Top 7 Technologies for Metaverse Development

The metaverse is a nascent and evolving space whose definition can vary widely depending on who you ask. Right now, the challenge is to compile a comprehensive and reliable list of technologies that will help the metaverse thrive for the next decade. We managed to do just that.

“We believe that metaverses are not a specific group of technologies per se, because they are made up of multiple technologies,” said Marty Resnick, vice president of analysts at Gartner. Instead, “we see them as technology issues.” Spatial computing, digital humans, virtual spaces, shared experiences, games and tokenized assets are among these themes, Resnick said, encompassing a variety of technologies that will help power the development of the metaverse. .

Similarly, Forrester Research characterizes these types of technologies as “3D development environment enablers” that can perform sophisticated modeling, according to JP Gownder, vice president and principal analyst. As a result, he explained, organizations will require professionals skilled in 3D modeling and familiar with the Unity and Unreal game engines. Other skills required will depend on what is being programmed, for example IoT skill sets for digital twins. “Most companies won’t have these skills right now,” Gownder said, “and will have to work with third parties or recruit talent.”

The technologies that enable the Metaverse can range from game engines to digital twins and extended reality converging to address real-world problems in new ways, added Jason Warnke, senior managing director and global digital experience leader at IT consultancy Accenture. “A thriving company can completely build its own metaverse before making a real move in the real world,” Warnke surmised. “You could build a digital twin that establishes exactly what a factory would look like before a brick was laid. Before you take a single dollar or swipe a credit card, they may have designed their own NFT system.”

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Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) “The Corporate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Metaverse” designates the following three categories of technologies that define the metaverse:

  • metaverse worlds (M worlds);
  • augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR); Y
  • Web3 and virtual assets.

M-worlds are immersive apps that offer businesses new ways to reach audiences, particularly Gen Z users. M-worlds can run on mobile devices as well as PCs and AR/VR headsets. Web3 is in its early stages but, according to the authors of the BCG guide, “it is already driving a vibrant virtual asset economy that includes cryptocurrencies, NFT [non-fungible tokens] and smart contracts.” The consulting firm expects Web3 and traditional financial transactions to co-exist for the foreseeable future. Indeed, the authors see that “much of the value of the metaverse may ultimately reside not in consumer applications but in commercials.” Those applications can include virtual meetings, training sessions, new product designs, and virtual tours of homes for potential customers.

metaverse development technologies graphic
Each of these technologies will help bring virtual 3D worlds to life and revolutionize applications and business processes.

Based on expert opinion and extensive research, we’ve narrowed down our list to seven of the most frequently mentioned technologies that will help power the metaverse and its development.

1. Artificial intelligence

AI plays a central role in the development of bots and chatbots and brings intelligence to real-world computer vision. But according to BCG, only 10% of companies report significant AI benefits from their implementations. AI processing capabilities could create metaverse avatars, enhance the characteristics of digital humans to make them more realistic, and be applied to non-player characters conversing with players in gaming environments.

2. Internet of things

The Blockchain Council refers to IoT as “an important pillar of the infrastructure of the metaverse.” The metaverse and IoT integrated together can, for example, “unlock new opportunities for industrial domain, individual needs and societal requirements,” the council reported. IoT would allow virtual spaces to seamlessly access and interact with the real world, while the metaverse would provide the 3D user interface for the pool of IoT devices, resulting in what the council calls “an IoT experience and user-centric metaverse”. In a factory where the digital twin of each machine has sensors, for example, sensor data can be used to scan environments and provide feedback, Gownder said.

3. Extended reality

AR, VR and MR technologies will transform the way businesses view and use data by shifting from 2D to 3D for more realistic experiences and digital screens that sync better with head movements, according to BCG. When AR glasses become more common, computer vision will help people understand the environment and locate the correct information. Extended reality (XR) is already being used, for example, in Microsoft’s HoloLens, allowing users to experience 3D holographic images as if they were part of their environment.

chart showing business app categories in the metaverse
Business modeling, product development and design, and infrastructure engineering are among the top real-world capabilities the metaverse must offer, according to a McKinsey survey.

4. Brain-computer interfaces

Although the World Economic Forum (WEF) includes brain-computer interfaces in its list of technologies that will shape the metaverse, Gownder believes that BCIs are “science fiction for now… Find me someone who uses BCIs.” for business”. WEF reckons that BCI is “perhaps the most far-reaching vision for the metaverse,” as the technology aims to replace traditional control displays and physical hardware. Still, the forum noted that BCI and XR combined “are positioned as the next computing platforms in their own right.”

5. 3D modeling and reconstruction

3D reconstruction captures the shape and appearance of real objects and will bring the metaverse to life. The technology includes tools such as 3D modeling to provide a three-dimensional framework and prototype of a specific process or product. For perspective, the global 3D reconstruction technology market is expected to double in the next few years to approximately $2 billion by 2028, according to a report by SkyQuest Technology Consulting.

6. Spatial and edge computing

Spatial computing combines AR, VR, and MR to interact with the real world, and edge computing can provide fast response time to user actions that mimic reality and keep users immersed in the metaverse. Any kind of space technology, including computer vision, is highly relevant to the metaverses, Gownder said, adding that “being able to place an avatar, collaboration, it’s about the spatial dimension.”

7. Blockchain

Blockchain is “not very relative to today’s employee or business metaverse,” Gownder surmised. However, the discussions focus on how the technology can be used to protect digital content and data in the metaverse. Blockchain could play a role in decentralizing the metaverse to avoid delays or single points of failure.

what’s on the horizon

Deloitte defines digital humans as avatars (human-like virtual beings powered by AI) that can engage in a human conversation by interpreting a customer’s language and returning not only the data the customer needs, but also non-verbal feedback. adequate.

Gartner’s Resnick pointed to a use case where a company creates a virtual customer experience center for networking, socializing or transacting. “If you think about the scale of the metaverse,” he surmised, “I can’t count on staff [it] 24 hours a day and I can’t deal with a large number of people that can walk into that room. So, I can use digital humans to be that conversational AI or… non-player characters that can act as representatives of my organization.” Businesses can provide a presence, converse with customers, and build trust. “I want to see a face of organization as opposed to billboards,” added Resnick. “It’s one of many use cases we see.”

Gartner also predicts that companies will likely focus first on virtual spaces and shared experiences. Probably the biggest area of ​​investment in the coming years will be in what Gartner calls inverse technologies “An intraverse,” Resnick explained, “is essentially how we see building internal virtual environments for use in employee communication, collaboration, onboarding, and training. It’s another way of saying we’re creating our own office virtual”. By 2027, Gartner predicted, fully virtual workspaces will reinvent the office experience and will account for 30% of the growth in companies’ investment in metaverse technologies.

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