The Metaverse is defined as a spatial computing platform that provides digital experiences as an alternative to or a replica of the real world, along with key civilizational aspects like social interactions, currency, trade, economy, and property ownership â€“ founded on a bedrock of blockchain technology. This article explains the concept in detail, its features, and why it is so important.
The Metaverse is a spatial computing platform that provides digital experiences as an alternative to or a replica of the real world, along with its key civilizational aspects like social interactions, currency, trade, economy, and property ownership â€“ founded on a bedrock of blockchain technology.
Comparing the Metaverse to the internet in the 1970s and 1980s feels appropriate. Speculation about what it would look like and how people would use it arose as the foundation for the new communication form was laid. Although it was widely discussed, few people understood what it meant or how it would operate.
In retrospect, everything did not go precisely as some had hoped. It’s time to define this nebulous and complicated term, though, as the Metaverse is predicted to grow to be an $800 billion market by 2024. Tech titans like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Google are investing heavily in making it a reality.
Metaverse is a mix of 3-dimensional worlds accessed through a browser, a mobile app, or a headset. It would allow people to have real-time interactions and experiences across large distances. A vast ecosystem of online applications will be the outcome.
The Metaverse is currently all the rage in the digital world because of its seemingly endless potential and objectives. Many investors are drawn to the Metaverse since it is at the cutting edge of technological and digital discoveries. It is an environment where the physical and digital worlds can coexist and significantly impact fundamental areas of daily life.
In essence, it is a universe of limitless, interconnected virtual communities where people can socialize, collaborate, and have fun using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps, and other technologies. It will also include additional aspects of online life, such as social media and shopping.
As application scenarios mature, the Metaverse will develop into an exceptionally large-scale, extremely open, and dynamically optimized system. To create a system that can support various virtual reality application scenarios, creators from different fields will work together.
Understanding the seven layers of the Metaverse
Entrepreneur and author, Jon Radoff, has suggested that the Metaverse comprises seven distinct layers, with each layer influencing one aspect of the user experience:
- Experience: Physicality’s limitations will be removed as physical space is dematerialized in the digital world. The Metaverse will provide people with a wide range of experiences we cannot currently enjoy.
- Discovery: Through app shops, search engines, and rating websites, customers can learn about new platforms thanks to this layer. Finding new technology and communities requires this crucial step.
- Creator economy: To produce digital assets or experiences, developers use various design tools and apps. Numerous platforms are developing more straightforward creative methods over time, for example, drag-and-drop tools.
- Spatial computing: It blends mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). Over time, it has developed into a significant technology category that enables users to interact with 3D environments for enhanced experiences.
- Decentralization: There won’t be a single authority that rules the Metaverse. Scalable ecosystems will support business owners in providing a more comprehensive range of specialized digital items as the Metaverse expands, enabled by blockchain technology.Â
- Human interfacing: The hardware layer of the Metaverse must include human interfacing. Any virtual world can accept a person’s body as a 3D, realistic avatar.
- Infrastructure: The technology that powers people’s gadgets, connects them to the network, and distributes content is part of the infrastructure layer. Over time, 5G networks will dramatically enhance the capacity of the Metaverse.
Examples of Metaverse platforms
To understand the meaning of the Metaverse, let us look at the leading platforms bringing this vision to life:
- Decentraland: Decentraland is a blockchain-based virtual social environment. It’s used to build, trade, earn money, and explore virtual worlds. It’s essentially a digital ledger that permanently records bitcoin transactions across a network of computers and serves as the foundation for the universe of Decentraland. It provides exceptional opportunities for both studying and enjoying virtual experiences. Decentraland can be used to conduct meetings and trade in marketplaces for virtual goods, among other things. As in real life, interacting with other members is simple.
- The Sandbox: It is a 3D virtual world hosted on the Ethereum blockchain where people may interact, build things, and make money. Numerous devices, including Windows phones and smartphones, are supported by Sandbox. With new virtual experiences, it provides people with chances for money-making. It is not inexpensive to use, though. To make this possible, SandBox has developed its SAND coin based on Ethereum. One can pay gas expenses on the Ethereum network can be paid with SAND tokens.
- Bloktopia: Bloktopia uses virtual reality to provide users with an immersive experience. It is a 21-story virtual structure representing the 21 million Bitcoins currently in use. With new virtual experiences, it provides a variety of revenue-generating potential. People can design their avatars, participate in numerous activities, learn about cryptocurrencies, and purchase virtual â€œreal estateâ€ in the tower. Using the platform’s builder tool, you can also utilize this real estate to make artwork, games, sequences, and other things.
- Meta Horizon Worlds: Users can socialize, have business meetings, explore the virtual environment, participate in virtual activities, and play games on Horizon Worlds. One of Meta’s VR social apps is Horizon Worlds. In the Horizon universe, blockchain technology is not utilized. It features functional VR building blocks, such as code blocks, music, and animation effects, that aid content developers in addition to navigable VR settings. As a test platform for virtual explorers with an invite-only policy, Facebook (now Meta Platforms Inc.) first debuted Horizons in August 2020.
- Metahero: The Metahero project offers practical technology that lets users scan actual objects and move them into the Metaverse rather than a virtual realm. It focuses on bringing physical artifacts into the digital world utilizing ultra-HD photogrammetric scanning technologies. With their 3D avatars, users can use Metahero as a portal to explore the NFT, social media, fashion, and other aspects of the Metaverse. Metahero creates ultrahigh-definition avatars from real-world things, including people.
The working of the Metaverse is based on the following key features:
1. Incorporation of avatars
Creating digital avatars of oneself as a way to express one’s emotions and feelings uniquely is one of the core concepts of the Metaverse. Each person has their own digital identity, which can be static or animated and is distinctive to them. Digital avatars are a unique way to express oneself since, in addition to being precise reproductions of your actual form, they may also be recreations of your favorite celebrities or something completely original.
The concept of gamification is introduced when users have the chance to modify their avatars, creating a more engaging and dynamic experience.
Avatars can frequently be altered and can resemble their users’ real-life counterparts in some way. Avatars can occasionally also be computer applications. With the help of keyboards, joysticks, mice and specialized human-computer interfacing (HCI) devices, users may operate their avatars. More lifelike avatars might give viewers or anyone interacting with them a more immersive experience.
2. Blockchain-based operations
Blockchain allows consumers to safeguard their virtual assets and gives them digital proof of ownership, making it a crucial component of the Metaverse. The Metaverse is experiencing a growth in data volume, value, and significance of security and dependability. Blockchain skills and technology are necessary to ensure data validity in the Metaverse, and artificial intelligence is employed to protect its diversity and wealth of material.
Due to the numerous drawbacks of centralized data storage in systems like database management systems (DBMS), the Metaverse concept is incomplete without blockchain. Without the influence of a centralized organization, the blockchain-based Metaverse enables access to any digital place.
3. The use of virtual land (parcels)
The demand for virtual land on the Metaverse is soaring. On the Metaverse, land can be purchased by anybody for cryptocurrencies. The land is a non-fungible token (NFT), a blockchain asset class that one cannot trade for other things. Size refers to the fundamental number of pixels in a plot of Metaverse real estate.
Digital storefronts, virtual gaming, or even entertainment can be interacted with on virtual land. Its size and location will determine the use cases for the land. For instance, plots near a VR street may be worthwhile because of the potential for display advertisements.
4. Immersive Experiences (AR and VR)
Participants in the Metaverse will be able to have more immersive experiences that converge reality and the virtual world by utilizing mixed reality and AR/VR technologies. It is simple to understand why the Metaverse is becoming increasingly popular with each passing day: this will bring games to life, concerts and plays, and professional or educational encounters to seem more authentic.
The main building blocks of Metaverse projects are AR and VR. Three key components are required for augmented reality systems to function: the connectivity of actual and virtual environments, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D object rendering.
5. Intersection with artificial intelligence (AI)
As the driving force behind corporate research in fields including content analysis, self-supervised speech processing, robotic interactions, computer vision, and whole-body posture estimation, AI is crucial to the Metaverse.Â
The business applications of the Metaverse can be delivered using AI in several different ways. AIOps, a subfield of AI, employs machine learning to assist companies in managing their IT infrastructure â€“ which will soon apply to Metaverse systems. Further, AI-powered chatbots are becoming more and more common among organizations. In the Metaverse, AI bots with lifelike avatars can be employed for various purposes, including sales, marketing, and customer support.
6. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) for governance
A DAO is a governance body â€“ like a council or a committee â€“ that uses blockchain and smart contracts to reach a consensus for various decisions. According to DAO governance guidelines, the Treasury Wallet offers money for farming across several networks. To ensure that everyone in the organization has the opportunity to participate in the governance process, all decisions in DAOs continue to be governed by proposals and voting processes. The procedure is vital for assisting participants in casting ballots on significant decisions on managing Metaverse resources.
7. Reliance on Human-Computer Interface (HCI) technology
The massive online computer platform known as Metaverse comprises many diverse platforms, devices, and individual users on a big scale. The use of HCI in creating the Metaverse â€” specifically, how to integrate user activities into the virtual world â€” is crucial to attaining this objective.
In order to take part in specific activities, a human and a computer exchange information through a process called HCI. The most crucial benefit of human-computer interaction is that it aids groups needing formal training and information on how to connect with computing systems.Â
8. A focus on social interactions
Humans communicate and interact in the Metaverse through avatars and visual representations of a user. Users can engage and converse both with the Metaverse and with other users. The setting for these exchanges is cyberspace, which serves as a representation of the real world.
But there are differences between the economic and physical limitations of actual locations. One can imagine our physical experiences in the real world merging into one virtual environment. People shall be able to navigate the limitless world with the aid of this holistic experience that will combine all of these disparate encounters.
9. Supporting Web3
The idea behind Web3 is to usher in a new era of the internet. It is the progression of user ownership and control over their online material, digital assets, and online personas. Web3 and the Metaverse technologies work in perfect harmony with one another. Web3 may provide the foundation for connectivity in the Metaverse because the Metaverse is a virtual environment and prefers a decentralized web.
The Metaverse is not only an emerging new technology that’s part of today’s hype cycle. It builds on years of research on artificial intelligence and immersive interactivity and will transform businesses in several ways.
1. It is a new technique for interacting with users
You may leverage the Metaverse to your advantage as a company to provide customers with a whole new level of immersive experiences and entertainment options. Competitive advantage and attention will come to your business if it is one of the first to provide clients with a Metaverse experience.
There are several ways to promote your company in the Metaverse, including branded gaming experiences, virtual items, and AR/VR showrooms. Businesses may use the Metaverse to build 3D marketing experiences that are immersive, engaging, and capture the attention of potential customers in new, embracing ways.
2. Businesses can find opportunities for virtual events
It’s not uncommon to plan a conference or live event that can be viewed online and in person. Many people cannot travel to attend a professional conference or lecture, but that is still no excuse for not learning more. In contrast to a straightforward Zoom or Google Meet stream, a conference in the Metaverse can be a fully-fledged VR experience, with appropriate networking and participation opportunities, rather than just another video in a small window with comments underneath it. The spectators will feel more present and immersed in the experience thanks to VR and the Metaverse.
3. Companies can advertise and sell their goods
Several firms are already actively utilizing augmented reality to allow consumers to virtually try clothing or eyewear, see how new furniture might fit in their space, or receive a makeover with new hair or cosmetics. In the Metaverse, there is the potential to have the same experiences but in a better way.
If you have the option to lease or purchase commercial property, you can put up shops and showrooms where users can view your goods in the Metaverse. Users still avidly purchase virtual clothing and accessories today, proving that digital fashion is having a moment.
4. The Metaverse introduces a new media of advertising
Brands can engage with a massive global audience through Metaverse platforms in an e-commerce business. Businesses should anticipate introducing novel techniques for brand storytelling and general advertising in the Metaverse. Storytelling is one of the most effective methods for increasing brand awareness and identification.
People enjoy hearing tales that reveal much more about the business and its beliefs than simple slogans. Storytelling will eventually change into â€œstory living,â€ when the audience members become active players or even characters with a say in the events rather than just being passive listeners.
5. It is possible to Improve teamwork and the creation of processes
Online meetings and distant teamwork are the new realities we have all come to terms with. These methods were imposed upon us, but they proved equally effective in a face-to-face office setting. One may further improve workflows by using the Metaverse. Meetings will appear as a group of individuals sitting in a room rather than as Zoom calls.
Meta has already started offering VR workrooms. The Metaverse offers workers a digital environment for communication and the ability to read one another’s body language and emotions and maintain an emotional bond.
6. E-wallets and cryptocurrencies make transactions for businesses simpler
Cryptocurrencies and the Metaverse go hand in hand. It will be challenging to enjoy the benefits of the digital world without a crypto wallet, even at this early adoption stage. Digital wallets are also supported by Metaverse, allowing businesses to control transactions across their virtual ecosystem.
Although this concept may overwhelm some business users, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have more benefits than drawbacks. With cryptocurrency, users and businesses may conduct any online transaction more easily. There’s no need to link your bank account to virtual worlds, payments only require a few clicks, and all transactions are transparent.
The Metaverse will be among the key technologies to reshape the digital world in the next few years. A recent survey by technology company Ciena found that 78% of business users worldwide would be interested in leveraging the metaverse. That is why it is so crucial for enterprises to prepare for this technology, strengthen blockchain capabilities, safeguard against Metaverse and blockchain security risks, and embrace a new era of the internet.Â
Image Source: Shutterstock
MORE ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
- What Is General Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Definition, Challenges, and Trends
- What Is Super Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Definition, Threats, and Trends
- Top 10 AI Companies in 2022
- What Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Definition, Types, Goals, Challenges, and Trends in 2022
- What Is Narrow Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Definition, Challenges, and Best Practices for 2022