Metaverse. A word that first made its appearance in science fiction is now a reality. No longer a buzzword talked about in hi-tech circles, Metaverse is finally here. Though still in its infantile stage, it promises the disruption that everyone talks about.
While many companies are spending big bucks into creating 3D worlds, some are still skeptical. Is it really worth the hype?
What is Metaverse?
Metaverse can be thought of as a collection of virtual 3D worlds that can be explored by your virtual avatar in a classic real-world and virtual-world combination for the ultimate virtual reality experience. In a metaverse, you can virtually meet friends for lunch, have brainstorming sessions with your team, shop for a new outfit, play games with family, and pretty much do everything you can in the real world.
Metaverse is persistent. That means the virtual world does not cease to exist once you log off. It also supports active collaboration. So, people in the 3D world can see and experience the same things. And Gartner’s vision for metaverse is to make these worlds interoperable with each other.
The pace at which things pan out for metaverse needs to be seen. But we are already moving towards a world where metaverse will become the norm.
Is Metaverse Worth the Hype?
Metaverse is every bit worth the hype. And not just because Facebook decided to pivot to Meta. But despite the reservations of some, there are strong indications that businesses are taking metaverse seriously. Here is why metaverse is worth the hype.
Metaverse will redefine work and collaboration
The pandemic was a major driver for the remote working movement normalizing it across several major industries. We all got used to getting on Zoom calls for work and sharing spreadsheets over OneDrive to bring in virtual collaboration. The fact that businesses thrived and even scaled through the pandemic is proof enough that we are now ready for virtual workplaces. Metaverse has the potential to revamp virtual workplaces and bring in tremendous potential for improved productivity in virtual teams.
Metaverse will change the face of education
We all saw our kids being shoved into the world of online video conferences to get school education. But almost everyone complained about the children missing out on interaction with their classmates and teachers. Metaverse has the potential to change this by making interactive learning possible. The possibilities in education and learning that can be realized are interesting and endless.
Metaverse will open up new investment opportunities
Meta (former Facebook) is not the only one with investments in the metaverse. Other tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, Shopify are just a few names that believe in metaverse enough to allocate big budgets for it.
But the investment opportunities are not just limited to the big tech players. With metaverse poised to revolutionize gaming, e-commerce, real estate, and social media, investment opportunities will open up for all kinds of big, small, and large businesses. This calls for rigorous development of software, content, VR headsets, all to support building metaverses. New business models extending digital business will give rise to newer investment opportunities.
The Imminent Rise of Metaverse
If Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s word is anything to go by, the metaverse is going to be as widespread as smartphones. Even Gartner predicts that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least an hour daily in the metaverse environment.
The concept of Digital Twins, which too has been on the radar for tech enthusiasts also points to the imminent rise of the metaverse. Microsoft’s Mesh is a step towards the metaverse – a place where digital twins of people and things would exist.
Expecting instant gratification is something all of us have come to expect as part of our digital experiences. What started with instant messaging has now given rise to an industry driven by ‘always on’ servitization. People want everything instantly – but they don’t necessarily want the product, they are happy with just the service.
Netflix, Spotify, Uber are all examples of servitization with people going for the service without wanting to buy the product. Take the example of Rolls Royce leasing engines to commercial airlines. Mind you, lease, not sell. The airlines pay for the service – the engine running hours and the maintenance of the engines.
Digital twins come to aid to make the ‘always on’ servitization a success. They can help predict issues before they occur and develop ways to prevent issues. Digital twins can help to fix issues before the service gets interrupted.
And it’s an easy guess as to where digital twins are leading us. Apart from just being a platform for meetings or hi-tech gaming, metaverse has the potential to utilize digital twins to solve real world major problems. From healthcare to technology, metaverse with digital twins can make a huge difference. Think about major illnesses being averted by preventive medicine. Think about technological outages prevented with timely actions.
Technologies to Look Out For to Support Metaverse
It is clear now that metaverse is going to be our reality, never mind the irony in the words. To brace ourselves for the impact that this disruptive technology will bring, it helps to know the technologies that support metaverse. Here are the top 5.
AR and VR
Augmented reality and virtual reality are among the first things that come to mind at the mention of the metaverse. Investments in AR and VR equipment are already on the rise. The use of these technologies in gaming has already given us a sneak peek into what the metaverse can be. Of course, the technologies need to mature further for the full metaverse experience. But the increased interest in these technologies seems promising.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things which started garnering significant attention over a decade ago is touted as the flag-bearer for all ‘smart’ technologies. In the metaverse, IoT would play an important role in collecting and supplying data from the physical world into the virtual world. For real-time simulation such as weather conditions, IoT would be the go-to choice by connecting physical devices that monitor the weather and connect this data in real-time with the metaverse.
The discussion about the metaverse would be incomplete without Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. We see AI and ML play an important role in technologies such as chatbots or in games where the non-player characters (NPCs) react and respond to the gamer’s moves. When metaverses are built, AI and ML will facilitate an experience where you can interact and converse with NPCs in a metaverse for a real-life simulation.
When you are at a virtual art gallery looking for a painting to adorn the walls of your swanky virtual duplex, how do you pay for the painting? You pay using cryptocurrency! Cryptocurrency will play a major role in the metaverse by becoming the medium of exchange. Decentraland, Sandbox, and Axie Infinity are the top three metaverse cryptocurrencies right now.
Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs)
Non-fungible tokens are used to represent digital assets. In the metaverse, NFTs can be used to define ownership of virtual assets such as an office space in a metaverse. NFTs can play a vital role in the metaverse economy by even making way for content licensing. They can be transformed into 3-D avatars in the metaverse by their owners. NFTs can also be traded and customized in the metaverse opening up a world of possibilities.
3-D reconstruction rose to prominence with the pandemic slowing down offline businesses. Automobile dealers and real estate companies used the technology to show customers exactly what they are getting, all from the comfort of their homes. Modern 3-D reconstruction can help to create spaces that look very much like the real world thereby enhancing the metaverse experience.
The path to bringing metaverse to mainstream technology is not one without challenges. With issues such as data privacy, cybersecurity, identity theft, etc., it is a technology that needs considerable thought before execution.
However, it also opens up opportunities for tech companies to develop secure software solutions that can be used in the metaverse. Continuous monitoring and maintenance to ensure a positive user experience will become an offering in demand. Despite the challenges, we are moving towards a world of metaverses. If anything, this will increase the already high demand for technical capabilities.
At TaAp Exchange, we are passionate about emerging tech. Top technology advisors provide consultation on building cutting-edge solutions for the metaverse. Also, from our pre-vetted highly skilled talent pool, clients get access to the best-matched talent to develop advanced software and applications suitable for the metaverse.
Get in touch with experts at TaAp Exchange to make an early entry into the world of metaverses.