The pursuit of structuring digital elements to render real-world experience is the prime narrative of the tech industry today. This has led to the formation of cyberspaces, popularised as the ‘metaverse’, with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) at the core. Tech giants like Meta and Microsoft have already ventured quite far in this direction.
While this shift in interaction with technology has been rather sluggish at the end of users and investors, a steady rise in mass interest and inquisitiveness is reported. It has been predicted that 25% of the lot will spend at least one hour every day on the metaverse by 2026. This in turn would lead 30% of the organizations in the world to streamline their products and services to the metaverse. The possibilities are rather fascinating! The question is whether the concept of the metaverse would bring about a wider revamp in the landscape of technology.
The utility of the metaverse has been proposed to be multifaceted. These include work possibilities, live entertainment, art shows, investing, education, socializing, and gaming, to name a few. The attempt is to trace an exact edition of reality by creating a futuristic yet efficient way to go about our daily lives.
A detailed analysis is imperative to tidy up the obscurity surrounding the term Metaverse and learn its purpose, efficacy, and ways in which it can drive businesses forward.
What exactly is a Metaverse?
On the rebranding of Facebook to Meta in 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, to emphasize the company’s focus, aptly defined metaverse as the internet embodied. This viewpoint is similar to Second Life creator Philip Rosedale’s idea of the metaverse, which sees it as a three-dimensional internet where people can interact through a representational mechanism using their avatars.
To simplify it further, the metaverse is a virtual world underpinned by AR and VR technology that provides users with an immersive experience. Depending on the wider specifications, Web 3.0 technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency, and AI/ML can also be integrated into the metaverse to make it more decentralized and privacy-focused.
Metaverses, though in rudimentary forms, have existed for almost over a decade. For instance, the popular multiplayer gaming platform Roblox is a metaverse and has been around since 2006. Its usage had been confined chiefly to gaming and social networking. Until recently, when the industry extended its application to workplaces leading to another rendition termed as enterprise metaverse.
The discourse has had such change lately that in 2021, more than half of the traffic on the metaverse was work-related. Microsoft and Meta have already readied platforms that effectively allow users to carry out collaborative tasks and projects. While others are prioritizing building the metaverse to engage customers.
Top Metaverse Platforms to Watch Out
The variety of notions on the metaverse has been conceived and materialized by dominant tech players into a variety of products. While segments of these products are comparable, they function to fulfill distinct objectives. Below are some notable examples –
Meta’s Horizon Worlds
Horizon Worlds is what Meta’s earlier social VR apps like Oculus Rooms and Oculus Venues have evolved into. The former, conversely, befits the metaverse criterion better and is focused on user-generated content (UCS). UCS platforms allow users to post content in any form whether text or media for other users to interact with.
Renamed from Facebook Horizon in late 2021, the platform began to function as a new social virtual world. It has since expanded to include monetization and in-app purchases where creators can sell virtual items. To access the platform, users require a VR headset called Oculus Quest. The company has also provided features for enterprises to carry out workplace activities like conducting meetings and collaborating on projects.
The immediate objective of the social media giant is to evoke an immersive experience to communicate around the world. Attempting to root out restrictive ways to engage, multiply options and make content more tangible. However, Horizon World’s reception has, as of now, remained below the mark. Critics have cited vulnerabilities including not-so-immersive experience, subpar interface, and concerns about the breach of privacy and data exploitation.
Unlike Meta, Microsoft’s iteration of the metaverse is earmarked for the enterprise market. The tech giant has developed a mixed-reality platform to facilitate collaboration, video conferencing, and immersive content sharing. The solution utilizes HoloLens and Microsoft Mesh to feature interaction through Holoportation or representational avatars.
Holoportation is the technology that deploys mixed reality to let users interact with each other by projecting their lifelike holograms. Whereas users with VR headsets can participate in the activity through avatars. Users can also project three-dimensional concepts of tangible objects or elements to enrich the experience further.
GPU and chip manufacturer corporation Nvidia, popular in the gaming industry, revealed their take on the metaverse – the ‘Omniverse’. It falls under the enterprise metaverse category as well. The platform is constructed on the back of Universal Scene Description, an open-source framework developed by Pixar to share real-time, 3-D graphics.
In September 2022, at the NVIDIA GTC event, the company claimed that the automobile giant BMW was using the Omniverse to build digital twins of their factories. Digital Twins, quite literally, is the virtual representation of a real-world physical environment or product. Omniverse allows users to digitally twin any tangible object that can be worked upon to produce real outcomes.
Technologies That Constitute The Metaverse
The tech stack being used by companies to build their version of the metaverse, with each serving specific purposes, is enormous. Yet on taking a closer look at what sits at the core of the metaverse technologies, we find a few consistent components. These are discussed below.
1. AR and VR
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are essentially needed to provide an immersive, engaging and interactive experience. In certain cases, both AR and VR are used parallel to fortify the metaverse. With the use of AR and VR technologies, the metaverse experience may be expanded to include physical simulations. Users will be able to sense, hear, and communicate despite the distance.
It must be noted that AR differs from VR in character as the former essentially morphs reality with digital elements, whereas the latter puts the user in an entirely separate virtual world.
2. Web 3.0
When interacting with technology, a user takes note of a few aspects concerning data management. Web 3.0, generally referred to as Web3, is the next generation of the internet with a focus on decentralization, privacy, security, and machine learning. It helps decentralize the metaverse and makes users the ultimate owners of their data.
For instance, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are elements of Web3 that incentivize anonymous and secure transactions of digital assets. The concern here, in the inevitability of the metaverse shaping the internet, is whether it’s free of complete ownership.
3. Artificial Intelligence
The significance of AI in automation, quick decision-making, and strategic planning is becoming widely evident. The application of AI has now spread to the construction of metaverses to ensure an immersive experience to its extent.
Artificial Intelligence can further provide insights regarding the scalability and suitable transformation of features in the metaverse. It can also be deployed to enhance user experience.
4. 3D Reconstruction
Cross-sectional and spatial formation of an animate object denoted using various elements of computer graphics, like color, feature, etc., can be done through the process of 3D reconstruction. Its relevance has been in sectors like healthcare, real estate, etc.
So far as the metaverse is concerned, 3D reconstruction can be essential in attaining a realistic graphical representation of the physical space. Developers can feed the metaverse with digital assets in the form of 3D and 4K HD imagery to generate a virtual replica.
5. Internet of Things (IoT)
The utility of IoT in the functioning of technology exists from the start to the end. It basically implies the interconnectivity of all things over a network. It is a system that uses a point of detection device like sensors to collect data from the physical world and process it into digital packets. These sensors will have a distinctive identity and the capacity to send and receive data automatically once they are connected to the Internet.
IoTs can be seamlessly integrated to bridge the gap between the metaverse and reality. It would influence the metaverse for data management and optimization and the creation of simulations.
Is The Metaverse Truly The Next Big Thing?
To put it precisely, there’s a fifty-fifty chance. While the metaverse definitely offers a complete transition from the conventional ways of interacting and sharing information and showcases the potential to transfigure technology, it is still in its initial stages of development.
The metaverse has a wider industry application as well. For instance, by enhancing the tour experience, the metaverse can help drive customer engagement in the travel industry. So far as the education sector is concerned, AR-VR technologies have already made the learning process more interactive. The evolution of the metaverse will further expand its utility across various business domains.
Despite the exciting possibilities, there are many metaverse limitations in the form of its built quality, rudimentary graphics, and real-world applicability. These concerns have posed serious challenges to the metaverse and its futuristic prospects.
In addition, it is yet to become an affordable and workable alternative for users and enterprises around the world. For the metaverse to become a true go-to platform, there are several requisites to be met and ensured. These include secure data management, incentivization of the creator economy, sophisticated spatial computing to render quality experience, and so on.
Top Metaverse Alternatives To Check Out
Available mainstream metaverses are either extremely costly or too unclear as to what issue it resolves. However, if you’re looking to experience a digital realm or a solution to distant collaboration, check out the following alternatives to the Metaverse:
- Spotify Island – In collaboration with Roblox, Spotify Island allows users to interact with composers, experience immersive audio and explore sounds at virtual music stations.
- Virtuali – It is a social networking platform that provides users with in-person experiences through avatars.
- Mira Prism – Hands-free AR platform and headset that allows front-line workforce with continual collaboration.
- UHive Oasis – A social networking platform in the metaverse that powers users to share deeply interactive content.
- Wonder – An intuitive digital realm to organize and host virtual events; effective mostly to carry out work activities.
- Grapevine – A 3D virtual space that enables users to interact, collaborate and work.
Build The Metaverse with Appventurez
At Appventurez, we have a dedicated team of metaverse developers crafting digital realms using AR and VR technologies. If it is a gaming platform you’re planning to build or a digital space to host virtual events and collaborative activities, we are here to help. We prioritize the strategic development of products and are focused on client satisfaction.
With the expertise amassed over the years in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality app development, we guarantee world-class product delivery that not only provides a seamless user experience but also caters to its business needs. We guarantee the completion of your metaverse development project in time and utmost quality.
Q. How can the metaverse reinvent content sharing and interaction?
The metaverse is essentially an immersive, three-dimensional internet where users can not only share content but interact with it in real-time. Through the effective utility of Artificial Intelligence, AR and VR technologies, users can not only react to shared content but participate in it and record a realistic experience.
Q. How much does the AR-VR-powered app development cost?
Depending on the complexity and functionality of the AR VR app, the cost could range from $10,000 to $50,000 for a simple app, $50,000 to $100,000 for an app of medium complexity, and $150,000 to $250,000 for large-sized, complex applications.
Q. What are some limitations to the metaverse?
While the metaverse’s utility can be effortlessly enlisted, there are some drawbacks that impact its applicability on a wider scale. Since the metaverse is inherently internet with sizeable graphics, it would require superfast internet over an optic network to run without lag. In addition, the widespread concern regarding privacy breaches and data exploitation is also a major obstacle.
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