For most of us, the metaverse is mostly just hype about a new internet that we could explore virtually. As it is now, the metaverse is similar to the networked world before the Internet.
It is made up of a lot of different and unique attempts to make something that looks a lot like a walled garden, more like AOL and CompuServe than the internet we have now after Netscape.
Some of the implementations are useful, like those that use Nvidia’s Omniverse. Others, like those that promise “something” from Meta (formerly known as Facebook), mostly disappoint for now.
Even so, Meta probably didn’t do anything wrong to cause your disappointment. People often have too high of hopes for new technologies, and when they get them, they are disappointed.
Now that the Metaverse Standards Forum was announced last week, it looks like the industry is doing something about one of the biggest problems with the metaverse, which is the lack of interoperability and internet-like standards that could make the future metaverse much more seamless.
This week, let’s talk about how important this movement is. Then we’ll end with my product of the week, a mobile solar solution that could help avoid the environmental and power outage problems that states like California and Texas are likely to face as climate change makes their electric grids less reliable.
The Way Things Are Now
At the moment, the metaverse is more of a collection of things than a single thing.
Omniverse from Nvidia is the most advanced version of the metaverse right now. This tool is used to design buildings and train autonomous robots, including self-driving cars.
It is also the basis for Earth-2, which is meant to better simulate and predict weather so that major weather events can be warned of sooner and possible solutions for global climate change can be designed.
Many people seem to think that the metaverse will grow to be bigger than the internet, but I don’t think this can or will happen. The Internet does a decent job of putting information in order.
If you switch from a test interface to a VR interface, you might slow down the process of accessing data without getting anything in return.
The metaverse is best for simulation, emulation, and tasks where using a virtual environment and machine speeds could solve important problems more quickly and accurately than other options.
It’s already proving itself useful for those tasks. It isn’t quite like the Holodeck in “Star Trek” or the virtual world in “The Matrix” yet, but it probably will be in the future.
What’s still missing?
We can now make images that look like photos and can be explored virtually. But we can’t make digital copies of people that look and act like real people so they can live in the metaverse.
We can’t yet equip people so that they can experience the metaverse as if it were real, and our main interface, VR glasses, are big, heavy, and make the 3D glasses that the market rejected look a lot better in comparison.
Fixing these problems isn’t cheap or easy. If they had to be solved differently for each instance of the metaverse, the metaverse and our experiences in it would be set back years, if not decades.
To make the metaverse, we need the same level of cooperation and teamwork that made the internet possible, and that may have happened last week.
Founding Members Acclaimed
The Interoperability and Standards Problem is directly addressed by the creation of the Metaverse Standards Forum.
Meta and Nvidia are both part of this forum, which is made up of a who’s who of tech companies (except Apple, which usually prefers to go it alone). Microsoft, Adobe, Alibaba, Huawei, Qualcomm, and Sony, as well as Epic Games, are all taking part (the metaverse promises a future where you could game in the digital twin of your home, school, or office).
Spatial Web Foundation, Web3D Consortium, and World Wide Web Consortium, which were already working on standards, have also joined.
The Khronos Group runs the MSF, and any organisation can join for free. Companies from many different industries are likely to sign up. The first forum meetings should start next month.
This work should speed up the metaverse’s development and make it useful for a lot more things. In the future, we might be able to use it for everything from entertainment and gaming to making our digital twins and living forever online.
In conclusion: The Metaverse gets older
I think that the creation of the Metaverse Standards Forum will speed up the metaverse’s development by a lot and move it toward a common idea that all providers could use.
I don’t think it will ever replace the internet, but I do think it could change into something we could live and play in for a large part of our lives, which could make our lives much better.
I can see virtual vacations, more interesting remote meetings, and video games that are more realistic than ever, all because people are trying to work together and set standards that will help the whole mixed reality market.
The metaverse is coming, and thanks to the Metaverse Standards Forum, it will come sooner and be better than it could have been.
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