As vendors look to build an industrial Metaverse, what are the most pressing problems in the landscape?
The Metaverse is still in its early stages of development, and several pressing issues need to be addressed before it can become a mainstream reality.
The Metaverse refers to a collection of online immersive services distributed and managed under an umbrella application.
Enterprise and consumer-facing firms face potentially business-changing opportunities, but many pressing issues face Metaverse services before they can hit the ground.
However, the Metaverse is still an emerging technology space. As digital service providers create platforms to unify immersive applications – similar to a web browser – the concept of the Metaverse will grow, its definition will evolve, and new issues will arise.
Currently, several pressing issues facing the early days of the Metaverse, that include:
A Metaverse platform comprises many virtual worlds and services. However, its integrated services must not exist siloed and disparate so users can expand the use cases of upcoming Metaverse platforms.
If a platform does not leverage interoperability, it may become difficult for users to move seamlessly between other worlds and for businesses to build services ready for multiple Metaverse platforms.
An interoperable Metaverse service will provide a global-wide network of linked systems, and to enable it to function, developers will need to construct it on a web of public and private guidelines and regulations.
Many XR industry analysts predict that the Metaverse will have its “HTML” moment, whereby users can leverage XR online services via a range of Metaverse platforms; similar to a web browser – users could also use integrated services such as avatar customization across various platforms.
Privacy and Security
The Metaverse will collect user data, including location, biometric data, and financial transactions. Notably, one of the Metaverse’s most prominent champions, Meta, is notorious for managing user data via its social media services – making many question this concerning its Horizon application.
This data could also track users, identify them, and analyze data – including hand, eye, and body tracking. Developing strong privacy and security measures to protect user data in the Metaverse is essential.
Data protection and privacy are major concerns for Metaverse companies, developers, and users because users will adopt digital services that could violate their privacy.
Moreover, companies that fail to factor in data protection and privacy rights in the Metaverse could face heavy penalties in the long term.
Enterprise end-users of XR should carry a heavy security consideration alongside immersive hardware and software scaling. With a robust IT and security framework, enterprise clients can distribute hardware to in-office or remote workers without fearing sensitive data leaks.
Additionally, XR headsets all contain outward tracking cameras, and as smartglasses drive user interest, coming with the tech is the ability for firms to track your surroundings – including detecting brands and an individual’s surroundings.
So, if enterprise end-users plan to implement XR in environments that contain sensitive data, they should be aware of what the headset cameras are detecting.
The Metaverse should be accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or financial factors – and plenty of groups aim to secure this future.
This includes ensuring that VR/AR/MR headsets and software solutions are affordable and easy to use.
XR and its hardware are in an incredibly unique position compared to other emerging technologies.
Body tracking input is increasing in popularity, significantly increasing the number of people who can leverage the space – notably those who may struggle to use a controller due to physical considerations.
With the increasing presence of a wide range of input methods to suit the wide range of individuals on the planet, Metaverse services must consider this to reach the maximum number of users.
Notably, the popular Metaverse service Rec Room is already making this step following its debut in the Vision Pro SDK, which saw the service adopt tracking-based input.
The Metaverse is a new and emerging technology, and there is currently no clear regulatory framework.
This could lead to problems such as fraud, abuse, and exploitation. It is essential to develop clear regulations for the Metaverse to ensure a safe and fair environment for everyone.
Notably, the European Commission (EC) launched a regulation initiative to stimulate competition within the XR space, notably enterprise-grade Metaverse services. The regulations aim to stop big technology firms from dominating the space, in line with the EC’s values and fundamental rights.
The EC aims to promote an open and interoperable Metaverse future whereby various companies, big or small, can create a shared foundation for immersive web services.
Moreover, the group is setting up regulatory sandboxes that invite creators, media companies, and enterprise end-users to promote an industrial Metaverse space, supporting numerous use cases.
The Metaverse requires a lot of computing power, which can have a significant environmental impact.
Developing more sustainable ways to power the Metaverse and offset its environmental impact is essential.
Another consideration is the waste related to the hardware users leverage to access the Metaverse, like how the current rise in smartphone-based waste proves a problem. The XR hardware industry needs to avoid device-based waste.
It appears that more and more devices are debuting on the XR market – but what happens to legacy devices? Enterprise end-users should ensure they future-proof their hardware investments to provide continued ROI and sustainability considerations.
End-users should be aware of the waste factors that come when buying headsets. Is a workforce using headsets? Are they gathering dust?