The Metaverse Divide
We are currently in the initial phase of the Metaverse -- the next step in the Internet evolution that brings together physical, augmented, and virtual realities in a shared online space. It is promised to be an immersive and interactive environment, in which the user experience takes center stage.
However, as with virtually everything in life, opinions on the Metaverse concept are split. On the one hand, there are those who argue that Metaverse is a great idea. If you go online right now, you can find any number of opinion pieces and videos singing the praises of the immersive internet experience -- even at this early stage of its development.
At the other end of the spectrum are those who argue that a world based on the worst elements of dystopian future visions from Sci-Fi and movies like “The Matrix” simply isn’t wise. What’s more, the only ones to truly gain from the Metaverse vision will be the tech companies and businesses making money from it.
Recently, the doubters have had reason to feel justified, following a spectacular fail from one of the leading Metaverse advocates.
Meta’s Bump in the Metaverse Road
Despite its $10.2 billion investment in the Metaverse, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta shot itself in the foot by recently releasing a dismal sample of its efforts. On August 6, Meta unveiled a disturbing-looking VR porcelain doll of the former Facebook CEO, set against equally poor 3D renditions of the Eiffel Tower and La Sagrada Familia.
Intended as a promotion for the company’s Horizon Worlds environment, the event provoked a vicious backlash from social media, with one Tweet inviting users to “Come work for Meta, where the most brilliant technologists of the day have achieved 1995 level graphics.”
The mistimed stunt precipitated a rapid back-pedal from Meta, with Zuckerberg himself promising “Major updates to Horizon and avatar graphics coming soon,” and the company’s President of Global Affairs proclaiming, “ There won’t be a Meta-run Metaverse, just as there isn’t a ‘Microsoft internet’ or ‘Google internet’ today.”
This last statement in particular has been fueling rumors that Meta may be seeking to distance itself from further involvement in the immersive internet project -- or even ditching the Metaverse entirely.
A Metaverse without Meta?
The reality on the ground is that, even without the involvement of Meta, the enabling technologies needed to make the Metaverse vision practical are already in development. They include:
Virtual Reality (VR)
Digital simulations of real and imagined worlds are currently in use in games, social networks, education, virtual health, and on-the-job training environments. The sector is growing, with ARK Invest predicting that VR/AR headsets could reach smartphone adoption rates by 2030.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Here, designers can enhance parts of the physical world with computer-generated overlays and input. Together with sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is anticipated that AR contact lenses and spectacles could eventually facilitate virtual assistance and information services. ARK Invest research expects the augmented reality market will grow from $27 billion in 2021 to $1 trillion by 2030.
Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs)
Brain-computer interfaces could enable users to control avatars, various objects, and digital transactions with their brain signals. A still nascent technology that may have an impact during the maturing years of Metaverse development, BCI is currently being built by companies like Neuralink, NextMind, and Neurable.
With input from various independent systems and platforms, the Metaverse will be a decentralized environment. For this reason, blockchain technology will be pivotal in facilitating quick and secure digital transactions. Grand View Research predicts that the global blockchain technology market will grow to $395 billion in 2028, from its 2021 value of $6 billion.
Very high internet speeds, high bandwidth, and extremely low latency are prerequisites for realizing the Metaverse vision. This will require the widespread deployment of networking technologies like 5G, and infrastructure environments like edge cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Clearly then, Metaverse technology is evolving at a rapid pace. This is happening irrespective of whether Zuckerberg’s Meta remains an active and valuable contributor to the movement. And even if the general public fails to fully embrace the Metaverse vision, these technological advances will still have the potential to positively impact all of our lives.
This remains true of innovations in all of the sectors described above -- and critically, in the essential area of networking technology.
Here at FusionLayer, we continue to develop and provide Software-Defined solutions for the edge infrastructure that enable our customers to attain higher levels of performance while reducing the ecological footprint of their DNS, DHCP, and IP Address Management services.
By replacing traditional hardware-based DDI appliances with FusionLayer solutions deployed as virtual machines and/or as container pods on optimized business infrastructure, we are playing our part with a high-performing solution that can advance the development of Metaverse projects, and actively contribute to our client's sustainability efforts.