The term "Metaverse" has generated a great deal of excitement tech companies and enterprises are increasingly hopping on board the bandwagon and placing their bets on it. We have been hearing about it in sci-fi movies making it all the more interesting and intriguing. Metaverse is entirely a new era of the internet. It has come about as a result of technological evolution, an effort to enhance our experiences in extended reality and improve numerous parts of the digital world. The creation of the metaverse has significantly resulted in endless choices for us to communicate digitally, which a decade ago could only happen through text messages or phone calls.
Big technologies have duplicated the metaverse's central idea and provided a more developed 3D world, which might offer people an immersive digital experience.
Although Metaverse is a popular term with many people becoming aware of its potential applications, its nuances at large are not really known by all. Understanding what is Metaverse technology is crucial for enterprises as well as tech companies to make the fullest use of it and to let the potential initiatives of the metaverse come to fruition. This article let us learn all about what is metaverse technology, how it came about, and the special characteristics that make up this new face of the virtual world.
A metaverse is a collaborative single and immersive virtual realm that is shared by augmented both physical as well as digital reality. The Metaverse, which enables multimodal interactions with digital goods, virtual environments, and people, is built on the merging of the technologies of Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). The outcome of the merging is the Metaverse, a persistent network of immersive and social multiuser platforms. For instance, Blockchain technology also makes cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) possible by enabling the ownership of virtual goods and real estate in a metaverse like Decentraland.
So, to put it in simple terms, Metaverse can be referred to as a digital ecosystem that is based on various forms of 3D technology, real-time collaboration software, and decentralized financing tools.
It might be surprising to learn Metaverse is not new. Let us dive into the history of the metaverse to gain a greater grasp of its potential. The word metaverse finds its origin in the Greek words "Meta" meaning "Beyond" and "Verse" implying universe. So think of it as a cosmos beyond reality where we will be able to use breakthrough digital technologies, persistent avatars, and augmented and virtual reality to interact with a variety of environments.
Metaverse as a word was first used in the Science fiction book "Snowcrash" by Neal Stephenson in 1992. The book draws on a time when avatars will be used by millions of people to interact in cyberspace. The sci-fi novel Ready Player One by Earnest Cline from 2011, further popularized the concept of the metaverse, in which regular people don VR headgear and enter a virtual world to let their imaginations run wild.
In the early 1990s, a VR gaming gadget was launched by Sega
Later in the early 1990s, a company by the name of Sega with the intention of giving arcade players thrilling experiences, such as the SEGA VR-1 motion circle. Though the metaverse is assumed to have its roots in all of these technologies, it wasn't until Facebook announced its rebranding as the Meta that it gained widespread public recognition.
1938: Sir Charles Wheatstone, a scientist, described the idea of "binocular vision," in which images of both eyes are combined to create a single 3D view. Stereoscopes, a technology that creates images by creating the appearance of depth, were created as a result of this idea. Contemporary VR headsets apply the same concept.
1935: Stanley Weinbaum, an American science fiction author, wrote Pygmalion's Spectacles, a book in which the main character travels through a fictitious planet while wearing goggles that offered sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste.
1956: Morton Heilig developed the first VR device- Sensora Machine.
1970: MIT launched Aspen Movie Map which allowed users to enjoy a computer-generated tour of the Colorado town of Aspen.
1990: launching of SEGA VR-1 motion simulator by SEGA used in numerous gaming arcades.
1992: First use of the term Metaverse in the book Snow Crash by Neil Stephensonson
1998: The first live NFL game with a yellow yard marker was televised by Sports vision in 1998, and the concept of putting graphics over actual camera images swiftly caught on in other sports programming.
2010: Development of the first iteration of the Oculus Rift VR Headset by an 18-year-old inventor and businessman Palmer Luckey. The ground-breaking headset rekindled interest in VR with its 90-degree field of vision and use of computer processing power.
2011: Publication of Ready Player One- a book by Ernest Cline which provided us yet another glimpse into a thoroughly immersive world we may inhabit to escape reality.
2014: Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion aimed to expand the Oculus platform and create alliances to support new games. Google also introduced its first Cardboard gadget and Google Glass AR glasses. A cheap cardboard VR viewer for cell phones is available from Google under the name Cardboard.
2016: Microsoft launched HoloLens headsets which also ushered in the era of Mixed Reality (AR and VR). With the help of augmented reality, HoloLens allows us to produce holographic pictures directly in front of us, locate them in the real world, and control them.
2017: IKEA entered Metaverse by introducing its groundbreaking Place app which lets you choose a piece of furniture and see how it might appear in your house or office.
2020: Apple incorporated Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) into iPhones and iPads in 2020, improving depth sensing for better photographs and augmented reality while also laying the groundwork for future mixed reality headsets.
2021: In order to better convey its dedication to influencing the metaverse's future, Facebook's name was altered to Meta.
Radoff, a game designer developed a seven-tiered conceptual framework, generally known as the layers of metaverse to describe the value chain of the Metaverse economy.
The seven layers as brought forth by Radoff are:
Let us delve into the layers of Metaverse in detail.
Experience: Experiences make up the entire Metaverse. As physical space is dematerialized in the digital realm, it eliminates the constraints of physicality. It offers users a variety of experiences that are otherwise unavailable to them in the real world.
Discovery: This layer relates to the exploration of novel experiences and social contacts, which can be divided into inbound and outbound activities. Additionally, the discovery layer outlines how users will find new platforms or experiences via app stores, etc. This crucial step calls for the discovery of new technology, communities, and protocols.
Creator Economy: Developers and content producers employ a wide range of design tools and programs to create digital assets or experiences, which is referred to as the "creative economy." Drag-and-drop features are available on several platforms, which streamlines the authoring process.
Spatial Computing: This layer comprises Spatial computing technology which combines MR (Mixed Reality) VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality). This layer is developed to achieve a high level of realism. It has grown over time into an important technology field that allows people to engage with 3D environments for improved experiences.
Decentralization: In an ideal world, there would be no central or single authority that controls the Metaverse. Instead, the Metaverse would be decentralized, open, distributed, and governed by a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) with open ownership.
Human Interfacing: The hardware layer of the Metaverse must enable sophisticated HCI, or human-computer interaction, for users to explore the Metaverse. In essence, it consists of haptic technologies, smart glasses, and VR headsets that allow users to traverse virtual environments.
Infrastructure: This layer gives the earlier concepts practical form. It requires a 5G-capable infrastructure that serves as the infrastructure layer, powering users' devices, connecting them to the network, and dispersing content. 5G networks will significantly amplify the capacity of the metaverse over time.
Let us now discover the key features of Metaverse in detail.
The idea of immersive experience can best be explained as an experience of being present within the information as opposed to simply viewing it from a distance. The technologies of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) support this immersive experience.
Consumers of the Metaverse will be enabled to enjoy more immersive experiences that combine the real and virtual worlds by utilizing mixed reality and AR/VR technology. It is simple to understand why the Metaverse is gaining popularity every day: it will give professional or academic contacts a more authentic appearance, as well as make video games come to life and musical performances and plays seem more real.
One of the fundamental ideas of the Metaverse is the creation of digital avatars of oneself as a means of uniquely expressing one's emotions and sentiments. Every person has a distinct digital identity that is specific to them and can be either dynamic or static. Digital avatars are a unique kind of self-expression because they can be completely original creations or recreations of your favorite celebrities in addition to being perfect duplicates of your physical appearance.
When users have the option to change their avatars, a more dynamic and engaging experience is created, and the idea of gamification is introduced. Avatars are frequently changed, and occasionally they resemble their owners' real-life counterparts. Sometimes, avatars are also software programs. Users can control their avatars via keyboards, joysticks, mice, and specialist human-computer interface (HCI) devices. More lifelike avatars could give viewers or anyone else interacting with them a more immersive experience.
Decentralization is another one of the major features of the metaverse. This region of the metaverse is intended to be a shared, open reality where people can easily switch platforms. Without the necessity for a centralized authority, members of the metaverse can develop and sell virtual experiences and items with monetary worth. Decentralization is now becoming clear as a key aspect of the metaverse.
Blockchain, Edge Computing, and Artificial intelligence are some of the key technologies driving the democratization of the metaverse. Decentralization allows users to fully own their experiences and assets in the metaverse. Decentralization of the metaverse is therefore essential in determining user freedom.
AI is vital to the metaverse as it is the main driver of business research in many areas such as content analysis, robotic interactions, whole-body posture estimation, computer vision, etc.
There are several ways AI can be applied to the Metaverse's business applications. AIOps, a branch of AI that soon will include Metaverse systems, uses machine learning to help businesses manage their IT infrastructure. Additionally, businesses are employing AI-powered chatbots more and more regularly. In the Metaverse, marketing, customer care, and sales can all be handled by AI bots with lifelike avatars.
Humans interact and speak with each other in the Metaverse via avatars and other visualizations of individuals. The Metaverse as well as other users can both be interacted with and communicated with by users. These conversations take place in a virtual environment called cyberspace.
Each region has varying limitations and constraints economically. A single virtual experience can help in envisioning the probability of actual experiences in the real physical world. People will be able to travel the entire world with the aid of this comprehensive experience that unites all of these various encounters.
Metaverse can address all of the current problems concerning remote working. Managers can better interact with their staff by observing their body language and paralanguage. Furthermore, the recruiter may address workplace issues like productivity time theft and goldbrick by monitoring team productivity through each team member's avatar.
Cyber risks have been one of the most important corporate concerns in the world for many years. Without a doubt, before envisioning the design of the metaverse, ethics, and privacy inside the ecosystem must be taken into account. Like today's online communities and the internet, there will always be a need to conduct secure transactions remotely and monitor people's activity to ensure they are behaving morally.
We see virtual reality headsets transporting us to a world with infinite interactive space when we think of the metaverse. This is only one way to enter the virtual world, though. There are several other technologies for accessing the metaverse, for instance, PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. While discussing human-interface devices is important, it is also important to emphasize the infrastructure that will keep us connected in the metaverse.
The Metaverse will still achieve more and businesses and individuals may make the most of its features and potential innovations in the future.
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