Who will own the metaverse and how will it Work?
Who will own metaverse ? it is still question `mark but Facebook reveal this secret earlier than others platforms, Many have dubbed it the AR Cloud, the Magicverse by Magic Leap, Wired’s Mirrorworld, Huawei’s Cyberverse, Niantic’s Planet-scale AR, and academics’ Spatial Computing.
It’s a collection of concepts straight out of science fiction. William Gibson, a science fiction novelist, created the term “cyberspace.” Characters in his 1984 masterpiece “Neuromancer” visit a virtual reality realm known as “the matrix”. The internet has been replaced with the Metaverse in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, a multi-person shared virtual reality containing both human-controlled avatars and system “daemons.”
From Minority Report to Iron Man, future films will include augmented vision. In Vernor Vinge’s 2006 novel Rainbow’s End, contact lenses and computers woven into clothes serve up a variety of competing realities and overlays when you’re “wearing” them. Teenagers create and inhabit intricate fantasy worlds in which plants have tentacles, modern libraries are transformed into ancient timbered halls, and bicycles are ridden by anime avatars as jackasses.
Companies are already developing the AR Cloud for real, over 30 years after the first of these essays. Ori Inbar describes “a permanent 3D digital duplicate of the actual environment to enable sharing of AR experiences across numerous users and devices,” Ori Inbar.
Who will be the driving force behind this new internet? Who stands to gain? Will new tech behemoths arise, or will the present hegemony remain in place?
This is a fast-paced look at the various levels and components of this new world, as well as the firms fighting in each of the larger players’ acquisitions and investments.
But, first and foremost, what will the AR Cloud be used for? Even science fiction authors could not have foreseen Instagram influencers, a US president tweeting policy or 300 hours of video being posted to YouTube every minute in the early 1990s, so we can only make educated estimates! Pokemon Go has had over a billion downloads in the three years since its inception, with over 20 billion kilometers walked while playing the game. Its wizarding sequel made $12 million in its first month. Augmented reality is used in education and training, healthcare, navigation, and heads-up wayfinding, tourism, field service, retail, real estate sales, and architecture. These are all single-person experiences right now, but they might all grow into AR Cloud apps, or a whole new set of business models and experiences may arise.
The AR Cloud’s data location is at its core. Your experience is shaped by where you are in the world, not just in terms of GPS coordinates, but also in terms of your immediate surroundings, whether they are outside or indoors. The World Map in this world isn’t a 2D street map like we have with Google Maps or Open Street Map, nor is it a 3D map with the terrain and building volumes. This is a hyper-local map that shows the insides of rooms, street furniture, doors, staircases, and surfaces, as well as their relationships. Global social graphs are already owned by incumbents like Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Snap, but multiplayer gaming behemoths like Sony, Activision Blizzard, or EA, or 3D-specific innovations like Aura’s “avatar as a service,” maybe aim to overthrow them. Both Azure Spatial Anchors and Google Cloud Anchors are extending their mapping capabilities to the AR Cloud. Where you are in the world influences your experience, not just in terms of GPS locations, but also in terms of your local surroundings, whether outside or indoors.
For AR Cloud applications, sensing the world around you will be critical, both for mapping and localization as well as for identifying items, surroundings, or people. This is one of the most important new capabilities, and it builds on recent developments in deep learning and computer vision. With an influx of companies and acquisitions, it’s a tightly fought market. AR Cloud systems will link to infrastructure and networks, imposing massive bandwidth, latency, and local processing needs while operating at scale (on devices themselves as well as the edge of the cloud). This is where future 5G networks’ capabilities will be put to the test.
The AR Cloud ecosystem must contain authoring tools such as apps, behaviors, asset production, and environments. Tools like Maquette (Microsoft), RealityKit (Apple), Spatial Workstation for immersive audio (Facebook via the acquisition of Two Big Ears), Spark AR Studio (Facebook), Tiltbrush (Snap) will tempt creators (Google) Lens Studio (Snap). We can expect big platforms like Unity, Unreal, and Autodesk to maintain their dominance and innovate with projects like More specialized products such as Torch, Sketchbox, and Dotty AR for sharing models, Cognitive3D for analytics, Anything World for voice interaction, and Blippar’s Blippbuilder are also expected to emerge.
The AR Cloud will be part of a larger picture. Regulation is an evident consideration. Will pokestops be controlled at cemeteries, hospitals, churches, and memorials? Will we have anything like robots.txt files to regulate the scanning of our physical properties rather than having search engines index our websites? How do we communicate? Will gestures or certain affordances be standardized? Will there be any symbols or representations that are often used? What social conventions will exist in both the actual and virtual worlds?
Assembling the entire project
Niantic is the company that has pioneered the AR Cloud on the largest scale, with Pokemon Go and, more recently, Wizards Unite, both based on their Real-World Platform. Along with Niantic, we’d recommend Snap, whose Snapchat lenses have been a tremendously successful deployment of AR technology across a large audience (lenses being the most lucrative source of AR advertising income), and who are now experimenting with “landmark” lenses over well-known locations. Then there are the newcomers, both big and small, who are rapidly expanding across the country. The Magic Leap is the most well-known, featuring both a gadget and a platform, while Ubiquity6, AIReal, and Placenote are more recent entries. Many of the AR Cloud components are provided by Snap, Niantic, and Magic Leap throughout this landscape:
Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, among the tech heavyweights, all have products, services, or acquisitions that address most of the elements we’ve identified, and are all well-positioned to move quickly towards an AR Cloud future and build new end-to-end offerings:
Since 2008, when the first Android device with GPS and a compass was released, rudimentary augmented reality has been feasible on commercially accessible smartphones. It was my first involvement: we released one of the first applications at lastminute.com labs at the time. So, what’s different this time? There are four factors to consider:
- Today’s smartphones feature excellent cameras and a lot of processing power.
- Even without specialized depth cameras, companies are developing powerful algorithms for centimeter-level mapping and localization.
- Deep learning helps us recognize and analyze situations, objects, and people more effectively than ever before.
- Massively scaled, worldwide multi-person experiences are already possible thanks to today’s cloud and networking infrastructure, and the transition to 5G will give an additional boost.
While AR headsets and glasses are on the way, we can already see a lot of the possibilities with smartphones. It’s time for the AR Cloud to leave the realm of science fiction and enter the realm of reality. It’s no surprise that Neal Stephenson, the creator of science fiction, is also the Chief Futurist of Magic Leap. We’re looking at the future of the web, which might include an altogether new set of interactions, enterprises, behaviors, platforms, and social, legal, and ethical standards. As we go towards this new world, I’ve illustrated how Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple have already spent massively and are continuing to make acquisitions and construct services to dominate. Startups like 6D.ai are vying for key territory such as hyper-local 3D world maps, with companies like Niantic, Magic Leap, and Snap vying to topple them. The key question is whether it will evolve openly, as the web did at first, or as a collection of proprietary closed systems.
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