Metaverse will revolutionise everything
India has been witnessing rising use of metaverse technology. A couple from Tamil Nadu held their wedding reception in metaverse. Investors are showing interest in Cryptocurrencies, NFTs etc. Ajit Mohan, VC and MD at Meta for India, Bengaluru, said that country will have the largest app developer ecosystem in the world in two years, so many of the metaverse applications will be built here. In the last week of February this year, Infosys announced the metaverse Foundary, a set of 100 ready-to-use templates and use cases that will help enterprises who are fence-sitting on the metaverse to jump in
The metaverse history begins with science fiction book 'Snow Crash' written by Neal Stephenson, an American, published in 1992. It was in this book that the term metaverse was coined. This book depicts people using Virtual Reality (VR) technology and digital avatars – one's persona in digital world. The term virtual reality - is an immersive experience when one puts on headset and sees and can operate within a digital world, became popular in 1980s, while wide-spread commercial releases of VR headsets began in the 1990s.
Over the years VR devices grew in development and were popularly used in video games. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook's role in metaverse history began in 2014, when the company acquired the digital reality hardware/platform Oculus. During 2021, Facebook saw rebrand as Meta- relating to the projected future of the company as a pioneer of Metaverse.
According to Mark Zuckerberg metaverse is 'a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). The idea that by creating a greater sense of virtual presence 'interacting' online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person i.e. the metaverse is an immersive next generation version of internet likely rendered by virtual or augmented reality technology. Louis Rosenberg, pioneer in AR, says that the metaverse is the future of technology and will transform society over next decade.
There are two different concepts. The virtual metaverse - avatar based VR world will be very popular but it will not be the means through which immersive media transforms society. The Augmented Metaverse - the merger of real and virtual worlds into a single immersive and unified reality - will touch every person on the planet and rapidly transform society.
John B Sheldon, adviser to space policy unit, London, says that the Web 1.0 of 1990s was passive, the Web 2.0 of early 2000s was interactive thanks to social media and Web 3.0 will be immersive, tangible and decentralized due to emergence of and confluence of several technological trends such as virtual and augmented reality, 5G network, blockchain, cryptocurrency etc. The term metaverse, in modern English, Meta means 'going beyond' while verse means 'universe'. Therefore, the metaverse is a technological concept that goes beyond our current universe of neatly delineated physical and virtual worlds.
Metaverse is a disruptive technology that will create virtual worlds and bring people around the world together. It combines the elements of various technologies viz Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Artificial Intelligence, 3D reconstruction, Brain Computer Interface. It will provide immersive social media experience by introducing 3D space. Though, does not fully exist yet, however some platforms such as Roblox and Fortnite contain metaverse-like elements.
The term metaverse has been capturing attention of everyone, including top companies CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Satya Nadella. It has the potential to shape our future by creating advanced immersive and interacting digital experiences. The metaverse has wide applications - real world activities such as trading and exchanges occur inside it. It leverages cryptography technology and Non Fungible Tokens (NFT). Meta is developing a better version in social media platforms, which will open up opportunities for businesses and marketers. Travelling is adventurous, metaverse will allow people to visit places virtually where they can't go physically. In metaverse media and entertainment will look very similar. To enter the virtual world, all you have to do is put on your AR-VR headsets, you can attend virtual concerts, visit virtual theme parks and so on.
India too is not lagging behind to play in leading the metaverse revolution. With the presence of unique vantage points and promising signs such as rising young population, growing domestic markets, vibrant start-up ecosystem and a huge talent pool, India is expected to play a massive role in the metaverse space. According to a report by DappRadar, India has been ranked fifth only behind US, Indonesia, Japan and Philippines in terms of interest in metaverse projects.
Indian IT firms like TCS, Infosys, Zensar technologies, HCL technologies are working hard to build the metaverse. Tech Mahindra announced launch of metaverse related business to offer customers immersive experiences. The company will begin with four main centres in Dallas, London, Pune and Hyderabad. It is offering virtual car dealership, Meta Bank - the virtual Bank, Middlemist - an NFT marketplace etc.
India has been witnessing rising use of metaverse technology. A couple from Tamil Nadu held their wedding reception in metaverse. Investors are showing interest in Cryptocurrencies, NFTs etc. Ajit Mohan, VC and MD at Meta for India, Bengaluru, said that country will have the largest app developer ecosystem in the world in two years, so many of the metaverse applications will be built here. In the last week of February this year, Infosys announced the metaverse Foundary, a set of 100 ready-to-use templates and use cases that will help enterprises who are fence-sitting on the metaverse to jump in.
Any new technology has challenges. Therefore, before adopting, it is always desirable to address the challenges. Personal identification and representation are necessary when it comes to real world. In the metaverse indeed there will be ones identity in virtual environments. Users unwittingly may spend more time in metaverse due to complete immersion experience. Therefore, during initial stages of immersion in metaverse, one will require assistance with both time and space perception so as to make the users comfortable while inside the virtual environment.
For data privacy, it is necessary to improve security systems. It would be necessary to develop unified system that could be used to validate the owners of virtual assets in the metaverse. It would also be necessary for the governments to conduct research into virtual law domains as they become immersed in the metaverse.
Though in nascent stage, at present but the metaverse is coming and it is going to change everything. It is one of most exciting technological developments of 21st century. It will change the perception of internet and social media interactions. It will be mainstream by the decade end. Undeniably it will revolutionize the world of communication and it will change the way in which we work, play and live.
(The author is a retired IFS officer)