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Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.
Imagine being able to pull up your custom workstation with the wave of your hand, from anywhere in the world. Then imagine “teleporting” a coworker to wherever you are to help troubleshoot a problem or collaborate with on a project—and it’s as if they are right beside you. That is just the beginning of what the metaverse could evolve to.
If it sounds like science fiction, it’s because, really, it is. The term “metaverse” is said to have originated from the novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, which came out in 1992. Since the 90s, technology has evolved so far and so rapidly that things we only used to think were possible in movies, are now becoming reality.
So, just what is this mysterious metaverse? One way to look at it is by envisioning the internet as you know it, but in 3D. Of course, it isn’t as simple as virtual reality (VR). Nor is it a video game. The metaverse is a network of experiences—which could one day, span work, games, social gatherings, and so much more.
For a more technical viewpoint, I’ll quote Matthew Ball who said: “The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”
The answer to this question is yes and no. We have virtual avatars, essentially a second online identity for internet users. We have virtual worlds, like Fortnite, Minecraft, or Roblox, which provide somewhat of an alternate reality and online community for players. Even social platforms like Facebook provide a virtual space. But these platforms in and of themselves, are not “the” metaverse, as much as they share aspects of the metaverse or allow you to create your own metaverse.
They are but a taste of what’s to come.
If you think that a worldwide metaverse isn’t possible, think again. Gaming and social media aside, just look at the massive workplace, education, and medical transformations that took place because of the COVID-19 pandemic—we saw a major shift to virtual settings. This was largely possible because of technology already in place that will soon be advanced enough to bring the idea of the metaverse into full fruition.
Social media giant Facebook actually rebranded its corporate identity to “Meta,” complete with a new logo (the infinity symbol) back in October 2021. This was on the heels of Zuckerberg announcing his vision for Facebook to become a metaverse company.
"From now on, we'll be metaverse first, not Facebook first," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the company's Oculus Connect event. "Over time, you won't need to use Facebook to use our other services." (Insider).
Of course, one company can’t build the metaverse and Facebook is not alone in its quest to build it.
Major organizations including Apple, Microsoft, Pokemon Go, Nvidia, and Decentraland are among the frontrunners trying to make the metaverse a full-on “reality.” In fact, Decentraland is the first virtual world that is user-owned and even has its own governing system—down to what kind of behavior and clothes are allowed, as well as its own marketplace.
Microsoft is also committed to making strides in the metaverse. Applications like Microsoft Teams were just a gateway. The next step in Microsoft’s metaverse endeavors is its Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces, which aims to transform how people interact within a digital environment, including retail stores, workplaces, and more. As Mircosoft’s Satya Nadella explains, “the metaverse is allowing us to embed computing into the real world and to embed the real world into computing.”
Of course, the success of the metaverse is contingent on us, the users. But at the rate the world is evolving technologically and at which technology is being embraced, we are literally catapulting ourselves in the direction of a metaverse. If these virtual ambitions are fully realized, we truly will only be limited by our imaginations.
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