There is a lot of content out there explaining what the Metaverse could be but not as much talking about life in the Metaverse, yes, it is bound to happen.
Just like the age of the internet, we’re living in right now, a brand-new era of the Metaverse dawns upon us and before we know it, we’ll be living it.
Five months ago, Zuckerberg shared his vision for the Metaverse at the Connect 2021 conference and since then it has surfaced to become the hottest topic for debate across the internet.
The company has promised investments of millions of dollars on building hardware and software that fulfills Zuckerberg's grand vision of creating an interconnected digital space that will enhance how we interact online today.
Global Director, Business Engineering, Reality Labs at Meta, Ziad Traboulsi tells us how the metaverse will help improve social connections. “While wearing a virtual headset or glasses, with the help of mixed technologies people will be able to experience proximity while not necessarily being in the same physical space as others. They will be able to create new online experiences,” he says.
In the image above: Global Director, Business Engineering, Reality Labs at Meta, Ziad Traboulsi
We’ve already discussed the Metaverse and what it means, but what kind of experiences can we expect in the Metaverse? While the whole definition of this cyberspace is still in the future, glimmers of what it could feel like can be experienced today. Virtual reality is already letting us create immersive experiences that deepen our sense of presence online.
Working in the Metaverse
With the evolution of work culture and ethics, businesses across the world are increasingly adopting hybrid work techniques. Horizon has also embedded the ‘workrooms’ as its special feature for a virtual workspace. With this model, Meta lays emphasis on how the ability to effectively collaborate, will be crucial to ensuring workplaces can be genuinely inclusive, especially when some people will be working from offices and the others won’t.
In the Metaverse businesses won’t have to rely on access to expensive tools, vast workshops, or precious materials, in order to train,, study or make digital art, games, or experiences for their people to enjoy,” explains Traboulsi. “The metaverse will change how we work - we think sophisticated home office technology is here to stay, so distributed teams can work smarter without sacrificing quality, even as some companies return to traditional office space,” he adds.
As you all must have guessed by now, Horizon Workrooms is a virtual meeting space where colleagues can work together from anywhere. You can join a meeting in VR as an avatar and even bring your physical desk and compatible keyboard to the virtual room.
“It also enables you to interact with very interesting applications that almost make the experience like reality, for example, your body language like when you lean onto the table or write an idea on the board. These cannot be experienced in 2D video conferencing applications today but are all possible in Horizon Workrooms,” explains Traboulsi.
Entertainment in the Metaverse
Essentially a segment of gaming has already been happening in the Metaverse for a while now. However, in the future, Meta promises that you’ll be able to participate more realistically. Roblox, which is a gaming platform, has already developed its version of a virtual event around the Metaverse, which allows users to gather for live virtual concerts, comedy clubs, or even bar nights.
Gaming in the Metaverse: What it’ll essentially look like.
If we think about entertainment first in the 90s, when computers were just starting to become widespread, one of the main usages was games. There was a very powerful gaming ecosystem, which continues to thrive to date. However, the entertainment aspect needed a refreshment. With our Quest Products, we offer a lot of options to our users, there are spaces where they can participate realistically and make new memories,” says Traboulsi.
A virtual concert by Marshmello, in Fortnite recently made history.
A recent interface that Meta announced it is working on is the Haptic Glove. A glove that lets you feel virtual objects in a virtual space. It constitutes a sophisticated control system that adjusts the level of inflation, creating pressure on different parts of your hand. If you’re touching a virtual object with your fingertips, you’ll feel the sensation of that object pressing into your skin. If you’re gripping a virtual item, the long finger actuators will stiffen, creating a sensation of resistance. These sensations work alongside visual and audio cues to produce the illusion of physical touch.
Health and fitness in the Metaverse
Dynamic 360 landscapes, possibly even the ability to complete a workout with your friends across borders, is somewhat how fitness will be adapted into the virtual world.
“Since we are working on connecting the physical world with the augmented reality and virtual reality world, users will still be themselves in the physical world and because they won’t be directly looking at an external screen and will only be using devices in their hands, movement is not at all restricted. Almost like you're taking a class, on a mat, not really running around as much, but are doing it all in a wide-open field. A lot of products and applications are already out there like the Fit XR, which allows users to explore different activities such as boxing, fitness classes, meditation, etc,” explains Traboulsi.
The last decade saw a shift from desktop web to mobile internet and the next decade will be about shifting into the Metaverse. For developers of all kinds to thrive and grow, it will require an open standard, and to unlock its full potential, it needs to be fully interoperable. Traboulsi comments, “For the developers that we’re working with , the technologies are constantly evolving. There are so many APIs that we’ve already announced such as the voice and passthrough SDK, where users can experience spatial and voice features more realistically. One of the challenges we face against the 2D world is with the graphics. Since they need to be emulated in the physical world, they are more precise and take up a lot of time and effort. More than that, it is also about building experiences, we derive these graphics from the experiences we aspire to build for our users and that continues to be one of our biggest challenges.”