Korean mobile carriers anticipate metaverse metamorphosis

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    South Korean carriers are eyeing the chilled Metaverse market, hoping the heat will heat up again due to a potential mix with the AI ​​boom. They roll out new platforms and update existing ones throughout the year to maintain their position in this space.

    Once hailed as the future bread and butter of the IT industry, the Metaverse business is facing a sharp decline in investment. Global investment in the metaverse industry in the first quarter shrank by 70% year-on-year to his $586.7 million.

    Over the same period, funding for generative AI increased by 275% to approximately $2.3 billion.

    The metaverse bubble burst in South Korea as well. According to the Korea Information Society Development Institute, as of June last year, only 4.2% of South Koreans had access to the Metaverse. The number of monthly active users of Naver’s ZEPETO, which was launched in 2018 with the aim of becoming Asia’s largest metaverse platform, peaked at around 20 million since August last year.

    Despite the tough conditions, operators looking to enter foreign markets and create new revenue models with their services are clinging to the Metaverse business.

    At the Metaverse conference in central Seoul on Tuesday, KT announced plans to update its B2C metaverse platform Genieverse in July. Use the large-scale language model Mi:dm to implement AI non-player characters that speak and move like humans on virtual platforms. According to the carrier, a digital twin service is also underway that allows brick-and-mortar stores to receive orders from metaverse stores.

    “Metaverse and AI are ‘best friends,'” said Lee Chul-ju, KT’s head of AI metaservice development.

    Genieverse launched as an open beta service in March and has over 46,000 downloads.

    LG Uplus announced Thursday that it plans to launch Kidstopia, a metaverse platform designed for children, in the third quarter of this year. Kidstopia targets Generation Alpha, those born in his 2010s. After consulting with education and gaming experts, we released an open beta service in February.

    LG Uplus Web3 Business Development Director Kim Min-gu said the platform will “become a leading Metaverse service for children in South Korea by adding learning elements for various subjects.”

    The Metaverse, along with blockchain and the Internet of Things, could boost demand for telecommunications services, according to industry insiders. Increased metaverse-exclusive content will increase demand for high-speed 5G and 6G data services, potentially increasing data usage per capita.

    “It costs a lot of money to make a metaverse platform look like the real thing, but advances in generative AI offer opportunities to improve real-world capabilities and reduce costs,” said Kaist’s computer science professor. , says Kim Joo-ho. “The synergistic effect of both is worthy of expectation.”

    Customization is a common strategy for carriers in the metaverse market.

    Launched in 2021, SK Telecom currently operates the metaverse platform ‘ifland’ in 49 countries, partnering with local telecom operators to carry out customized updates of the service. Earlier last month, SK Telecom launched an ‘if home’ function that allows eFriend users to own a 3D private space on iland.

    KT’s Genieverse is demonstrating a pilot feature called AI MIM (Message, Image, Motion) that allows users to customize the metaverse based on text entered by the user. LG Uplus launched Uverse platform for universities and Uplus Virtual Office for businesses to target users’ age and occupation.

    Carriers have high hopes for new head-mounted displays (HMDs) due to be unveiled in the second half of this year. They have high hopes that HMDs will pave the way for the Metaverse market to boom again by offering realistic experiences enhanced with augmented reality.

    Apple could unveil its Reality Pro gadget with virtual and augmented reality features at its Worldwide Developers Conference in California on Monday.

    Meta has announced its ambitions for the Metaverse business under a new name, and may announce the Quest 3 model later this year, possibly during the Meta Connect conference in September or October.

    “Apple will soon own luxury brands.” [mixed reality] $2,000+ headsets are penetrating the market, but Meta will continue to dominate the cheaper segment,” Bloomberg reported.

    Written by Kim Kyung Mi []


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