As Nokia and Disney Star Share Their Metaverse Plans, Meta Struggles To Built a Horizon Worlds User Base

The latest developments in metaverse includes announcements from Nokia, Disney Star and Meta

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By Paromita Gupta


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We live in a day and age where new technologies are sprouting at a high frequency. Open your news app or traditional print papers, and you will come across at least one news piece about Metaverse or AI.

The latest developments include some announcements from Nokia, Disney Star and Meta. Finnish telecommunications giant Nokia's Chief Technology Officer Robert Joyce shared that it has been looking at ways to harness metaverse to aid remote workers. In 2022, the consumer mobile devices manufacturer partnered with an Australian and a German university to set up a 5 G-connected microbrewery using Augmented Reality.

AR allowed the researchers from both universities to work from twin brewery facilities alongside each other.

"They actually do joint experiments where they brew beer, they change the process, the temperature, the timings, the volumes, the recipes [...] and they feed back all of that brewing process into the digital twin," Joyce explained to Coin Telegraph.

In South Australia, Joyce added, Nokia was using metaverse to assist Cessna aircraft technicians at airports at remote locations.

"We worked with a company that had a virtual Cessna aircraft [...] You've got a Cessna in front of you, and then you have an audio instruction in your ear to tell you how to change the wheel, or change a part on the engine," said Joyce.

Back in mid-January, Nishant Batra, Nokia's global chief strategy and technology officer, shared that the metaverse will have a bigger immediate impact will not on consumer markets but on industries.

"Ports have begun using digital twins to track every container on their docks, no matter how deeply they are buried in stacks. Aerospace companies are building engines and fuselages in the digital world to simulate exactly how an aircraft will fly – long before they tool its first mechanical part," wrote Batra in an op-ed published on the World Economic Forum platform.

On Monday, Disney Star, the Indian arm of The Walt Disney Company, announced its own metaverse, the Starverse. The move has been under development for testing proof of concept since 2022.

"Our metaverse is called the Starverse and the first iteration of this is an immersive 3D ecosystem for the sports fan. The sports genre organically lends itself to a multi-platform, multi-modal, and communal experience… This will be the first time we will allow users at scale to enter the Starverse. We wanted to rollout the final version after testing features and understanding user behaviour in a 3D ecosystem," said Sanjog Gupta, the Head of Sports, Star & Disney India, to The Economic Times.

The media conglomerate is all set to roll out its Starverse around the time of the Indian Premier League 2023 season.

However, the flag bearer for this alternate reality, Meta, is said to be in deep waters with its core initiative. Launched in December 2021, Meta's Horizon Worlds is a free virtual reality-multi player game that allows users to interact in the foreground of events, games, and social activities.

According to an internal memo titled "Horizon 2023 Goals and Strategy", Horizon's Vice-President Gabriel Aul laid down the core priorities for the team for the first half of the year, with improving user retention being of utmost importance.

Currently, Horizon app is open to people above the age of 18. The memo announces a new strategy to open the app for teens aged 13 to 17 as well. This aligns with Meta's Quest VR headsets which target the audience aged 13 and up. The move can come as early as March 2023.

With Google's BARD and Microsoft's revival of Bing and Edge powered by ChatGPT making debut in the same week, let's say the battle between the giants in the AI and metaverse is just in its beginning.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer

Covering news and trends in FinTech, AI, Metaverse, and Wealth segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side.  

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