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METAVERSE - The Next Tech Revolution

Sometimes complex terms thrown around by the tech industry can make you feel like you’re reading another language. We don’t want that to happen. So we keep trying to break down tech jargon to truly understand what innovation is all about.

Today the tech concept that we are going to demystify is METAVERSE.

A lot of people argue that the internet is one of the greatest inventions ever. You have all the knowledge in the world at your fingertips that it still has a very small drawback. It is not very interactive. Imagine if instead of seeing in the computer screen you could actually enter into it and perceive it as your environment. And this brings in the concept of Metaverse. Coined by Neal Stephenson in 1992 in his scientific fiction novel ‘Snow Crash’ the Metaverse refers to a collection of virtual reality rooms which are connected to a perceived virtual universe. Stephenson used the term to describe a virtual reality- based successor to the internet. 

 

The word Metaverse has its origin from a prefix ‘meta’ which means beyond and the term (uni)verse. The term is typically used to describe the concept of the future iteration of the internet made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe. The metaverse in a broader sense may not only refer to virtual worlds, but the internet as a whole including the entire spectrum of augmented reality. Think of it as an internet that is inside of rather than one you are looking at. This digital line wouldn't be limited to devices. Avatars could walk around in cyber spaces similar to how people maneuver in the physical world allowing users to interact with people on the other side of the planet as if in the same room with them. 

 

Several tech giants are chasing down the metaverse.On 29th October 2021 at Facebook Connect, Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new company  name, Meta, plus new Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies the company is developing for the future. Vishal Shah, Vice President, Metaverse at Meta, says everyone there genuinely believes Metaverse is the successor to the mobile internet. “Not a new internet,  not a new set of protocols, not an entirely new foundation, but a new way to experience the internet”. That version of the internet, Shah explains, could be best experienced VR or AR, on a phone or on a computer, as long as you are embodied and present in the experience.  

 

Microsoft Mesh for Teams, which will come out mid-next year, will let you replace your video presence with an avatar, create virtual rooms, and implement 3D spaces in Teams. Imagine a trade show, learning conference, or onboarding experience in 3D, all based on Teams.

 

Metaverse is a broader context for bringing people together. Metaverse will be persistent, synchronous, and live. Everyone can be a part of the Metaverse and can participate in specific events/place/activity together, at the same time and with individual agency. 

 

Privacy and safety need to be built into the metaverse from day one. You’ll get to decide when you want to be with other people, when you want to block someone from appearing in your space or when you want to take a break and teleport to a private bubble to be alone. You’re going to be able to bring things from the physical world into the metaverse. Almost any type of media that can be represented digitally, photos, videos, art, music, movies, books, games…you name it. A lot of things that are physical today like screens will just be able to be holograms in the future. You won’t need a physical TV. It will be a one dollar hologram from some high school kid halfway across the world and you’ll be able to take your items and project them into the physical world as holograms in AR too.

 

The Metaverse will require many new technologies, protocols, innovations, and discoveries to create. It won’t come into existence all of a sudden, instead, it will slowly emerge over time as different products, services,  and technologies integrate together. The internet that we experience today is working on a set of standards and protocols for visual presentation, file loading, communication and all. Metaverse requires even broader, more complex standards and protocols to operate. 

 

Bill Gates writes in his recent blog post, “within the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grid to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars”.

 

No matter whether creating the metaverse will take one or many decades, it's clear that immersive hardware will play a major role in making it popular. That's why the horse race between Meta, Apple, Snap, Microsoft and others to create AR glasses is so important. Whoever wins it may not automatically win the metaverse as well, but will definitely have a massive home team advantage.

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