- Cristina J. Orgaz @cjorgaz
- BBC News World
What will we need to build the metaverse, that parallel and completely digital world that large corporations like Facebook or Microsoft are turning to develop?
This universe in the cloud based on augmented reality will require many resources, years and the collaboration of corporations from different sectors.
To create a new world is to develop the economy through goods and services that do not yet exist and, probably, inspire the generation of new companies along the way.
Experts agree that a single company is unlikely to be able to build and maintain the cyberworld.
Bloomberg Intelligence calcula que the market opportunity for the metaverse can reach the US$800,000 million by 2024.
And Bank of America includes the metaverse among the 14 technologies that are going to revolutionize our lives.
“The metaverse will comprise countless virtual worlds connected to each other and to the physical world,” write the experts in the recent “Bank of America Thematic Report: The 14 Technologies That Will Revolutionize Our Lives.”
“They will generate a robust economy that will span from work to leisure, while transforms long-established industries and markets such as finance and banking, retail and education, healthcare and fitness, as well as adult entertainment. “
“At the end of the decade — in 2030—, we will spend more time in the metaverse than in “real life”said American inventor Raymond Kurzweil, a pioneer in developing various technological advancements, and Google’s chief engineering officer since 2012.
However, the concept is not really new.
Different video games on line They have developed virtual worlds for decades.
They are not the metaverse, but they have some ideas in common with it.
“Metaverses are not new. is new is the amount of investment that is being allocated and the growing acceptance of digital assets among a population that is increasingly digital natives, “explains Benjamin Dean, director of digital assets at WisdomTree, an investment and analytics firm.
“The pace of transformation continues to accelerate, which means that technologies (that we considered) distant and long-term are coming ever faster,” he says.
“In recent years, in industrialized countries, most people (more than 50%) do not remember what life was like before the internet. This demographic shift will continue to occur, especially in countries where smartphones are ubiquitous and the population is younger, “says the WisdomTree expert.
“I called this process the virtualization of the world a decade ago,” Dean adds.
According to the explanation of Mark Zuckerberg himself, the founder of Facebook, in the digital universe that will be the metaverse “you can instantly teleport like a hologram to be in the office without having to travel, or to a concert with friends or to your parents’ room to catch up “.
But unlike today’s virtual reality, which is used primarily for video games, the metaverse is expected to encompass entertainment, games, concerts, movies, work, education, and more.
And that will involve the development of new companies and technologies in those specific sectors.
Concerts, content and entertainment
The singers Ariana Grande, Marshmello or the rapper Travis Scott have performed in the famous video game Fortnite, from Epic Games, in a demonstration of what the future of concerts in metaverse could be.
Up to 12.3 million players on the platform gathered in real time in April last year to witness the release of the song.The Scotts that the rap superstar composed alongside fellow rapper Kid Cudi.
And Mickey Mouse himself seems ready to interact in the metaverse.
Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the entertainment conglomerate is preparing to make the technological leap into a world of virtual reality in its theme parks.
Although the experience would not be limited to them.
“Extending the magic of Disney parks to homes is a real possibility,” he said.
“Generation Z will drive the shift to the metaverse and the use of holograms, as well as a increased content creation for virtual worlds. This in the very long term could benefit the sector, “says the Bank of America report.
Content providers ranging from movies (Disney) to television (Discovery Channel), sports (Fox Sports), music (Universal Music Group, Live Nation), platform providers (Netflix) and newspapers (The New York Times) have started testing with immersive 3D experiences.
The director of the “Lord of the Rings” series, Peter Jackson, recently announced the sale of his special effects studio, Weta Digital, to a company of software American who wants to develop the metaverse.
An operation that shows that things are moving very fast in the sector.
“Offer immersion seats in the “front row” at a sporting event, concert, or fashion show it could be lucrative for businesses, while increasing accessibility to live events, “Bank of America says in its report.
Office and virtual presence
But if the covid-19 pandemic has left something behind, it is remote work.
Infinite Office is the workplace imagined by Facebook.
It has virtual meeting rooms in which participants can simultaneously use their real-world computers.
But Facebook is not the only great technology that is developing a concept of this type.
Microsoft recently spoke of creating “a metaverse for business.” based on Microsoft Teams, the meeting platform that became popular during the pandemic.
With this, he wants to offer virtual spaces for events, meetings and opportunities for networking, advanced the company.
For the consulting firm PwC, the training sector has a lot to gain in a virtual office environment.
“Virtual reality is already energizing training programs in various sectors by opening up environments that would be costly, dangerous or limited in the real world,” its experts say in a 2020 report.
They believe that a immersive and emotional experience, which can be much more exciting than traditional training In the workplace, it can boost memory and be very effective in teaching new skills and procedures.
Experts agree that there is a long way to go before we can see the metaverse materialize.
Former IBM engineer Thomas Frey recalls that the internet infrastructure, the feasibility of having a large number of participants interacting with each other in real time, language barriers and latency issues (the time it takes to open a web page when we click on it) are the main challenges of the metaverse.
Will be needed computers and graphics and v processing chipsipart more powerful in which the most relevant companies in the sector such as NVDA, AMD or Intel already work.
The development of all this technology represents new business opportunities for all companies that manufacture microchips.
Another sector that promises transformations is that of teaching.
“The fundamental idea is based on adaptive learning, which has been around for many years,” write Haim Israel, Felix Tran and Martyn Briggs, strategists at BoA Merrill Lynch.
“Lessons change in response to student reactions to The matter, such as tilting your head or even falling asleep. Additional quizzes, videos, and explanations can be added to increase understanding or to liven up the lesson, “they add.
In the field of higher education, everything indicates that universities will create their own virtual campuses, which could increase the number of students.
The possibilities are endless.
Astronomy students could stand in the middle of colliding galaxies, and the Art history class could take place in the Sistine Chapel.
Medicine and telecare could have a field to grow and develop new services.
Increasingly, users are turning to digital solutions for healthcare, and the d pandemic has exacerbated this trend.
The same happened with electronic commerce.
Giants such as Amazon or Libre Mercado saw their sales multiply and Bank of America believes that the metaverse will lead consumers to buy more in virtual worlds.
For Benjamin Dean all this new trade you will need alternative currencies that will coexist with existing money: the dollar, the euro, the yen, the peso …
“The lines between physical and virtual realities have blurred and will continue to do so for the next decade,” he says.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.