Traditionally our image of the future involved flying cars, robots, and holograms at the touch of a button. Today, we have self-driving cars, robots that have autonomy, and billionaires going to space. Much of how the future was envisioned is beginning to come to pass, it is here, and we’re living in it. Right now, the tech industry is experiencing a massive shift in priorities. Web2 or social media as we know it today is migrating towards the “Metaverse”, an augmented reality focused on creating a space where people can experience the internet with their full senses.
In October 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a keynote speech announcing that the company would be changing its’ name to Meta, while also announcing their vision for the next stage of social media and the internet as we know it. As the name suggests Zuckerberg was moving his company away from its current work of building a set of connected social apps to pivoting to “Web3” better known as The Metaverse.
Long gone are the days of dial-up broadband and modems screeching while loading a web page. Presently, we’re at the peak of Web2, which is defined by “websites that emphasise user-generated content, ease of use, participatory culture and interoperability for end users”. Social media websites such as TikTok, YouTube, Facebook and Reddit are clear examples of Web2 in action.
So what is the Metaverse? What does this mean for the future of connectivity and when will it become mainstream? The term was first coined in 1992 by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson who used “the Metaverse” to describe a 3-D virtual-reality space.
The metaverse is a coming together of virtual, augmented, and physical reality. It blurs the line between your interactions online and in real life.
Using virtual reality, augmented reality and blockchain technology, the Metaverse is set to bring the physical world into the “Metaphysical”. No matter where you were in the world, you could enter the Metaverse and host meetings, hang out with friends and retreat to your own virtual ‘living’ space. An important foundation of the Metaverse is the fact that it will have a fully functioning economy – individuals and businesses will be able to create, own, invest, sell, and be paid for work they undertake. We’re already beginning to see an economy emerge that is dependent on blockchain technology with the advent of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).
So, what is required for an individual to try out the Metaverse right now? For starters, having the right connection is vital. Before you can consider the hardware required, you need to ensure your broadband can support your immersion into the Metaverse. In this case, fibre broadband is essential. While the Metaverse is still not a fully formed application, a fibre connection can future-proof your access. In 2021, SIRO announced Ireland’s fastest residential speed with 2 Gigabit being made available across our network in 2022. As the Metaverse develops further and larger bandwidths will be essential.
Right now, to enter the Metaverse you need access to VR technology. Companies leading the market on this technology include Nvidia and Oculus for their headsets that allow their users to play video games using virtual reality. Augmented reality technology, which is available on smartphones applications such as Snapchat, Pokemon Go and any camera app with facial recognition and filters will have a key role in supporting our immersion into the Metaverse. Existing Metaverse enabled platforms which users can try out include Sandbox, Mirandus, and Decentraland which people can interact in different ways.
With the Metaverse comes limitless possibilities and advantages for the end user. Meetings can be held in the virtual world, reducing commute times and unnecessary travel. Friends can host movie nights, virtual parties and get-togethers without leaving their home but remaining fully present. Artists can even hold virtual concerts. The 78 million people who attended Ariana Grande’s virtual concert on Fortnite last October shows the huge potential.
Over the last two years, the way we’ve worked, lived, and played has shifted to greater adaptation of online living. In many ways, it has been a training ground for what the Metaverse aims to deliver: the future of connectivity.
At SIRO, we believe that connectivity matters. The Metaverse is just one iteration of what a fully connected future will bring and the fibre we lay today will power the connected lives of our customers and businesses for decades to come. Search Your Eircode today to see if your home or business is SIRO-ready.