Every year new technology buzzwords gain traction. Some buzzwords like phablet thankfully disappear, while others, like the Internet of Things (IoT), seem to stick around forever. As the end of 2021 approaches, I would be willing to bet that the buzzword you have heard the most of lately is Metaverse.
The loose definition of this latest buzzword, Metaverse, is a converged world of gaming, social media, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrency. AR is a technology that allows users to experience a virtual world through their existing devices. It attempts to merge the real and digital worlds to create a sense of depth. In contrast, VR is an advanced computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and simulates a user’s physical presence in this environment. Users can then engage with each other in a virtual digital world known as the Metaverse. At least that is the eventual goal. Can the Metaverse be built as envisioned, and to what degree? And the potential success of this alternative human existence is another matter entirely.
Many people believe that the Metaverse is the next evolution of the Internet. It’s the beginning of an evolutionary leap towards a decentralized reality using both AR and VR. You have probably heard that one of those believers is Mark Zuckerburg. It makes sense that Facebook, the leader in social media, is leading the charge into the Metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, called his vision “deeply enmeshed with the way that people relate to one another online and off.” He says he wants to build a platform that lets people connect securely across all virtual worlds by allowing users’ avatar actions to be synced across all the different virtual worlds.
Up until now, virtual reality has been more of a novelty. But with technologies like Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens, and Samsung Gear VR becoming more accessible to everyday users, people are seeing the potential of the Metaverse. And this goes well beyond gaming, with many enterprise applications currently on the drawing board. For example, Facebook is working on an Infinite Office that lets consumers create their ideal workplace through the Metaverse.
Recently, Joanna Stern wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal titled, “I Spent 24 Hours in the Metaverse. I Made Friends, Did Work and Panicked About the Future.” She also recorded this video about her experience:
Bottom line, we are currently in the early days of the AR and VR technology that the Metaverse will likely be built on.
Given this is the age of instant sarcasm and comedy, we know that the Metaverse has truly arrived because the parodies have arrived as well. Here’s a look at a few:
At the end of the day, I see the potential in AR/VR technology, and I believe it will enhance our lives and provide innovative ways for businesses to engage in the Infinite Enterprise. I could see spending a few hours of the day in the Metaverse. It just might be fun, and who knows, maybe even productive. However, I still love the real world, and now that I have finished writing this blog, I think I will step outside, enjoy the sunshine, and stop to smell the roses.