Navigating the Metaverse: a new EIT Digital Summer School

An EIT Digital summer course enables learners to dive into the opportunities available in the Metaverse, the virtual universe of places and things.

Along with gaining understanding of NFTs, virtual real estate and similar concepts, students will learn to make businesses around these ideas in the new course: "Metaverse and Digital Asset Management," a week-long programme being delivered in Madrid during 25-30 June.  The team of academics, researchers and industry professionals delivering the course includes Prof. Ziba Habibi, an associate professor of Finance & FinTech at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, who identifies a lot of potential in the Metaverse.

"The Metaverse is a growth area. We are already seeing significant investment in this space, with major tech companies like Facebook and Tencent dedicating resources to developing their Metaverse platforms," says Prof. Habibi. "As more people adopt virtual and augmented reality technologies and become comfortable interacting with digital environments, the Metaverse will become an increasingly important part of our digital lives."

Prof. Habibi delivered a Summer School course for EIT Digital in FinTech last year. She says her FinTech expertise translates naturally into the Metaverse.

"FinTech is all about using technology to disrupt and improve traditional financial systems," she explains. "The Metaverse and NFTs are part of a new digital economy that is rapidly growing and disrupting conventional ways of creating and exchanging value."

The two fields also share a similarity in their reliance on blockchain technology. "Blockchain is the underlying technology that enables cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and other digital assets to be created, stored and exchanged securely and transparently," Prof. Habibi says.

Doing business in the Metaverse

As Prof. Habibi explains, the virtual world of the Metaverse opens up a host of new business opportunities. Students will investigate potential businesses in areas such as:

  • Virtual Real Estate: "Companies like Decentraland and The Sandbox are creating virtual worlds where users can buy and sell virtual land and create their own experiences for other users," she says. Owners can monetize their virtual real estate by: building virtual structures that others use; hosting virtual events; and leasing the land out as a background for an online game developer or any other use.
  • Virtual Fashion: "Digital fashion brands like The Fabricant and Carlings are creating clothing designs that exist only in the digital realm," Prof. Habibi says. The virtual fashion items can be sold as NFTs and used in virtual fashion shows or on social media."
  • Gaming: "The gaming industry has already embraced virtual reality and is now starting to experiment with NFTs. Companies like Ubisoft are exploring how NFTs can be used to create unique in-game items that can be bought and sold on blockchain marketplaces," according to Prof. Habibi.
  • Art: With NFTs selling for millions, companies like Super Rare and Nifty Gateway are moving into the digital art marketplace.
  • Advertising: "Brands can create virtual experiences and product placements within virtual worlds, providing a new way to connect with consumers," Prof. Habibi says.
  • Psychology: Virtual reality and the Metaverse enable immersive therapy and treatment programmes with the potential to revolutionize the field of psychology by enhancing therapy and making it more widely available.
  • FinTech: "The Metaverse and NFTs are already being used in finance, creating virtual assets and marketplaces for buying and selling digital goods," Prof. Habibi says. "As these technologies evolve, we can expect to see even more.

What students will learn

"The training programme strongly emphasizes developing entrepreneurial skills among the participants," according to Prof. Habibi. "Participants will be encouraged to apply the skills and knowledge gained in the programme to create their entrepreneurial ventures or to join startups."

The entrepreneurial aspect of all EIT Digital training is what sets these programmes apart. In the case of the Metaverse programme, it will involve participants in workshops focused on developing business plans, pitching and networking.

Meanwhile, skill-based training will focus on the particulars of the Metaverse and related fields such as:

  • UX: Immersing users in a realistic virtual world requires expertise in user experience (UX).
  • Computer science: "The Metaverse is driving advances in computer graphics, network infrastructure, and other vital technologies," Prof. Habibi says. "This has the potential to impact the entire computer science and technology field."
  • Cybersecurity: As with any new technology, security and privacy of users' data is important to companies operating in the Metaverse.

Students taking the summer programme will engage in "lectures, case studies and interactions with mentors" to develop skills in these areas and learn about speciality Metaverse companies, Web3 and the open economy, according to Prof. Habibi.

"Moreover, they will have the opportunity to meet with successful entrepreneurs and investors during the programme, providing them with valuable insights and potential networking opportunities," she says.

Find out more and register for the class here.

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