The Metaverse is an open, shared, and persistent virtual space where users can exist as digital avatars. The premise of the Metaverse is that users can do everything in the virtual world that they can in the real world. However, the Metaverse is still in its nascent stages. While B2C companies continue to build a presence in the Metaverse, we are still a few stop lights away from a fully functioning virtual world.
This post highlights some of the key technologies that power the Metaverse.
If the IoT world has taught us anything, security is paramount. Especially with any service that exchanges data and stores users’ private information. With its roots in cryptocurrency, blockchain emerged as a decentralized way to store, secure, and authenticate digital currency. Its decentralized mode of operation is crucial since it defines its immutability and the ability to be super secure.
With virtual environments comes virtual currency. Blockchain is the technology of choice for conducting transactions in the virtual world. With NFTs now becoming popular, blockchain is a secure way to record and confirm ownership of assets in the virtual world. Smart contracts also rely on blockchain. These contracts trigger when a preset condition occurs. Entities in the Metaverse can also use them to codify agreement terms.
Besides NFTs and contracts, blockchain is the technology of choice for securing your virtual world avatar and other personal information. Any attributes of your virtual self, including your assets, wallets, artifacts, NFTs, avatars, relationships, etc., can be stored and secured with blockchain.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
AR and VR have been around for many years and have been extensively used for immersive gaming experiences. The use of these technologies in Metaverse is obvious, and both the Metaverse and immersive tech will continue to evolve. With advancements in wearable technology, you can augment AR and VR tech with full body sensors to provide a fully immersive experience.
The need for safe distancing has made VR more pressing in the last few years. As a result, several in-person events were VR-enabled allowing visitors to attend and interact with others just as they would in real life. Apart from gaming, industries such as fashion and travel continue to reap benefits from VR and act as a gateway into specific offerings of brands.
AR is a more intuitive option for immersive experiences despite being reasonably nascent. Instead of an entirely virtual environment, augmented reality overlays virtual elements on the users’ actual life surroundings. Well-known examples include Pokemon games, Snapchat filters, and virtual makeup apps. Another famous example is DIY furniture giant Ikea’s AR app, which lets users visualize Ikea furniture and interior design products in their living environments.
Hybrid and distributed cloud environments
Hosting 3D environments requires sizeable computing and storage resources, so the adoption of cloud computing makes perfect sense. Depending on the adoption of the Metaverse and its offerings, cloud computing providers such as AWS, Azure, Oracle Cloud, and Google Cloud Platforms may provide a more optimized cloud environment for the Metaverse.
One of the significant challenges for cloud providers of the Metaverse is ensuring that bandwidth limitation and interruptions in internet connectivity do not adversely affect the users’ experience. In addition, almost all countries require secure storage of personally identifiable information, and extending these requirements of the Metaverse is also a given.
These challenges are excellent use cases for hybrid and distributed cloud environments. For example, hybrid cloud architectures could secure users’ data by storing it on private servers within their countries’ borders. With a local infrastructure presence, users would experience low latency and a better experience.
As computing hardware improves in revolutionary steps, much of the computing and analytics can be pushed to users’ devices instead of cloud data centers and servers. This functionality would allow creators and developers of metaverse applications to sidestep challenges such as intermittent connectivity issues.
Developing the Metaverse is not within reach of a single organization. As with all successful initiatives, the success of the Metaverse will be a collective effort. This effort also involves user devices that are increasingly powerful and can share the processing and connectivity workloads with the cloud.
As applications in the Metaverse become more commonly accepted, device manufacturers also have an opportunity to innovate and bring in more metaverse-centric hardware. 5G technology lowers power consumption by almost 90%, with data rates faster than most wired broadband connections. Furthermore, latency is reduced by almost 20X, and reliability improves by about 95%. All these facts work in favor of the Metaverse and meet specific demands needed for metaverse applications.
AI in Metaverse
The core intent behind Metaverse is to deliver an immersive experience. Users will also expect the same actions they do in real life to be available in the Metaverse. These actions include the ability to “read” text, content analysis, speech processing, and computer vision. In addition, users will want to interact with objects and other users in the Metaverse.
Users can create and modify their “avatars” in the Metaverse. This functionality requires scanning and understanding 2D and 3D images from the real world – a job made for machine learning algorithms. Natural language recognition can make the experience more intuitive and enable users to interact with the 3D world and other users. AI-driven bots and other automated assistants can act as “helpers” of this new world, guiding users when they need assistance.
Security is paramount, and the ability of the verse to detect and eject malicious users is critical. Deep fakes already cause plenty of harm in the real world, and the Metaverse would compound their malicious intent multifold. The popularity of the verse depends on its ability to keep it free from malicious intent and fraud.