In 2021, metaverse covered its journey from literary text rumination to limitless tech reality. First mentioned in a 1992 science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson and then picked up in other sci-fi settings like RunEscape, the metaverse is an immersive, digital alternative to the physical world, where virtual avatars converge together to work, shop, play, pursue hobbies or otherwise engage in online communities and explore the digital space.
Metaverse has an exponential potential as it promises to be the ‘Virtual Platform of the Future’ —for interactions, collaborations, partnerships, and joint ventures. But, all this can be a reality, only if the Metaverse has a strong and viable technological ecosystem that will drive mass adoption.
Various Models of the Metaverse Ecosystem
Just as metaverse doesn’t have an industry specific definition, so does its ecosystem. Can’t make much head or tail about it? Well, various industry experts and thought leaders have differing opinions on what constitutes the metaverse ecosystem. Although, all the studies and research somewhat contains the similar elements, yet they differ in how they are presented and categorised.
To give a kaleidoscopic view of the ecosystem of the metaverse, let’s dive right into it.
According to Infosys Knowledge Institute, the vision for the metaverse can only be realized through the convergence of several fast-evolving technologies, including spatial computing, cloud continuum and edge computing, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), 5G/6G networks, the internet of things (IoT), blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and head-mounted displays or other sensory devices.
The current metaverse players are divided into three major categories: connectivity, cloud and edge computing, and applications (as in the above figure). Furthermore, there are key enablers that perform niche tasks and system integrators that stitch together offerings and platforms for custom use cases. Lastly, security, sustainability, AI, and blockchain must be incorporated across all these elements to facilitate the metaverse.
Let’s discover the three categories in detail:
Enterprises and consumers will require ultrafast, reliable, low-latency networks if they want to experience the metaverse in its full might. To make it all possible, it is important to invest in fibre-optic cables, 5G/6G, edge connectivity, and satellite networks.
With the advent of decentralized providers, a reduction in telcos’ dominance and control over mobile network infrastructure is expected.Helium, a crowdsourced network built by individuals that invests in a device that acts as a public hotspot. These people get rewarded in crypto tokens that can be converted into real money through crypto exchanges.
Such networks are developed on unlicensed bands of radio frequencies which support low-power applications and are capable to play a major role in connecting sensors or IoT devices to facilitate real-time data transfer.
Satellite networks being created by companies such as SpaceX, Amazon, and OneWeb are also going to penetrate deeper into broadband services. These companies are placing numerous satellites in low-Earth orbit to provide reliable internet connectivity to the remotest parts of the planet. These networks have the potential to support the global connectivity requirements of the metaverse.
2: Cloud and edge computing
The real-time, immersive experience of the metaverse swings on the hinges of immense computing power of the cloud. Big tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Meta , and Microsoft have a strong presence in computing power, applications (or content platforms), and user experience devices. They also have massive amounts of user data and are leading the developments in AI and automation.
While these companies are already staking their claims in the metaverse domain, cloud computing is increasingly becoming environmentally unsustainable — primarily due to an extensive growth in AI applications. Therefore, it is driving the shift toward edge computing and tiny AI concepts that run on less data and computing power. In this, computing is done closer to the end user and often on the device itself rather than in the cloud, thus reducing power consumption and latency. Having said so, metaverse experiences are more reliable and sustainable than if everything has to be shunted to the cloud for processing.
As the name suggests, applications help people experience 3D content, from games and social networks to workplace collaboration. In the future, there is scope for addition of digital twin spaces and users for industry, education, and entertainment.
It is expected from big incumbents in gaming and social media to continue dominating. Needless to say, new social networks are unlikely to disrupt the existing big players — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, thus posing a challenge for new entrants to convince people to switch to their networks.
This comprises technologies that facilitate the creation, building, and realization of the immersive virtual world and includes:
- Devices: Wearables for augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, and mobile.
- Design: Includes all the softwares needed to create the 2D and 3D designs and objects required for Metaverse interaction.
- Applications: Gateways for Metaverse, accessible via mobile, tablets, or desktops.
The pillar of technologies in the economy supports transactions in the integrated virtual world aka Metaverse.
- Cryptocurrency: The buy-sell transactions in Metaverse are mainly done with crypto-currency. While there are commercial transactions in traditional currencies, these are the exceptions rather than the norm. So, it becomes important that there are solutions that can enable crypto payments.
- NFT: Non-Fungible Tokens are data units tradable via blockchain and can’t be changed. It becomes essential that one has software to assist in creating and real-time trading of NFTs.
- Blockchain and Security: Both crypto-currency and NFTs have blockchain as their epicentre. Therefore, blockchain would also be used for security and privacy purposes.
The third component of the metaverse ecosystem is ‘Enablers’ which include technologies, practices, and platforms.
i) Enabler technologies: This includes the below-mentioned enabling technologies that assist in practical implementation.
- Digital Twins help bridge the gap in the Metaverses where there is an element of bringing physical aspects into the virtual world.
- 5G/6G – Today’s bandwidth and underlying internet infrastructure constrain the Metaverse experience. With the adoption of 5G/6G, the ability of the devices to bring in edge computing and performance would be increased.
- AI/ML is embedded in nearly all the software implementations, and the same will continue for Metaverse too.
It will assist in embedding predictions, analysis, and recommendations. AI-assisted software will also aid in making this an early reality.
ii) Enabler practices
These are very important for engineering solutions using Metaverse technologies and help build and maintain the Metaverse.
It is indispensable for metaverse solutions to adapt and expand. For example, recent musical concerts hosted by Fortnite have attracted 10 Million+ attendees.
This feat and scalability is only possible if the underlying software is hosted on the cloud.
- Agile/DevOps: Metaverse is an evolving domain and runs on the collaboration between engineers, designers, and business stakeholders to bring in quick results but in a fail-safe manner. The Agile and DevOps techniques that are used in engineering can make it possible. Check out the difference between DevOps and SRE in the image below
- Site Reliability Engineering (SRE): It is another pivot aspect because managing Metaverse solutions is all about monitoring Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and looking at Experience Level Agreement (XLA) across various entities.
This includes the entire spectrum of providers, including platforms, applications, engineering, and infrastructure. An efficient SRE mindset is required to operate and manage such varied agreements.
iii) Enabler platforms
Enabler Platforms provide services to create a quick and effortless curated Metaverse and economy solution rather than creating your own custom Metaverse experience from the beginning.
The last few months have been an amazing time for Metaverse, with new virtual buildings, events, games, branding opportunities, and promotional events hopping up every now and then. However, the importance of these Metaverse platforms for businesses and industrial use is yet to be decided since their universe is often a fictional city and less complicated than the physical world.
To be able to fit into the enterprise applicability perspective, Metaverse needs to reimagine its position so that it compliments business objectives while promoting a great experience. It should be able to foster a seamless transition to various personas (for example, a floor manager on weekdays to maybe a grocery shopper over the weekend).
When it comes to metaverse, its features, ecosystem, use cases etc, it is a divided house amidst many industry leaders.
However, all of their thoughts about the metaverse ecosystem are somewhat inclusive yet exclusive in their unique ways. Wondering which one to go with? Well, it is completely your decision to make as there is no thumb rule in it except the fact that all these elements together float the boat for metaverse.
And now that we are on the edge of experiencing the Metaverse metamorphosis, Rising Capital has been playing a significant role in pushing it forward. It has been a torchbearer entity for businesses that offer a unique proposition to the domain of Metaverse.
If you have something out-of-the-box that has the potential to revolutionize the Metaverse of today, apply here and we’ll be happy to back you through.