CES 2022: Eyeing an enterprise metaverse

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By scrutinizing, you can see Metavers everywhere at CES 2022. With a more open, more complex eye, you won’t see it anywhere, or at least not yet in focus.

The current label is applied to technologies that have been described in past shows as 3D social world, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality or XR (superset of VR, AR and MR). Metavers Buzz has been building ever since Facebook rebranded its corporate name under Meta, and announced the creation of a 3D social environment connected to its Oculus headsets as a major new company direction. However, we are still a long way from seeing the emergence of metavores in this Ready Player One Or Snow crash – A network of networks where a user avatar can navigate between 3D worlds as easily as a web user can navigate between websites.

That said, there are some innovations in the game, such as the idea of ​​how a 3D sequel to the web would be built on the “Web 3” blockchain, rather than being embedded in a mega-vendor network like Facebook / Meta. And to the extent that Metawors is paired with the advancement of immersive technology such as VR headsets, CES has announced announcements such as a partnership with Qualcomm on processors to power lightweight VR / AR headsets integrated with Microsoft Mesh business Metawars.

Integration of enterprise metavars

Attempts to create unified metavars, rather than a sealed 3D world for gaming, may be the first of many attempts to create enterprise metavars. For business uses such as training and meetings, the standards will make intercompany meetings more possible. Proponents say this could be a way to add “like being there” quality to virtual meetings rather than with standard zoom-style video meetings.

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Touchcast is just as promising with MCity as what it calls “the first enterprise metavars” (although many other “enterprise metavars” products were on display at CES). To date, Touchcast, Accenture, Microsoft, Nvidia and other Metavers Pioneers are hosting the Metavers Summit virtually and in conjunction with CES in a tent at the conference’s Central Plaza.

Touchbase is one of the companies that has been helping companies like Accenture put up 3D virtual events for company meetings – an early explosion of excitement around the 3D world, such as Second Life, in the 2000s. MCity allows metaverse-as-a-service concept companies to register DNS-like .metaverse domains for the “campus” of 3D structures where they can host events on a regular basis. The 3D rendering environment is based on Epic’s unrealistic engine, powered by the Nvidia GPU running in the Microsoft Azure cloud. MCity also accepts Nvidia’s Omniverse standards for 3D rendering portability.

Because this directory of metavers space is hosted on a blockchain, it is not limited to the Touchbase application and can create the equivalent startup of a domain name system for open, distributed metavers, said Edo Segel, founder and CEO of Touchcast.

“Right now, everyone is talking about metavars, but there is no domain system, there is no map, there is no perseverance, and everyone is trying to create their own small walled garden metavars. And we think it’s the opposite of the revolution that comes with Web 3 and decentralization, “said Segal.

Leave VR headset?

One thing is not necessary for enterprise metavors, Segel said, is the VR headset. While there may be commercial applications, “it’s a case of limited use,” he said. “I don’t think people will work in VR headsets. I think that’s a ridiculous idea. “

Representatives of another “Enterprise Metawars” event organizer, MyTowers, said the same thing – that the last thing their customers wanted to do was to have a headset for each participant in the meeting.

In both cases, the 3D world is considered an alternative way to display the webcam video of the speaker’s face, removing the background. For Touchcast’s CES Metavers Summit, speakers standing behind a virtual podium in the Virtual Auditorium were pictured. Looks like people in space suits with webcam images of people’s faces appearing on the faceplate of standard MyTowers avatar helmets.

Even without trying to make avatars real (let alone hyper-realistic), 3D space opens up possibilities, such as the ability to throttle the audio of different speakers up and down, depending on how “close” the listener is to other avatars. It is possible to join or leave a conversation by walking around a virtual meeting room or conference space.

Of course, the role of 3D headsets seems a bit different for hardware vendors. Dan O’Brien, general manager of HTC Vive, said that if in return for that investment, they could avoid having employees travel for training and corporate meetings, he would be interested in businesses looking to order thousands of headsets.

O’Brien said, “There are still challenges for people to feel like they are really there and not in the incarnation of this cartoon.” “It’s really important that we continue to work on techniques that allow us to track facial movements and eye movements for more real and human avatar rendering,” he said. An advance HTC has recently made with hand gesture wrist motion detection, he said.

With 5G networks, it is becoming possible to move the more processor-intensive task of rendering 3D scenes on servers on the network edge, rather than embedding them in the device itself, O’Brien said. It will, in turn, enable the development of lighter headsets and AR glasses that look more natural to wear, he said.

Those advances, along with blockchain concepts for Web 3, are all in the pipeline, O’Brien added, “it will all take some time.”

As part of his press conference at CES, Qualcomm Cristiano Amon also cited 5G (and especially Millimeter Wave 5G) as one of the factors that would make Metavers a more interesting and useful place. Perhaps more importantly, the business metaways will be designed by “a digital twin of everything”, meaning a detailed visual and logical simulation of a car, or a piece of machinery or a conference room so that you can train on how to repair machinery. And interact naturally with others in the conference room.

“When you connect the physical world and the digital world, you have the ability to get incredible use cases of how the metaphysics of metavers takes shape,” he said.

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