" " The Future of the Internet: METAVERSE ~ VISION ON PLANET -

Sunday 12 December 2021

The Future of the Internet: METAVERSE

 The Future of the Internet: METAVERSE

The Future of the Internet: METAVERSE
The Future of the Internet: METAVERSE

We will all have to get used to a new term: “Metaverse”, Because this is how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg describes a completely new online world that he wants to create with his company. A virtual universe on the internet. 10,000 jobs are to be created around the project in Europe alone. Sounds like a big deal.

the global tech elite is discussing their visions of what the next generation of the Internet could look like, one word is likely to be used particularly frequently at the moment: “Metaverse”. The term comes from the science fiction novel "Snowcrash" from 1992, which is said to have made a lasting impression on the founders of Google, Amazon and Facebook. OMR explains what is hidden behind the term, why it is currently experiencing a renaissance and which players in the industry are ascribed the greatest potential to build a “metaverse”.

“'Snow Crash' * was ten years ahead of its time. The book kind of anticipated what happened after that, and I find that really interesting, "said Sergey Brin in an interview in 2000. The Google founder mentions the science fiction novel as one of two books, that would have particularly influenced him in his life.

What is this metaverse?

This is a future scenario for digital media use that the group wants to adapt to. You have to imagine the whole thing as a completely separate virtual world. Everyone who participates here has an avatar - a digital alter ego. Everyone can determine what their own avatar looks like. Then there are virtual rooms for all sorts of things: games, meeting places, concert halls, congresses, conference rooms, shopping malls ... There are basically no limits to your imagination.

Users can meet in these virtual rooms, exchange ideas, communicate, but also listen to others or watch events. Virtual work meetings are also possible. But you will also be able to buy and own virtual things: land, houses, art ...

All of this already exists, especially in game worlds like Fortnite or Roblox, but it is taken to extremes in a metaverse. Because everything is really virtual here - and everything is interconnected. There are completely new possibilities for Facebook and other providers.

What it takes to participate in such a virtual world

First of all, of course, these virtual spaces have to be created first. This is no small matter and involves a lot of effort. But the Facebook group is already there: there will soon be virtual meeting places for chatting and working. But to be able to participate, technical equipment is required.

Usually people will have to put on VR glasses. When you put on glasses like this, you can no longer hear or see your surroundings - and immerse yourself completely in the virtual world. The senses are perfectly deceived. If you look to the left, you also look to the left in virtual space.

Does Facebook want to build a metaverse with Oculus?

Another central concept of “Snow Crash” is that of the “Metaverse”: a kind of digital in-between world into which people flee from the gloomy present. A world that exists permanently parallel to and independently of a real, physical world, with its own currency and its own economic system, in which many people can communicate and interact with one another at the same time and in real time.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin is apparently not the only high-ranking tech founder who was lastingly impressed by this idea. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg never spoke publicly about "Snow Crash". But when he announced in a post on Facebook in March 2014 that his company had bought the virtual reality glasses provider Oculus, and in the process described his vision for the company, they interpreted two editors from Bloomberg as well as one Journalist at Forbes to the effect that Zuckerberg apparently wants to build the Metaverse.

Glasses up and down to the Horizon Home

The central component are the VR glasses that used to come from Occulus. The brand renamed Meta at the same time as Facebook. The devices now run under the Meta Quest label. When users put on their glasses, they land in Horizon Home, which is the starting point for joint activities with other Quest owners. From here they start games together or watch films. The Horizon Venues service should also make it possible to experience concerts or sporting events from the best seat without having to be in the stadium. So far, however, it is still a beta phase.

Working in VR

But you can also use the metaverse for work. Use Horizon Workrooms to start meetings and develop ideas with colleagues in virtual conference rooms. Meta wants to offer special glasses to match this. They run under the name Quest for Business. They do not differ from the hardware of the conventional Quest 2, but users can log in with their professional account and do not have to use their private Facebook account. You don't have to do without the most important apps. External services such as Slack and Dropbox announced the collaboration with Meta. Your apps will therefore be available for the virtual working world. And if you can't see the mess on your desk in real life, there is a solution for that too. Soon you can escape to the Horizon Studio. This is a personal virtual workplace.

Lots of tools for developers

To ensure that the Metaverse quickly fills with more life, Meta App developers are already providing many tools to the side. With the Persence platform, for example, they should be able to create more realistic mixed reality applications. It is a mixture of the real and the virtual world. In several videos, Meta makes it clear what one can expect: A piano player with Quest glasses, for example, gets the scores displayed in the style of the video game "Guitar Hero" and can simply replay them even without prior knowledge. Also included is the Interaction SKD, which developers can use to add common hand movements to apps. After all, you also have to interact with the content.

New hardware already on the way

To ensure that this will soon work out well, Meta has already announced fresh hardware: Project Cambria is not to be the successor to Quest 2, but rather brand new high-end glasses that Meta wants to use to pick up customers who have already started the Metaverse want to enjoy it to the full.

Will 5G become a “metaverse enabler”?

Especially since in the past few months there have been other developments that could favor the establishment of a metaverse: technical progress, for example. The data transmission rates of the new, upcoming 5G standard enable mobile real-time Internet, which can possibly also be used to host virtual concerts with tens of thousands of people.

In addition, the Corona crisis has accelerated digitization and further lowered the inhibition threshold for digital experiences among the general public. People who, in times of "social distancing", get used to virtual work environments like Slack and Microsoft Teams as well as video conferencing software like Zoom or Google Meet and indulge in private escapism in games like Animal Crossing (here in the OMR portrait) , interact with friends or even hold wedding celebrations, are thus possibly more open to the idea of ​​a “digital parallel world” than they would have been before.

"The metaverse will generate trillions of dollars in value"

In the US tech scene, Matthew Ball from the venture capital firm Makers Fund has established himself as one of the phraseologists and thought leaders in the field of Metaverse. Ball also plans to hold its own virtual conference on the topic in the near future. In a well-received, detailed essay, the VC not only explains how he defines the term metaverse and which companies he gives which opportunities to play a major role in a future metaverse, but also proposes that the metaverse will in future be “the Gateway to most digital experiences, a key element of physical experiences and the next big job-generating platform.

Correspondingly, Ball believes that companies that play a decisive role in this development or even drive it forward could derive enormous economic advantages from it: “Even if the metaverse does not do justice to the fantastic descriptions of the science fiction authors in the end, it will likely generate trillions of US dollars in value as a new computing platform or as a content medium. "


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