In recent years we have witnessed a shift in how we live our lives, with our everyday experiences becoming entwined with the digital world. As technology advances rapidly, from futuristic digital passport gates in airports to smart assistants in our homes, the digital space seems to be fusing with reality.
This infiltration of the digital world into our physical reality escalated in 2021, when the Metaverse entered into global mainstream discussion with Facebook’s rebrand to Meta, announcing plans to invest billions into the concept. Recent research by McKinsey has suggested that the Metaverse has the potential to generate up to $5 trillion by 2030.
The Metaverse has been described as the next iteration of the internet, bringing unique advantages and opportunities and new concerns around privacy, trust, and identity. Biometric technology could be the key to protecting users’ digital identity in this changing digital landscape so it’s time we start to explore how to prepare our digital identity in the Metaverse.
What is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse is still very much in the early stages of creation, so it can be hard to imagine what it might be like. Ed Greig, Chief Disruptor at Deloitte, explains:
“In the simplest terms, the Metaverse is the internet, but in 3D. It’s a form of digital interaction where connected, virtual experiences can either simulate the real world or imagine worlds beyond it.”
The technology that combines aspects of the digital and physical world includes virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), mixed reality and blockchain. VR and AR already allow users of immersive video games like Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite to enter a version of the Metaverse. This also gives us an idea of what the Metaverse is designed to offer.
How will it impact our daily lives?
The most obvious benefit the Metaverse provides is the removal of geographical barriers. This power to connect people across the globe in a way like never before will have implications across industries, revolutionising the way we communicate. Some examples include:
The Metaverse is set to transform remote working, allowing users to see and interact in a shared environment anywhere in the world. Working in the Metaverse will allow colleagues to sit together, shake hands and build real bonds, even if they are thousands of miles apart. This could negate the need for work visas and sponsorships and expensive travel for meetings.
The ability to create virtual worlds will allow students to see and experience the topics they are learning about. For example, students learning about dinosaurs could visit a virtual world and see for themselves. A student studying to become a surgeon could perform virtual surgeries to practise for the real world. This technology could open up education by reducing fees and allowing students to study from anywhere in the world.
Hotels are already using VR in their marketing, creating immersive experiences for new customers to tempt them to visit their physical location. In the future, you won’t even need to leave your home to travel the world. The Metaverse could allow anyone with an avatar to visit places worldwide from the comfort of their home – for a significantly lower cost.
The Metaverse has already changed our shopping habits. Companies like IKEA let you see what their furniture would like in your home, and makeup brands can show you what shade of lipstick or hair colour could look like on you. As the Metaverse grows and innovates, there will likely be even more immersive shopping experiences.
How can biometrics keep you safe in the Metaverse?
While the benefits of the Metaverse are exciting, it is not without its challenges. According to a recent report by Experian, identity fraud is increasing. In the UK, there has been a 22% increase in 2022 alone, with 90% of those cases originating online. In the US, a report from the Federal Trade Commission found that consumer losses related to fraud increased by 70% in 2021 to more than $5.8 billion. As the Metaverse expands cybercriminals will undoubtedly continue to innovate and capitalise on the opportunities it brings. Some of the key concerns include:
- How will users’ personal data be protected in a virtual digital environment?
- How can users be sure they are interacting with legitimate businesses and individuals?
- How can users ensure their children are safe when interacting with other children in virtual gaming environments?
This is where biometrics can help with your digital identity in the Metaverse…
Biometric security solutions have become the most robust way of protecting consumers against identity theft and fraud in the physical world and online. From fingerprint access and facial recognition on smartphones to retina scans in airports, security systems worldwide have adopted this technology and it will be crucial in protecting businesses and users against identity fraud in the Metaverse. In a digital world where buying virtual real estate or NFT art is a reality, protecting yourself from unknowingly purchasing counterfeit items or getting caught up in money laundering schemes is becoming a real issue.
Biometric technology has become so advanced that users will be able to quickly and easily authenticate themselves through facial recognition before entering the Metaverse, vastly minimising the chance of identity theft. Since no two individuals can have the same biological identifiers, it will be increasingly difficult for a criminal to pretend to be someone else in the virtual world and duplicate a digital identity in the Metaverse. As the Metaverse changes and develops, biometric technology will be vital in maintaining a safe virtual environment.
Do you need help or advice to secure your business with the latest biometric security solutions? Get in touch to arrange a consultation.