Bringing the “virtual” with the “real”, the reality technology that the Metaverse cannot do without

The Metaverse is still far away, and the Metaverse scene of NetEase Smart Enterprise has landed.

Since the listing of Roblox in March 2021, the concept of “Metaverse” has been detonated, and Metaverse has quickly become synonymous with the next generation of Internet.

In August of this year, Meta (formerly Facebook) launched the VR conference service Horizon Workrooms-16 people sitting around the virtual conference table in avatars, curiously watching, dancing and talking with others… Push to a new climax.

Remote meetings are not uncommon. What is rare is the immersive real-time interaction of virtual people who can see facial expressions and dance with their hands.

According to the basic laws of social development, there are people first, and then people interact with people to generate social relations, and then there are goods and services transactions based on relations. The starting point for the development of Metaverse is also the real-time interaction between virtual humans. This is the reason why Workrooms is paying attention to this event.

Of course, it is not easy to interact in the virtual world in real time like Zuckerberg. First, you must have a well-configured VR device, and secondly, the number of people who appear in the virtual meeting at the same time is very limited. The key to the development of the metaverse virtual person is to make the real-time interaction of virtual humans change from exclusive to a few people to a new metaverse identity that can be used by the public.

Therefore, NetEase Yunxin, a converged communication cloud manufacturer under NetEase Intelligent Enterprise, released two Metaverse solutions-“IM+RTC+Virtual Human” and “Game/VR Voice” solutions that enhance the image of virtual humans and real-time interactivity. , Lowering the threshold of virtual human application, making it possible for virtual humans to interact on a large scale in real time, instantly sparked heated discussions in the industry.

When we are talking about the Metaverse,

What are you talking about?

The Metaverse is very complicated, and everyone has a different understanding.

But the Metaverse is also very simple, that is, a new universe in which real people live in virtual images (digital people). What it wants to answer is the problem of human digital survival-let people experience more extreme entertainment in the virtual world, and improve personal and personal life. The key to social efficiency is to be able to interact in real time as in reality.

Therefore, when we are talking about Metaverse, we first talk about the two core issues of identity (virtual image) and real-time interaction.

“Interaction”, the basic element of human social activities, is a key part of the construction of the Metaverse. In order to restore the real offline interactive experience without violation and sense, low-latency, high-quality real-time communication service guarantee is required, but the current complex and changeable The public network environment, terminal equipment and other factors are a big challenge to communication transmission.

The identity of the avatar is the key for ordinary users to open the Metaverse. In the PC and mobile Internet era, people’s Internet images are static symbols, such as IDs, nicknames, and avatars. In this era, you can’t imagine that people do not have QQ, WeChat and other social accounts, and enter a three-dimensional, immersive meta. In the universe, it is also impossible for users to not have their own avatars.

Of course, this is also the biggest difficulty, for three reasons:

First of all, in the past, virtual humans were functional rather than humanized, tangible and apathetic, resulting in unrealistic images and unreal interactions. Although Luo Tianyi’s synthesized voice is good, his movements are not realistic enough, and he cannot interact like people. Secondly, network transmission with high synchronization and low latency is required. Finally, the barrier to use is too high. Although Zuckerberg interaction in Workrooms is more real-time and real, it needs to be used with VR equipment, which is currently difficult to popularize on a large scale.

The key to NetEase Yunxin’s “IM + RTC + virtual person” solution that has aroused heated debate in the industry is that it innovatively integrates “virtual image + real-time interaction” into one SDK for the first time. This allows it to vividly restore the image of the virtual human, while also combining the real-time transmission capabilities of NetEase Yunxin’s global intelligent routing network WE-CAN, allowing virtual humans to conduct immersive real-time interactions, allowing people to “see what they say” in the virtual world. This is A new breakthrough.

Bringing the “virtual” with the “real”, the reality technology that the Metaverse cannot do without

Virtual image + real-time interaction

For example, after the solution detects the user’s facial expressions through the camera or uploaded video, it can drive the 3D virtual characters to make the same expressions, including facial expressions, head posture, eye movements, tongue out, etc., to achieve rapid transmission, allowing people to In the virtual world, you can see each other’s micro-expressions, just like face-to-face communication.

Bringing the “virtual” with the “real”, the reality technology that the Metaverse cannot do without

Virtual image + real-time interaction

This “virtual image + real-time interaction” integration approach combines the two core technologies in depth and encapsulates it. When it is promoted on a large scale, it has two advantages.

The first is to reduce the cost of enterprise access. Enterprises do not need to connect with multiple suppliers, and only need one SDK to build a high-experience scenario of “virtual human” + “real-time interaction”, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. The second is through the combination of “real-time capture on the end and real-time drive on the cloud”, this solution can greatly reduce the pressure on the performance of the two-end algorithm. Users do not need to wear a device, and even a thousand yuan phone can feel the wonderfulness of the Metaverse.

Based on these two points, the large-scale application and popularization of “virtual human + real-time interaction” has also become possible, opening up new space for industry development.

Grab the beach Metaverse,

Which scenes are starting to accelerate the “soft landing”?

Unlike ordinary users who care more about the virtual image of their metaverse and whether they can interact like the real world, for companies, they are more concerned about application scenarios based on the rapid implementation of these two technologies.

Ruan Liang, Vice President of NetEase and General Manager of NetEase Smart Enterprise, said that from the perspective of communication technology development, Metaverse is the leap of social networks from 2.0 to 3.0. The biggest feature of the 3.0 era is three-dimensional and immersive. The future will be based on Realistic large-scale 3D online world.

Therefore, in the author’s opinion, the construction of this 3D world will have two steps. First, there will be such a world with rich 3D content, and then real users will be connected to the world on a large scale.

The reality is also true. From the perspective of hardware technology, the XR device, which is regarded as the hardware entrance of Metaverse, has been developed for many years and has improved in terms of experience, but it still has a long way to go in terms of device miniaturization and affordable prices. As for the brain and computer Not to mention the interface.

And people can’t wait to enter the Metaverse’s demand, so that Metaverse actually starts a “soft landing” from the software and content level, and achieves rapid development in the following aspects.

The first is in the social entertainment scene. For example, in ZEPETO, Asia’s largest Metaverse platform, ordinary users build 3D virtual digital avatars to socialize, such as singing at disco parties, camping, participating in virtual weddings with friends, watching concerts, etc., which has become a new entertainment for young people. trend.

Not to mention games, most online games are originally a miniaturized Metaverse, which has established a social system, economic system, and leisure and entertainment system similar to the real world, which can seamlessly connect to the Metaverse, only in terms of technology. To be further optimized. For example, can gamers appear as avatars related to them? Can we go further in real-time interaction?

Now these are slowly approaching.

Ruan Liang said that in the game/VR voice solution launched by NetEase Yunxin, its first 720-degree spatial voice effect can simulate the location of the sound source and how far away it is from you through an algorithm. Compared with the 360-degree sound effect (horizontal surround) that we often say, it enriches the audio experience in the vertical direction, making the game audio effect close to the real sense of space. For example, when playing a game of eating chicken in black with a teammate, through the 720-degree spatial voice effect, you can clearly know whether the teammate is on the left or right, above or below.

What’s more interesting is that the solution also supports IM communication within the effective range, volume attenuation within the effective range, and complete mute beyond the range. For example, when playing the game of eating chicken in black, you can judge whether the teammate is far away or approaching through the footsteps of teammates, etc., which greatly improves the sense of presence and immersion of the game.

The second is in the office scene. After the epidemic quickly spreads cloud office, Metaverse office is also speeding up. Meta, NetEase, etc. have achieved grounded results in this regard.

In August, Zuckerberg appeared in Workrooms after causing a sensation. In December, when NetEase Cloud Music went public, the world’s first “Metaverse” listing ceremony held through NetEase Fuxi’s immersive activity system “Yaotai” was also interesting.

Bringing the “virtual” with the “real”, the reality technology that the Metaverse cannot do without

NetEase Cloud Music “Metaverse” Listing Ceremony

“Yaotai” itself reproduces real conference scenes with high precision, and has been widely used in many scenes such as round table conferences, international academic conferences, brand launch conferences, online exhibitions, etc. At the same time, Yaotai also has the capabilities of AI pinch face, expression migration, movement migration, etc., which can bring users a more on-site, ritual, and immersive experience. At the same time, after the deep integration of NetEase Cloud’s audio, video, and screen sharing capabilities, it also makes all participants feel as if they are in a real meeting with a high degree of interaction.

Bringing the “virtual” with the “real”, the reality technology that the Metaverse cannot do without

NetEase Cloud Music “Metaverse” Listing Ceremony

In the NetEase Cloud Music “Metaverse Listing Ceremony”, Ding Lei, a 29-year-old virtual person dressed in a black suit and 50-year-old Ding Lei, appeared on the scene together. Ding Lei took a group photo, which made the whole event full of immersion.

Bringing the “virtual” with the “real”, the reality technology that the Metaverse cannot do without

Ding Lei’s avatar

Finally, in the corporate marketing scenario, although we are still far away from virtual images in Metaverse to conduct “realistic transactions”, using virtual people to act as salespersons, customer service and other employees is something that many companies are already doing. Virtual employees who can interact in real time and synchronize the corresponding expressions will undoubtedly greatly enhance the customer experience.

In general, the development path of the Metaverse will definitely be content/software first, and hardware follow-up. This is also an important reason why games and social networking have become the first entrance to the Metaverse. As the “virtual human + real-time interaction” technology continues to evolve, Metaverse social entertainment, online office, and corporate marketing will accelerate the “soft landing”.

The first year of the Metaverse,

What are the immediate worries and long-term worries of the company’s gold rush?

As the next-generation Internet, Metaverse means a larger user scale, longer online usage time, and higher ARPU, etc. Whether it is for large companies that need new breakthroughs or new players who want to overtake corners, there is something in it. Great opportunity.

The other side of opportunity is challenge. This year is known as the first year of the Metaverse. Now the industry is in the early stages of development, and many technological foundations and business models are not yet mature, and there are no shortage of near-term worries and far-sighted companies.

The first thing to worry about is the technical problem, which is about whether the enterprise can succeed.

Building a Metaverse is a complicated task. Only the technical level involves the underlying support technology (artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchain, etc.), the capability layer (3D spatial sound effects, ultra-low latency, face comparison, etc.), and the application layer (virtual People, content review, etc.) and experience layer (games, social interactions, virtual concerts, etc.).

There are only a few large companies that can have global technology from the bottom to the experience level. One is an All in Metaverse company like Meta, which has the technology and resources itself, and is now undergoing a comprehensive transformation with a relatively complete technical reserve. The other is companies like NetEase and Tencent that have deep accumulation in the entertainment and social field. Although all in is not mentioned, related technologies can seamlessly connect and evolve rapidly.

Take NetEase Yunxin as an example. As a leading player in integrated communications and the earliest instant messaging platform to carry billions of daily activities, it has expanded its low-latency live broadcast and global intelligent routing network WE- on the basis of its initial IM instant messaging capabilities and audio and video calls. More than ten functions such as CAN and interactive live broadcast. Coupled with its technological advantages and precipitation in the RTC field, it is possible to quickly iterate an integrated solution like “IM+RTC+virtual person” that fits the development of Metaverse.

For the vast majority of small and medium-sized enterprises, if they want to take advantage of Metaverse, under the premise that the industry is not mature enough, they cannot blindly follow the trend of All in Metaverse, nor can they start from zero. The biggest opportunity is to leverage NetEase Smart The solutions provided by enterprises such as enterprises, in the experience layer of the Metaverse scene landing, find cuts to make innovations, thereby improving the odds of winning.

In fact, like the well-known Asia’s largest meta-universal platform Zai Zai, the popular game “A Chinese Ghost Story”, and the immersive event platform “Yaotai” developed by NetEase Fuxi are all customers of NetEase Smart Enterprises. There are similar companies a lot of.

Foresight is the issue of digital content security in the virtual world, which concerns whether the enterprise can be stable.

Internet content security has become the focus of supervision in recent years. On December 9, 106 apps including Aihuihui, Douban, and Changba were removed from the shelves by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which is the best proof.

Compared with the current Internet ecology, due to technological evolution and integration of more realistic factors, Metaverse is full-time and real-time, and its content forms are more diverse, involving more complex social and economic relations, more data, and demanding responses. Faster, the difficulty and cost of corporate content risk control will greatly increase.

For the risk control of digital content in the Metaverse era, a brand-new solution is needed to deal with it. In addition to technical issues, cost and convenience are also headaches for many companies.

The virtual world digital content risk control solution of NetEase Shield, a digital content risk control service provider under NetEase Smart Enterprise, innovatively pioneered the “technical identification + operation coordination + manual review” iron triangle model, forming a full life covering digital content risk control A new solution to the period.

On the basis of the integration of the core capabilities of Netease Yunxin and Netease Yidun, the “Secure Communication” launched, while ensuring communication security, also allows accessing companies to log in to 1 back office, connect to 1 system, and conduct 1 settlement. Achieving multiple functions has been applied by many enterprises that have made great efforts in the Universe.

In addition, Ruan Liang said that NetEase Smart Enterprise is making an “anti-fraud treaty” with some social companies, that is, by cooperating with many social platforms, a certain fraudulent behavior of black and gray products in Metaverse can be known to other platforms. , So as to prevent.

It is foreseeable that as Metaverse continues to mature, the security of digital content in the virtual world will be the focus of every enterprise and the key to whether the enterprise can move forward steadily.

Concluding remarks

Known is boundless, but unknown is boundless. We are like standing on a desert island, trapped by the vast sea. The task of each generation is to fill in a small piece of new land.

In 1887, the famous British scientist TH Huxley’s classic answer to “what is the universe” is also applicable to people’s exploration of the metaverse.

The virtual world pointed to by the Metaverse is like a vast ocean, vast and boundless, and its future end is far more complicated than we thought. This is an opportunity and a challenge of the times.

In this era, if you want to create the Metaverse earlier, it is not only necessary for more ordinary users to “turn the reality into the virtual”, and to enter the Metaverse with virtual images as soon as possible to interact and enrich the content in real time. There is also a need for more technology companies like NetEase Smart Enterprises to “practice as the foundation” and use real-world technologies such as integrated communications and digital risk control as the basis to fill in new “oasis” belonging to the Metaverse…

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