It can be noticed that ‘Metaverse’ is being discussed everywhere. One can read tons of articles and opinions on it. However, a lot of people are still ambivalent about this. They are not sure how metaverse is relevant to them, what are its use cases and benefits. This informational blog provides a comprehensive account of Metaverse.
However, before jumping into different applications of Metaverse, it is important to understand what it is?
The term ‘metaverse’ became popular when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in October that it was changing its brand name to Meta. This word has been understood in the light of metaverse which is being discussed in the tech world. It is believed to be the next revolution after the internet.
What is metaverse? A very laconic as well as a comprehensive definition of the metaverse is that it is the creation of a virtual world. In this virtual world, the avatars of people will be able to interact with each other. However, these virtual universes can be created by companies for different reasons.
In the latest event in October, Meta introduced some important tools for the developers. These tools include Artificial Intelligence Toolkit, Presence Platform, and Project Cambria Headshot. With the help of these tools, it will be possible to create virtual objects and these objects will be able to interact with each other.
Let’s understand the concept of Metaverse with the help of an example. It is quite understandable that during the COVID-19 almost all of the companies had to shift to the work from home model. Although in the beginning, everybody liked to work from home, after two years most of the employees are yearning to go back to the offices. Because they miss the unique office environment and chats with their colleagues. The daily meetings on Zoom have even led to the birth of the term ‘Zoom fatigue’.
Now imagine, you have a pair of spectacles that can virtually augment your workspace in your room. Although it will not be real it will be very close to reality. However, this will keep on getting real and real over time as technology advances. The rapid growth of technology can be assessed from this that Meta is also working on ‘haptic gloves‘ that can even create the sensation of touching. The haptic technology has been working tirelessly on the process of how a human senses the touches.
The concept of the Metaverse augmented reality, and virtual reality is confusing to some. However, it is important to understand that all three technologies are different.
Augmented reality is a technology that uses real-world settings and augments virtual objects to the real world. These objects, sounds, and other sensory stimuli are created with the help of technology to enhance the user’s experience. Different lenses of Snapchat use augmented reality.
Virtual reality makes use of the computer to create a virtual world. The individuals do not have to watch a screen but It puts an individual in a virtual environment and interacts with the 3D world.
Antithetically, metaverse can be defined as the mixture of both AR and VR. Not only this, but metaverse also advocates that it will bring IoT, artificial intelligence, and holographic avatars in it.
Now, as the concept of the metaverse is crystal clear, let’s see what are its different use cases and how industries will benefit from it.
For a long time, Skype and Microsoft teams have been used for virtual communication. During the pandemic, virtual communication increased rapidly and the platforms enabling video conferencing also increased and Zoom is one of them. Metaverse is aiming to take virtual communication to the next level by enabling a virtual environment where all of the employees of a company could interact with each other. This will make it feel as if everybody is in the same room – creating a virtual workspace.
Moreover, it will allow the employees to engage with each other in different ways instead of looking at the screen all the time. It will not only create a more interactive environment but also increase the productivity of the employees. In the beginning, the idea of virtual workspaces was just about replacing the physical spaces. However, over time the concept has evolved and become richer in experience. As the virtual workspace provides a common virtual environment to all the employees sitting in different locations, it creates a shared environment that promotes shared culture and experiences. Clients and customers can also be invited into the workspaces which makes the concept more complex and rich in the experience.
Who does not love traveling? Everybody loves traveling places around the world, but it is not possible to travel to every place. This is where metaverse can be very helpful in enabling people to enjoy places where they can not go physically. Not only this, but this technology also allows one to enjoy the first-person experience. This becomes possible only by utilizing the power of Metaverse, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality.
In physical tourism, a person can have the freedom to roam around. However, a limitation to this kind of tourism is that you can see only that part of the places which have been recorded for you to watch. However, it is highly likely that in the future, with the collaboration with AI, Computer vision and other technologies, the social experience of traveling with friends becomes possible from the comfort of your home.
The way COVID-19 has affected the education sector all over the world is known to everybody. Social distancing measures across the world forced the students to stay indoors and learn remotely. This was a completely new experience for not only students but also for teachers. However, metaverse can help bridge this technological gap by providing a joined-up online experience. In this way, a single object or avatar can move from one space to another, just like moving from one lecture hall to another.
Moreover, metaverse not only helps in creating virtual learning spaces but also enhances the learning and teaching experiences. It can enhance the science learning experience by allowing us to see simulations and get hands-on experience of different procedures through virtual immersion.
In the future, it can be expected that the in-store shopping experiences also transform into virtual experiences. Where one can enjoy shopping with friends and family without actually visiting the shopping centers. Companies like Shopify and others are already using these technologies and educating the users on how they can use virtual reality and augmented reality to experience products before they buy them.
Similarly, Nike is also using augmented reality for a new solution called Nike Fit. This solution uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other algorithms to measure the size of the feet of the user.
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This can further extend to a social experience where one can enjoy live shopping. This will be a completely different kind of shopping experience with live interactions.
However, this is important to note that it will also make the collaboration of architecture design and engineering possible. This will be a very critical collaboration as people will be creating their own different virtual spaces with different objects.
Similarly, the applications and use-cases of metaverse can be seen in the music industry, game industry, fitness industry, and almost every field and industry that one can think of. There is no doubt that metaverse is aiming at de-materialization in a space where everybody can have similar opportunities.
No doubt, the benefits of metaverse are immense. Yet every opportunity comes with some challenges. In the same way, creating a metaverse also has some challenges. Some of the major challenges are defined below.
Identification of an Individual
In today’s world, personal identification and protection of one’s identity have become a major concern. It is an even greater concern in virtual environments where one always wonders what makes up one’s identity. Most importantly, it is a big challenge for metaverse to make sure that the identity of a person is secured and neither a bot nor anybody else can fake it. Because it can potentially harm one’s reputation.
In online environments, security is always a major concern. Till now, no matter how much the technology has advanced but still in online environments security is a challenge to maintain. In the world of the metaverse, security will need to be ensured at a totally next level.
Currency and Payment Procedures
Although metaverse will allow enhanced shopping experiences yet the currency and payment methods are a challenge to streamline. There needs to be a consistent and unique transaction verification system. Most importantly, convincing users and different companies about security and reliability will be a key challenge.
The speed at which technology is progressing is no less than the speed of light. Till now, the Internet has revolutionized the world, but the addition of Meta will be interesting.
The Internet has been able to connect people from different continents to communicate with each other through different audio and video channels. But Meta will also allow them to interact with each other in a more convenient way in virtual spaces. The applications of metaverse are present in almost every field and further collaboration of different sectors will take the power of metaverse to another level.