Metaverse has been a topic of discussion and debate ever since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta.
Metaverse Group, a metaverse real estate company based in NFT, purchased land on the Decentraland platform for USD 2.43 million in recent days. This marks the highest spending on the virtual property so far.
Metaverse has suddenly gained traction despite being around for nearly three decades.
The answer to “What is the metaverse?” is not simple. Metaverses don’t exist yet, and no one knows what they will be like in the future.
What is the metaverse, anyway?
This concept combines virtual reality with digital second life, two concepts that have been around for many years.
Technologists have fantasized about an era in which virtual lives play as important a role as physical ones for decades. Theoretically, we would spend lots of time in virtual spaces interacting with friends and colleagues. Consequently, we would also spend money on items and outfits for our digital avatars.
A virtual reality platform is a means for living a virtual second life in what technologists like Mr. Zuckerberg calls the metaverse. A virtual reality headset immerses you in a three-dimensional environment. You use a microphone to communicate with others and motion-sensing controllers to interact with virtual objects.
Where did the concept come from?
Metaverse is not an entirely new concept. It was first proposed about three decades ago. The Metaverse is described in Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crush. As technology has evolved over the next thirty years, it has gradually become a reality.
Metaverse has not been created by Facebook for the first time. The concept was first introduced by startup Decentraland in 2017. Its website offers users a chance to explore a virtual world with its own currency and economy.
Metaverse allows users to access any virtual world. For example, you may notice a showroom during a virtual tour. The order you place there will reach your address after you place it virtually.
Trials of Metaverse are currently underway. It is expected that the technology will reach common consumers soon, and it will be a major step forward in the digital world.
Why is there hype around Metaverse?
The Metaverse is generating much excitement, with many technology companies calling themselves Metaverse companies, building Metaverses that enhance and augment the virtual and physical realities of people. A single Metaverse will eventually combine activities currently conducted in siloed environments, such as:
• Accessorizing online avatars with outfits and accessories
• Constructing virtual homes and purchasing digital land
• Engaging in a virtual social experience
• Using immersive commerce to shop in virtual malls
• Experience immersive learning with virtual classrooms
• The purchase of digital art, collectibles, and assets (NFTs)
• Using digital humans to onboard employees, provide customer service, make sales and other transactions
• Organizers can extend digital business through persistent, decentralized, collaborative, and interoperable Metaverse opportunities and business models.
What are the business opportunities of a Metaverse?
There are many different Metaverse products and use cases available today. Among them are:
The experience of learning in higher education, medical fields, and the military can be more immersive. Metaverse will provide the framework, so they don’t have to create their own infrastructure.
In the last two years, virtual events have gained popularity and now offer more integrated offerings.
As retail expands its reach to offer immersive shopping experiences, more complex products will be available.
Using virtually augmented workspaces, companies can increase employee engagement, collaboration, and connection.
Users can interact through three-dimensional avatars in the Metaverse, where social media can move.
We recommend avoiding heavy investments in specific Metaverse technologies while adoption is still nascent and fragmented. It is too early to determine which investments will yield returns over the long term, so we should focus instead on learning, exploring, and preparing for a Metaverse without overdoing implementation.
Leaders of technology innovation should follow these recommendations
• Develop strategies to leverage the built-in infrastructure and participants of the Metaverse for digital business.
• Manage new business models and opportunities with the Metaverse through idea and innovation management.
• Identify the unique technology risks, privacy implications, and security issues in this new decentralized and persistent environment.
• The emerging technology wheel summarizes the outcomes, opportunities, and obstacles of the Metaverse.
What is the difference between the internet and the metaverse?
There are billions of computers on the Internet, as well as millions of servers and other electronic devices. When users are online, they can access websites, see and interact with them, and buy and sell products and services.
It builds on the internet, rather than competing with it. Metaverse users move through a virtual world based on technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, social media, and digital currency. People browse the internet, but people can also “live” on it to an extent.
In the metaverse, even governments may have a presence. While most countries do not have much of a presence on the internet, Barbados plans on opening a diplomatic embassy in the virtual community of Decentraland.
Through the development of the internet, a variety of services have been created that are leading to the creation of the metaverse.
Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, says games such as Roblox, Minecraft, and Zoom foreshadow what the metaverse will be like. He adds that social media has already become a part of the metaverse.
He now argues that the metaverse will take whatever form it ultimately takes. For example, will it be open like the internet? Is it going to be a gated experience controlled by a few big companies?
Here is a list of companies with their own visions of the metaverse.
Zuckerberg’s metaverse investment was part of a new vision for Facebook aimed at bringing the metaverse to life, according to the CEO of the social media giant in an open letter.
According to him, Facebook is not a Facebook-first company, but rather a metaverse-first company. In the future, users will no longer need a Facebook account to access other services in the metaverse. The Oculus VR headsets for navigating the metaverse have been sold in millions of units, among other non-Facebook products.
Meta was announced in December 2021 when Zuckerberg said Facebook would develop the fundamental technologies needed to “bring the metaverse to life.” In response to the Meta news, Facebook launched Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality space user could freely navigate as an avatar, and tools that would let developers create additional virtual worlds.
As a result of a $1 billion funding round in 2021, Epic Games will stake a claim in the metaverse with the popular online shooter game series Fortnite, which has 350 million users. Sony Group Corporation contributed $200 million to the round.
The metaverse vision of Epic Games differs from Facebook’s in that it is intended to foster user and brand interaction without a news feed cluttered with advertisements.
“This aligns with our purpose to create a world filled with emotion through the power of creativity,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony Group’s chairman, president, and CEO in a statement.
As Microsoft Teams competes with Zoom for online meetings, the metaverse is coming. According to Microsoft, Mesh for Microsoft Teams will be released in 2022. During virtual meetings, Team members located in different locations can collaborate and share holographic experiences.
In Mesh, Microsoft said users can create an avatar of themselves to establish a virtual presence on any device. Microsoft earlier announced Mesh for Microsoft, a platform for developers that offers a collection of AI-powered tools to create avatars, run sessions, render spatially, synchronize data with multiple users, and use holoportation. Holoportation uses 3D scanning technology to transmit high-resolution 3D models of people in real-time.
As part of its Mesh-enabled immersive spaces project, Microsoft has already been working with the professional services firm Accenture. Every year, Accenture hires over 100,000 employees using Mesh to help them onboard.
One Accenture Park, the shared virtual space that is part of the onboarding process, is where new hires receive instructions on creating their own digital avatar. New hires use digital monorails to travel from exhibit to exhibit in an amusement park-like environment, which features an open-plan conference area, a virtual boardroom, and a virtual boardroom.
What’s the future of the metaverse?
As the internet becomes more popular and more real, the metaverse will do the same. Time will tell if the metaverse will live up to its name.
The founder of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, was asked by CNN what he thought of the future of the metaverse. He responded, “I think it will take a decade or two but we are getting there.”
Nevertheless, Sweeney said, “There is no one company that will create the metaverse.”. “Millions of developers will each create a piece of it.”.
That means, in other words, that the metaverse is still being built brick by brick and everyone has a hand in it.
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