The Metaverse will be huge for Orlando … eventually

The Metaverse is going to be a significant needle mover for businesses and industries beyond just gaming.

It will open opportunities for revenue that we cannot even imagine yet, just like in the early days of the Internet.

We have already seen huge companies known for innovation – and some that are not, traditionally – jump in with both feet.

Locally, the largest economic organization in Orlando, the Orlando Economic Partnership, has planted a flag in the space, launching an effort it calls “The MetaCenter.”

However, before the Metaverse gets to where so many want it to go, we all will have to be patient.

Already, we are seeing the doubters, contrarians and skeptics jump in, screaming that they know the Metaverse will fail because they have yet to see anything tangible.

Other, more reserved skeptics say it will be oversaturated, and there is some truth to that early on.

But time tends to shake out the fakers quickly in business.

Healthy skepticism is, well, healthy

As a journalist, I respect the heck out of skepticism and think it is healthy, especially in the world of technology.

But some of the complaints I have seen make very little sense.

We are still talking about a technology in its infancy.

To read the complaints, you’d think this next-gen technology has already been around for a decade and still hasn’t amounted to anything.

The Metaverse will be significant but right now, well, it’s just not a thing.

Skeptics love to say that they have little evidence that the Metaverse is working.

Of course they don’t.

They say any sort of working versions are too buggy or basic.

Of course they are.

They say they are not ready for anybody to do anything significant in that world.

I’d argue some retail Metaverse efforts are already drawing revenue but, for the most part, yes, they are not all ready.

Want to know why? Because the general idea of the Metaverse is not yet ready for prime time.

But it will be.

Facebook did it, and that’s OK

Last year, Facebook fast-tracked the average consumer’s awareness, knowledge and understanding of the Metaverse when it renamed itself “Meta.”

However, in doing so, it also opened a whole new can of worms. Those who were not completely versed in the technology immediately said it would fail.

After all, who wants Facebook to run the Metaverse?

Yet their aggressive strategy has also meant more people have become familiar with concepts that just months before were being explored by the tech community almost exclusively.

Locally, the number of companies building AR/VR products is deep.

Red 6 has done some cool things.

Lockheed Martin has long been a leader.

BrandXR is a startup making these kinds of technologies more accessible to the average consumer.

All of those ingredients add up to a potentially thriving industry in Central Florida.

But there must be a constant beating of Orlando’s drum on this and, well, I’m liking what I see so far.

City leaders’ efforts to reimagine Orlando as “The MetaCenter” was a bold stroke.

Almost daily and nearly to a fault, you see city officials along with economic leaders hammering the terminology.

Dozens of accounts on LinkedIn continue to repeat the “UnbelievablyReal” hashtag.

Even more importantly, however, is that this effort is not only coming from the likely suspects.

Veteran entrepreneurs, leaders of long-existing companies and representatives of some high-profile businesses have been banging The MetaCenter drum.

That is, already established business leaders who could easily hang in the backdrop and hire the immense tech talent coming from UCF, Full Sail and so many other educational institutions in Orlando.

So where do we go from here?

Well, nothing says depth in a business economy better than a constant barrage of content and news coming from a diverse set of both businesses and outlets.

Let’s all beat the information drum

The Orlando Business Journal’s tech reporter Alex Soderstrom has done a great job of keeping Orlando tech in the spotlight.

I’ve also seen others, such as The Orlando Life, take a more human-centric approach to the business community.

The list can go on and on.

Orlando Weekly.

Click Orlando.

I’ve also seen many TV outlets do far more frequent coverage of Metaverse and, more specifically, Orlando tech news than they ever have.

That’s even before I relaunch my own efforts at Orlando Tech News, which I hope adds to the positive momentum with a news-centric storytelling approach, using the skills I developed over an 11-year journalism career.

As you can likely tell, I’m excited to see what’s about to happen in Orlando’s tech ecosystem.

I expect to see a ton more references to “The Metaverse.”

But while the skeptics will be there (always), I’m hopeful we can be honest with the fact that this isn’t something that will suddenly appear tomorrow in all of its glory. However, that said, it’s pretty cool to know – yes, KNOW – that Orlando will be front and center when it does materialize.

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