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Metaverse – The Future of the Internet?

Another buzzword has crept into our vocabulary. The word is METAVERSE. It may, in fact, be more than a buzzword. Metaverse is defined by Wikipedia as follows: “The Metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets. Metaverses, in some limited form, are already present on platforms like VRChat or video games like Second Life.”

As we move into this next phase of the internet, we’ll see some incredible things usually found in sci-fi movies.

People can create digital versions of themselves. These digital versions or avatars can interact with others in locations across the street or across the globe. While still a bit cartoonish, the interactions are more than remotely gaming with someone at another location. Multiple people will be able to visit a vacation spot, museum, sporting event, etc., in a way that will feel more present. The virtual interaction is more than a video chat. Each person’s avatar can virtually “walk” up to another avatar for interaction. For those of us who are familiar with the phrase “getting knocked into the middle of next week,” it may soon be possible (virtually).

I can’t imagine going on a virtual vacation and enjoying the same experience as actually being there in person. On the plus side, my avatar would have more hair.

Currently, the technology requires a VR (virtual reality) headset. For those who experience motion sickness, this may present a challenge. The equipment is a bit expensive and can be tolerated by many for a relatively short time. However, as many gamers have demonstrated, it is something you can get used to.

Additional technology will be required to be fully immersed in the technology. Currently, we can interact with others on the internet. Metaverse will make interactions feel more like you’re interacting in the same room with others.

Opponents to this technology argue that this will cause people to spend more time in front of a screen.

Proponents claim it will increase the feeling of being present while using the internet. It’s hard for me to imagine even with the best audio and video equipment, I could have the same experience of being at a concert or standing on the beach.

There are potential investment opportunities in Metaverse-related products. Some are speculative because the bet is more on a concept than an actual product or service. The better place to look currently may be the “pick and shovel” companies. The term “pick and shovel” refers to the California gold rush when many struck it rich, while others had nothing but worthless land claims. The companies that sold picks and shovels to prospectors and profited whether or not the prospector struck gold.

If you understand the existing products and services required to make the Metaverse move forward, you will have a good idea of what companies you should invest in.

Joanna Stern produced a video of her spending 24 hours in the Metaverse. I found this entertaining.

If you would like to discuss this article feel free to reach out via email or phone. Meeting me in the Metaverse is not yet an available option.

December 2021

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