XR needs to become mainstream to bring the Metaverse to the masses

by July 25, 2022 0 comments

With the use of AR, VR, & XR technologies, the Metaverse can create virtual experiences that feel life-like. We have the hardware to render realistic virtual environments and avatars in 3D already and XR headsets are likely to become the entry points of choice for users logging into the Metaverse

The metaverse offers a future full of potential. It is predicted to grow as a digital platform for personal and business interactions. Businesses and brands across industries have started rushing into the meta world in order to establish themselves as forerunners of the digital future. Qualcomm Technologies, too, is well positioned to support the development of technologies for the Metaverse – technologies for creating experiences that span both the physical and the digital worlds. To know how it will impact the future of businesses, we spoke to Brian Vogelsang, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies. He also explains what it takes to bring the Metaverse to the masses.

Making the Metaverse mainstream

The Metaverse can be best understood as the next generation of the internet, and large parts of it will be based on Extended Reality (XR). But, XR will need to become mainstream first to bring the Metaverse to the masses. This will require breakthrough technology advancements and industry-leading talent. Qualcomm’s XR labs are working in this space to develop breakthrough experiences that will accelerate progress towards the Metaverse. 

It has been predicted that VR and AR headsets will surpass global gaming console shipments as early as 2024. Just like the introduction of PCs and smartphones heralded new eras for mankind, so will the widespread adoption of XR. XR headsets will revolutionize digital experiences and become the entry points of choice for consumers logging into the Metaverse. 

The Metaverse will be driven by different technologies, cloud infrastructure, software tools, platforms, applications, user-generated content, and hardware. It will also include new experiences in entertainment, gaming, commerce, social interactions, education, and research.

5G and 6G will play a crucial role in enabling and shaping the Metaverse. These technologies, along with Edge Computing, will provide the high bandwidth and low latency that are needed for advanced Metaverse applications.   

Skilling for the Metaverse

The Metaverse will create new job roles in areas such as Metaverse research, Metaverse planning, Metaverse storytelling, experience designing, environment architecture, distributed ledgers, token economics, and more. The current and future workforce will need to be equipped with the skills needed to perform these roles effectively. These include skills in XR, blockchain, gaming, security, AI, and other such areas. As the Metaverse entails a blend of physical and digital worlds, there will also be demand for skills in 3D art, 3D commerce, digital currency, and digital asset markets. All of this will present a multitude of opportunities for the tech talent in India.

Aligning Snapdragon Spaces with the Metaverse vision  

Extended Reality (XR) is one of the most important elements of the Metaverse, and we are committed to furthering advancements in this space with our Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform. Snapdragon Spaces is designed to support companies and developers in pioneering the next generation of spatial computing. It provides APIs, developer kits, sample code, documentation, and the support that developers need to create advanced, immersive experiences. Developers can create innovative AR applications and immersive digital experiences with the help of our powerful, open-platform tools and a robust ecosystem of partners. We provide technology to developers, who, in turn, share feedback that helps us improve our technology further; it is a mutually beneficial cycle.

Metaverse opportunities for businesses across industries

Financial institutions are among the many businesses that are leveraging this technology. Metaverse is predicted to grow as a digital platform for personal and business interactions, including financial transactions. The Metaverse will find applications in the healthcare industry too. It could, for instance, help in training doctors by creating simulations of real-life surgery procedures and the complications that could arise therein. The Metaverse can also be used as a medium of rehabilitation to help patients recuperate better and faster.

The Covid-19 pandemic opened the doors for VR-based entertainment and events. Now, many of the world’s biggest media and entertainment companies are looking for ways to engage their fans and audiences with Metaverse experiences and events.     

Powering the future of gaming

We are already seeing Metaverse concepts such as 3D avatars and world-building being employed in games such as Sim City, Minecraft, and Second Life. The trend toward online, interactive, immersive gaming will continue in the future.

Enthusiasm for multiplayer and social games existed much before the concept of a Metaverse emerged. Now, with the Metaverse on the horizon, gaming companies have an opportunity to create even more immersive gaming experiences. The opportunity is even more pronounced for play-to-earn or Non-Fungible Token (NFT) games, where players will be able to sell or buy assets in a virtual environment. The Metaverse will also make game resources more portable, allowing companies to smoothly oversee the transfer of in-game “weapons” or “avatars” from one virtual gaming environment into another. As more users join the Metaverse, more gaming companies will focus on monetizing the gaming experiences they offer.

Due to the use of AR and VR technologies, the Metaverse will create virtual experiences that feel life-like. Metaverse game developers will use blockchain technologies and AI to make the gaming experience more immersive. Blockchain has been helping with the development of decentralized Metaverse projects by offering benefits such as digital proof of ownership, transfer of value, digital collectability, and interoperability. The Metaverse will leverage the internet of things (IoT) to collect and use data from the physical world, providing the sensory network to contextualize the virtual realm. It will also use 3D reconstructing, to enable mimicking of real-life body movements on the player’s avatar. 

Potential data privacy/cyber security risks

As with any new technology or concept, the Metaverse has raised concerns over privacy and security among experts. The Metaverse will contain sensitive, private, and confidential information relating to individuals and organizations, and users will leave data trails there, just as they do today on the internet. Stringent regulations and laws will need to be created and enforced to ensure the privacy and security of user information. Organizations need to invest in holistic security measures and data policies and keep upgrading them to keep pace with the threat landscape. There is also a need to educate the workforce and the general public about security in an increasingly and more intricately connected digital world. 

Amidst ongoing debate on the privacy and security risks of the Metaverse, organizations that wish to develop or use the technology should formulate and share best practices on how to handle user data in a manner where users can move freely from one experience to another without having to worry about privacy. Additionally, companies should employ identity services and access management platforms to enable users to choose how their data is handled and to share information selectively.

Brian Vogelsang

Brian Vogelsang, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies

By Soma Tah & Ashok Pandey

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