When I was a kid, I read about the sage Vishwamitra in the Valmiki Ramayan. When King Trishanku asked the sage for assistance, he was told that the sage could help him ascend to heaven in his mortal form. With the promise and the power of his penance he gave Trishanku, Vishwamitra made sure that Trishanku got what he wanted in life.
Lord Indra, the guardian of heaven, sent Trishanku back to Earth. A furious Vishwamitra created Trishanku Swarg, a new heaven for the king, by stopping the falling Trishanku in mid-air. There’s a middle ground or limbo between where you want to be and where you are.
Trishanku Back to Earth
After a long period of time, I came across films that beautifully depicted the lives of aliens on new planets. I didn’t think it was surprising that people would want to travel to such worlds. In the metaverse, people can visit a magical world of their choice and have an unforgettable experience. Anyone can create an avatar in the metaverse and personalise it to their hearts’ content. In the metaverse, one can fly around defying physics or better yet, teleport to any virtual world based on the underlying platform. Only in the event of a massive volcanic eruption would there not be instantaneous virtual worlds or those that are always available for its virtual avatar-clad visitors.
Let’s look at some real-life examples. Nike recently unveiled a virtual world in the metaverse called Nikeland. It’s a place where fans of the brand can meet up, create, exchange stories, and compete with one another. B2B companies are also beginning to use the metaverse to help their employees have more fruitful conversations. In these digital twins of their real-world facilities, employees can more easily be brought on board, new equipment and processes can be trained, and a breakout area for interaction amongst coworkers is created. Subsea operations at Reliance Industries will soon be possible for employees to visit thanks to the company’s investment in creating digital twins of its subsea operations.
In addition to facilitating sales training through role-playing in realistic customer worlds, the metaverse helps businesses generate revenue. Customers and sales representatives from Cisco’s Kalki platform can interact in a virtual world that mimics the customer’s industry, allowing for both sales training and sales enablement.
Virtual world Second Life was one of the first to allow users to connect and communicate with one another through the use of a standard desktop computer. Using the latest in virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, a new paradigm for experiencing metaverses has emerged in the year 2022. Computing devices are eight times faster than they were in 2010, and powerful computing devices can be worn on the head.
Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2
Virtual reality headsets, such as Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2, allow users to fully immerse themselves in the metaverse. Unlike virtual reality headsets, AR headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 allow users to stay connected to the real world.
Using an AR headset, how would one enter the metaverse and discover a new virtual world? There is no need to apply the same rules to VR and PCs and AR. Even though it is possible to experience virtual worlds in an AR headset through gestures, I believe AR headset-based metaverse experiences are best enjoyed when users see a seamless blend between their real and superimposed worlds. There is no risk of losing your sense of where you are when you are in the metaverse thanks to this technology.
In the future, wouldn’t it be great if you could switch between the real and virtual worlds by wearing a pair of glasses?
Most all-in-one augmented reality headsets on the market today are heavy, expensive, and only use a small portion of the phone’s processing power. At the current price point, a good VR headset is eight times more expensive than a good AR one, so VR is poised to gain a significant share of the headset market. Even though the price of AR headsets is expected to come down in the near future, I believe that a smartphone-based AR experience holds the most promise.
AR has already made a significant impact on education at the secondary and collegiate levels. The metaverse is a natural extension of the traditional AR experience, allowing students to connect with each other in virtual labs via regular smartphones and collaborate on content. Employees in the manufacturing sector can work on a holographic digital twin of a network of machines together using traditional smartphones and AR. Customer experience centres can be made available to customers with a single click and allow them to interact with holographic displays of products, as well as have a virtual conversation with the sales team.
For the first time ever, gamers can create and share unique experiences with other players in an AR metaverse built by Niantic, the company behind Pokémon GO. A non-fungible token (NFT) could then be created for each of these experiences, creating a much larger value chain in blockchain-based marketplaces.
It has been estimated that the metaverse market will be worth $1 trillion in the next few decades. In order for this to happen, I believe smartphone-based AR metaverse experiences will take off and provide the thrust for the market to reach the estimated numbers while VR plays its role in enabling metaverse experiences.