We might be living in the digital age, but how do we really live inside the digital realms?
Introducing the Metaverse. It’s an immersive new world that’s making brick and mortar setups a thing of the past. It's something that is set to coexist with our physical surroundings, yet open up immense opportunities to build relationships and experience virtual events.
What on Earth is the Metaverse?
Not to be dramatic, but the metaverse is a longtime science-fiction dream that’s slowly coming true. It is a digital world, populated by real people and businesses who are out on expeditions using 3D avatars. And it's set to become the next big revolution .
The term “metaverse” is a combination of the words “meta” and “universe.”Coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, who described a virtual world created by computer programmers and popular across the world. So It might seem like a new concept, but the idea of a multi-platform digital world has existed for years.
Is the Metaverse really taking shape?
Since the concept is extremely ambitious and not free of controversy, there is a lot we don't know. In its final form, we could be looking at a digital twin of all real-world aspects. From fashion to economy to entertainment, users would fully immerse in a virtual lifestyle. For example, Scottish DJ Calvin Harris just held a Virtual Reality concert on the Metaverse.
The Metaverse makes it possible for unconventional technologies to prosper. These include the cryptocurrency and trading of Non Fungible Tokens. You could soon have entire marketplaces selling apparel, concert tickets and virtual world tours. In fact, even popular food brands like Oreo have launched their own Metaverse.
Decentraland and Spatial io are two metaverses that have become famous among people. These virtual spaces have allowed people, or more so, their ‘3D avatars’ (which we’ll talk about later) to socialize with each other and attend unique virtual events. Decentraland even hosted the Metaverse Fashion Week, 2023!
The Advantages of the Metaverse
What makes the Metaverse an exciting addition to the digital space? Is it just a fad, or have we chanced upon the next Industrial Revolution?
Will the Metaverse succeed?
From the looks of it, a major shift to immersive interactions looks imminent.
So let's take a look at how the Metaverse can make our lives easier.
Unlimited potential to explore
In the virtual world, there is no such thing as distance and direction. The world is your oyster (literally), and you get to explore concerts, meet new people, go shopping and even buy property! If a ride over the Grand Canyon, or a Harry Styles concert is on your bucket list, you could soon be checking those off.
Heightened social interactions
The metaverse will enable "a richer social experience" when compared to today's 2D internet. With its ability to mimic elements of real-world social interactions, conversations will become richer.
Better collaboration and co-creation
As the metaverse promises to resemble physical interactions, individuals will be able to collaborate closely. A recent report by ABI Research suggests that the immersive collaboration market could eclipse $22 billion by 2030. And a large chunk of this growth would be the contribution of the Metaverse, which will soon become a business staple.
3D Avatars: Your ticket into the Metaverse
We’ve seen how tactile interactions are becoming possible with the rise of the Metaverse . But how do you really harness this vast realm and explore its depths?
Is there a way to enter the virtual space physically?
The answer lies in 3D avatars. The key to placing yourself in the metaverse and replicate real-world movements using sensors.
What is the hype about 3D Avatars?
Everyone seems to be going crazy about their 3D avatars.
But what are 3D avatars really?
Right from the day humans began foraying into the virtual world, we romanticize the idea of an alter ego. A character that would (or wouldn't) resemble your personality, and act on our behalf in the digital realm.
And thus the concept of 3D avatars was born.
Avatars are computer-generated virtual characters that are created as an extension to oneself. In general, they are critical for film post production, visual effects, augmented reality, and telepresence.They can be as personalized as you desire, with options ranging from skin and eye color to clothes and body proportions. 3D avatars have three dimensional properties, allowing them to resemble living beings more closely, and perhaps tweak a few details to your liking (you can be a purple eyed, pink haired Martian, if that is what you’d like).
The New World and 3D Avatars
Individuals and businesses alike have realized the usage of 3D avatars in a new ecosystem dominated by AR, VR and metaverses. They are transforming the way we humans interact with each other, and are influencing the way businesses are creating their growth and development strategies.
Integrating 3D Avatars- Examples
Let's take a look at how some of your favorite apps are utilizing the potential of the Metaverse to optimize their services.
- Microsoft Teams now allows a 3D avatar to represent you in virtual meetings and conference calls. The avatar can be programmed to replicate your actions, and can even express your real emotions, thus giving an immersive, life-like hint to the digital interaction.
- Even WhatsApp appears to be working on the latest trick: 3D avatars as profile pictures and in video calls, lifting WhatsApp up from a plain messaging application to an interactive, fun experience. These animated avatars could be replacing the current profile picture that appears on WhatsApp.
- On Instagram, personalized 3D avatars can be created, with multiple emotions that you can send as replies to direct messages or upload on your stories.
- In partnership with Pokemon GO, Gucci produced digital clothing that you can adorn your virtual 3D avatars in, making this an efficient marketing strategy to raise their product hype and sales. Oftentimes people want to match with their avatars, which soars the physical sales of the clothing as well.
- Orange Comet, an NFT production company is rolling out 3D avatars based off of characters of the famous show The Walking Dead. These will be part of the company’s Walking Dead NFT collection. In doing so, the company will efficiently be making use of the show’s fanbase and the growing interest of 3D avatars to generate profits.
The Road to Virtual Spaces
The immense popularity of 3D avatars is multi-faceted. From virtual conference rooms to video games, avatars could become extensions or duplicates of humanity in the metaverse, which is predicted to run parallel to the real world, almost exactly replicating its environment.
With Decentraland, Spatial io, The Sandbox and many more metaverses gaining popularity, who’s to say where your next rendezvous with friends will be - the real, or the virtual?