Hailed by some as the next reality of the internet, the Metaverse supports ongoing online 3D virtual environments where virtual experiences, real-time 3D content, and other related media are linked and can be accessed through VR/AR, PCs, and mobile phones.
Nupur Avantika, VP of Digital Learning/Learning Experience, and Iniyan E, Encora Technical Lead, are two of the expert engineers who presented their unique perspective and thought leadership on the top 10 technology trends shaping the next generation of technology. Iniyan and Nupur spoke to us about Metaverse Technologies and how they are contributing to the growth of the Metaverse.
What are Metaverse technologies and purpose do they serve?
The Metaverse is a shared, virtual environment made possible by merging augmented physical and digital realities. Today, the Metaverse is still considered to be in a state of evolution, with experts predicting at least a decade for it to reach its true purpose. Why? Because the technologies needed to reach the true Metaverse state are still developing.
To create an immersive, 3D digital universe of several virtual worlds, the Metaverse combines technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Head-Mounted Displays (HMDs), Neural Graphics, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), 5G, and Blockchain to form numerous layers.
The significance of these technologies:
- Blockchain technology is the backbone of the metaverse. Blockchain will verify the transfer of value, the credibility of information, and the storage of data within a metaverse
- AR helps see items in three dimensions, have conversations with them in real time, and combine the digital and physical worlds
- VR helps users simulate sensory experiences in a realistic virtual environment
- Integrating AI, ML, and the Internet of Things (IoT) eases the execution of critical tasks such as scalability and data sharing
- 3D reconstruction helps build realistic and lifelike virtual environments. 3D reconstruction uses special 3D cameras and other reconstruction technologies to create realistic 3D images and models of buildings, objects, and features
- HMDs can be used to enter and interact with the metaverse
- Neural graphics help build photorealistic 3D models or objects by integrating AI with graphics processing power
- With a latency of under 5 milliseconds, 5G's low latency and dependable connection ensure a smooth user experience, protecting from motion sickness
Why are ‘Metaverse technologies’ a trend that will shape business in 2023?
Though Metaverse as a concept has been around for over two decades, Facebook renaming itself as “Meta” and announcing its Horizon platform suddenly drew increased attention to this virtual system. This was followed by many popular luxury brands collaborating with gaming platforms such as Roblox and Decentraland to set up virtual spaces and host successful brand engagement and marketing events. Many companies have appointed a Chief Metaverse Officer to jumpstart their initiatives. With cryptocurrency, wallets, and NFTs already popular with many users, Metaverse technologies will start trending in 2023. The need to mature for large-scale adoption is significant for Metaverse technologies as companies have already experienced the scale of reach it can provide at a much lower cost.
Why did Encora select it as a rising trend in 2023?
We identified Metaverse as one of our emerging capabilities in 2022 and have been working on this technology in terms of skill building, thought leadership, market research, and competitor analysis to draft our market strategy for it. In 2023, we expect to position ourselves as go-to service providers in this technology.
Gartner states¹ that by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least an hour a day in the Metaverse. In the end, the Metaverse will offer opportunities and business models that are persistent, decentralized, collaborative, and interoperable. These will help organizations grow their digital business.
What makes Metaverse technologies different from traditional enterprise applications/technologies?
There are currently three factors that differentiate Metaverse from traditional enterprise applications:
- The quality of being an immersive experience with help of AR/MR technologies
- The interoperability that enables sharing of resources and platforms
- An abundance of assets and digital files that can be easily duplicated without risking costs considering all digital rights
Can you speak about your experience with Metaverse technologies?
We have worked extensively with Immersive Technology such as AR/VR by leveraging tools like Unity 3D, Blender, and 3D Max to provide immersive learning solutions to our clients in industries like logistics, manufacturing, hospitality, energy & utilities, and healthcare & medical devices.
In your experience, where do clients stand on the topic?
Clients are inquisitive about the Metaverse, and our capabilities related to it, especially in the field of Digital Learning and Retail & Commerce.
How can Encora help clients evolve?
Encora can support clients in many ways in this space, for example, by creating awareness and knowledge related to Metaverse readiness for clients who are contemplating Metaverse solutions. Also, providing 3D assets, avatars, accessories, and environment development at scale for clients who already are in Metaverse or are supporting Metaverse environments. Another input is introducing Blockchain/Data Science/AI engineers for Metaverse constructions and delivering end-to-end Metaverse consulting and solutions.
Can you provide real-world examples of how organizations are benefiting from Metaverse technologies today?
The Metaverse concept is expected to generate up to $5 trillion² in value to the global economy by 2030. Naturally, there's a lot at stake, and 2023 will likely be a key year for deciding which direction the Metaverse will go. Technology, hardware, and trends like 5G, digital twins, AR/VR, IoT, video games, and more are all coming together simultaneously to build the Metaverse. This means that businesses need to pay attention since the Metaverse will help businesses in three key areas where there are strong use cases now and in the future:
- Consumer: Brand engagement, marketing channels, commerce, customer engagement, services, and experiences at scale have much to do with this area. Many successful use cases show how the Metaverse can help reach more consumers and customers and improve brand engagement. For instance, with the grand opening of the Wendyverse™³ in Meta’s Horizon Worlds, Wendy's® and the creators of Meta's Horizon Worlds are working together to make (virtual) copies of Wendy's restaurant where players can go behind the counter, meet with friends, and more
- Enterprise: This is about getting employees involved, helping them learn new skills, and getting them to work together through the Metaverse. With the rise of workplace 2.0 and the hybrid workforce, businesses can gain much from using Metaverse technology to help employees communicate and work together in virtual offices and improve their skills through immersive learning solutions. For instance, Meta and Microsoft (Mesh) are quickly making improvements to their Metaverse platforms and technologies for business use
- Enterprise: With the help of digital twins, the Metaverse helps businesses test their products and services in a virtual world to ensure they work and find ways to improve them before releasing them in the real world. One example is the virtual human heart, which can be used to test drugs and treatments without putting real patients in danger. Another example is how BMW uses Unreal Engine by Epic Games, which comes from the gaming industry, to improve how they make cars
Who benefits from Metaverse technologies?
In its current state, the Metaverse is a strong Marketing and brand engagement channel for companies, especially retail, luxury, and fashion brands. It is also a strong enterprise system for upskilling, employee engagement, and collaboration in today’s time of hybrid workforces.
What do Metaverse technologies mean for privacy and compliance?
Privacy is one of the biggest concerns and challenges with Metaverse technologies. Many experts think the Metaverse will enable third parties to monitor your expressions and vital signs, adjusting their interactions with you in real-time to optimize impact. This could occur for benign reasons, like selling you a car, or nefarious ones, like trying to convince you to accept disinformation. In this way, advanced technology inside the Metaverse will challenge our notion of free will. Nevertheless, the fact that the underlying Metaverse is the core concept of trustless and democratized system technologies like Blockchain will also enable data security and privacy. It will require a lot of dialogue, ethical frameworks, and standards to make the Metaverse safe. The scene in the context of privacy and data security will be even more challenging than it is with current social media.
We sincerely thank Nupur Avantika, VP of Digital Learning/Learning Experience, and Iniyan E, Technical Lead for their contributions. This piece, focused on Metaverse technologies, is one of ten technology trends featured in Encora’s 2023 Technology Trends eBook. You can read the eBook in its entirety by visiting Encora’s 2023 Technology Trends.
“The metaverse is a fluid concept, a complicated system with no fixed ideas at its core. There are numerous definitions of it since its meaning and application vary. Currently, the system calls for a heterogeneous mixture of technologies and, by extension, skill sets that have widely diverse stages of development, degrees of availability, and rates of implementation. The complexity of the Metaverse's many moving elements presents the greatest challenge. Spatial Computing, Edge Computing, Artificial/Augmented Intelligence, Blockchain/Crypto, 5G/Mobile Internet/Cloud Computing/Computer Networks/Semiconductors/Hardware for Human Interface Experts, and more, are needed to work in concert for the Metaverse to reach its full potential.”
Nupur Avantika, VP of Digital Learning / Learning Experience
- Gartner, “What Is a Metaverse? And Should You Be Buying In?”
- McKinsey, “Value creation in the metaverse”
- PR Newswire, “Welcome to the Wendyverse™: Wendy's® Opening First Restaurant in Virtual Reality”
- Med-Tech News, “Collaboration aids digital twin research for cardiovascular disease”
- BMW, “A new take on vehicle development”
Encora is a digital engineering services company specializing in next-generation software and digital product development. Fast-Growing Tech organizations trust Encora to lead the full Product Development Lifecycle because of our expertise in translating our clients’ strategic innovation roadmap into differentiated capabilities and accelerated bottom-line impacts.
Please let us know if you would ever like to have a conversation with a client partner and/or one of our Innovation Leaders about accelerating next-generation product engineering within your organization.