Wednesday, 30 November 2022

META: The Blue Ocean Shift by Facebook

Facebook has changed its name to Meta, a brilliant move from a Blue Ocean Shift perspective; a shift presenting new product and service journeys for the group, and its communities of Advertisers, Content Creators, Developers and Partners as virtual reality takes over the next marketing age of economics. The Metaverse is here!

 

In their book, the “Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing - Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth”, Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim give a roadmap to move the business owner, his team, and the organization to new heights of confidence, market creation and growth. This is what Mark Zuckerberg has started doing for Facebook. 

 

From a Blue Ocean Strategy, every business must move not just from Red (crowded environments) Oceans (market spaces), into Blue (clear, clean, hopeful) Oceans, but must also move execute a Blue Ocean Shift; to be in a place where there is no competition in thought, concept or organisational behaviour. 

 

In a Press Release, Facebook wrote "at Connect 2021, CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta, which brings together our apps and technologies under one new company brand. Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses". This is a clear Blue Ocean Shift. 

 

Rebranding creates a new world of possibilities, allowing the business to move into them without fear of the associations of the past name. Rebranding, as Facebook has done, is about choosing change, to restart, or rechart a new course; which is exactly what META means.

 

Meta is Social Technology Company that comprises includes Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Portal, and Novi, all products that are racking in billions of dollars. 

 

According to Dictionary.com, Meta comes from the Greek prefix and preposition meta, which means “after” or “beyond.” When combined with words in English, meta- often signifies “change” or “alteration” as in the words metamorphic or metabolic.

 

Facebook choosing the word META as an Internet company is like Heineken choosing to change its name to Alcohol. The word alcohol is on the branding of every alcoholic beverage hence a natural dominance by Heineken. Well, that’s if they do change their name to that.

 

Whilst many are clueless of the meaning, there is need to realise that is no website that does not have the word "meta" in its code. That is where we must start from. 

 

Meta elements, written as are tags used in HTML and XHTML documents to provide structured metadata about a Web page. They are part of a web page's head section. Multiple Meta elements with different attributes can be used on the same page.

 

Meta is what search engines use to find, classify, and retrieve website information, that Search Engine Optimisation specialists and web developer understand.

 

The most important question we should be asking is, "what change is Meta going to bring"? The clue is in Metaverse, their new project.

 

"The Metaverse", Facebook went won, "will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company. Mark shared more about this vision in a founder’s letter".

 

Meta.com homepage boldly states, “the metaverse is the next evolution of social connection. Our company’s vision is to help bring the metaverse to life, so we are changing our name to reflect our commitment to this future".

 

Companies change their names for various reasons, but Facebook is most likely because of Social Pressure. According to Visual Capitalist, Societal perceptions can change fast, and companies do their best to anticipate these changes in advance. Or, if they don’t change in time, their hands might get forced.

 

Social pressure was behind the name changes at Total and Philip Morris. In the case of the former, the switch to TotalEnergies was meant to signal the company’s shift beyond oil and gas to include renewable energy.

 

Facebook undertook this name change for a number of reasons, but chief among them is that the brand is irrevocably associated with scandals, negative externalities, and Mark Zuckerberg.

 

Even before the most recent outage and whistle-blowing scandal, Facebook was already the least-trusted tech company by a long shot. Mark Zuckerberg was once the most admired CEO in Silicon Valley, but has since fallen from grace.

 

It’s easy to focus on the negative triggers for the impending name change, but there is some substance behind the change as well. For one, Facebook recognizes that privacy issues have put their primary source of revenue at risk. The company’s ad-driven model built upon its users’ data is coming under increasing scrutiny with each passing year.

 

As well, there is substance behind the metaverse hype. Facebook first signalled their ambitions in 2014, when it acquired the virtual reality headset maker Oculus. A sizable portion of the company’s workforce is already working on making the metaverse concept a reality, and there are plans to hire 10,000 more people in Europe over the next five years.

 

Other name change reasons could be Hitting the Reset Button, We Do More, The Start-Up Name Pivot, Copyright Problems and Course Correction.

 

The Meta sign looks almost as the Visual Basic sign by Microsoft. A story for another day I suppose.

 

Back to Metaverse. 

 

Essential, a metaverse is a 3D virtual world that you can explore online using an avatar (a digital version of yourself). Each company will have different ideas of what that virtual world should look like and the purpose it should serve, but the main idea is to create something truly immersive and fun to explore.

 

The Birmingham Mail put it simple, saying the "Metaverses are virtual playgrounds that could shape the future of gaming and social media".

 

Meta, Metaverse, and the new direction is that of Virtual Reality 

 

Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment, education and business.

 

In 2020, there were more than 57 million VR users in the US. The number of virtual reality users has been growing at an extraordinary pace in the last six years. VR adoption stats for 2020 showed that there were 57.4 million VR users in the US and 90.9 million AR users.

 

In South Africa, there are over 2 million users of Virtual Reality devices (Headsets), a growing population that local business will soon be tapping into through Meta.

 

According to the Global Newswire, the global virtual reality (VR) market size is expected to reach USD 84.09 billion by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 44.8% during the forecast period.

 

HTC Corporation, Oculus VR, Sony Corporation, and Lenovo Group are all heavily investing in developing innovative head-mounted devices. To grow their consumer base, the players are making smart acquisitions and collaborations. In addition, prominent firms are providing industry-specific materials and tools to broaden their commercial horizons. 

 

Businesses such as automotive, manufacturing, aerospace and defence, education, and others are using technology to meet business needs during the global pandemic. The virtual simulators assist in the design and planning of the product from a distance. VR is gaining popularity in the education sector as a result of the epidemic. Virtual technology is being used by people all over the world to better their health and well-being, entertainment, live events, virtual conferences, and meetings, especially during the pandemic.

 

All this is the space Facebook has chosen to start entering in order to dominate. 

 

Twenty years from now, remote working will change to become virtual working. Travelling to go and see the Pyramids in Egypt can be hosted by Virtual Travel agents. The examples are unfathomable at present, as many are being discovered because of the Covid19 Pandemic.

 

South Africa, and Africa, have an opportunity to actually create new African content, that can be accessed virtually. For now, we must celebrate the brilliance of the name META, because it is in every website we own or access. 

 

Sources: Facebook, Visual Capitalist, Birmingham Mail, Global Newswire