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The metaverse will transform the internet forever, yet what that will look like is still uncertain. Ads for the Meta Quest 2 show an entirely virtual life where you can fly and travel in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, Niantic, the creator of Pokémon GO, wants to build a metaverse in the real world through augmented metaverse reality.
Will the metaverse ever become the united framework that connects everyone’s online experience that tech leaders envision it to be?
Unfortunately, you won’t know the answer until several years from now when it begins to take form since platforms are still building the metaverse. However, current trends and emerging technology will give you a glimpse at what’s possible.
The metaverse’s content isn’t much different from the internet, as it’s an online experience that connects you to information and people. However, you will go from interacting with text, images, videos, games, news feeds, and eCommerce shops to experiencing those same elements in 3D as virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).
If it’s so similar to the internet, why don’t tech developers just call the metaverse “VR internet” or something much less confusing?
While that would help clarify the confusion surrounding the metaverse, it wouldn’t do the change justice. Giving the metaverse a brand-new name also attracts more attention to it, and buzz is necessary for getting investors interested.
Despite marketing positioning the metaverse as new technology, it will build on the internet and what you already know and do. For instance, instead of a Zoom call, you can gather as avatars in a virtual meeting room and instead of watching a YouTube video about Hawaii, you could travel there as an avatar.
The future of the internet is in 3D. Already, today’s tech giants are adding virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality to your daily browsing experiences. Social media lets you post 3-D images where your friends can move around within the picture. Games also use VR headsets to give more control to the user.
Below are the two examples of metaverse technology that are shaping the future of the virtual world:
VR and AR technologies have already become such a large part of the online experience that 85 million people interact with them monthly, and that number continues to grow.
Researchers are looking for ways to eliminate hardware and use brain-computer interfaces. This technology is already used in some healthcare situations to give people robotic limbs or enable someone to speak.
The technology has potential in the gaming industry, and some video game developers like Valve are already looking at ways of incorporating it.
The use of implants or non-invasive brain-computer interfaces isn’t part of emerging metaverse platforms yet. Still, this technology is worth watching as people find new ways to immerse themselves in the virtual world.
There are over 160 metaverse platforms. However, the leading metaverse platforms can be categorized into three types of interactions.
Centralized VR metaverses are owned and controlled by a central organization. They store everyone’s data and operate for their own financial benefit.
Centralized metaverses are most common within the gaming industry. Some examples of a centralized metaverse are Fortnite and World of Warcraft.
The decentralized metaverse is quickly growing in popularity. The community within the VR metaverse governs the world. They will use their own cryptocurrency for purchasing and trading NFTs and land with each other.
The decentralized metaverse is often what people associate with the metaverse and is the format of popular platforms like Decentraland and The Sandbox.
The real-world metaverse uses AR to bring data into the physical world. It’s primarily used in eCommerce and gaming but has the potential to overlap other industries.
Experts are seeing a shift towards decentralized gaming, which opens the door to a decentralized metaverse. Real-world metaverses aren’t as popular but do have the support of large companies like Niantic and Adobe. Meanwhile, the emerging brand RIFT-AR plans to combine several metaverse categories and create a decentralized AR experience.
Based on the technology available today and the vision of metaverse virtual reality technology, here are five ways you will see the metaverse change the world over the next few years.
The metaverse of the future will build on real-world experiences like social interactions, shopping, and entertainment. While the way you complete these activities will shift, the activities will remain familiar.
That’s not to say you won’t be able to fly, visit the moon, or participate in fantasy gaming. Instead, those won’t be the premise of the metaverse. Gaming and fantasy may have opened the door to metaverse technology, but developers’ future vision is to use that technology for daily activities, business interactions, and social networking.
The adoption of VR and AR points to a fully immersive online experience. The degree to which you will be part of your online activity is still uncertain.
Will you block out the real world entirely, or will you bring your online experiences into your physical setting? Both are possible futures.
The common thread between all possibilities is you will play an active role in your online experiences. Instead of passively scrolling through on a mobile device, technology will now allow you to interact with the digital world. You could move around to explore online and control your activity with more than just your fingers and a touchpad. Instead, you might use equipment like the Oculus metaverse headset.
The internet has already made significant advancements in connecting people across distances through chat, video calls, and multi-player games. The metaverse and its technology build on connectivity by offering new ways to meet new people and interact with family and friends.
According to research, Americans spend 38 hours a week on their phone. This time is spent texting, exploring social media, emailing, and browsing online. The metaverse has the potential to increase social interactions during that online time which could be a positive change.
The metaverse has potential beyond socializing and gaming. The future of other industries will also be transformed by the digital metaverse. For example, healthcare will be more flexible and can reach people virtually who might not otherwise have access to care. People can also use technology to monitor their health at home, enhance their fitness routines, and participate in sports to improve their activity level.
Businesses also have broader networking opportunities and more options for remote work because of the tech advances in data collection, file sharing, and communication. These are all instrumental in forming the metaverse. VR and AR can also be adopted in business training to help employees become better equipped for their jobs and learn new technology faster.
Even education will drastically change as remote learning has become increasingly popular since COVID-19. With VR and AR added to the online learning platform, schools can accomplish even more in their virtual classrooms, and students can still gain hands-on experience from their homes.
Marketing and sales are seeing some of the most significant transformations from the metaverse. Nearly $54 billion is spent on virtual assets annually. As a result, marketing and sales have a whole new virtual world to explore where they can create and sell digital products.
A metaverse that increases social interaction also presents new opportunities for marketing in a personal way that connects directly to the consumer. Some examples of the future of marketing are the use of AR to view furniture in your home, VR to explore products, and AR to try on outfits and make-up before purchasing them.
Some brands like Gucci are even creating virtual stores for an immersive online shopping experience. While virtual stores aren’t yet the norm, digital city streets lined with virtual stores is one idea developers have of the metaverse.
Human behavior is unpredictable, which makes the future of the metaverse unclear. While there is great potential for positive advancements through metaverse technology and connection, there are also some valid concerns.
Knowing the good and bad outcomes will help you make wise choices today to protect your assets and invest in the future. You can start preparing for the future, whichever way it may go, by building on the channels you have available today. Take time to invest in your social media, online content, and influencer marketing.
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