The metaverse is a term that has been gaining significant attention recently. It commonly refers to an immersive virtual world that runs parallel to the physical world. In this virtual environment, individuals can engage in a variety of activities digitally. However, the concept is still in its early stages, and there is no clear definition of what the metaverse entails. Some see it as an extension of virtual reality, while others envision a fully-fledged virtual world similar to “The Oasis” in Ready Player One. As such, it is difficult to predict its potential applications, particularly in the AV industry.
Virtual environments are already here
Nonetheless, virtual environments have already revolutionized how businesses and individuals interact. As you may have already seen:
- Telehealth appointments provide a more convenient way to connect with medical professionals, particularly for younger generations who are accustomed to virtual environments.
- Virtual trade shows allow for greater efficiency and accessibility, particularly for those with disabilities.
- Virtual translation features make it possible for participants who speak different languages to communicate with ease.
Balancing virtual and physical interactions
However, while technology is making virtual interactions feel more realistic, there is no substitute for in-person connection. The advent of social media platforms was intended to increase connectivity, but in reality, it has led to increased detachment. The pandemic has forced people to work and socialize entirely in virtual environments, highlighting the importance of face-to-face connections. It is possible that human beings have a fundamental need for social interaction that can only be fulfilled through in-person meetings. Therefore, it’s crucial to strike a balance between virtual and physical interactions.
For the AV industry to ensure a successful adoption of the metaverse, or any other technology, it is essential to strike a balance between virtual and physical interactions and anticipate the technological requirements of a fully virtualized environment. The hype surrounding the metaverse should not overshadow the importance of carefully investigating whether a new technology is necessary and weighing the benefits against the drawbacks.
When considering creating a fully virtualized environment, AV/IT professionals should prepare for significant bandwidth and storage requirements on a per-user basis. Creating a realistic virtualized environment may even require a decentralized peer-to-peer processing construct. As such, the AV industry should be cautious about jumping on the metaverse bandwagon without first considering the technology’s practical applications and limitations.
“Regarding Biamp’s product development, we listen carefully to our customers’ needs and anticipate technological trends. If the metaverse evolves into something that Biamp’s products can add value to, the company will seriously consider it,” said Ashley Smith, Regional Sales Manager for Biamp
Final thoughts on the metaverse: cautiously optimistic
The metaverse has the potential to change the way people interact and conduct business. It can provide new opportunities for engagement, collaboration, and exploration. And, while the metaverse may be a promising technology, it is not a silver bullet. Its adoption should be guided by careful consideration and a thoughtful approach.
Virtual environments are not a substitute for in-person interactions, and there are still many unknowns about the metaverse that need to be explored. With this understanding, those in the AV industry can help to ensure that the metaverse, and other emerging technologies, are utilized in a way that maximizes their benefits while minimizing their risks.