Metaverse means a higher universe. It’s not just hype, it’s a new user experience. The Metaverse is a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually. Augmented reality overlays visual elements, sounds, and other sensory inputs onto real-world settings to enhance the user experience. The Metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connections. This is a virtual iteration of the Internet as a single, universal, immersive virtual world facilitated by the use of VR and AR headsets. Metaverse provides a seamless experience 24/7. The term “metaverse” doesn’t really refer to a specific type of technology, but rather to a broader shift in how we interact with it. The convergence of IoT, AI, blockchain, and other disruptive technologies are involved in creating immersive experiences in the Metaverse.
The gaming industry has already entered the metaverse. The Metaverse is very useful when people with disabilities are working from home, as it eliminates the need to travel to visit places (virtual tourism). Employees can use this technology to interact with other employees. Similarly, students attending online classes can interact with teachers and classmates. The Metaverse facilitates online trade fairs and expositions.
The Metaverse seamlessly blends our physical and digital lives, creating a unified virtual community where people can work, play, trade, relax and socialize.
A metaverse arena with a lot of activity: digital commerce, digital currencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), entertainment, social media, digital assets, games, workplaces, infrastructure, and AI assistants.
Five Key Technologies Enabling the Metaverse
– Blockchain: The blockchain backbone enables digital asset ownership, digital asset transferability, and decentralized governance to be trustless (trustless means third parties that may operate between users and cryptocurrency transactions). (meaning you don’t have to trust a third party).
– Augmented Reality (XR): XR is an umbrella term that encompasses VR, AR, MR (Mixed Reality) and Haptics to provide an immersive experience and create seamless user perception. XR breaks down the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds. Immersion and interaction are two pillars of XR. Interaction is tactile. In a year or two, you’ll be able to touch and feel products in the Metaverse before buying them online.
– Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning plays a crucial role by helping us personalize the Metaverse experience by learning from our individual behavior. AI makes it easier for users to interact with the metaverse.
– Edge computing and 5G
– IoT (Internet of Things)
The various components of the metaverse are:
– Hardware infrastructure
– Software backend
– world primitives and rules (identity, mechanisms, programmability)
– Inworld assets
– Physical/Digital: Spaces, Objects, Avatars
– Economics: Currencies, Financial Instruments
– Content: media, data assets
– End User Hardware
– End User Software
Potential Indicators of Metaverse Business Opportunities
1. $54 billion is spent annually on virtual goods
2. Second Life (Second Life is an online multimedia platform that allows people to create their avatar and interact with other users and user-generated content within a multiplayer online virtual world) was $650 million in 2021. user.
3. 25% of people will spend at least an hour in the metaverse by 2026
4. 60 billion messages are sent on Roblox every day (Roblox is an app that allows users to play various games, create games, and chat with other users online. Games, social a combination of media, social commerce)
5. NFT market capitalization is $40 billion
6. 200 strategic partnerships with Sandbox (Sandbox is based on the Ethereum blockchain and is a decentralized NFT game metaverse)
7. Recently, Flipkart launched a metaverse experience called Flipverse that allows users to experience and purchase products in 3D VR that can be accessed from a smartphone without the need for a VR headset.
8. Bangalore Airport recently entered the metaverse
Business rationale for implementing the metaverse
– Rapid increase in user engagement in metaverse
– The Metaverse enriches the consumer experience through first-ever immersive experiences, especially in consumer-driven products.
– Metaverse showcases innovative virtual products
– Metaverse gathers new data and insights on customer virtual behavior
– Metaverse allows you to sell physical and digital products and services virtually barrier-free
• Telecom Service Providers (TSPs): The Metaverse presents significant business opportunities for TSPs. With the metaverse increasing data usage 20x by 2032, TSP will benefit enormously. But it also puts more stress on communication resources. TSP must move to edge computing. A consistent strategy for implementing the metaverse should be developed. Sufficient investments and appropriate policy frameworks are required. The demand for low-latency data grows exponentially.
• entertainment and economy
o Live entertainment such as movies, music, and sports could grow exponentially in the metaverse.Entertainment sector revenues expected to surpass $200 billion in 2024
o AR/VR-enabled online retail platforms are expected to grow, along with advertising opportunities
o AR/VR hardware is important as virtual experiences rely on these hardware to ensure seamless perception. Requires hardware such as smart glasses, VR gloves, etc.
o Gaming hardware revenue is expected to reach $77 billion in 2024.
o Demand for advanced chips is expected to grow as they are essential to ensure a seamless experience.
Implementing the metaverse requires an enormous amount of software resources. There is an opportunity in the design and development of AR/VR content
Metaverse enables ChatGPT in Indic languages. Metaverse’s NLLB (No language left behind) model enables real-time speech-to-speech translation in Indian languages. The challenges to be addressed in implementing the Metaverse in India are quality, scalability, and affordability without compromising the fact that the majority of the population lives in rural areas. Metaverse can be used to enhance security, medical, education and defense skills in India. Metaverse has unlimited potential in our country. Value is created for all stakeholders and the metaverse is relevant to all functions in any company/department. Our country’s grand vision is for it to become a global metaverse corridor, and there should be movement to achieve that. We have the potential to lead the world in his XR, and especially Skill Training and the Metaverse Corridor can pave the way. This new technology needs standards and regulations to protect people from misuse.
(The author is a former adviser to the Government of India Telecommunications Department (DoT))