5 Technologies That Will Shape the Metaverse's Future
The metaverse is one of the most significant trends in the technological landscape for the next several decades, and these five technologies will be extremely important in its future.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The post-pandemic world is quickly changing, and technology is used to shape the new reality. The metaverse will be (and already is) the most significant trend in the technological landscape for the next couple of decades.
These five technologies directly or indirectly connect to creating this interactive and immersive virtual platform, and here's how they'll be used in the future.
1. Virtual reality headsets
Virtual reality devices will be an integral part of communication in the future. VR headsets will be used to access and interact with metaverse. No matter what we do, whether we want to work or play, we will use virtual reality headsets. Just as every company two decades ago created a website to have a presence on the internet, the companies will need to create a presence in 3D virtual space.
It's also likely that VR will also replace gaming consoles by the end of this decade. It means that the world of online gaming and traditional business will merge at some point — traditional companies will partner with game developers like Fortnite and Roblox to create engaging VR experiences.
However, there are a few complex challenges that product creators have to overcome. For example, it's important to increase the resolution of VR devices (ideally, have 8k resolution because it will help create a more realistic virtual space) and design VR headsets with a 120hz refresh rate because this rate will help prevent motion sickness that many VR users suffer right now. Plus, it's essential to pair VR headsets with other body sensors to create a better illusion of reality. Meta is already working on a haptic glove that will pair with a headset to create a more immersive experience.
2. Augmented reality glasses
Like VR, augmented reality will naturally be a part of our daily lives. But instead of full headsets, AR will be integrated into the glasses we use. The concept of Google Glass that was first introduced a decade ago will return, and this time it will stay with us. Augmented reality will be our new reality. AR will enrich our daily interactions with real-world objects. For example, when we visit a brick-and-mortar store, we will interact with a hologram of the salesperson instead of an actual salesperson. This hologram will appear only if we need to see it (i.e. want to ask for help).
AR will likely be used for live real-world environment scans. Environments like city districts will be naturally transferred to the virtual space by AR users. AR will also be used to explore the new architectural objects even before they are actually built. Imagine that you will be able to design a new building and then use AR glasses to navigate this space before it's being built to understand potential issues.
VR headsets and AR glasses will also change how we interact with tech devices. Voice-based interactions will be a natural part of AR and VR devices. With so many different options that AR devices offer, it will be easier for users to say "Do (action)" rather than find an appropriate option in the navigation menu.
3. Decentralized finances (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
Decentralized finances will be the heart of the digital economy of the metaverse. Digital currency (coins) will fit perfectly into the virtual environment. As long as users stay in a virtual environment, they can sell and buy things with digital currencies. It's unlikely to have only one metaverse; more likely, we will have multiple metaverses created by various companies, so it's unlikely to see a universal currency that will work for all metaverses. Every company that will create a metaverse will also release its own currency, and one of the challenges that product designers will face is creating a mechanism that allows them to exchange one currency for another easily.
NFT is a technology that most people associate with collecting and selling digital items today. But this technology has much more potential than that. In the future, NFT will be used as an indicator of ownership of any digital asset in the metaverse — it will be used for all digital items in virtual space, from a digital land property to a virtual suit that your avatar wears.
4. Digital identity
Many believe that the metaverse will be a space where everything is possible. That's not true. Just like a real-world has some rules and policies that people have to follow, a virtual world should also have a set of foundational policies that people have to follow. And digital identity is something that will help to control those policies.
Digital identity will work the same way as a real-world identity. It will be connected to your digital avatar, a user's virtual representation. When the user joins the metaverse, their avatar will provide a digital identity to access various services. Creating digital identities will likely require collecting and analyzing some biometric data. Most likely, users will go through facial scans and recognition.
It's an open question whether the companies who created the metaverse will check the digital identity or ask service providers to do that. Metaverse creators will also need to address General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect the privacy of personal data. Considering how much information the companies can collect about their users in metaverse, this can be a huge challenge for service providers.
5. Advanced health monitoring sensors in wearable devices
Pandemic proved that health is our most valuable asset. Technology will be used to create a more healthy living. Next-gen wearable devices will allow more precise monitoring of our health. Not only will the list of what devices will be able to monitor extend, but also the way devices will track our health also change. Wearable devices will monitor your health by measuring the gasses coming out of your skin. They will track the biomarkers related to metabolic disorders such as heart disease and diabetes. Most likely, such sensors will be integrated into all devices we use daily — smartwatches, AR glasses and VR headsets.