The metaverse is on its way to becoming a digital reincarnation of the consumer society. It will also, in the end, overcome the limits of a two-dimensional virtual world. Even with the most cutting-edge augmented reality technologies and high-end visual effects, our screens remain flat. People only interact with each other through their eyes. The metaverse, on the other hand, will provide a person with hands, possibly a body, and movements that can mirror thoughts. This indicates that in this atmosphere, “behavior” will grow more naturally.
The contemporary metaverse, on the other hand, is a poor replica of the real world due to technology restrictions. People have become more reliant and responsive to remote communications, which includes early exploration of the metaverse, in this period of COVID-19-driven lockdowns, fears, and worries. It offers enormous chances to generate new revenue streams for firms that move swiftly and get ahead of the adoption curve.
A battle for the key of the metaverse
One of the major debates is whether there will be a single global metaverse universe or several ones. There are now multiple versions of the metaverse, all of which are rather rudimentary. As a result, in this next technology revolution, numerous formats will compete for dominance. VHS triumphed against Betamax in the 1980s. There were also CDs and DVDs, as well as MPEG/ mp3. Each time, the format conflict was essentially a battle between rival businesses. We see the same thing with cellphones, such as iOS and Android. It will be the same in the metaverse.
The move by Facebook to the Meta branding and the metaverse is a clue of how huge this sector will become. Facebook, on the other hand, will very probably not be the dominant player. Competitors will shortly appear. Given that we are still in the early stages of metaverse development, there is an opportunity for telephone companies/telecommunications services (telcos) to recoup some of their capital investment in 5G by regaining lost opportunities and getting deeper into the network side and delivery of metaverse services. Some have already begun to move in this direction.
However, 5G and the metaverse are not, strictly speaking, linked. In the age of convergent and heterogeneous networks, it doesn’t matter where the client connects or what transport is utilized to carry data from point to point. 5G is an example of a technology that is still in its early stages of development around the world. It’s also just one part of a larger connection strategy. Other features include fixed channel cost reduction, mesh network development, and so on.
However, because digital innovations such as the metaverse tend to speed change in technology formats, we will undoubtedly witness the introduction of 6G and even 10G. However, the rate at which new technologies arise in telecoms, for example, is partly due to the increasing need for traffic and the growth of data-intensive content, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, which is the substance of the metaverse.
There is, however, a loop in the opposite direction. It is feasible to build new goods and new ways of utilizing technology when infrastructure is updated. This goes beyond virtual content; for example, self-driving cars and the idea of creating roadways to enable them were not viable with 3G networks.
An abyss of reality
There is currently a gap between the excitement surrounding the metaverse and its actuality. The scenario is not particularly hopeful when we consider today’s technology and the creation of new infrastructure that will drive and create a feature-rich metaverse that accurately reflects real life. Other issues include users’ unwillingness to pay a higher price for data-intensive traffic, which is essential for the metaverse.
Furthermore, because governments do not invest in private firms, operations such as private telecommunications are limited by the fact that capital investment in new infrastructure does not yield a speedy return on investment. There is virtually little immediate income growth, and telcos, for example, may not see any significant returns for decades.
The metaverse, on the other hand, is the internet’s next great connectivity and network infrastructure problem. Things will have to move an order of magnitude faster in a future where graphics will have to be generated on-screen in direct reaction to where someone is concentrating via their headset, requiring single or low double-digit millisecond latency. This will necessitate significant capacity improvements and fundamental modifications in network architecture and deployment, which will necessitate extensive industry collaboration involving IT companies, mobile network operators, legislators, and everyone in between.
We’re nowhere near this yet, as we can see by looking at telcos in general, which is why Meta (Facebook) has invested in everything from submarine cables and satellites to autonomous internet-beaming drones. The metaverse may appear to be applications, but it is actually infrastructure.
Early-on collaborators within the Metaverse
We’ve seen Meta team up with telecommunications behemoth Telefónica to create the Metaverse Innovation Hub in Madrid. Through numerous trials and testing activities, the goal is to speed network and device readiness. In addition, local startups and developers will have access to a 5G lab, where they will be able to use a metaverse end-to-end testbed built on Meta and Telefónica’s network architecture and equipment.
Many companies with the ability to affect metaverse development, however, are just not there yet. Telefónica is a big company with a lot of cash, and it needs to invest in the future. Others are following suit. As companies attempt to recoup 5G expenditures, China Mobile, Verizon, and SK Telecom have moved swiftly to establish platforms based on integrating the digital world with real-life situations, but it’s still early days.
However, recouping 5G investments just through traffic fees is unfeasible. Customers are no longer prepared to pay for traffic. Furthermore, authorities often oppose price increases for fundamental services, yet internet connectivity is becoming a requirement. To recoup their investment in 5G, telcos will need to explore new business models and revenue streams. Perhaps forming ties with e-commerce companies will be beneficial. After all, Facebook, Amazon, and eBay now charge their users nothing to use their marketplaces. As virtual reality becomes the new reality, this may alter.