By Victor Shalton
Qatar Airways Launches Qverse, Steps into Metaverse Realm
The Metaverse — an immersive world combining virtual reality and augmented reality — is where users are represented by avatars and roam virtual spaces. The virtual spaces are being built as an alternative digital world where consumers can interact and even own digital products.
The internet opened up a vast new world of opportunity, and creators and companies are hoping the Metaverse can do the same thing. The national carrier of the State of Qatar is the first global airline to introduce a MetaHuman cabin crew offering a digital interactive customer experience.
The airline recently entered the Metaverse through the launch of QVerse — a novel virtual reality experience for visitors to the airline’s website.
The website can now virtually tour and navigate the Premium Check-in area at Doha, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, the cabin interior of the airline’s aircraft, including the carrier’s Business Class Qsuite and the Economy Class cabin, using their personal electronic devices.
In a statement to the press, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker said, “With physical boundaries beginning to be challenged by the metaverse on an increasingly larger scale, it is exciting to embrace a technology that enables all travel enthusiasts to enjoy a uniquely immersive experience of our award-winning products and services.”
“Our status as the first airline to introduce a MetaHuman cabin crew is a testament to our unwavering desire to innovate and delight our customers. We are constantly looking forward to adopting and introducing novel technologies that enhance our passengers’ complete journey,” Al Baker added.
It is no secret the coronavirus pandemic decimated the airline industry, and airlines alike needed an infusion of funds or a bailout just to survive.
The industry — faced with an existential crisis — needed to reinvent itself since more people had turned to virtual meetings and weren’t flying as much anymore. Perhaps, this could explain why we’ve seen such a sudden flux of investment into the Metaverse industry.
Emirates also plans to invest about $10 million to build its signature brand experience in the Metaverse. Meanwhile, other major competing carriers like Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Qantas are also trying to get a piece of the Metaverse. Some airlines are even exploring special edition NFTs.
A JP Morgan white paper stated that opportunities in the Metaverse seem “limitless.” The bank predicted that virtual worlds will “infiltrate every sector in some ways in the coming years.”
A report by Citi concluded that the Metaverse has the potential to become a $13 trillion opportunity by 2030, with total global users of between one and five billion.
The Metaverse is opening up a whole new digital economy. However, the question of whether travelers will be enticed with the Metaverse still lingers.