Let’s talk through some of the different technologies associated with the Metaverse so you can better understand the capabilities and the uses.
First up, virtual and augmented reality. Virtual reality completely alters the perception of your surroundings to create a new computer-generated environment. Currently, VR systems can use headsets or special rooms with projections to envelope the user in virtual environments. But as the technology improves, that may change. Augmented reality merges the real world and virtual by overlaying the physical environment with digital information.
It can be implemented just about anywhere that has a screen, but it is most commonly accessed through smartphone apps. In the next video, we’ll talk more specifically about markets but just imagine for a bit how the world of shopping, entertainment, education, and even work environments will change when immersive digital experiences become easily accessible.
While virtual reality and augmented reality are the primary ways of accessing the Metaverse, the technology that makes the Metaverse feel real is artificial intelligence. AI combines computer science and extensive data sets to enable computers to problem solve much like the human brain does. If you have ever played a video game, you have encountered the limits of a platform not built on AI. Your character only has so many moves, you can’t go past certain boundaries, and non-player characters say the same set of phrases over and over again. These limitations exist because a team of human developers had to program every line of code in the game and could only include so many possibilities. With artificial intelligence, the programmers instead give the computer an algorithm to use, allowing it to think and choose how to respond to your input.
One field of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, is even making it easier for computers to understand human language. Dealing with computerized systems can feel artificial and frustrating, but AI developers are working to make computer interactions feel natural, intuitive, and expansive. I already introduced blockchain technology in relation to the decentralized web, but let’s talk a bit about another thing it enables, non-fungible tokens or NFTs.
If you paid attention to any business news over the past year, you likely heard about NFTs. These are unique digital representations of assets and they exist on the blockchain. Each NFT contains ownership information and other metadata related to that asset. Whether you’re a skeptic of the hype or a true believer, the essential thing to understand about NFTs is that they are a way to prove authenticity and ownership of an asset, physical or virtual. You may not care about the authenticity of a picture of an ape, but the same technology could be used to issue tokenized certifications, licenses, or identity cards.
Because the blockchain contains a record of the transactions involving an NFT, you could even use NFTs to track goods in a supply chain. The transparency and permanence of the data stored in an NFT makes them a great solution for fields that deal with logistics and counterfeiting.
Finally, all of the unique features of Web 3.0 and the Metaverse cannot function without high-speed computing and internet connection. Cloud computing allows companies to develop tools and products without having to operate their own servers. Edge computing, 5G networks, and WiFi-6 all speed up the connection between computers. So the interactions and transactions feel instantaneous. One thing to be aware of with all these technologies is the concern about energy consumption and sustainability. In some ways they offer environmentally friendly solutions by eliminating the need for travel and physical production and consumption of goods. However, blockchain and high-speed internet technologies use a lot of energy and electronics cannot function without rare earth elements. As you adopt new technology strategies, consider the environmental impact along with the opportunities they offer your business.