"We're trying not to define the metaverse so rigidly that it limits the imagination of creators."
CEO Square Enix
5G and metaverse are highly transformative technologies that have the potential to complement each other in various ways. It is predicted that the worldwide virtual reality market in the telecommunications industry will experience a 43.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2021 and 2026. The growing popularity of the metaverse offers an immense chance for telcos to broaden their operations and improve their services. This piece will delve into the concept of the metaverse, its connection with telcos, and the advantages of cooperation between them.
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What is metaverse?
The metaverse is a term used to describe a virtual shared space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users in real time. It is often compared to the internet or a virtual reality (VR) space that can be accessed through various devices such as computers, smartphones, or VR headsets. The role of the metaverse is to create an extra dimension of digital experience that allows users to engage in more immersive and interactive ways. It might provide new opportunities for socializing, entertainment, education, and commerce.
The metaverse offers a distinct and captivating encounter that distinguishes it from all other online experiences. Its constant expansion and diversification present endless possibilities for discovery and interaction. According to recent findings by McKinsey, the metaverse can create a value of up to $5 trillion by 2030, highlighting an exceptionally lucrative opportunity that should not be overlooked.
What opportunities are opened before CSPs and ISPs by using metaverse?
CSPs and ISPs could partner with metaverse companies to provide joint services or develop new ones. This will help to expand their customer base and increase their market share in the metaverse. Modern companies are not wasting time and losing opportunities.
For instance, Telefónica aims to support the development of technology right from the outset, and it is currently collaborating with Meta. The goal is to establish an "innovation hub" for the metaverse. This includes a 5G lab equipped with a complete metaverse test environment using Meta and Telefónica's network infrastructure and equipment. The company welcomes tech startups specialising in augmented reality to participate in the initiative.
The growing popularity of the 5G and metaverse will cause fast and reliable internet connections to handle the large volume of data exchanged between users and the virtual environment. This may increase demand for broadband and fibre optic internet services.
Telecoms and ISPs could explore additional revenue streams by offering value-added services that improve the use of 5G and the metaverse. One example is providing virtual private network (VPN) services that enhance security and privacy in the metaverse.
To create a seamless user experience, telecom companies could integrate their existing services, like messaging and videoconferencing, with the metaverse. This integration would set their services apart from their competitors.
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What Challenges May Telcos Face Implementing the Metaverse?
Building the infrastructure to support the Metaverse will require a significant investment from telcos and ISPs. This could include building new data centers, upgrading existing networks, and investing in new technologies. Telcos and ISPs will need to balance these investments against potential returns and ensure they have the financial resources to fund these projects.
The Metaverse is likely to be composed of many systems and platforms. Telcos and ISPs will need to work with Metaverse developers to ensure that their networks can communicate seamlessly with these different platforms. This could require significant development efforts and partnerships with Metaverse companies.
Testing new revenue models
The Metaverse presents opportunities for telcos and ISPs to generate additional revenue streams through advertising, transaction processing, and other services. However, these revenue models may not be immediately clear, and telcos and ISPs will need to experiment with different approaches to determine which ones are most effective.
Security and privacy
The Metaverse will require high levels of security and privacy to protect user data and prevent hacking. Organisations need to invest in robust security measures and ensure that personal information is safe. They will also need to work with specially dedicated professionals to ensure their platforms meet these security requirements.
The success of the Metaverse will depend on user adoption. Educating users on the benefits and how to access it creates a necessity. The awareness among consumers has undergone a considerable surge. According to a Wunderman Thompson Intelligence survey, a staggering 74% of consumers are now knowledgeable about the concept, which is a significant jump from the 32% recorded in 2021. This shows consumers' growing interest and understanding of the metaverse and its potential impact on various aspects of life.
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6G technology is the next generation of wireless communications technology that is expected to offer faster data transfer speeds, lower latency, and improved network reliability compared to 5G. The development of 6G technology is still in its early stages and is not expected to be widely available until the 2030s.
The 6G metaverse will enable the creation of incredibly realistic virtual environments. With its exceptional spare capacity and pervasive connectivity, the technological tandem will allow for the seamless integration of physical and digital realms, enabling the development of persistent virtual worlds and real-time interactions between the two. Integrating digital twin technology and intelligent surfaces in the physical world will also facilitate the interchange between real and digital domains.
How can telcos power the metaverse?
The metaverse will require high-speed connectivity to enable seamless interactions and real-time experiences. Telcos can provide this connectivity by investing in and expanding their 5G networks. An example is Verizon metaverse. The company has been building its 5G network to provide high-speed connectivity to support the metaverse. Verizon has also partnered with other organizations, which provide a platform for creating 3D games and experiences, to develop new applications for its 5G network.
To operate the metaverse, there is a need for massive amounts of computing power and storage to support its vast virtual worlds and user-generated content. Telecom operator Tencent has been investing heavily in cloud infrastructure to support its massive online gaming business, which could also be leveraged to support the metaverse. Tencent has also been working on the Metaverse Alliance, which aims to create an interoperable virtual world that spans different platforms and devices.
Augmented and virtual reality
The metaverse will be populated by virtual and augmented reality experiences that require specialized technologies and devices to deliver immersive experiences. Telecom operator NTT Docomo has invested in augmented reality technologies to support its mobile gaming business. The company has also been working on a project called the XR Platform, which aims to create a unified platform for developing and distributing AR and VR content.
Digital identity management
Telcos can provide secure identity management solutions by leveraging blockchain technology and other secure authentication methods.
In conclusion, the synergistic relationship between the metaverse and telecom industries presents numerous opportunities for growth and expansion. Organisations can leverage this relationship by partnering with metaverse companies, integrating their services and offerings, and investing in infrastructure development. However, implementing the metaverse presents several challenges as well. Addressing these obstacles and promoting user adoption is crucial to ensure success. Metaverse and telecom industries can create a dynamic ecosystem that benefits both parties.