What Does Metaverse Mean?
The metaverse is an immersive, interactive environment generated by a computer. Although there is no unified agreement on what the metaverse will look like -- or how individuals will interact with it -- Star Trek’s holodeck is often used as an example to explain the concept.
Basically, after some sort of identity verification, metaverse visitors use an avatar (that may or may not resemble their real-life counterpart) to explore their new virtual environment. Technologies that support this type of immersive computing include:
- Virtual reality (VR) headsets
- Haptic interfaces
- Intelligent sensors
- Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs)
- Blockchain distributed ledgers
- Nonfungible tokens (NFTs)
- Digital twins
- Augmented reality
The metaverse is expected to create new revenue streams because it will provide companies with a new way to promote goods and services, while also allowing them to collect new types of data generaged by user interactions. Before companies can expect a high return on investment for this type of business initiative, however, there are still many technological challenges and social concerns that need to be addressed.
Microsoft, Facebook (rebranded Meta), Nvidia and Roblox are often pointed out as pioneers in the metaverse. These vendors are known for their research and development in mixed reality technologies and are currently exploring ways to monetize head-tracking and other types of user-generated data in the metaverse.
Future research is expected to focus on overcoming the current bandwidth, headset and haptic considerations that put limits on today's metaverse applications.