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Metaverse, maybe closer than we think?
2022-02-08

Metaverse, maybe closer than we think?

On October 28, 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Chairman of the former Facebook, changes the name of his and one of the world's most valued and well-known brands to Meta. A highly conscious and extremely strategic manoeuvre, but also a signal of a possible epochal change. A leap bigger than one of the world's leading tech giants? Time will tell.

For some it was perhaps world news, for others something that may have gone unnoticed. But, as I said, it was of course no coincidence, quite the opposite. Why the change has affected, and will affect, people so differently is most likely in how close, or not close, you live your life on the internet.

The term metaverse often appears in the same context where we come across words like crypto, fintech and social media. Metaverse has become something of a real bubble, and the interest continues along with the development of technology today, so it is not improbable that we have already here and now received a warning about perhaps the very latest game-changer of the Internet. The concept will impact and change the internet to such a degree - that we haven't seen anything like it since the internet was launched.

Are you feeling anxious? Don't be.

Metaverse is a positive solution that comes with many benefits once it launches, otherwise not many people would be excited. But let's not be too hasty, if you're not already familiar with what the metaverse is, it's time for us to explain it to you.

What is Metaverse?
First, metaverse is not really a new term. It has been used in several contexts such as film, comic books, games, books and other types of entertainment. Depending on the source, it represents different variations of essentially the same concept - something that brings together people from different places and separate universes to unite them in a place where exchanges can take place and where we can interact with each other.

If we translate it into a reality with solutions we can actually achieve in real life, i.e. IRL, we can with the help of today's modern technology come up with a concept that ultimately results in a metaverse that then refers to a new version of the internet. An internet that is considered a new type of environment that allows and enables a deeper sharing and exchange for us humans.

It involves a variety of products and technologies, such as NFTs (Non-fungible tokens), cryptocurrencies, 3D avatars, decentralized applications, virtual landscapes, environments and the opportunity to win prizes. This also applies to games, facilitation of file sharing, the possibility of conducting business through smart contracts and the possibility of doing one's job via digital reality.

Metaverse thus becomes an alternative to the real universe and it represents a collective collection of virtual open worlds and environments, together with interoperable assets and experiences. This means that metaverse has a great potential to change the way we humans communicate and interact with each other. In addition, it can change how we manage our jobs, how we spend our money, what we spend it on and much more. Does this seem far away? Let's see what suggests that a metaverse is probably not as far away as we might think. We can start by looking at the technology we already have today, a technology that is one of the cornerstones of the metaverse.
 
Today, it perhaps feels like a matter of course that we have the internet, social networks and that we can spend time with our loved ones online practically whenever we want. We also carry the internet with us almost everywhere we go via our mobile phones. Something that means we always have information close at hand when we need information. If we need to know the weather, we have an app for that. If we have a moment to spare while waiting for the bus, we have an app with games so we can pass the time a little faster. Or maybe we wonder how much a day's lunch costs at the nearest restaurant, then we also take out a map with directions to get us there. We also have the phone with us to be available, so we can receive information from others such as messages, reminders or emails. An everyday life for many.
 
Other technology that paves the way for a metaverse
Phones, TVs and computers are our most common platforms for entertainment and/or information. Should we regret it, today we can also put on a VR headset and experience various simulations, games directly in a 3D environment and directly raise the experience a couple of levels.

For those interested in business and financial transactions, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have not gone unnoticed either. We've all heard of success stories, or perhaps the opposite - of those who just missed the train when Bitcoin exploded. Blockchain technology has given us the opportunity to create an economical, and also proven infrastructure, which through its code offers perhaps the absolute most secure verification we have seen today for transactions.

Humans have in all ages, at regular intervals, created ground-breaking innovations and solutions with the support of advanced technology. A technique we know works here and now. The big breakthroughs and technological leaps often happen with the help of individuals who are not satisfied with what we have here, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and right here Mark Zuckerberg who sees a potential that can be used for so much more.
 
The technology that gives us a hint of what a metaverse might look like
Back to the metaverse, which means that we will most likely see a digital reality that allows us to interact and communicate with each other on a deeper level than before. In reality, this will work through a combination of social media, online gaming, AR, VR and cryptocurrencies and other technological solutions. How this will work in more detail starts with a technology called AR (Augmented Reality) and a perhaps more familiar one, VR (Virtual Reality).

AR technology gives us the ability to add visual elements, such as objects, sounds and other sensory impressions to already existing environments to enhance the user experience. Here you might be thinking about what type of user experience we mean? It is the type we come across in our everyday life. Imagine meeting an old friend whose name you may not remember. What is it then that says that it is completely improbable, that you are wearing a pair of ordinary glasses that you otherwise always have, but that these have a technology so that when you meet this person you receive information such as name, age and maybe profession next to the face?

Before you get skeptical and question this theory, remember that we already carry this kind of information in our pockets. After a quick scroll on Facebook or LinkedIn, we have the answer to what we are looking for. We've also seen evidence of devices that work exactly like the glasses we just mentioned. The only question is, how long until they are as common as a smartphone or smart watch? This is what AR could mean for a metaverse.

Then we have the possibilities of VR technology, the virtual reality that comes to hand when we cannot physically meet each other. Then it is required that we connect online. Do you recognize yourself? This is something quite a few have already encountered during the pandemic. The difference here is that the VR device visually places us in a room where we can sit in a meeting at the same desk, interact with the room and talk to each other's avatars.
 
Metaverse at Boden Business Park
Here at Boden Business Park, led by Boden Game Camp, we have already tested the technology. As silly as it looked sitting next to each other physically in the real world, we linked up via a pair of VR headsets in a new room for a meeting. In the virtual room we had a virtual whiteboard that we wrote on and in the beginning it was probably mostly stick figures that were drawn on it, you have to start somewhere. The point of the meeting was primarily to actually test the possibilities of VR. But then and there in the real physical room - IRL - there was no whiteboard, but in the VR room we could write things and share computer screens for presentations, just like in a real meeting room.

In reality, it was perhaps unnecessary, because we would have had all the functions we needed if we just rolled in a whiteboard to the part of the office we were sitting in. If we had gotten up and walked about ten meters more, we would have had a TV screen to share presentations. But this was an eye-opener for us, because if we take the VR headset home, we would have been able to meet each other in the same simulated environment again, with exactly everything we needed, including a connected computer, to do our work.

To sum up, metaverse is probably not completely impossible after all.

It may be closer than we think.