Metaverse Explained: What It Is, How It Works And How To Use It
Metaverse is formed by combining the two different words including Meta and Universe. It is basically a digital space in which digital objects and things represent the digital people.
It is a hypothesised concept to combine aspects of several technologies including social media, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), online gaming, and cryptocurrencies. And, enable people to interact with each other virtually. In layman’s terms, it is a virtual world in which users can socialise, shop, perform different activities, and learn new things.
Ever since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, discussions and debates on what Metaverse is has been doing the rounds.
The origin of Metaverse
The word “metaverse” is a portmanteau of two words “meta-” and “verse”. The word “meta” is a prefix of Greek-origin meaning “beyond” while “verse” comes from the word “universe”.
It was first used in literature by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 dystopian novel Snow Crash. In the book, the metaverse is presented as the ultimate evolution of the internet — a kind of virtual reality where any virtual interaction can have a direct impact on the real world too.
What is Facebook’s idea of metaverse?
On 28 October 2021, Facebook announced that it has rebranded itself as Meta Platforms Inc., or Meta for short — a name it carefully picked to capitalise early on what will be the inevitable future of human connectivity and, perhaps, of life itself.
“The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place. Feeling truly present with another person is the ultimate dream of social technology. That is why we are focused on building this,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his Founder’s Letter following the announcement.
Zuckerberg went a step further to give millions around the world a peek into what the metaverse can be expected to look and feel like in a 77-minute video.
In a way, Metaverse already exists in several online gaming platforms including Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox. Even apps like Microsoft Teams or Zoom can be called a form of Metaverse since a group of people come together and interact in a virtual world. However, Metaverse is a wider concept of digital space representation in order to bring people together from virtual trips to concerts and conferences.
In the Metaverse, users can have an immersive experience on the internet by generating a three-dimensional image that surrounds them.
This experience is impossible without using virtual reality, a key component of the Metaverse, where users get to experience both digital and real-world in the same space.
An immersive experience draws users into an imagined space that permits them to manipulate and relate to their environment. It involves a blend of visuals, technology, and sound to deliver extraordinary and engaging worlds.
Immersive experiences are just like the typical experiences that you feel during your daily activities. Some of them include enjoying a concert, having an offsite meeting, watching a movie, learning with your friends, etc.
How to use Metaverse: The Immersive Experience
Immersive experiences are possible through the presence of technologies like:
Virtual Reality (VR)
It submerges the user inside a digital replication of the physical world and allows them to relate to it. The contents in the digital world are artificial and replicated after the ones in the physical world.
Virtual reality environments are digitally captured by 360º photography and videography, allowing users to be placed inside the world and experience the captured moment from a more reactive angle. This reality is enabled through a virtual headset.
Augmented Reality (AR)
It combines the real world and some digital elements. It uses smartphone displays or headsets to enhance virtual elements in the physical world. Therefore, users can utilise some digital features while still experiencing the physical world.
Mixed Reality (MR)
As the name implies, it integrates both virtual and augmented realities to create an impressively immersive experience. It is a fusion of virtual images and holographic images, and the user wears customised glasses to view it.
The user’s peripheral sight is blocked out in terms of vision as they concentrate on the digital revelations before them through a virtual headset. Furthermore, the virtual reality headset reduces the physical sound so that users can focus on the sounds of the virtual world.
The sense of touch is also enhanced by using certain accessories in VR. It gives haptic feedback for the users; hence, they can feel vibrations when something happens in the digital world.
What Is Metaverse Avatar?
Avatars are digital manifestations of us, and since they can’t thrive physically like our bodies, the best thing is to let them live and progress in their digital realm.
However, avatars can take different forms or shapes in this space because they are endowed with humanoid attributes, like lower and upper torsos, moveable limbs, and a face for non-verbal cues. In the Metaverse, having an avatar is the only way to move around and explore that side of the digital world.
Avatars function as a ticket to getting into the Metaverse and they can be created through a ready-made or basic process. To get a full connection into the virtual space, you need a tool like VR goggles and other receptive tools, which will make you feel the body sensations required for communication.
The future of Metaverse will evolve into a system that is exceptionally large-scale, extremely open, and dynamically optimised as application scenarios mature. This system will be built collaboratively by creators from various fields, including cyberspace experts, hardware engineers, and average users, making for a wide range of virtual reality application scenarios. The end result will be a massive digital application ecosystem.
Metaverse and Sustainability
The Metaverse produces a tremendous boost for sustainability by presenting us with new and often more efficient ways to attain our goals.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, reducing everyday commuting will benefit the ecosystem greatly. “Reducing our everyday journeys will allow us to spend less time caught in traffic and more time doing things that matter,” he said. “It’ll be beneficial to our ecology.”
“For example, if you travel for work, and working in the Metaverse means taking fewer flights per year, that’s better for the environment than practically everything else you can do.”
Education in the Future
The future of education appears to be exciting. It may allow students to put their wild ideas to the test without squandering resources or exposing themselves to the dangers of working with certain materials.
This will allow for the creation of digital twins of everything, allowing for testing anything without wasting money or resources. In the not-too-distant future, metaverse classrooms will be able to deliver practically everything that a real-life classroom can, and more.
Metaverse and Retail Consumer Branding
The Metaverse now offers a new notion for firms to play with, from the early days of constructing a website, to embracing e-commerce, opening social media profiles, and even live broadcasting. Virtual characters, often defined as avatars, have been increasingly popular in recent years, presenting a variety of commercial prospects in the retail sector. Many customers today demand a mix of in-store and online experiences, and the Metaverse allows users to interact with brands and products through a custom avatar.
Metaverse and the Healthcare Industry
The next wave in the healthcare industry is all about improving open, accessible, and interoperable medical services. If the data, services, and assets that make up these 3D virtual places are easy to move between networks and platforms, the healthcare Metaverse will be complete. 3D models, digital avatars, spatial environments, and mixed reality are examples of asset classes that work together, with their metadata, to create content packages that make up the essential components of the healthcare Metaverse.
Games, Cryptocurrencies, and NFTs
Metaverse is bringing a change in the narrative by incorporating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Cryptocurrencies to solidify the digital economy. Users can have complete control over their digital assets in the Metaverse. Blockchain technology provides immutable confirmation of ownership that supports virtual worlds. Users can rest assured that transactions are safe, and are able to mitigate the risk of potential losses.
How does the Metaverse work?
The metaverse can be divided into two sorts of platforms in general:
1. The first one involves leveraging non fungible tokens (NFTS) and cryptocurrencies to create blockchain-based metaverse startups. People can buy virtual land and create their own settings on Decentraland and The Sandbox platforms.
2. The second group uses the metaverse to describe virtual worlds in general, where people might meet for business or enjoyment. In July, Facebook Inc. announced the formation of a metaverse product team.
People who buy or trade virtual assets on blockchain-based platforms must use cryptocurrencies, despite many metaverse services offering free accounts. Several blockchain-based platforms, such as Decentraland’s MANA and The Sandbox’s SAND, require Ethereum-based crypto tokens to purchase and sell virtual assets.
Users can trade NFT artworks or charge for admission to a virtual show or concert in Decentraland. They can also make money by trading land, which has seen a significant increase in value in recent years. Users can earn money on Roblox by charging other users for access to their games.
Click to see video: https://youtu.be/YvQkSmpNDJ0
What are the use cases and applications of the Metaverse?
Blockchain or decentralised technology is essential for the mass adoption of the Metaverse across major industries. Although blockchain technology powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ether, and Dogecoin, blockchain does much more than complementing and maintaining cryptos. It can function as a distributed ledger for recording peer-to-peer transactions and supports the creation of digital assets called non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and dApps.
With Metaverse, companies can design more exciting and realistic NFT marketplaces where users can interact with other users, look at desired NFTs, and make better buying decisions. Because Metaverse offers a shared realm of virtual space, it has been promoting new NFT or blockchain games in which players can acquire in-game collectibles and trade them with other participants. Blockchain-based game developers use the Metaverse to develop these next-gen online games.
Virtual work and learning spaces
The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled worldwide businesses to adopt digital modes of communication. Video conferencing platforms have also become much more popular for remote work, online classes, and other work-from-home arrangements. These platforms fail to provide a compelling, engaging experience because of real-time audio and video interaction.
Metaverse provides users with a more engaging experience to address this limitation through its graphically rich virtual environment, 3-D avatars, and immersive meetings. Instead of seeing the participants on a computer screen and communicating through microphones, the Metaverse allows us to navigate a virtual environment with lifelike participants’ avatars.
Virtual businesses and markets
Technology creates new opportunities for businesses, helping them promote their services and offerings effectively. With the increasing implementation of the Metaverse, enterprises are coming out of the two-dimensional surface of e-commerce and adopting lifelike virtualized spaces for a profound experience.
E-commerce business owners can interact with merchants in a virtual space and perform trading formalities such as product inspection, negotiations, and finalising deals. Plus, they can better influence customers using interactive and realistic marketing content rather than relying on digital marketing tactics.
With many new business concepts, Metaverse technology also complements the creation, ownership, and trading of digital assets and tokenized versions of real-world assets to empower cryptos and NFTs.
Expansion of social media platforms
Mark Zuckerberg and the minds behind Meta platforms understand that technology can do much more apart from connecting people through social media. Their idea of embracing the Metaverse is to introduce a three-dimensional space that is not limited to watching people on computers or mobile screens and listening to their voices.
A platform based on Metaverse provides a more immersive experience for social media users by enticing a feeling of presence among them. Combining virtual reality and augmented reality enables a more realistic digital experience beyond the present social media universe’s abilities.
Of course, we have seen the expansion of social media from simple text-based chats to sharing memories and stories, and now we are entering the virtual world of the Metaverse. Content in the Metaverse is graphic intensive, and the users become content creators themselves as they live virtually inside this universe.
What are the top technologies powering the Metaverse?
Companies are on a mission to make the Metaverse more immersive. They use big technologies such as blockchain, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and 3D reconstruction to power the virtual world. In this connection, let’s understand these technologies that augment the Metaverse.
Blockchain and cryptography
Blockchain technology is crucial for the development and constant evolution of the Metaverse. With blockchain, enterprises can build decentralised and transparent solutions to provide digital proof of ownership, digital collectability, value transfer, and interoperability.
Moreover, cryptocurrencies act as a medium of exchange to support the transfer of value between users while exploring and socialising in the 3-D virtual space. For instance, gamers on popular games like Decentraland require native digital currency MANA to buy virtual land and other accessories to continue playing games.
We are most likely to see a future where people contributing to the development of the Metaverse ecosystem will receive incentives through cryptocurrencies, similar to how miners are paid for validating transactions and adding preceding blocks in the blockchain. Seeing such possibilities, we can expect breathtaking innovation related to a blockchain-based Metaverse in the future.
3-D technology is not new, but it has become powerful over time with multiple iterations. The implication of 3-D reconstruction has increased in many industries, especially real-estate businesses.
Due to long shutdowns and social distancing practices, people missed in-person visits to the properties they wanted to buy. As a solution, real-estate agencies adopted 3-D reconstruction technology to take potential buyers on property tours without forcing them to come in person.
Much like the Metaverse, 3-D reconstruction facilitates the creation of a natural environment where the users can navigate using their avatars to check out the replica of a physical building or object. To further intensify their experience, developers combine 3-D with 4K HD technology.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is widely applicable in our day-to-day lives: business automation, strategies and planning, facial recognition, faster computing, and much more. Likewise, AI has enabled the creation of immersive virtual spaces.
Regardless of the project (gaming, commercial, or general niche), AI is adding value to the Metaverse in many ways:
– Data processing and management have become easy and faster with AI.
– For gaming in the Metaverse, AI empowers nonplayer characters in different instances, improving their actions and interaction.
– AI technology analyzes 3-D scans and images to generate more realistic avatars that align with the real participant.
The technology is also crucial to make the entire Metaverse process more dynamic so that the user experience is enchanting every time they enter the space.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)
AR and VR are crucial to Metaverse because they give users an engaging and immersive 3-D experience. These two technologies are the entry points to a virtual world, Metaverse, or similar digital spaces. But what’s the difference between AR and VR?
Let’s define them.
AR utilises visual elements and graphical characters to morph the real world. AR-based applications allow users to view their surroundings through attractive digital visuals close to what we enjoy in games like AR Dragon and Pokemon GO. Anyone with a digital device and a smart camera can access AR applications.
VR differs much from AR, and it resembles Metaverse’s concept. It creates a complete computer-generated digital world that users can explore using VR headsets, gloves, and digital sensors.
The initial capabilities of VR and AR represent the early model of the Metaverse. These technologies are becoming more mature with time and may redefine our digital experiences in the future. AR and VR have produced much hype that has encouraged big tech giants to invest in equipment development to accommodate futuristic Metaverse projects.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT, as a system, bridges the gap between our physical world and the internet, enabling the sending or receiving of data through sensors. For the Metaverse, the IoT collects from the physical world and renders items into virtual space, which increases the accuracy of digital representations. IoT data feeds can determine the functioning of objects within the Metaverse based on the changing environment and other instances.
IoT technology seamlessly connects the 3-D virtual world to real-world devices and enables the recreation of real-world processes in a digitally interoperable infrastructure. To further upgrade the Metaverse ecosystem, IoT can use AI and machine learning technologies to manage the
What are the top Metaverse projects that exist today?
With the Metaverse being the trendiest tech topic, every industry is jumping into its horizon, resulting in the exponential growth of Metaverse projects. Let’s take a look at the top Metaverse projects right now.
Decentraland is a gaming-based decentralised Metaverse project designed to facilitate a realistic and immersive virtual world for worldwide users to create, explore, and trade NFTs. It allows users to buy land inside the world, host live events, play games, and do more exciting activities, which are also possible in the real world.
Powered by a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO), the platform is fully owned and regulated by its users. Users can vote for decisions such as feature upgrades and optimization, propose significant changes, and participate in governance. Decentraland will enable interoperability with multiple other Metaverse projects as its next big upgrade.
Real estate Metaverse—Upland
Upland is a blockchain-powered gaming Metaverse project designed to support buying, selling, and virtual trading of properties mapped to real-world addresses. The properties on this platform are represented via NFTs that users can own to become a “digital landowner” and trade these NFTs to earn profit in the form of UPX coins.
Perhaps a unique project compared to other existing Metaverse projects, Upland seeks to build a digital economy that intends to blur the gap between the digital world and the real world, allowing people to benefit from the utility of both the worlds.
Enjin is a Metaverse project built and run on the Ethereum blockchain that supports the creation of marketplaces on its horizon. Enterprises, based on their industry niche, can create decentralised NFT marketplaces, create NFTs, integrate them, and trade them to earn money that has real value. The platform set no bar on the project types, allowing developers to create a marketplace ranging from gaming to real estate, branding, and e-commerce.
Users can conveniently store and manage their NFTs on Enjin’s platform by leveraging its security benefits to avoid potential complexities. Enjin can be explained in a few simple steps—acquisition, minting, gaming, trading, and melting.
What are challenges likely to occur in the Metaverse?
Metaverse is undoubtedly the greatest innovation in the virtual reality world, and it will change our perception of the internet and social media interactions. But the Metaverse is still in its initial stages of progression.
Like every emerging technology, the Metaverse presents some potential challenges and considering this, let’s take a look at those limitations.
– Contrary to what we experience in the real world, it’s challenging to identify people in the Metaverse. One has to verify users through an avatar’s voice, facial expressions, and features.
– Scammers or bots trying to damage someone’s reputation can pretend to be an avatar to accomplish the end objective.
– Another vital challenge is privacy concerns. The Metaverse’s dependency on VR and AR devices can leak personal data because they are equipped with camera capabilities and unique identifiers.
Note that these challenges do not link with every Metaverse project. With complete knowledge about Metaverse development and a professional team, one can easily design and launch a personalised virtual world, escaping those potential challenges.
The Importance of Metaverse
The importance of the Metaverse in the world is diverse. They include:
Metaverse provides different employment opportunities to boost the global economy. Since it is a digital replication of the physical world, users can also do jobs similar to the physical one, but digitised. Employment opportunities include digital house designers, virtual real estate managers, hardware engineers, event coordinators, cyber-security experts, etc. In addition, once the Metaverse matures, opportunities like digital advertising, digital events, and e-commerce will be challenging to ignore.
The Metaverse is an important platform in the area of networking. Humans are bound to interact and share ideas, and Metaverse aims to simplify this as much as possible. Metaverse allows like-minded people to link up and share ideas for each other’s development and success. You can easily interact with whoever you want, with advanced virtual meetings, using avatars. Your virtual avatars are a digital representation of you, and they will perform like you would in a physical setting.
The Metaverse provides many generous benefits and features. You can work and do almost anything you want in this digital space. Companies can utilise this technology to promote remote work. Very little changes in the work environment as workers enjoy the same engagement and admittance as their in-office colleagues. In addition, the Metaverse creates many dynamics for a variety of human activities. For instance, you can travel anywhere without going through the formalities of getting a plane ticket.
Since the Metaverse aims to improve cultural integration and communication worldwide, it will be accessible to everyone. Metaverse’s ability to be inclusive makes it a critical technology and a lucrative investment of time and resources. However, it can be pretty expensive.
Will the Metaverse Replace the Internet?
The Metaverse is understood as a graphically rich virtual space, with some degree of verisimilitude. It’s a real digital world where real things happen. It links numerous significant tech and social trends together. It might be the next phase of the internet. Over the years, the internet has undergone a series of remarkable changes which have efficiently assisted us with countless undertakings.