So what exactly is the Metaverse? The phrase, coined in 1992 by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in the novel Snow Crash, often is seen as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal, and immersive virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets. This could be seen as the future evolution of the Internet and social connection.
This still developing world could encompass everything from gamers playing the latest 3D video games to doctors treating a patient in a virtual, immersive environment, which will help aid them in making decisions faster. Still, the Metaverse is not quite here yet. But already, some retailers use augmented reality so that consumers can design a room in in their home, for example, or so that the user can see how a home improvement project may turn out. This could be seen as just the beginning of how consumers might use the Metaverse in their daily lives.
Diving Deeper Into the Metaverse
If we try to explore the topic on a deeper level, according to ChatGPT, the Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the Internet. It is an immersive environment that combines elements of both real and virtual worlds so users can interact with each other in a simulated world. Meanwhile, according to the University of California, Berkeley, the eight key technologies in the Metaverse are: Extended Reality, User Interactivity, Artificial intelligence, Block Chain, Computing Vision, Internet of Things, Robotics, Edge and Cloud Computing and Future Mobile networks. Simple, right? That’s a lot of technical advancements that encompass the elements that are relevant to the Metaverse.
With so many advancements falling under this Metaverse umbrella, it is understandable if there is some confusion about the phrase and what the future might entail. But how can innovators respond to and adapt to the Metaverse of the future? For one thing, innovators may be able to leverage the Metaverse through enhanced collaboration, visualization and optimization. In other words, it may help innovation teams to communicate, create and innovate faster and more efficiently in terms of strategy and product development.
Innovators can further leverage the Metaverse to create immersive 3D experiences for users, develop virtual reality applications and games, or create digital marketplaces where consumers can buy and sell goods or services. The Metaverse could also be seen as a platform for connecting with customers through interactive avatars, hosting events such as virtual conferences and workshops, or creating accessible educational content.
This virtual universe provides the potential for unprecedented innovation. By providing users with access to an immersive, shared digital environment, the Metaverse can enable new forms of collaboration and communication, as well as facilitate creativity in ways not previously possible. Marketing campaigns and customer service interactions could also play a role in the future. Experts also point out that the open-source nature of this platform allows innovators from around the world to contribute their ideas and skill sets in order to develop new technologies that could revolutionize our lives.
Seeing The Metaverse
In this Front End of Innovation session, “What is the Metaverse, and Why Should I Care?,” to be held May 16, 2023, Leslie Shannon, Head of Ecosystem and Trend Scouting, Nokia, will look at all the different flavors of Metaverse out there today and assess the purpose and utility of one, then look ahead to the Metaverse of the future. She takes a concrete approach that will leave attendees with both an understanding of what the Metaverse is, and where their best opportunities in the space may be.