With Web3 becoming more prominent daily, sentiments, excitement, and opportunities for developing and applying Web3 technologies continue to push forward, especially in Asia-Pacific. According to the 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey (GTTS), over three-quarters of Asia-Pacific IT decision-makers expect Web3 to replace Web2 within the next five years, and over two-thirds of IT professionals have indicated their business has a Web3 strategy in place. Interestingly, Asia-Pacific IT leaders were significantly more likely to say this is the case than other global leaders, perhaps reflecting Asia-Pacific’s growing digital appetite.
In our previous article, we touched on the fundamentals of Web3 and its potential to revolutionize how we handle data. But how can day-to-day organizations better visualize the application of this technology? And are there any practical use cases to show leaders its full potential when it comes to business transformation? This time, we take a more detailed look into Web3’s impact across key industries—in hopes of providing a little inspiration for digital leaders and preparing businesses on how they can reimagine the way technology is executed in future strategies.
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Banking and Finance
Perhaps the industry with the most action regarding Web3 technology is banking and finance, especially with the rapid increase of FinTech companies. As we continue to move toward a cashless society, coupled with the exponential rise of digital banking and several forms of digital payments, Web3 only continues to add to this conversation by forging new opportunities and forms of operations in the financial world. This is partly because Web3 is supposed to offer more open, decentralized database and compute layers on the blockchain than siloed services or cloud instances, which translates to increased transparency in transactions, less fraud, and improved other essential financial functions, such as identity verification.
For finance and banking organizations, this will mean going beyond purely creating and offering digital options to solve the rapidly changing landscape. As the Web3 concept is built on a notion of removing centralized intermediaries and middlemen, banks and financial organizations need to work harder to ensure their value in this new era. This includes considering a wealth of changes to ensure that their clients have the ability to make their desired transactions, both traditional and digital, seamless, immediately and interchangeably.
Large established organizations are already exploring the opportunities available. For example, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently announced a partnership with the financial services industry in Singapore to explore the economic potential and value-adding cases of asset tokenization through Project Guardian. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index launched the Hang Seng China Metaverse Index to help investors track performance and capture potential opportunities from Web3 related organizations. Both these examples point to a larger trend in Asia-Pacific, cemented by established institutions, that Web3 technologies will only continue to become the norm, and financial organizations who want to continue seeing success must adapt to the demand.
As technology advances, it’s becoming even easier for consumers to find what they are looking for and complete transactions swiftly. A case in point is the rise of e-commerce. This will only be elevated as Web3 harnesses more innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), voice assistants, and AR/VR experiences.
For retailers, Web3 presents an opportunity to add a new layer of depth to the customer experience. They can evaluate each touchpoint and create more user-centric, agile interactions to deliver future-forward experiences. Many are already playing with these concepts, especially in the metaverse, creating virtual garments and accessories for avatars or even hosting 3D product shows. However, Web3 technologies in retail can also go beyond this, and include upgrading online transactions. It promises more transparent and secure transactions online through decentralized blockchains. Theoretically, buying something online would require users not to give up any sensitive information. Thus, Web3 pioneers believe that these faster and more secure transaction processes will mean more individuals shop online, especially in a market already accelerated by the pandemic.
However, one of the challenges raised by e-commerce is the ability to track and store consumer data for highly personalized experiences. Decentralization of the internet means that people will own their own data and ultimately, the power will shift from the brands and business owners to consumers. Retailers will have to adapt and work harder to re-capture their customers and pivot from purely data-based information to deliver their products. So, seamless, innovative, and integrated experiences will become key differentiators. The overall impact of Web3 on retailers, especially in the e-commerce field, will be positive. But there are a few considerations that retailers in this space need to consider as their success hinges on it and investing in the right digital infrastructure to make this transition in the future easier is one.
As a more traditional, information-sensitive industry, healthcare has largely been apprehensive about the digital revolution. Success in Web2 focused on connecting doctors and patients and relaying information between hospitals and providers across continents. However, many argue that this web version created information siloes, and data ownership continues to be centralized in healthcare institutions, leading to the rise of monetized health platforms. Web3 aims to address these healthcare challenges through improved electronic health records on the blockchain.
Electronic health records aren’t a new concept. However, Web3 aims to transform them from centralized and siloed software to patient-owned and established records. This makes the information more reliable and verifiable across the distributable ledgers, which can help others, such as insurance firms, to verify information more quickly and operate more efficiently. Patients and individuals also seem to be more receptive to this version of data management, as the trust of personal and sensitive information has often been broken. Web3 provides healthcare organizations with the opportunity to improve it.
Furthermore, Web3 promises to tackle one of healthcare’s most significant issues: the wasted time spent on administration and information flow between doctors, departments, hospitals and other bodies. Historically, this challenge has amounted to an incredible amount of resources used inefficiently and is especially challenging in countries where healthcare availability is limited. Having this information more accessible with Web3 will help information store and flow better, thus also improving patient experiences. In short, Web3 is a large step for healthcare, but one that will receive an even larger welcome. It has the potential to improve how institutions in this space deliver, experience, and even pay for healthcare solutions for more optimal health outcomes.
Many individuals see the logistics industry stands to benefit largely from Web3 technologies, especially concerning improved efficiency and operations. Today, trades rely on communication across highly fragmented and disparate parties to coordinate with each other. Often, this creates delays due to inconsistent, incomplete, or inaccurate information communicated. The logistics industry also suffers from a similar problem in healthcare, the manual paperwork required to finance, insure, prove ownership, and transport goods. The administration efforts, especially across organizations, ports and support infrastructure, to facilitate the flow of goods are astonishing.
Web3 offers to solve this problem through decentralized and verified information flow, building trusted protocols and information structures that can be shared in a standardized and transparent manner. This allows for information to flow more freely and accurately while enabling logistics organizations to hold ownership of that data if they choose to share it. Fundamentally, Web3 aims to support logistics to move away from the data-hogging practices we see much of in Web2, where whoever holds onto their data closely wins. Instead, we will see collaboration as a key ingredient for success. Theoretically, its applications will also help reduce other challenges in the industry, such as fraud, returns, and theft, since executing online transactions and interactions are immutable over the blockchain. As with most other industries, for logistics organizations to succeed in this new era, preparation is key. They need to invest in the infrastructure that allows them to pivot and integrate easily into the future.
The road ahead for Web3 and industries
Although Web3 technologies have come a long way, the sector is still relatively in its early stages, and developers are working hard to solve its unique challenges. Currently, regulatory frameworks aren’t designed to cope with a decentralized and open economy. But this does not mean organizations should wait to transform. As we witnessed with Web2, organizations that come out successful need to adapt fast and have the agility and flexibility for change. Thus adopting robust digital infrastructure now can help secure this competitive advantage and help industries become more prepared for what’s next.
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