A metaverse for everyone, through collaboration and interoperability
We are at the beginning of an exciting journey, where the metaverse will bring together various technologies to fuse the physical and digital worlds, widely impacting society and the economy. In the current pre-metaverse era, we only see the very first use cases and applications providing compelling experiences to few selected industries such as gaming. Realizing the full potential of the metaverse and making it available to the masses requires enormous amounts of work and technology development. As we move forward, industrial and enterprise adoption will be followed by consumers embracing the new era.
Phases of metaverse evolution
We believe that this evolution will happen in stages, after new technologies, such as next generation networks and cloud computing, have reached their full potential, generating exponential combined benefits.
At Nokia we have developed a model describing the evolution of the metaverse in four different phases, each driven by market needs, recognizing that the scope of the metaverse is almost limitless and has the potential to fuel device and application proliferation.
In each phase we consider user experiences and application potential, as well as technology enablers, such as networking, digital twins, devices and form factors.
The four development phases of metaverse deployments are:
1. Pre-Metaverse - 2020 to 2024
2. Industry & Enterprise Metaverse - 2024 onwards
3. Consumer Metaverse - 2026 onwards
4. Universal Metaverse - 2030 onwards
Industrial metaverse applications in the second phase will penetrate the market first, earning faster returns on investment. In terms of infrastructure, the model focuses on the essential role of private 5G networks combined with on-premises edge computing in the Industrial Metaverse phase.
The third phase will be Consumer Metaverse where technology evolutions to 5G-Advanced and 6G for cellular access or 25G Passive Optical Network (PON) and 100G PON for fixed access will be required to scale the infrastructure to support a massive increase in the number of users.
The final phase will be the Universal Metaverse, where the metaverse becomes omnipresent in a range of different devices that can seamlessly interact. Content and data may be moved around and migrated between various applications resulting in an exceptionally immersive and visually compelling experience.
This four-phased model considers the importance of edge cloud in improving user experience by reducing network latency. It further explains the development needs of digital twinning technologies to embrace geospatial information and interoperability through federation.
Interoperability is key
Making the metaverse a reality requires a wide array of different technologies, all working seamlessly together. Interoperability is the key to unlocking the full potential and exponential gains of the metaverse.
The Metaverse Standards Forum (MSF) aims to do just that. The MSF offers a much-needed platform for collaboration and coordination among Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and the wider industry. Now more than ever, we need technologies to work together and standards to be defined in a non-fragmented manner.
What makes MSF distinct is that there is no intention of developing standards specifications in the Forum. MSF rather focuses on pragmatic projects by generating technical reports, use-cases, best practices, guidelines, pilot programs, testbeds, plug fests, and more. Recommendations from MSF can then be taken as input to standards setting in SDOs to ensure that all technology developers are working towards the same goal.
At Nokia, we are proud to be an active member of the MSF and excited to play our part in driving the metaverse forward. Since its establishment in June 2022, MSF has already grown into an organization of over 2,400 members and finalized its incorporation into an independent non-profit industry consortium. This clearly reflects the immense interest and importance of collaboration and interoperability for enabling the metaverse.
As a new consortium, MSF is still working on its internal structure and constantly identifying new work items. Currently, there are five domain working groups approved by the MSF leadership. These include 3D Asset Interoperability using Universal Scene Description (USD) and Graphics Library Transmission Format (glTF), Digital Asset Management, Network Requirements and Capabilities, Real/Virtual World Integration and Standards Register working groups.
Nokia is among the key players in establishing the Network Requirements and Capabilities working group, to develop the industry’s understanding of how networks will need to evolve to support metaverse applications in the future. Our active involvement also contributed to the quick incorporation process.
We look forward to working with our industry partners to unlock the potential of the metaverse for everyone.