recently, Tech Mahindra’s chief CP Gurnani told Analytics India Magazine that they are working on 60 metaverse projects globally. Out of these, 25 projects are in ed-tech, while the remaining are in retail, automotive dealer management, repair and maintenance of cars, and others. Gurnani also mentioned that it is one of their fastest-growing practices.
Last month, Tech Mahindra, in partnership with Union Bank of India, announced the launch of Metaverse Virtual Lounge and the Open Banking Sandbox environment.
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In February 2022, the company announced the launch of ‘TechMVerse’, a metaverse practice to deliver interactive and immersive experiences for its customers. In addition, it has launched ‘DealerVerse’, a metaverse-based car dealership, followed by ‘Middlemist’, an NFT marketplace, ‘MetaBank’, a virtual bank, and a gaming centre.
Meanwhile, TCS is also betting big on Metaverse, claiming that it would be driving its revenue growth in three to five years. TCS president and vice chairman NASSCOM, Krishnan Ramanujam, recently told CNBC-TV 18 that they see a lot of opportunities and are working on multiple use cases across sectors.
Several reports suggest that TCS is working on metaverse projects, including a ‘virtual bank’ for a retail transaction and the NFT marketplace using its blockchain solution. Its metaverse services are said to be supported by its Avapresence offering, which converges the physical and digital worlds.
Recently, the company has partnered with Tata group companies like Tanishq and Croma to deploy metaverse solutions. Besides this, it is also working with the Tamil Nadu government to develop a solution to launch a museum metaverse.
Currently, in the PoC (proof-of-concept) stage, TCS is working on building an NFT marketplace for a major media company in the US, a retail mall in the Metaverse for a fashion brand, and a candy metaverse for the CPG vertical, and virtual banks for a leading bank in the UK.
Another IT major, Infosys, has launched Infosys Metaverse Foundry, which has over 100 use cases. It has deployed solutions for customers like Tennis Australia, French Tennis Federation (Roland-Garros), Komatsu, and others.
In a media interaction, Salil Parikh mentioned a few practical use cases where he talked about working with manufacturing companies to allow them to do training, to allow them to navigate safety inspections, and to allow them to make repairs on shop floor risks. He also mentioned Metaverse being used in developing virtual healthcare to train professionals and remote delivery.
“I think it is very early in terms of what the Metaverse is driving. From our perspective, we are well positioned at Infosys to support it”, says Parikh, emphasising that it would start to see the results in the next five to ten years. Further, he added that the real value would come when more and more enterprises and governments start to use it.
Besides these, other Indian IT companies working on metaverse projects include Mphasis, Wipro, Pristine Systems and others.
Addressing the metaverse talent gap
Tech Mahindra’s chief CP Gurnani said that Metaverse has the potential to disrupt our reality and the future for good. To solve the talent crunch in the Metaverse, Tech Mahindra would be operating from four of its centres in Hyderabad, Pune, Dallas, and London employing around 1K engineers to ensure that they are ready to solve complex business challenges.
Infosys’ chief Parekh lauded the Indian education system for creating incredibly large numbers of well-trained individuals. He said that the Indian IT companies have a huge advantage, where nearly 900K engineering STEM graduates pass annually. Citing its Mysore campus, where Infosys offers training to candidates, Parekh said that it creates skilled individuals in the technology area that can support the needs, not just in India but worldwide.
Infosys currently provides skilling on new-age digital technologies like AI and machine learning via online platforms. “We have also started to build new skills in areas such as metaverse, quantum computing, etc.”, says Parekh, claiming that the availability of talent and skill would drive the industry to the next level.
TCS’s XR Lab head Ashok Maharaj has a different perspective altogether. He said that the company is hiring non-engineering talent to address the talent demand. They are consciously looking for journalists, poets, and theatre professionals, among others, who are very good with spatial sound to join their teams. Maharaj believes the UI/UX will implode once the 3D environment is created.
Most Indian IT companies are already working on developing viable use cases and strengthening their capabilities to offer metaverse services. The global revenue opportunity from the Metaverse is expected to reach $800 billion in the next two years. Many experts believe that it could even go beyond the $800 billion predictions, where it has the potential to reach $1 trillion in annual revenue.
According to Goldman Sachs, Metaverse is estimated to provide an $8 trillion opportunity and help IT companies expand their offerings to data analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality (AR/VR).
Similarly, Morgan Stanley predicted that the Metaverse is an $8.3 trillion market opportunity. Following is the breakdown of some of the key areas and estimates—
Metaverse has witnessed massive adoption by BFSI (banking, financial services, insurance), retail, communication, education, and manufacturing sectors. However, many companies are now exploring beyond this and considering other areas like marketing and sales in the Metaverse.