This Week in Small Business Tech: Is the Metaverse Failing?

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Here are five tech things that happened this week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

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1 – The Metaverse quickly turns into the Meh-taverse

Developments in the Metaverse have apparently stalled walt disney co recently disbanded its Metaverse division Wall Street Journal reported. Described as a deeply immersive and hyper-realistic 3D experience of the internet – the Metaverse has been the center of conversation and interest for the past few years. Mark Zuckerberg made headlines in 2021 when he bought Meta Platforms Inc. announced – the official name of Facebook. But those with a vested interest have yet to see robust expansion of the Metaverse for reasons like cost and user engagement. Virtual technologies such as Decentralized have experienced a 90 percent price drop for virtual real estate log noted. Many business leaders — such as David Limp, Senior VP of Devices at Amazon — are choosing to dedicate their resources to artificial intelligence. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Why this is important for your business:

What happened to the Metaverse? Lots of hype, but no significant demand. To me, there’s a simple reason why: hardware. Accessing the Metaverse now is like going to any other website, unless you have a virtual reality headset that is expensive, clunky, difficult to use and makes you look like a visitor from outer space. The Metaverse will explode one day when your everyday glasses (or contacts) can take you there with a simple command. The micro-processing power required for this is significant. But it will happen. And if so, the Metaverse will no longer be called the Meh-taverse.

2 – Apple’s BNPL product goes live and more fintech services are on the way

Apple’s buy now, pay later service has been activated for public use. BNPL is available for online and in-app purchases through Apple Wallet and Apple ID. As part of the launch, Apple will invite a random selection of customers to use BNPL. In terms of dollar amount – it has been reported that the range will be between $50 and $1000, with purchases spread over “at least six weeks”. In addition, users will not be hit with interest charges. Vice President of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet – Jennifer Bailey – said she expects this to be a driving factor for customer appeal. Apple Wallet is a clear sign of the company’s trajectory as its fintech expansion also includes digital banking and lending options. (Source: Crowdfund insider)

Why this is important for your business:

Buy now, pay later services have become popular in recent years as consumers – especially younger consumers – are attracted to platforms that can give them short-term credit instead of paying credit card interest. When applied properly, it can help small sellers sell. With Apple in the game, we will see this type of financing become even more popular.

3 – Zoom adds new features to compete with Slack, Calendly, Google and Microsoft

Zoom builds on its services as a video conferencing platform. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Advanced email and scheduling tools and AI-assisted meeting summaries have been added to the features, according to the TechCrunch report. Zoom IQ Assistant – an AI-powered tool – guides users if they have questions about a meeting or provides chat summaries. The company has also expanded Zoom IQ into other areas, such as sales calls.

4 – FTC warns of a ‘terrifying’ phone scam powered by AI

As if the rampant increase in online scams wasn’t irritating enough, the Federal Trade Commission has sounded the alarm on its latest device to scam the ignorant. Artificial intelligence is being used to clone family members’ voices and place them in phone calls to make it seem like a loved one needs money. What is known as text-to-speech technology – the FTC has reported on the mechanics of voice cloning and how it can be used both usefully and maliciously. They reported that by 2022, “scammer scams” resulted in more than $11 million in theft. Using just a snippet of someone’s voice, these imposters can extend the clip to create what appears to be an authentic phone call. (Source: Newer)

Why this is important for your business:

Simple solution: call the person back before handing over money. If you are a business owner, your finance people should be particularly aware of this scam – powered by deepfake technology – which can become a major loss for you. Make sure you have internal controls over your payouts that require multiple written approvals.

5 – JP Morgan will test an in-store biometric payment system with US merchants

Global financial firm JP Morgan will launch a biometric payment system where customers can transact with their palm or face. The pilot program will launch in a few physical locations with wider expansion next year. [The program] must enable fast, secure and simple checkout experiences for its merchants’ customers, as well as provide a modern payment experience to increase customer loyalty,” the company said. (Source: NFCW.Expo)

Why this is important for your business:

Biometrics is quickly becoming an important part of security and I expect our use of passwords will eventually disappear. Systems that can read fingerprints, eyes or faces will be the main way we access data and buildings in the not too distant future. There are plenty of good technologies that already do this that you may want to evaluate.