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This year, the Oculus Virtual Reality app by Facebook (now: Meta) was the most downloaded application on Apple’s App Store on December 25, suggesting the Oculus VR headset, was one of the most popular technology gifts this Christmas.
Metaverse means “a universe beyond”. The word has been used to explain the concept of “a future version of the Internet that we use to stay connected for a long time, a digital domain that allows people to interact, cooperate, play games, conduct business, and socialize with other humans or digital (virtual) things. It’s also a virtual shared area formed by the merging of physical and virtual worlds,” according to analyticsinsight.net.
For a term coined three decades ago, ‘metaverse’ has taken a long time to become a part of the mainstream discourse. Facebook has made the metaverse a buzzword. Other companies have also been creating tools to provide the immersive experience that makes a metaverse different from the current internet experience.
Metaverse tools have both civilian use-cases and military applications, from entertainment, production, health care, communication, sports, to training, inspecting a building or a bridge, defusing a bomb, or the military simulation of weapons systems.
Tech giants have been working on metaverse technology tools, both hardware and software. Google was one of the early ones to experiment with Google Glass (which didn’t catch on) and now Google Lens. Microsoft will roll out Microsoft Mesh in 2022, a mixed reality platform that allows people to appear at an event via ‘holoportation’, where 3D capture technology ‘sends’ a lifelike image to the event.
Metaverse is not only virtual reality. VR is a crucial driver of the Metaverse and can play a role in its development, but, in the future, a VR headset may not be required.
To update and grow in technology, the Metaverse will require a large infrastructure, which will include improved computing power, 3D images, VR technology, Internet access, and more.
The possibilities of adopting metaverse technologies are endless. But according to livemint.com, it will be metaverse hardware and software to create digital twins – a digital representation of the physical area. The technology allows companies to develop digital twins of everything from the factory to the conference room.
Metaverse improves efficiency, cuts downtime, and helps provide preventative maintenance without sending out expensive teams. A central command room with experts from various engineering fields can monitor and maintain dozens of different locations without traveling physically.
At the office, some of the most useful applications will be in the induction and training of employees, where many people can join a giant virtual training room or multiple interactive training rooms to learn more quickly and efficiently.
Expect a wide variety of use-cases already in 2022.