How can you turn the 3D virtual world into reality?
The Metaverse is a nascent and evolving virtual space, and its definition is also very different in the eyes of different people.
The challenge for Metaverse development is to compile a comprehensive and reliable list of technologies to help the Metaverse thrive over the next decade.
Marty Resnick, vice president analyst at Gartner, said: “We don’t think the Metaverse itself is a specific set of technologies because it’s made up of multiple technologies. We can think of it as a technical topic. ”
At the same time, he believes that spatial computing, digital people, virtual space, shared experiences, games and tokenized assets fall under these themes, which contain a range of technologies that will help enhance the development of the Metaverse.
Similarly, according to VP and principal analyst JP Gownder, Forrester Research describes these types of technologies as “enablers of 3D development environments” that can do complex modeling.
As a result, he explains, organizations will need professionals who are proficient in 3D modeling and familiar with Unity and Unreal game engines. Other required skills will depend on what is being programmed, for example, the IoT skillset of the digital twin.
“Most companies don’t have all these skills right now,” Gownder notes, “so they need to work with external parties or recruit relevant technical talent.” ”
Jason Warnke, senior managing director and head of global digital experiences at IT consultancy Accenture, added that the technologies that support the Metaverse, from game engines to digital twins to extended reality, are merging in new ways to solve real-world problems.
The Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) “Free Rider Guide for Metaverse Businesses” specifies the following three categories of technologies that define the Metaverse:
virtual worlds (M-worlds);
Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR);
Web3 and virtual assets.
M-worlds are immersive apps that offer companies new ways to reach audiences, especially Gen Z users. M-worlds can run on mobile devices as well as on PCs and AR/VR headsets.
Web3 is in its early stages, but according to the authors of BCG’s guide, “Web3 is already powering a vibrant virtual asset economy that includes crypto, non-fungible tokens, and smart contracts.” The consulting firm expects Web3 and traditional financial transactions to coexist for the foreseeable future.
In fact, the authors also state that “much of the value of the Metaverse may ultimately lie not with consumers, but in commercial applications.” These applications may include virtual meetings, training sessions, new product design, and virtual home tours for potential customers.
Based on expert input and extensive research, it is currently possible to narrow the list down to the seven most frequently mentioned technologies that will help advance the Metaverse and its development.
◉ Artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence plays a central role in developing bots and chatbots, bringing intelligence to real-world computer vision. However, according to BCG, only 10% of companies report significant AI benefits from their deployments.
The processing power of AI can create avatars, enhance the characteristics of digital humans to make them more lifelike, and can be applied to non-player characters who talk to players in a game environment.
◉ Internet of Things
The Blockchain Council calls IoT “an important pillar of Metaverse infrastructure.” For example, the commission report notes that integrating the Metaverse and IoT could “unlock new opportunities for the industrial sector, individual needs, and societal needs.” ”
IoT will allow virtual spaces to seamlessly access and interact with the real world, while the Metaverse will provide 3D user interfaces for clusters of IoT devices, resulting in what the Council calls “user-centric IoT and Metaverse experiences.”
For example, in a factory where each machine’s digital twin has sensors, sensor data can be used to explore the environment and provide feedback.
◉ Extended reality
According to BCG, AR, VR and MR technologies will transform the way businesses visualize and use data by moving from 2D to 3D for more realistic experiences and digital displays that better synchronize with head movements.
As AR glasses become more mainstream, computer vision will help people understand the environment and locate the right information. Extended reality (XR) is already used, for example, in Microsoft’s HoloLens, allowing users to experience 3D holograms.
◉ Brain-computer interface
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has included brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) in its list of technologies that will shape the Metaverse, and the WEF acknowledges that BCI may be the most far-reaching vision of the Metaverse, as the technology aims to replace traditional control screens and physical hardware. At the same time, WEF also noted that the combination of BCI and XR will be positioned as the next computing platform.
◉ 3D modeling and reconstruction
3D reconstruction is able to capture the shape and appearance of real objects and make the Metaverse a reality. The technology includes tools such as 3D modeling to provide 3D frameworks and prototypes for specific processes or products.
According to a report by SkyQuest Technology Consulting, the global 3D reconstruction technology market is expected to double in the coming years in the long run, reaching about $2 billion by 2028.
◉ Spatial and edge computing
Spatial computing combines AR, VR, and MR to interact with the real world, and edge computing can provide fast response times that mimic real user actions, immersing users in the Metaverse. Any kind of space technology, including computer vision, is closely related to the Metaverse.
Gownder said that nowadays, blockchain does not seem to have much to do with businesses and their employees.
However, there is currently a lot of discussion about how to use blockchain technology to secure digital content and data in the Metaverse. Blockchain can make the Metaverse more decentralized and avoid some delays or single points of failure.
What does the future hold?
Deloitte defines digital humans as avatars, i.e. AI-driven virtual humans that can have human conversations by interpreting the customer’s language, quickly returning not only the facts the customer needs, but also the appropriate non-verbal response.
Gartner’s Resnick points to a use case where a company sets up a virtual customer experience center for networking, social, or trading.
“Given the scale of the Metaverse, it is impossible for employees to work in the Metaverse 24 hours a day, nor can they cope with all the customers who enter the Metaverse. So, we can leverage digital humans to have conversations with customers, who can act as non-player characters representing the organization. Resnick said companies can provide a presence to digital humans, allowing them to talk to customers and build trust.
“We want to see what an organization really looks like, not just a billboard,” Resnick adds, “and that’s one of the many use cases we’ve seen.” ”
Gartner also predicts that enterprises are likely to focus on virtual spaces and shared experiences first. Probably the biggest area of investment in the next few years will be what Gartner calls in-house technology.
Resnick explains, “Interior space essentially refers to how we think about building an internal virtual environment to use employee communication, collaboration, onboarding, and training. Here’s another way of saying it, we’re creating our own virtual office. Gartner predicts that by 2027, fully virtual workspaces will reimagine the work experience, and that spaces will account for 30% of the growth in enterprise investment in Metaverse technology.
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