Lens two: Evolving the human-machine experience
We are changing the way that we interact with the digital world and what we expect from it. Traditional devices are extending their reach with gestures and voice interaction and real-world scenarios are being tested through the use of digital twin simulations that guide consumers and model results. In moving with some inevitability toward the metaverse, the physical and digital worlds will further converge in a way that will open new possibilities for businesses..
Through the Looking Glass
Interfaces continue to evolve across gesture, voice and touch — engaging all the senses. Devices that work with us in our everyday lives are commonplace and a richer pairing of software and hardware. Devices themselves are becoming more ergonomic, designed to slot into everyday interactions with minimal disruption. We now see more intelligent devices, with local and cloud-based AI solutions supporting day to day decision-making.
Autonomous driving is not the only example of evolving interactions but provides powerful examples of this lens in action. We’ve moved very quickly from real-time, traffic-based mapping services, to self-driving cars that are constantly simulating all the possible future actions of the vehicles on the road to realize lower risk outcomes. In an autonomous vehicle instead of focusing on making small adjustments to steering, you can concentrate on the bigger picture. Perhaps the car notifies you of a major traffic incident. It can route around it but you are also able to investigate and pursue completely alternative goals, such as stopping for a meal now instead of after arriving at your destination.
Facebook’s plans for the metaverse have unleashed a torrent of hype and various big players are already jockeying for position. Yet the concept of a fully digital world is far from new. The first million-dollar virtual property was sold in Second Life 15 years ago. What has changed is that higher spec devices — such as phones and wearables — are in most people’s possession, making it possible to access new digital worlds in some form almost instantly. Even more specialized devices are sure to follow. Enterprises and investors are realizing this is the new frontier and that the way we work and live our lives will again change via the medium of technology.
A surge of investment in extended reality (XR) consumer solutions in readiness for the metaverse and related services
Increasing numbers of players entering the metaverse market alongside Facebook and Microsoft. Tencent recently announced their intention to build a metaverse platform, while Nike is positioning itself to become a virtual apparel provider
Rising investment from hardware vendors providing pre-rendered and streamed XR experiences as they move the heavy lifting to the cloud
While we’re still waiting for a consumer-grade augmented reality (AR) device from a player such as Apple, such an announcement could come at any time and will prompt the market to move quickly
People expect more from their interactions. It’s not just about function over form anymore: we want devices to look good, feel good, understand our emotions and be more aware of our needs. Providing service of this kind is table stakes, doing it well is the goal.
New on the horizon this year is the metaverse. Consumers have demonstrated enthusiasm for new platforms driven by fundamental trends and the metaverse hopes to be one such example. We will see new devices, as well as extensions to existing devices such as phones, designed for this emerging environment. It is also likely that we will see different companies provide competing environments. As Second Life has already demonstrated, it’s not just advertising revenue that will monetize these platforms; there are a myriad of possible products and services and it is already a proven model at a smaller scale.
The evolution of interactions can also contribute to the bottom line. The global metaverse market is expected to grow at over 40% per year, reaching US$800 billion by 2028, according to the latest analysis by Emergen Research.