It’s hard to imagine a world detached from your mobile phone. Unless you work for Nokia.
The telecom giant expects the metaverse to become an all-consuming technology by the end of this decade, replacing smartphones as the primary form of communication.
“We believe that in the second half of the decade, this device will be overtaken by a Metaverse experience,” Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Nishant Batra said as he clutched his phone during a recent visit to North Texas.
It will be in large part due to the Finland-based company’s 1,700 employees working in Cypress Waters’ development to turn this ambitious goal into a reality.
Nokia traces its roots in the Dallas area back to the 1950s. The company is now renting 23,000 square meters of space on the extensive company premises not far from DFW International Airport.
Known for developing the first fully automated mobile phone system, Nokia has since grown into a full-fledged technology company, developing facial recognition used in some airports or helping utility companies to keep the power grid safe. The company’s grids feed seven of the major power grids in the United States.
Nokia posted sales of over $21 billion last year and operates in more than 130 countries with nearly 88,000 employees. To pull through with the big plans, Nokia expects to hire more people in North Texas in the coming years as the metaverse gains acceptance.
What is the metaverse?
Put simply, it is next-generation technology that will shape our daily lives.
Sukumaran Nair, distinguished professor at Southern Methodist University and director of the Dallas college’s AT&T Center for Virtualization, said the Metaverse can be viewed as an assemblage of new technologies rolled into one bucket.
“One way to define this is as an extension of AR and VR with the potential for real-time data collection from different parts of the internet,” Nair said, referring to augmented reality and virtual reality technology, the typically mental Images of the Metaverse – Handhelds. headphones, glasses.
Expanding the use of the technology could mean many different things across a variety of industries. It could include anything from expanding the use of the internet to developing new ways of learning skills.
The concept of the metaverse might seem fairly new, and it has gained traction in recent years when the social media platform Facebook rebranded as meta. Founder Mark Zuckerberg wanted the influential company to focus on the next digital frontier, the Metaverse.
But the metaverse isn’t new, Nair said. In the 1992 novel Snow Crash, writer Neal Stephenson coined the term “metaverse” in which humans interact with each other and software in a 3D space that uses a real-world metaphor.
A commonly used phrase in the Metaverse world is “digital twins”. Think of them as virtual representations of an object or system, spanning its entire lifecycle, updated with real-time data, and using simulation, machine learning and reasoning to support decision-making, according to research firm IBM.
What does 2030 look like?
If Nokia thinks ahead to 2030, the landscape looks very different from today’s reality.
The company sees three main influences in shaping this world: socioeconomics and geopolitics, technology, and the needs of users at any given point in time. Nokia’s vision is framed by concepts – human augmentation and digital-physical fusion.
Human augmentation refers to technologies that enable people to interact with the digital world or with devices such as virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses. But in the future, Batra said, the interface will be much more personalized and unique.
Digital-Physical Fusion deals with real objects, systems and processes that are represented in the digital world.
In the consumer metaverse, revenue from virtual spaces where people interact depends on consumer attractiveness. Monetization will be fragmented and grow by 2026, Nokia estimates. Success will come when there is buy-in for multiple uses such as gaming, social interactions and virtual travel, Batra said.
“Wide adoption of the technology by both businesses and consumers will be critical for it to really take off, and this will also depend on the availability of affordable, ergonomic, wirelessly connected VR and AR devices,” said Batra.
The corporate metaverse, which spans both offices and schools, is filled with things like simulations and infinite workspaces, and will evolve based on how much value companies derive from it. One way to envision the potential is what Batra calls a “digital drafting table of architecture and engineering firms.”
Nokia sees metaverse-inspired innovation in devices and solutions as an opportunity for business growth.
In the industrial metaverse, digital twins and simulations could be used in factory production lines or mining operations. Industrial machine jobs could be taught by working with a virtual reality headset.
Batra points out how aerospace companies build engines and fuselages in the digital world to accurately simulate how an airplane will fly, and factories, including Nokia’s, exist in the digital world just as much as they do in the physical.
Next-generation technology is used every day at Nokia’s offices in Cypress Waters. Virtual reality headsets are available that users can try on to explore or work in the Metaverse. There’s a green-screen space that allows users to be placed in locations like a coal mine, where the technology can detect if someone is wearing safety gear.
Batra said one example of how the Metaverse could benefit business is through infrastructure, which helps engineers better understand traffic patterns, wear and tear over time, and make roads safer. .
By 2030, Nokia envisions a 6G world ushering in advanced technologies such as computer vision, biosensors, digital twins, and immersive AR and VR. This solution will also create more potential entry points for attackers.
Nokia is also preparing for this, said Batra. Nokia opened a cybersecurity lab in Coppell in May, hailed as the first US-based end-to-end lab taking 5G protection to the next level.
It’s not just Nokia promoting the Metaverse.
Dallas-based Match Group in April acquired a $1.7 billion South Korean social networking startup, Hyperconnect, which allows users to form relationships in a virtual environment.
Retail giant Walmart has entered the Metaverse through gaming experiences on Roblox dubbed “Walmart Land” and “Walmart’s Universe of Play.” Walmart Land offers fashion, beauty and entertainment items, while Walmart’s Universe of Play presents toys.
Consumers are also interested in the possibilities. MarTech Today magazine reported that what consumers expect most from a Metaverse experience is:
- 68% want to experience music
- 58% travel and tourism
- 53% shopping and virtual stories
- 53% live events
While the journey into Nokia’s future world will take time and education, Batra said generations of digital natives are ready for the technology.
“Each generation’s adoption is faster than the generation before it, not just a little bit,” Batra said. “It’s exponentially different.”
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2022 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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