The Metaverse: A digital virtual 3D environment that merges with our daily reality. But are we ready for it? Maurits Hagemans (PXL Construction & Industry) gradually believes so, although there are still some issues.
Meta VR and AR: you have undoubtedly read and/or heard about them, or perhaps even experienced them yourself. The techniques of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been around for several decades, but they have never been embraced on such a large scale as in recent years. And simply because the computing power is now suitable for it.
The name change from Facebook to Meta was a further catalyst. When that name change was announced, quite a lot happened in ‘Techland’; a huge number of companies started massively investing in the ‘idea’ of the Metaverse. “Meta” refers to the Metaverse, a digital virtual 3D environment that blends with our everyday reality. The name Metaverse originates from the book Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, a book from 1992, so it’s now thirty years old.
Recently, on October 11, Meta introduced its new headset and announced a collaboration with major companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Zoom, and Accenture. An announcement that will shift the focus even more towards business and corporate applications in the coming period.
Innovations of the Time But, you might be thinking, isn’t the Metaverse completely unnecessary? What’s the use? Well, let me point out that we have faced similar questions before. Think about the advent of the internet, the mobile phone, and its evolution to the smartphone. We now have a full computer in our pocket with computing power that seemed unimaginable 20 years ago. The same sentiment wasn’t strange to us back then either. ‘If I’m on the move, they can leave a message on the answering machine.’ And the way we did it before – analog – was perfectly fine, wasn’t it?
Open Standards Reality has caught up with us. Is a 3D virtual world that merges with reality next? Perhaps… When VR and AR glasses become the size of regular reading glasses, it’s very likely. The computing power is there, and our 5G networks are ready to handle this massive data exchange.
However, there’s one aspect that could turn this development into an apparent disaster. The power of the internet was its ‘open standard’ approach, taken up by research labs, universities, and independent technologists and institutions. How? By sharing information, by collaborating on projects and ideas. Anyone who wanted to publish a website could do so with simple means. From hobbyists to multinationals, they all found their way to ’the internet’, which has evolved into what it is today. Accessible with any device and browser.
Digital Twin We are currently on the eve of the development of the virtual 3D equivalent. Internet that can be visually experienced in VR or AR. Preparations seem to be in full swing. At a rapid pace, we’re creating a digital twin of our reality. 3D design and related professions are booming. Our entire world in a virtual equivalent seems to be just a matter of time.
What if…? But what if, for every move we make, every environment we visit, and every digital item, we have to vouch for it with our credit card or a digital token? Do we not then hand ourselves over completely to the associated commercial companies? Or does the analogy with the early internet offer a wise solution? The use of open standards will be necessary if we want to prevent future monopolies.
Are we truly ready for the Metaverse? Yes, technically more and more. If we also provide an appropriate answer to the legitimate questions about cybersecurity, privacy, and accessibility, then nothing stands in the way of the Metaverse future…
Published in Dutch on https://www.pxlexperts.be/