Mobile World Congress 2023: The metaverse in the spotlight despite industry’s doubts over its future

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    South Korean company SK Telecom’s flying taxi mockup is one of the high-profile demonstrations at the 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest telecommunications trade fair.

    At this week’s trade fair in Barcelona, ​​technology companies and wireless operators showed their progress in connecting people and businesses online. metaverse.

    Visitor Mark Varahona said he felt sick after trying the flight experience, but is still considering buying a virtual reality headset. This is the hardware you need to enter the immersive digital universe.

    “I thought I would buy it before I came here, and maybe I will now,” he said. “They look so nice”.

    The Metaverse will be announced in late 2021 when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg declared the Metaverse the Internet’s next big thing, renamed his social media empire The Metaverse, and invested tens of billions in the idea. Invested dollars and gained explosive popularity.

    He described it as a 3D community where people could meet, work and play, doing everything from trying on digital clothes, holding virtual meetings, and traveling online.

    But the feasibility is questionable metaverse As the initial hype faded, it crept in.

    Are Metaverse plans stalled?

    According to NPD Research, sales of virtual reality headsets in the US fell 2% year-over-year through December. Reality Labs, which manufactures Meta Quest headsets, has posted an operating loss of €12.8 billion in 2022.

    Meta says it plans to hire 10,000 engineers in Europe to work on the Metaverse. When asked to update, the company said, “Expansion in Europe has always been long-term, planned for years. We remain committed to Europe.”

    “[The] “The metaverse is not dead,” said Ben Wood, principal analyst at CCS Insight. I think there is more skepticism.”

    Defining the metaverse is difficult and skeptical is growing. This is not the same as virtual reality or its cousin augmented reality, said Thuong Nguyen, an analyst specializing in new technologies at Gartner.

    “So AR and VR are very closely related to the metaverse in the same way computers are to the internet,” he said. “Instead, think of it as an evolution of the Internet that changes the way we interact with the world.”

    So how should SK Telecom’s flight simulator be defined?

    New 5G network kicks off the metaverse

    “Technically, it’s not a metaverse, it’s a kind of metaverse,” said company manager Ken Wohn.

    South Korea’s largest telecom provider last year partnered with California’s Joby Aviation to develop an electric air taxi service for South Korea.

    One day, Wohn said, air taxis could operate autonomously using high-speed 5G wireless connections.

    French wireless company Orange’s Metaverse demonstration transported users to a futuristic, neon-colored technoscape with lightning bolts, giant robots, and falcons carrying green orbs in their claws.

    A dance figure that expresses the movement of a real dancer wearing motion capture gear has appeared. It was a dazzling display, but the consumer’s purpose wasn’t immediately apparent.

    Miguel Angel Almonacid, Orange’s director of network strategy for Spain, said the new 5G network shows how the new 5G network will eliminate delays for Metaverse users watching what’s happening in the distance.

    metaverse Analysts say it may be better suited for practical purposes at work.

    Gartner’s Nguyen said, “That’s where we’ll see the first traction because the barriers aren’t that high.” For example, workers can use augmented reality glasses to call up diagnostics and instruction manuals.


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