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The Metaverse: Technology Trends

The metaverse brings together a range of next-generation technologies ranging from cloud computing to artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity, internet of things (IoT), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), digital twins, and adtech.

Below are the top technology trends impacting the Metaverse theme, as identified by GlobalData.

VR and AR

The metaverse is the next big thing in digital media, and virtual reality and augmented reality are key technologies for its development. These two technologies will make the metaverse immersive and allow users to interact with virtual objects, people and environments. Although virtual reality and augmented reality are in nascent stages of development and the metaverse is still largely conceptual, augmented reality will have an advantage over virtual reality in the near term. This is due to the accessibility of AR via web browsers and smartphones compared to bulky VR headsets.

Companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Lenovo are investing heavily in the development of metaverse-related virtual reality and augmented reality. In 2021, Meta has invested $10 billion in the development of VR and AR hardware and software to realize its vision for the Metaverse. In April 2022, Lenovo announced a five-year plan to invest $15 billion in metaverse research focused on virtual reality and cloud services.

On the consumer side, AR and VR metaverses focus on gaming, e-commerce, social media, and live events. A fair share of investment in virtual reality and augmented reality over the next three years will go to developing metaverse experiences and platforms.

AI

AI is a vital tool for the metaverse, impacting all aspects of the value chain. It will support semiconductor computing capabilities, process user data generated on devices, create virtual worlds and avatars in software platforms, and enable content creation and interactivity within experiences, making the metaverse immersive and engaging.

Tech giants are investing in AI development to bolster their metaverse capabilities. In March 2022, Qualcomm announced a $100 million fund to support developers and enterprises integrating AR and AI into their metaverse platforms and experiences. Meta is also working on unified AI models that can understand multiple modalities, meaning they can lip-read while listening for better speech recognition or identify social media posts that violate policies by simultaneously analyzing text, image and video.

Game developers use AI to improve the intelligence of non-player characters, while social media companies use AI for content moderation, security and privacy, and content creation assistance .

The importance of AI will grow as technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality mature, more users sign up for the metaverse, and new use cases emerge in the years to come. come. The huge volumes of data generated on the metaverse will also require AI for interpretation and analysis.

cloud computing

The immersive and ubiquitous aspects of the metaverse will increasingly require cloud computing tools to process, store and analyze the data generated on the platforms. A metaverse platform won’t succeed if it can’t provide a seamless user experience or if it struggles to scale. In March 2022, Nvidia launched Omniverse Cloud, a suite of cloud services that gives artists, creators, designers, and developers access to Omniverse for 3D design collaboration and simulation.

Cloud service providers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Alibaba will benefit from the growing metaverse theme. They will see increased demand for their services from metaverse platforms desperate to access on-demand compute, storage and analytics services. As the Metaverse expands over the next three years, platform owners will also demand advanced computing solutions.

Web3

Web3 is an ideology that relates to the underlying infrastructure of the metaverse. It will rely heavily on blockchain technologies and be designed and managed by communities. Web3 will provide solutions to certain limitations of Web2, specifically related to issues of ownership and control of content and data. This is a reaction to closed ecosystems owned by Big Tech companies such as Meta, Alphabet, Amazon and Alibaba, which do not allow users to take ownership of content or see how their data is being used.

Web3 and Metaverse are often misinterpreted as the same as they both incorporate similar technologies such as blockchain, AI, and cloud. Therefore, despite their fundamental differences, the development of one will, by default, fuel the progress of the other.

Non-fungible tokens (NFT)

Large companies in industries such as beverages, music, e-commerce, entertainment, sports and tourism are also turning to NFTs. These companies are drawing the attention of investors, media, and consumers to NFTs and the metaverse. According to Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shots, a marketplace for buying, selling and collecting NBA NFTs, generated over $700 million in sales between 2019 and August 2021.

NFT sales totaled $18.5 billion in 2021, posting a 570-fold increase from 2020, as avatars and digital art grew in popularity, according to NFT data aggregator CryptoSlam. With forecasts suggesting that the market for new NFTs will exceed $30 billion in 2022, many brands see NFTs as a gateway to the metaverse and a new source of revenue.

This is an edited excerpt from Metaverse – Thematic research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.


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