The professional services firm, Ernst & Young (EY), is a rapidly growing corporation with a presence in almost every major city in the world. Jeff Wong, their Global Chief Innovation Officer has been with them for seven years, being the driving force for all innovation at EY. With experience working in venture capital, tech growth, equity investing and business incubation at eBay, Jeff Wong is certainly the guy to promote the onset of metaverse and Web 3.0 concepts for EY.
“Let’s put it this way, my job here is to invent new things, whether that’s new services or new products that we want to be in, or whether it’s looking at our traditional products and services that we’ve been in for a while, in new ways”
With an innovation network, Jeff Wong can see what is happening at the base level with their clients, what they are investing in, and how they are thinking about the world in interesting ways. Thus, why EY is heavily investing in metaverse and Web 3.0 concepts. With the growing popularity and mainstream adoption of these concepts, it is no surprise that EY are positioning themselves as such.
As a result, Jeff Wong owns the Advanced Technology Labs – with three different branches comprising an artificial intelligence (AI) blockchain lab, a metaverse / Web 3.0 lab, and a quantum computing lab. As both the blockchain and metaverse labs are complimentary, we asked Jeff Wong to address how they differentiate:
“Our blockchain team focuses on the enterprise usage of blockchain. So, if we think about supply chains, coming online and coming onto blockchains, coming on to public systems and being able to verify those things, we have some private blockchains for people. If you think about the software, or the technologies needed to be associated with that, from onboarding from ERP systems onto public blockchains, and then offboarding, again, we do those types of investments.”
“The metaverse / Web 3.0 is an evolution of that, right? So, from a Web 3.0 perspective, everything I just described, it’s an underpinning for what Web 3.0 needs to be. And insofar as web three interacts with the metaverse, those teams start to be heavily involved with each other in terms of thinking through.”
With EY having large entertainment clients that are wanting to build diverse worlds, they are thinking beyond just a control system – also thinking about the Web 3.0 aspects. This makes it evident to see why expertise crossover from blockchain to Web 3.0 and metaverse is imperative.
As EY has a clear focus on the blockchain, the Metaverse Insider asked Jeff Wong if EY believes the blockchain to be a fundamental part of the future of the metaverse; there is a great deal of discourse concerning the actual importance of blockchain technology in the metaverse:
“We’re playing both sides of that argument. A lot of the traction that you see right now is more metaverse than metaverse that interacts with the currency, blockchain, etc. So, we are open to servicing that part of the equation. What we do see too, though, is the possibility and potential for this broadening out of some of those concepts using blockchain-based concepts.”
With cryptocurrency valuation still being high even after its recent crash, this presents an interesting market for EY to be a part of. Therefore, if this translation happens from a traditional metaverse to a more blockchain-orientated metaverse, they will be well positioned for both.
Epic has created games like Fortnite with their own 3D virtual worlds and ecosystems – effectively creating their own metaverse. With the younger generations being invested in these ecosystems, it will be interesting to see how this impacts the metaverse moving into the future.
With this movement, there will be associated risks for these younger generations – thus, prompting the question of how to mitigate these risks. With a general consensus that the metaverse will not entail full immersion, there is also the notion that it could be to some degree. We asked Jeff Wong about EYs standing on this topic:
“We see a lot of positivity in terms of the evolution of the metaverse to be immersive, to be more responsive. We’re seeing it as a different way to interact with each other, which is additive to the ways we currently have. It’s an additional way for us to interact, that allows us to communicate and brainstorm and interact in a way that is different from what used to be. You can represent yourself in a way that might be a little harder to do in a non-metaverse environment with your avatar.”
“From the risks or challenges perspective, I think we’re always trying to be thoughtful of the mental health perspective of the immersion; there’s still something positive about being able to physically be in the same room. We want to make sure that if there are negative consequences, that we’re very sensitive to that.”
The metaverse has the potential of being able to connect people from around the world in a much more immersive manner than we currently experience today. The possibilities of creating online communities are already great, yet will become greater with the different generations as they participate in more metaverse experiences.
Understanding all the different elements which drive metaverse and blockchain adoption is a crucial aspect of innovative development. Jeff Wong has great insight into how certain elements will impact the industry – understanding the importance of investing in research and execution delivery building:
“Our way of understanding this space is by being involved. And I think that is one of the important messages for any company that wants to be a part of this universe. It’s part of their future.”
Jeff Wong highlights the importance of being involved in the industry to truly understand it; crunching numbers and research have a role, yet involvement and participation in these new worlds are crucial for a deeper understanding. This is evident in the younger generations already investing in cryptocurrency and NFTs; it is safe to say they are more interested in involvement than research.
“Getting your hands dirty” is definitely the take-home message from our interview with EYs Jeff Wong; people learn most when they are authentically involved. EY has one of the leading blockchain innovation teams in the world – with investments in all the pockets of the industry. They are leaders in the space and certain to play a major role in the mainstream adoption of the metaverse.
Keep up with the latest metaverse news here!