Get ready for the metaverse

Will we see metaverse growth similar to the World Wide Web in the 1990s? A source shows that there were fewer than 3,000 websites in 1994, but just five years later there were over 3 million, and being “on the web” was essential for many businesses.

The growth of the Internet in the 1990s was fueled by rapid technological change, rising customer expectations, and evolving business models, among other factors. This has required a radical shift in IT functions, and over the past two decades almost every business has required capabilities in software development, integration, data, analytics, customer experience, automation and e-commerce to stay solvent.

The question is, which companies will need a similar transformation to support the metaverse? Who will need to take advantage of underlying technologies such as augmented reality, virtual realityand non-fungible tokens (NFT)? And over what time frame?

If you’re a cloud or tech company or have a large-scale e-commerce or entertainment business, chances are you already have teams building or innovating the technologies needed for the metaverse. But even sectors that are slow to adopt new technologies, including healthcare, manufacturing, construction, or education, will need to consider their strategies and timing to be ready for the metaverse.

This raises the question of what technologies will help companies prepare to support the metaverse. Choices will depend on business objectives. Many technology, e-commerce, entertainment, and industrial companies will create the infrastructure and experiences to support a metaverse and will need infrastructure, user devices, software, and a stack of AI to achieve these goals. Others will be content creators or participants in one or more metaverses and will need flexible content, commerce, and data strategies.

Scalable infrastructure and networks

Organizations developing metaverse technologies and platforms must consider infrastructure and network performance, scalability, and security requirements. For example, a 4K virtual reality stream requires a 500 Mbps download speed, and metaverse services will need to scale their networks to support the number of active users. Industrial and other applications that impact human safety must also consider latency factors.

How can companies plan for this scale? Ram Mallikarjuna, Chief Strategist at Akamai, said, “Distributed platforms with highly scalable and secure edge computing technology will be a critical need for enterprises looking to leverage metaverses, as the edge already plays a role in processing and delivering high rates of personalized content in real time with extremely low latency.

Nadir Ali, CEO of Inpixon, agrees and adds, “Device-centric and edge computing capabilities not dependent on on-premises or cloud servers will enable new applications to be created in the metaverse. Another example is the technology enabling wireless connectivity. High-bandwidth, high-speed, and secure wired and wireless network infrastructure will also be required for many metaverse applications.

AR, VR and Emerging Devices

The metaverse is synonymous with AR and VR experiences. But all devices linking the physical and digital worlds with sensory inputs and visual outputs are possibilities. Other technologies include optical finger navigation, watches for the metaverse, and others wearable fashions.

New devices will require advances in software, data processing and machine learning to enhance visual, auditory and physical sensory inputs.

“The Metaverse provides an opportunity to more completely transcend our physical limitations,” says Anand Srivatsa, CEO of Tobii. “Technologies such as eye tracking will play a vital role in helping to reduce the need for computing power and networking, which are needed to deliver realistic and immersive virtual environments. Eye tracking will also help users express their attention and intent more realistically when in the digital world. »

Ofir Zuk, co-founder and CEO of Datagen, adds, “With augmented reality/virtual reality as a fundamental medium, most of the innovations we will see in the metaverse will come from the field of computer vision. This will depend on large volumes of photorealistic and targeted training data.

Thus, developing apps and content for the metaverse will require consideration of augmented reality, virtual reality, and other emerging device technologies and will go beyond today’s web and mobile experiences.

Strong data operations and integration capabilities

If human digital devices enable the experience and the infrastructure supports metaverse-scale interactivity, then it is the reality of the experience for users that will be the key innovation and differentiator.

To get started, organizations will need strong data mining capabilities, and machine learning models will likely require the generation of synthetic data. Zuk continues, “Companies looking to make waves in the metaverse typically start by establishing a robust data pipeline, with synthetic data as the primary resource guiding the development lifecycle.”

Bart Schouw, chief evangelist at Software AG, agrees. “This year and beyond, leaders will begin to realize the value of the metaverse, but first they should invest now in real-time data ingestion and analytics, as both are critical to the success of the metaverse. and its overall accuracy.”

Create engaging metaverses and virtual worlds

With the arrival of data, developers, data scientists and user experience specialists must create a virtual world that captivates users.

Do you remember the first web experiences before CSS and JavaScript? Even though the video game, Hollywood, and entertainment industries have generations of experience using technology to create experiences, developing highly interactive and scalable worlds requires continuous innovation.

Virtual experiences to support office collaboration may not require the same level of sophistication as entertainment, but may be more important for long-term hybrid work programs. Virtual conferencing and higher education metaverses have more UX complexities and are likely to see rapid evolution over the next few years. Companies like Gather, Teamflow, Virbela and others are competing in the virtual office technologies space, and they certainly see competition from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Zoom, and other big tech companies.

Manufacturing, construction, smart city and others industrial applications Metaverse technologies may be the most technically challenging, but offer significant opportunities. These metaverses will require real-time data flow over the Internet of Things, digital twins, and advanced machine learning models to connect virtual and physical systems.

Gopikrishnan Konnanath, Senior Vice President of Infosys and Global Head of Engineering Services and Blockchain, said, “As an environment that brings together and streams data from the physical world to represent it in the virtual world, the IoT is the backbone connecting the two worlds. Developers need to understand the IoT connected object ecosystem and how it captures data to create “real” sensations – visual, auditory, experiential – in metaverse avatars. »

Schouw adds that “metaverse applications can be transformational for the business, especially with the IoT and digital twins which are digital representations of real-world entities.”

Cryptocurrencies, NFT and Blockchain

Virtual worlds will need to support identity resolution, financial transactions, smart contracts, and material ownership. This is where cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFT), and blockchain are key technologies.

More broadly, Yan Ketelers, CMO at Venly, identifies several Web 3.0 technologyincluding the creation of decentralized autonomous organizations (CAD), Web3 profiles and the importance of social platforms. “Every business will need a centralized or decentralized wallet provider and NFT strategy,” he says.

That’s a lot of tech jargon, but these technologies are essential for retail industries to build storefronts and other trusted commerce in virtual worlds.

The metaverse and NFTs are already providing game-changing capabilities for content creators, the arts, and the distribution of other intellectual properties. Jeremy Howell, Vice President of Strategic Accounts at Rightsline, said, “The technology embedded in the Metaverse encourages experimentation in areas such as funding, producing, distributing and operating branded content for businesses. As the metaverse will mimic aspects of the physical world, companies will shine by driving innovation and using new points of engagement.

Managing multiple metaverses

There is effectively one Internet, even though multiple devices, browsers, programming languages, data formats and other technologies create interoperability issues. We’re unlikely to see a virtual world unanimously labeled a “metaverse,” but hopefully we won’t end up with siled worlds and experiences.

Mallikarjuna believes that “companies must prepare to deliver a seamless experience to consumers across multiple metaverses, not just ‘the metaverse’. ”

This is largely how video game worlds operate today. For the most part, you can’t transfer your video game avatar and gaming wealth to competing game worlds, but for the metaverse to be widely adopted, standards will need to be created for many technologies.

The question is how will companies choose to invest in metaverse technologies as many platforms continue to evolve?

Prasad Joshi, senior vice president of the Infosys Center for Emerging Technology Solutions, said, “Enterprises need to adopt AR, VR, and AI/ML technologies, as well as robust 5G networks into their business processes, which will create more immersive solutions. and sophisticated metaverse experiences and increased productivity.

Some organizations will invest in dataops, while others will experiment with cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The good news is that technologists will have many opportunities to experiment, innovate, and deliver using metaverse and Web 3.0 technologies.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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