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The metaverse: endless possibilities
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The metaverse: endless possibilities

An economic and societal challenge, the metaverse, which is being developed thanks to technological progress on processing power.
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11 MAR, 2022

By Rolando Grandi


In the ultra-connected parallel universe known as the metaverse, millions of people attend a concert, major retailers and football stars acquire virtual land, and brands jostle for position. Carrefour, PwC and even JP Morgan have recently made their entrance into the metaverse, the Internet of the future…

An economic and societal challenge, the metaverse, which is being developed thanks to technological progress on processing power, VR peripherals and blockchain, is grabbing people’s attention and offers incredible possibilities. This is a sizeable challenge. The sector could represent $800 billion by 2024 and over $2.5 trillion by 2030. 

A burgeoning industry

Imagined in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash, the metaverse is an alternative virtual world. While this Silicon Valley cult novel is a work of science fiction, today, this innovative technology is opening up very real opportunities thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and the Tech giants that are seeking to capitalise on this impending revolution. In early 2022, MICROSOFT acquired US video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68 billion, thereby becoming the third largest global player in the 3D universe creation sector, which is a cornerstone of the metaverse. UNITY Technologies acquired Weta Digital, the special effects studio behind films such as Avatar and Lord of the Rings, extending its range of 3D VR technologies and increasing its competitiveness.

A possible revolution 

Although video games are the pioneers of the metaverse, all sectors, from education to insurance and healthcare to culture, are enthusiastic about the possibilities. A new dimension has been made possible thanks to the convergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), AI and mixed reality. The corporate metaverse enables digital twins of real-world places or objects to be created, opening up an infinite number of opportunities. Leading the way, MICROSOFT launched Mesh, a collaborative mixed reality platform – combining augmented reality and virtual reality – that will redefine our meetings (with our personalised avatars!) and transform them into collaborative holographic experiences. The Boston Consulting Group also announced the creation of a head office in the metaverse where it will organise conferences, hiring sessions and team building activities.

Shifting industrial uses

BMW partnered with NVIDIA to create a digital twin of its German factory in Regensburg. Deep learning algorithms simulate robots performing complex manoeuvres to find the most efficient production process. The goal is to plan operations in the virtual copy to anticipate weaknesses and roll out real-time changes in the physical factory. One day, every factory, every building and every city will be able to have its own digital twin. BENTLEY SYSTEMS is working with urban planning offices throughout the world to develop tomorrow’s physical and digital infrastructure, using DIGITAL TWINS that will help to optimise how smart cities are managed in the future. Seoul has invested €2.8 billion in an ambitious plan that aims to make the city “a city of coexistence, a global leader, a safe city, and a future emotional city” in the metaverse.

So, what’s next? The metaverse seems to offer limitless opportunity and may well preface the beginning of a fascinating new era that is a source of value creation.

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