What is it like to replicate your physical appearance in a virtual world? It's fascinating! This is the promise of the Metaverse.
It's a new reality that has the potential to become a part of everyone's daily lives quickly. The virtual world, in which people can relate and perform any activity – go to work, play with friends, go shopping, and have any other type of fun – is the most recent technological development and promises to add a new dimension to human communication. It is hinted at as the "future of the Internet."
The Metaverse has been in Sci-Fi novels and movies for centuries and in mainstream technology for the past two decades, most notably in the gaming industry. However, many people never heard about the term "metaverse" until Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, announced a name change for his social app to Meta. Since the announcement, there have been numerous questions about what the Metaverse is and how it will revolutionize human social interactions.
Big Tech companies, notably Google, Microsoft, and Meta, are investing heavily in this virtual world concept. But what is the Metaverse, exactly? How does it function? When will this technology be available to us? What impact could it have on our lives?
Not to worry, these questions and more are answered in this article to help you understand the main points of the Metaverse and how it will affect your life in the coming years.
What is Metaverse?
The term "metaverse" was coined by combining the English words "meta" and "universe." The term "metaverse" first appeared in Neal Stephenson's science fiction novel "Snow Crash" in 1982. In real life, the character, Hiro Protagonist, works as a pizza delivery man. In the virtual world, however, he transforms into a samurai hacker. This digital reality is the Metaverse.
Metaverse is a concept that refers to the fusion of two worlds together. It refers to a virtual world in which a parallel reality exists. The Metaverse is a type of augmented reality. A digital world in which we will be able to connect and spend time using virtual reality glasses. Using the internet is currently primarily a two-dimensional experience mediated by a screen. We can immerse ourselves in the Metaverse and engage in activities that were previously only available in the real world. It is one of the future technologies that is rapidly evolving.
Let's compare the Metaverse to today's internet to understand the concept better. Presently, social networks are the primary virtual environment facilitators. They do this by providing a platform for connecting with one another using our smartphones and computers, giving us the identity of a "digital life."
The Metaverse, on the other hand, will make the experience much more captivating. It will be possible to experience the internet, rather than just browsing it. In practice, you will be able to enter an online virtual world that includes augmented reality, 3D holographic avatars, videos, and other media by wearing virtual reality glasses with headphones and sensors. Because these are fictional spaces, the sky's the limit, and anything is possible.
How does the Metaverse work?
The Metaverse is not a specific technology but an unprecedented change in how we react to the digital world. The Metaverse is envisioned as a 3D Internet where communication, entertainment, and commerce will be available in fully immersive and interoperable environments. In addition, the Metaverse is a virtual world where you can interact with other people. However, you'll need some specialized equipment to access the metaverse environment for this to work.
As a user in the Metaverse, you would have your avatar and would be able to work, communicate with friends, build and decorate a home, shop for clothes and accessories, attend concerts, and even travel. The interesting thing? It's all virtual. It would be possible, for example, to go to the movies with friends or to see an art exhibition that only exists in the Metaverse.
The ultimate goal is for you to be able to access this virtual reality world via your smartphone, computer, or video game console. As a result, once you're in, you can be whoever you want and do whatever you wish to, including flying, driving supersonic cars, dancing at a party with friends from all over the world, playing football with your idol, and much more.
Conversely, the Metaverse will also have its economy and currencies, allowing you to buy, sell, and trade digital real estate, avatar accessories, and other items. And all of this occurs through the exchange of values with a real-world price.
Essential Technologies that made up the Metaverse
Blockchain and Cryptocurrency:
Being a public, immutable, public ledger that facilitates honesty and eliminates the need for "trust" in transactions and interactions, the blockchain is one of the essential elements of the Metaverse. The blockchain also makes it possible to verify the creator and owners of all assets in the Metaverse since all transactions are publicly verifiable, and nothing is hidden on the blockchain.
Some blockchain protocols facilitate interoperability; hence, different metaverses built on various networks can be interconnected to enjoy the paradigm shift in social relations. The Metaverse requires a transparent and decentralized open-source ecosystem that allows several developers to create applications and improve on other applications without starting from scratch - this is found in the blockchain.
With cryptocurrency, value can be stored and transferred in the Metaverse. For example, users can buy virtual real estate on metaverses like Decentraland or Sandbox with crypto tokens. Metaverse games also exist, where people participate in games to earn tokens that can be converted into real cash.
In short, the Metaverse is inseparable from the blockchain because the mainstream implementation of the Metaverse is highly dependent on the blockchain's mass adoption.
AR and VR:
The virtual and physical worlds are combined in augmented reality. As opposed to virtual reality, augmented reality incorporates virtual elements into the real world. AR is a technique that adds layers to our understanding of the world.
Virtual reality (VR) is a three-dimensional (3D) environment created by computers that simulate the natural world and allows participants to interact fully. You must currently wear special glasses outfitted with headphones and sensors to use this technology. These layers could include visual, auditory, and sensory data to enhance your experience. The Metaverse technology would be a hybrid of aspects of both AR and VR. The combination of AR and VR, also known as Extended Reality (XR), is what we would encounter in Metaverse.
Internet of Things (IoT):
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system that connects everything in our physical world to the Internet via sensors and devices. As a result, there is a unique identifier and the ability to automatically send and receive data after connecting to the internet. Integration of IoT platforms and data streams can provide and serve as critical building blocks for the metaverse, and thus a more immersive and connected world.
One of the metaverse's IoT applications is to collect and distribute data from the physical world. As a result, this would improve the accuracy of the physical representations in the virtual space. Such data could be real-time weather forecasts and any other feeds from the physical world. Additionally, IoT can connect the virtual world to a large number of real-world devices in a seamless manner. In the metaverse, this allows for the creation of real-time simulations. IoT could use AI and machine learning to manage the data it collects to further optimize the metaverse environment.
Cloud Computing and Edge Computing:
Edge computing is a model in which data and applications are processed near the data source, instead of some centralized database. The decentralization that comes with Edge computing improves QoS and reduces service latency, resulting in a better and more satisfying user experience. As a result, this supports emerging metaverse concepts such as sensor and actuator networks, transportation, and industrial automation, all of which require predictable and real-time latency.
Conversely, given the amount of storage and processing required to support a virtual reality universe, cloud computing is also critical. The demand for data storage will tremendously increase with the development of the metaverse, and remote cloud-based computers will become the only cost-effective way to solve that problem, to ensure that performance is not compromised.
3D Reconstruction and Modelling:
One of the set back of the metaverse is the ability to create a digital environment that looks closely as possible to our physical world. The transition from a collection of independent virtual worlds to an integrated network of 3D virtual worlds, known as the Metaverse, is dependent on progress in four areas: immersive realism, the ubiquity of access and identity, interoperability, and scalability. We can bring our world online by rendering accurate 3D photorealistic models of buildings, physical locations, real estate platforms, event hosting platforms, e-commerce platforms, gaming spaces, and other objects using special 3D cameras. The 3D spatial data and 4K HD photography are then sent to computers, which process them and create a virtual replica for users to view in the metaverse. These virtual replicas of real-world objects are also known as digital twins.
Users will be able to participate in metaverses using augmented reality headsets and virtual reality glasses thanks to super-fast 5G. Holograms may be used to create immersive experiences in the metaverse in the future. Although the metaverse phenomenon began with entertainment, it has the potential to expand to include other activities such as online shopping, where customers will feel as if they are in a store. Rate, range, reliability, latency, and so much more are all advantages of 5G.
Understanding what the Metaverse is, considers the concept and potential applications in the future. Several activities that are currently only done in the real world can become a part of a parallel reality in a short period.