Facebook’s recent decision to elevate Andrew Bosworth to CTO has put the spotlight back on the metaverse and kickstarted conversations on its potential. Bosworth was previously head of Reality Labs, Facebook’s virtual and augmented reality offering, whilst earlier this year Zuckerberg declared that Facebook would transition to a ‘metaverse company’, predicting that it would be the “successor to the mobile internet”.
You can be forgiven for being overawed by the term – it is the latest in a string of buzzwords that have exploded into the mainstream thanks to coverage by the likes of Facebook, Nvidia and Epic (much like the NFT explosion at the start of 2021).
Whilst you can trace the term ‘metaverse’ back to science fiction works of the 1990s, namely Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson, and Ready Player One, By Ernest Cline, the modern-day iteration of metaverse is seen by some as the successor to our current internet.
Whereas Stephenson and Cline placed a dystopian cloak around the metaverse, a place to escape societal collapse, tech figures in the real-world see it more as an expansive, persistent, shared digital 3D virtual world. It shatters our current concept of the comparatively limited 2D screen and opens up a world that can be experienced immersivity as it brings together IoT, digital twins, and mixed reality with AI and machine vision.
The definition of metaverse, now, is the gradual convergence of the digital world with the physical world, a world where we no longer notice a distinction between our digital avatars and our physical selves. It is a world where smart lenses and various devices enable us to be surrounded by information – interactive information for work, education, and more. This is the next iteration of the internet and what prompted Zuckerberg to hail the metaverse as its ‘successor’.
Such concepts might be familiar to MMORPG gamers, or those who use Second Life; the elements of the metaverse have essentially evolved or been adopted from such concepts found in these games. Far from being a world just for gamers, however, the metaverse opens up a world of possibilities for businesses – a term that has been coined “The Enterprise Metaverse”.
How does it work exactly?
The main goal of the enterprise metaverse is to bring people together for work, and at the foundation is digital twins. Digital twins enable you to create rich digital models of anything physical or logical, from simple assets or products to complex environments. These environments can be anything from roads and rail to warehouses, factories and homes —anything that’s important to you. Once it’s modelled, it can be brought to life and synchronised with the physical world using sensors and IoT connections. This initial binding of the physical and digital is foundational to enabling the enterprise metaverse.
Once this foundation is in place, we can then start applying software techniques to your model; from there the world essentially becomes your digital canvas. You can run analytics to gain insights from the history of changes to your environment. You can predict future states of the environment—foreseeing when roads will need repairing, or anticipating occupancy needs in buildings before they happen.
Insights can be achieved by using these models to apply ‘what if’ scenarios in the digital world and once complete, you can apply insights from the simulated copy to the real world twin in the physical environment to realize the benefits. You can even create and automate routine tasks and enhance them with systems that learn and improve over time.
Finally, one of the most powerful things you can do is interact with both the digital model and colleagues and experts in the virtual space. This proves very useful when it comes to surveying or assessing remote and dangerous sites in full fidelity. Imagine being able to inspect a ceiling without needing a ladder, calling up a data overlay that shows you pollutants and volatile gasses.
Imagine taking any complex environment and applying the power of technology to create awe-inspiring experiences and reach new business heights that were previously unimaginable.
In the words of Spinview CTO, Greg Roach:
“Imagine a secure, private space where you can meet and interact with co-workers, or clients, with all the subtlety and presence of the real world, but without leaving your home. Or Imagine inspecting a remote or dangerous site in full fidelity, the invisible made visible, and the far brought near. This is what the “Enterprise Metaverse” means to us at Spinview.”
In our current world, where the Covid-19 pandemic has put paid to the day-to-day concept of office-based working for some sectors, such virtual collaboration will seem very appealing and could help break down the prohibitive walls that exist within remote working.
These examples are just some of the ways Spinview is already helping businesses enter the Enterprise Metaverse. Spinview’s Digital Twins can model any asset, system, or an entire environment and keep the digital twins live and up-to-date. Agority, part of our VQvision platform, gives us a foundation for bringing our own spin to the Enterprise Metaverse, whatever it becomes.
For more information on our Agority VR space or to find out how your business can work with Spinview, email us at [email protected].