What Is The Metaverse?
The Metaverse is the sum of all shared, persistent virtual spaces. It is the totality of all the digital and virtual worlds as well as digital assets and the data on the entire internet.
Merging The Digital & The Physical
There are several projects which are creating digital twins of our physical world and building apps and programs that can be overlaid and used in our local environments. These programs will enrich the physical world around us by filling it with information and making use cases available at our fingertips.
AR applications in the metaverse will enable users to choose from several layers which can be projected onto their current surroundings. We’ve had to go to our devices to access the internet and the information on it, but the metaverse combined with AR, VR, and MR will allow applications to take information about locations and things and digitally place them into the physical world where it is relevant.
We’ll be able to interact with this information layer through augmented reality or virtual reality devices. Users will be able to experience the internet all around them using connected devices whenever and wherever they like.
Characteristics of the Metaverse
The metaverse is a concept that is still evolving but it has some common characteristics. Some recognizable characteristics of the metaverse are:
- The worlds and digital assets in the metaverse are live and constantly available. If a user logs on it doesn’t mean the digital world in that area gets shut off, it just means the user has logged out of that world and it will be available whenever they decide to back in.
- Interoperability will be built into many of the digital assets and information in the metaverse. This means the assets and information will be available and interchangeable across different digital worlds and environments.
- The metaverse will be able to host experiences and content that is available to the users on it to access whenever they like.
- It will be able to host audiences of any size. Meaning the system will have enough bandwidth to offer an audience of any size at any given time.
- The metaverse will be accessible using multiple different physical devices and ISP providers. An example of this is a popular website like google is available to users regardless of which device and ISP provider they are using.
- There will be a fully functioning economy on the metaverse. There will most likely be fully functioning economies on numerous applications and layers of the metaverse.
- It will consist of a complex network of different platforms, applications, and digital worlds.
Technologies Used In The Metaverse
To function optimally the metaverse will rely on the following technologies among others:
- In order to stream high-quality stream data and content in real-time applications within the metaverse will lean on strong 5G & 6G networks
- Access Devices which support Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality & Mixed Reality viewing will be necessary to properly experience all of the applications on the metaverse
- A wide set of protocols and languages will underlie the applications and content delivery mechanisms within the metaverse
- Secure Cryptocurrencies with minimal transaction fees will enable on-platform instantly auditable peer to peer transactions
- The ownership of digital assets and virtual items in the metaverse will be easy to verify and trade using NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and the underlying secured blockchain platforms, NFTs will also change the way digital rights of assets and content are licensed and distributed
- Smart Contracts will allow users to create and execute complex transactions with service providers and other users within the virtual worlds, smart contracts will also be used by application providers within the network to manage their contracts and relationships with other vendors and users
- In order to allow millions of people to attend a particular live event in a given digital location at the same time in the metaverse some issues related to server capacity and latency might arise. Developers are likely to use a technique called Sharding to work around this problem. Sharding creates batches of users and assigns each batch a unique digital venue. The live event can then be broadcast to each batch simultaneously. In practice, this would enable millions of users to attend the event together and be part of a similar shared experience without overloading the digital architecture of the system. Sharding is a database architecture pattern that helps spread the digital load, you can learn more about it here
Culture Within the Metaverse
Much like how many subcultures have developed in games like World of Warcraft or GTA V, communities in the applications games and platforms within the metaverse will develop numerous subcultures as well. Cultures will develop around applications, interest groups, use cases, geography, and purpose.
Economy Within the Metaverse
Virtual economies exist across several applications today. Within the metaverse larger and more connected virtual economies will exist. Activities as diverse as world-building, charity, concerts, fashion, shopping, advertising, education, politics and activism will find a place in the metaverse. A lot of the applications will offer cryptocurrencies and Peer to Peer transactions as mediums of payment between their users.
The metaverse is the next frontier for online interaction which will unlock a new generation of apps, platforms and use cases. It will redefine the digital space. Organizations that take the time to understand and adapt their digital strategies to properly engage with the metaverse will be at an advantage.
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