Metaverse, a new opportunity in the digital age

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The launch of Roblox in March 2021 set the Metaverse concept alight, with a market cap of nearly $40 billion opening up the imagination of the ‘metaverse’ industry.

Metaverse creates a new environment where users are virtually connected to their family, friends, pets and favourite objects, and is the vehicle for the next generation of social worlds.

The Metaverse is not new, it‘s’ first appeared in science fiction in 1992, when Neal Stephenson first introduced the concept of the Metaverse in his science fiction novel Snow Crash. The Matrix, Ready Player One and other well-known films and TV shows have also featured similar metaverse concepts. The Metaverse includes elements such as 5G, AI, blockchain, content production, etc. The core of the Metaverse is the virtual experience of XR (Extended Reality), the continuous iteration of XR technology and devices to continuously optimise users’ digital life experience; XR-based digital services will continue to penetrate around various scenarios and will bring a breakthrough to the disruptive immersive metaverse digital life experience, becoming an important vehicle to open up the metaverse era.

The meta-universe concept becomes a windfall in 2021 due to capital market, technological breakthroughs and epidemic factors. With the current mobile internet dividend gradually fading and a long-term lack of breakthrough in content, communication methods, interaction methods, engagement and interactivity, capital urgently needs to lay out new content and consumption scene revolutions to open up a new dividend period; as 5G, AI, blockchain technology and XR display technology become increasingly achievable and mobile internet achieves high coverage, internet giants start to enter a period of investment to lay out the future and explore new opportunities; at the same time, driven by the normalisation of the epidemic, many real-life activities are shifting to online virtual experiences, the boundary between the virtual world and the real world is fading, and people are putting forward higher requirements for entertainment experience and productive life efficiency. In terms of B-short applications, XR is an important productivity tool in industrial manufacturing, healthcare, retail and other scenarios involving remote training, implementation guidance, process management and knowledge precipitation, and continues to accelerate its penetration in more scenarios, deeply affecting all aspects of people’s lives.

Dr. Chawapol Jariyawiroj, President of Huawei Thailand shared his opinion about Metaverse and delivered a speech themed 5G: the Technology advancement making the Metaverse a reality. He believes that Metaverse has gone through the development of the internet industry, and the internet has been evolved in all areas for the past few decades, including the type of connectivity, speed, multimedia experiences, and the access devices. Upon this stage, we are entering a whole different world of VR/AR and Metaverse era, not only mobile phone which is accessible to Internet but there will be many more devices to allow us to enter the digital world and blur the boundary between physical and digital world.

The initial applications of Metaverse and use cases would be mainly about entertainment. Over the next few years, the second stage of Metaverse will be involving more with other industries including retail, education, healthcare with more introduction of other technologies including 5G, cloud, AI, etc. allows users to have more opportunity to have real time interaction between users, to add value, to generate user content and contribution to the value chain, as well as opening the gate for interaction of digital and physical world. After 2030, these technologies are expected to be mature and holographic digital universe will be ready for broad applications.

At 2022 Huawei Analyst Summit, Ken Hu, Rotating chairman of Huawei, talked about Metaverse. He said that, the metaverse is a hot topic these days, but it’s also a rather broad concept. The metaverse involves a great number of topics. First, he thinks the metaverse is about convergence, or the convergence of the physical and digital worlds. By convergence, the physical world will have to be digitalized while, at the same time, the digital world will have to manifest itself in the physical world. This kind of convergence has practical implications. Take the digitalization of the physical world for example. Through technologies such as 3D modeling and simulation, digital twins, and virtual-real integration, we can find solutions in the digital world to the problems we have in the physical world.

In addition, the digital world is where we can find ways of improving how the physical world operates in a more efficient and cost-effective way. Think about training simulation for autonomous vehicles, simulations in smart factories, and digital twins for smart cities, to name just a few scenarios. Such convergence can deliver all of these.

Second, the value of the metaverse will not be confined to B2C. It may even bring more value to the B2B domain. Today, when people talk about the metaverse, they usually talk about B2C applications such as gaming and education.He believes the value that the metaverse can offer to the B2B domain deserves more attention. He also pointed out that it’s too early for us to develop a complete technology strategy in this area. But for a tech company like Huawei, the key thing is to keep a cool head, closely monitor future developments, and prepare ourselves every step of the way.

When we talk about the metaverse, we often talk about the seven layers that make it up, which are infrastructure, devices, decentralized service, spatial computing, creation platform, application platform, and content. Huawei will contribute to the development of the metaverse by focusing on core businesses such as ICT infrastructure, cloud, and smart devices.

First, the infrastructure layer. In a metaverse, the physical and digital worlds will be fully converged, which means real-time interactions will impose much higher demands on latency and uplink and downlink bandwidths. There will also be demand for greater and more diversified computing power, to handle the massive rendering involved. Huawei’s 5.5G vision and efforts to redefine the computing architecture are part of our preparations for the arrival of the metaverse era.

Second, the device layer. Huawei’s R&D and investments in devices mainly focus on smartphones, glasses, and wearables, including tactile devices. Huawei has developed XR hardware and 3D spatial audiovisual solutions,and  also has the HetuEngine, an AR solution for urban scenarios.

In terms of the application and creation layer, Huawei is mainly develop their plan based on Huawei Cloud. There is a digital content pipeline called MetaStudio developed by Huawei Cloud. This digital pipeline will likely support the development of the metaverse by allowing users to produce creative content for the digital world.

Over the past decade, tech industry has adopted broadband technology, cloud computing, and many more realistic digital experiences across multiple industries. Huawei have been developing the ultra-broadband technology like 5G or the super-intelligent platform like cloud computing which contains technology like AI, IOT, Blockchain, and Metaverse, Huawei is keen to see these technologies as key role in driving customer experience and business impact, that allow Thailand to become digital economic country.

As a key enabler of digital technologies, Huawei will get prepared with all the necessary technologies and willing to work with the upstream and downstream partners along the value chain to identify valuable application scenarios in both B2B and B2C domains to be a part of a key enabler who brings metaverse to realities.

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