Ecosystemizer Metaverse case study
The Metaverse - the next stage of the Internet or a buzzword mania?
The Metaverse- the next stage of the Internet or a buzzword mania?
According to “The Verge” and the “ABC News” in futurism and science fiction, Metaverse is a hypothetical interpretation of the Internet as a unified, universal and immersive virtual world facilitated by virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets. In the spoken language, a Metaverse is a network of three-dimensional virtual worlds focused on social connections.
As a hot topic of the last few years, nothing has attracted more media attention than Facebook's name change to “Meta” or the announcement of the Epic Games metaverse. Interest in the development of the meta-universe is also influenced by Web3, the concept of a decentralised version of the Internet. Web3 and the metaverse have been used as buzzwords to exaggerate the progress of various related technologies and projects for PR purposes.
At the moment, the metaverse is fiercely debated. Although the components of metaverse technology were developed as part of online video games, it is currently more of a theory than a reality. Nevertheless, many companies have already realised its potential to interact with consumers and other companies in new ways.
Let's take a look at the most promising players in the possible coming meta-universe and where they might be located on the Ecosystem Strategy Map.
Moreover, we will deepdive into the most relevant domains of the future metaverse ecosystem and their respective value propositions (for deeper information about potential ecosystem domains, see our blog article). In the following graphic you can find an overview of central players that we have mapped to the 15 Ecosystem Domains based on our research of articles, press releases and posts about metaverse activities.
To provide a deeper understanding of concrete use cases in the metaverse, we have selected the Ecosystem Domains Relationships and New Work to showcase some lighthouse examples:
- Niantic, an American software development company based in San Francisco, has created the world's only planetary-scale augmented reality platform, and has already advanced in developing the necessary hard/ and software. Their “Lightship”, an augmented reality development platform, allows them to create 3D worlds. Niantic claims that Lightship offers technology and tools that provide the three basic states of augmented reality—displaying, understanding and sharing in real time.
- When it comes to creating avatars, Epic Games' Metahuman program is ahead of the game. It's a complete framework that gives any developer the ability to use highly realistic human characters in any way imaginable. It includes the Metahuman Creator, a free cloud-based app that lets you create realistic avatars for the Metaverse in minutes.
- Next up is the Oculus Quest 2, Meta's next-generation VR headset. It enables social interactions in the metaverse and offers high-quality hardware as well as access to Meta's VR game marketplace. This could be the entry point into the metaverse, as the headset could get smaller and cheaper over time as the technology evolves.
- Medium is a social journalism platform, an independent, multi-blockchain ecosystem for businesses and industries, and a peer-to-peer system that gives designers, influencers, startups and new personal brands access to a system free from the mandates of large corporations. Anyone can write on Medium: independent writers as well as lead authors. There are even two ways to make money from publishing articles: One rewards you for the time your audience spends reading, and the other rewards you for attracting new referrals.
- In the New Work domain, Microsoft's Mesh offers Virtual offices and working environments. The platform is based on Microsoft Azure, the company's own cloud computing service. 3D avatars and custom objects create an immersive, spatial and mixed reality experience. Developed in partnership with Accenture, Mesh features multi-device support, a developer platform, holographic rendering, multi-user synchronization and mesh-enabled apps.
- Meta Virtual Workplaces, on the other hand, aims to solve the problem of owning a desktop configuration while remaining flexible through remote work. With Workplace, it is possible to enter a virtual office space and arrange multiple screens in a configuration that is perfect for the task at hand. You can customize everything from the walls to the desks, and even create a twin copy of your real workspace, while keyboards and other physical devices are synchronized with meta's VR platform.
Infrastructure will be essential to the metaverse, as it must be accessible at all times and support billions of users simultaneously. Some critical components already exist or are being developed, others are still missing. The biggest problem here seems to be first and foremost the interoperability.
The Infrastructure of the metaverse consists mainly of Orchestrating Enablers whose task is to orchestrate between supply and demand or providing integrated solutions like data management, building integrated infrastructure, setting technical standards and connecting B2B and E2H software (including office collaboration tools). These fall into the category of Super Domains.
Super Domain: Infrastructure
- Unity is known for their engine, 3D rendering, and simulations. Their ecosystem provides tools the company's platform is already being used to create, run and monetize real-time interactive 3D content.You can also create "dapps" - decentralized applications for the Metaverse. With 3D content presented in real time, they can instantly adapt to end-user behaviour and feedback, creating a more real experience in a virtual world.
- Cubic Motion is the world's leading provider of real-time model-based computer vision and digital animation technology. The company is the leading provider of automated, performance-driven facial animation for the global video game market. Recently acquired by Epic Games, Cubic Motion developed the “Persona” turnkey hardware and software solution used to realistically digitize human actors for video games, movies, and avatars for the Metaverse. With Cubic Motion's system, body movements and even the subtlest nuances of facial expressions are captured and digitized by cameras and then transferred to purely digital characters.
- Meta has poured significant resources into connectivity infrastructure over the past 15 years, from undersea cables and satellites to autonomous Internet-enabled drones—with the goal of bringing as many people as possible online and ultimately using Meta's many digital services. Meta is also working with Nvidia and many others to make its infrastructure ”metaverse-ready,” meaning it can meet the high-speed demands of a mixed-reality world with ultra-low latency.
- Microsoft's Azure Cloud is all about the emerging metaverse associated with transformative new-age technologies like digital twins, Web 3.0, NFTs, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), smart contracts, decentralized identity and more. Their Azure twins can model any system, asset, or environment and keep the digital twin up to date with Azure IoT. Microsoft Cloud includes services for all capabilities and provides a technology stack suitable for metaverse applications.
Super Domain: B2B Services
Key tools and infrastructure that enable developers to build better and more scalable 3D/AR/VR applications on multiple platforms and for any purpose are lacking. These are critical to the success of the metaverse and would unlock the potential of 3D technology to benefit society in areas such as virtual training, 3D-enabled healthcare, augmented navigation, gaming and more. However, strategic partnerships are needed.
For example, using the metaverse, B2B marketers can put on a show and let customers experience their products and services firsthand, rather than traditional advertising. This will also be a great opportunity for brands to create their characters and personas in the metaverse. Imagine a meta-persona of a product demonstrator, available depending on the customer's preference. In short, B2B marketers will provide an immersive, interactive, and experiential framework through use cases, business cases, and planning and implementation roadmaps.
- Amazon Web Services, for example, is a cloud platform for metaverse startups. It provides the necessary infrastructure such as high-speed Internet, servers, file hosting and databases. Amazon even uses a metaverse-like game for cloud training. So far, Amazon has not announced any official plans for its own metaverse services. However, there have been hints of future services via their job postings. For instance, Amazon's game engine Lumberyard hires its first metaverse employees.
- Active Theory is a metaverse developer for brands. The company is known for delivering award-winning apps, websites, platforms, installations, mixed reality projects, and other tools that work perfectly across devices. They have already created digital productions for clients like Adidas and Google.
- Also of interest is Synthesis.ai, a venture capital-backed startup at the intersection of Deep Learning and CGI that is creating a new paradigm for computer vision model development. It enables its customers to develop better models at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional human annotation-based approaches. They provide engineers with tools for developing experiences in the metaverse, specifically digital human avatars with advanced facial expressions and motion control.
The exemplary description of use cases as well as infrastructure aspects shows a high degree of activity driven by tech players, startups and traditional brands.
As mentioned earlier, the main obstacle that must be overcome for the development of a global metaverse is interoperability. To solve this challenge, partnerships, and the existence of extensive ecosystems are a key requirement. Or to put it differently, the metaverse game is an ecosystem game. Each and every company can participate in the metaverse. Given an enormous variety of starting points and options, companies have to define their fields of actions and priorities. The Ecosystem Domains and the Ecosystem Strategy Map can help to develop a metaverse strategy and derive compelling use cases.
- ABC NEWS: EXPLAINER: What is the metaverse and how will it work?
- The Verge: Mark in the metaverse
- Niantic: The Metaverse is a Dystopian Nightmare. Let’s Build a Better Reality.
- T3N: Roblox: Was ist das eigentlich – und was hat es mit dem Metaverse zu tun?
- GMW3: An Epic Journey to Shape the Future of the Metaverse