Will metaverse come out of its cocoon or fail to woo netizens?

Metaverse — the most used tech buzzword of the year — has failed to gain the attention of the masses to date. Will it become useful in our daily lives in 2023 as companies spend billions on virtual reality/augmented reality (VR-AR) related technologies?

Meta (formerly Facebook), which sacked more than 11,000 employees in 2022, is reportedly struggling to gain and keep users on its social virtual reality (VR) platform called Horizon Worlds — its biggest bet to fulfil its $10 billion metaverse dream.

In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that while many tech companies are bullish on metaverse, he is not sure if the average person can understand what metaverse actually is.

However, the industry is still bullish on metaverse. According to reports, the global metaverse market is expected to reach $996 billion in 2030, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.8 per cent.

The metaverse market size reached a value of $22.79 billion in 2021, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

“As India gears up to become among the world’s fastest growing economies in 2023, the months to come will be crucial towards setting the stage for our long term success,” Prativa Mohapatra, Vice President and Managing Director, Adobe India, told IANS.

The year 2022 sparked mega trends like the cryptocurrency boom and bust, increasing examples of the power of Generative AI, and the emergence of incredible use cases on what could be metaverse’s long-term journey to making real impact in the world.

“With such fast-paced trends governing with the dynamics of the industry and customer experiences in 2023, businesses will need to continuously adapt to changes, evolve strategies, and be laser focused on looking around the corner to drive innovations that can create an impact,” Mohapatra added.

Various players in the technology sector, including those manufacturing semiconductors, components, and application software, have started leveraging metaverse.

According to Deepak Agarwal, Project Manager at GlobalData, metaverse is still largely conceptual but could transform how people work, shop, communicate, and consume content.

“Although it is in the early stages of development, it has the potential to be the next mega-theme in digital media,” said Agarwal.

In 2023 and beyond, the basic building blocks for consumer metaverse along with its potential killer use cases will continue to get refined, said experts.

“Enterprise Metaverse will continue to gain traction through 2023. Enterprises will seek to further build efficiency gains and battle potentially unsustainable black swan events,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, told IANS.

With digital twins, for instance, Indian manufacturing enterprises have been able to monitor, map and manage their supply chain and production plants remotely, he added.

Meta in November had announced that it is supporting industry body FICCI with $1 million for the XR Open Source (XROS) fellowship programme that will help 100 Indian developers working on XR (extended reality) technologies for the future of metaverse.

Run by FICCI, the XROS programme will provide developers fellowships which includes stipend and mentoring.

The National e-Governance Division, an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), will be the technical partner to the programme.

“The vision for India’s techade can only be achieved when the young developers and start-ups, including those from tier 2 and 3 cities, contribute to enabling future technologies like XR in the metaverse,” said Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor to the government.

In 2021, Meta partnered with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to bring immersive technologies to over 10 million students and 1 million educators over the next three years.

(Nishant Arora can be reached at nishant.a@ians.in)

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