The emergence and persistence of the metaverse

The emergence and persistence of the metaverse

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Over the past two and a half years, we have witnessed an increase in the popularity and proliferation of new digital experiences in the nascent metaverse. There, consumers are transported into a virtual world that mimics real-world experiences using state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and more.

Beyond the hype and across industries, there is real opportunity and staying power for metaverse capabilities. In fact, Gartner recently named the metaverse one of the top five emerging trends and technologies. The 3D and immersive nature of the technology forms the basis of the metaverse and unlocks new ways of working, communicating, learning, playing and living.

As network technology continues to expand, the speed and power will allow massive amounts of data to zip between cloud servers and devices, creating experiences like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Here are some ways the metaverse will become a part of our lives.

Gamifying our everyday life

The Metaverse represents the next generation of digital experiences. Users will be able to have unlimited interactions within a virtual community, from meeting with colleagues to owning land (digitally of course).

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While games have been around for decades, we are just now getting a sense of the breadth of the metaverse and gamification. For example, games like 30 Helios (a narrative mobile AR adventure) use a type of 3D hologram to give users a new perspective on mobile entertainment. Here, your mobile device is the portal to the metaverse. Players move around an augmented version of their actual physical space (home, apartment, office) to hack “glitches” in their space; Once the bugs are hacked, they unlock more stories.

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Engaging companies

Companies expect the metaverse to take experiences far beyond games for a wide variety of purposes. These will include simulated job training, sales and marketing functions for a variety of industries, and even things like aircraft design, simulation and urban planning.

We can even see a world where information will be rendered to users in real time, using AI algorithms. Take the process of renting or buying an apartment. A user can walk down the streets of New York City and, wearing glasses, be connected to a real estate application that shows them in real time (through AI) which buildings have apartments for rent and connects them to a brokerage right then and there.

A new kind of travel

Imagine what it would be like to travel the world without investing too much money or time, or even facing the fear of flying. In the metaverse, AR and VR can enable users to explore countries, cities and destinations they’ve always dreamed of visiting. As the metaverse continues to evolve, users experience more advanced multi-sensory experiences on the go – and so the idea of ​​virtual tourism expands.

Virtual tourism means access for people of all backgrounds and abilities to almost any location, personalized guest experiences and unparalleled entertainment. Users will be able to experience immersive museum tours, taste wine from France and climb the highest mountains.

The city of Madrid recently launched a free, 360-degree virtual tour for curious tourists, allowing them to make informed decisions about what to see when they visit in person. This virtual tour includes approximately 40 of the Spanish city’s most popular tourist attractions, including museums, squares, gardens, cathedrals and a variety of cultural institutions.

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The technology may eventually allow us to travel to landmarks of the past, such as the Colosseum at the height of its glory or Pompeii before the volcanic eruption.

Like the virtual tour of Madrid, these types of metaverse platforms can also serve as a starting point for travelers who may be planning to book a personalized trip based on their favorite metaverse experiences.

How the metaverse can build a future accessible to all

Diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are areas where the metaverse can have a significant impact on creating a more accessible future.

According to the CDC, an estimated 61 million people in the United States live with a disability. For many of these people, the metaverse can offer solutions to everyday challenges. For example, visually impaired users can benefit from high color contrast. Those with hearing problems can benefit from real-time subtitles and captions. People with cognitive challenges can benefit from the use of shapes, colors and images to help convey ideas. The legally blind can take advantage of technology such as 3D sound echolocation while exploring 3D worlds.

Trust, security and privacy are issues that developers must keep at the top of their minds as they code the digital way forward. In the metaverse, we essentially have a group of strangers who come together and interact with each other in a variety of ways. It is important to consider the extent of negative interactions, such as the sharing of false information. Designing environments and experiences where everyone will thrive is an important factor for developers.

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Ultimately, the metaverse enhances the physical world and the interactions that keep our human connections strong. While we’ve seen massive growth and expansion in recent years, we’ve only barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.

Frank Boulben is Chief Revenue Officer of Verizon Consumer Group.

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