If you follow technology news, you probably have heard the term “metaverse”, whether it is from Facebook’s name change in 2018, or exposure to Virtual Reality. Metaverse is a broad term, one which many do not fully agree on.
Broadly speaking- the metaverse is the combination of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, virtual reality, and online personas to connect to other people around the world. This technology ranges from Ethereum to video games. Even past that, some consider software such as Zoom and Google Meet to be inclusive of the Metaverse.
The Metaverse has been described by many as a “new” internet, where users can create their own content, share information, and even interact with each other without censorship. It also allows for decentralized applications (dapps) to be created, allowing for new business models to emerge.
Different Tools of the Metaverse
The Metaverse isn’t just a singular piece of technology, though. It is a combination of a number of different technologies all working in harmony:
Virtual Reality (VR) – VR allows users to create their own avatars, interact with others through voice chat, and even play video games together. This type of metaverse has been explored by companies like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR.
Augmented Reality (AR) – Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience that superimposes virtual elements over real ones. AR can be used in many different contexts, including games, education, medicine, marketing, military training, science, sports, transportation, and tourism. The AR metaverse is different from VR, as it does not require complete separation between the real world and virtual. Snapchat filters is a very commonly used AR technology.
Blockchain Technology– Blockchain is the technology that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are based on. Cryptocurrency is often called the first real implementation of metaverse technology, as it is currency that is completely online. Blockchain technology is extremely important to the success of the metaverse, because it is decentralized. This allows applications to run without the need of a central authority or moderator, which is a main pillar of the metaverse.
As the metaverse grows, it will likely create virtual spaces where users can immerse themselves in the digital world. For example, you could visit a museum exhibit in Second Life or watch a movie in Oculus Cinema — essentially any experience that exists in the real world. Because virtual reality isn’t limited to a single location; it can let you explore anywhere. And that’s exactly what the metaverse promises to do.
An avatar is an image that represents you in virtual reality. Avatars can be used for social networking, gaming, education, business, entertainment, and many other purposes. Your avatar can be many things- from NFT profile pictures to an animated, 3D avatar.
There are numerous metaverse companies that are investing in avatars:
Formerly Facebook, Meta has become one of the biggest champions and pioneers of the metaverse, including its Avatars. Meta avatars focus on hyper-realistic virtual versions of ourselves, where we can meet, hang-out, and work together without ever leaving our home. This is all possible using the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset. The company has even released a storefront for you to purchase new items, such as clothes, for your avatar.
Microsoft has always been on the forefront of technology, and the Metaverse is no different. Using its Teams video conferencing software, Microsoft has launched Mesh. Mesh is a plug-in for Microsoft Teams that facilitates a virtual world and avatars for its users.
Roblox is a wildly popular video game that allows users to customize their avatars and play almost a limitless amount of games. Due to the customizable nature of Roblox, users can create their own games within the games, which have led to many different game modes outside of just a typical building simulator. Not only that, it has become one of the most popular games in the world with over 43 million worldwide players.
Video Games and virtual avatars are just the tip of the iceberg for this new technology, however.
Working from Home
As long as we have access to the Internet, there will always be ways to work remotely. However, the rise of the metaverse may change how we think about remote work. In the future, we might use our avatars to work from home. We could meet up with friends at a coffee shop in Second Life, or attend a meeting at a virtual coworking space. Or perhaps we’ll have a virtual desk with our entire workstation living in the metaverse.
Furthermore, this offers us the opportunity to work from anywhere. Many remote workers have begun working from locations abroad. Metaverse technology is the reason modern remote work is possible.
Future of the Metaverse
In summary, the metaverse is still very much in its infancy. It’s not clear when we will see the first fully realized version of the metaverse. But, if history tells anything, it says that we should expect to see some major technological changes in the next few years.
The metaverse is already changing the way people live, work, and interact with each other. As more and more companies begin to adopt metaverse technology, our day to day is going to change accordingly.