Global technologists see the nascent metaverse playing a big role in the coming years as it affects everyday life in a variety of ways, including helping to mitigate climate change and becoming the venue for interactions of all kinds.
“The metaverse will be among the top five most important areas of technology in the year ahead,” said tech pro organization IEEE in announcing “The Impact of Technology in 2023 and Beyond: an IEEE Global Study,” a new report based on surveys of global technology leaders from the U.S., U.K., China, India and Brazil.
Specifically, the surveys polled 350 CTOs, CIOs and IT directors, covering the most important technologies in 2023 and future tech trends. The resulting report is presented in an interactive format that addresses: the impact of tech in 2023; connectivity advancements; a metaverse for sustainability; electric vehicles; “tiny” machine learning; and the foundation for 6G.
IEEE said the report points to a more connected, sustainable and virtual world. “Which areas of technology will be among the five most important in 2023? Global technology leaders surveyed said cloud computing (40 percent), 5G (38 percent), metaverse (37 percent), electric vehicles (EVs) (35 percent), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) (33 percent) will be the five most important areas of technology next year,” the organization said in an Oct. 27 news release.
The report indicated which innovations will next year be key to advancing the metaverse, which in these early stages can be described as “an immersive digital network of 3D interactive worlds.” The innovations said to be very important for advancing metaverse development in 2023 include:
(71 percent) 5G and ubiquitous connectivity
(58 percent) virtual reality (VR) headsets
(58 percent) augmented reality (AR) glasses
The report also noted the increasing influence of new-age IT concerns that include sustainable computing, designed to lessen global climate change.
“Technologies that foster sustainability are growing in importance,” IEEE said. “A strong majority (94 percent) of those surveyed agree that they have prioritized sustainability goals for 2023 and beyond, and any technologies their company implements are required to be energy-efficient and help shrink their carbon footprint.”
Tech leaders see the metaverse as one of those technologies that foster sustainability. “We like to imagine the metaverse as a social technology. But it also has the potential to help mitigate the impacts of climate change,” IEEE said.
In fact, one of those tech leaders is Daozhuang Lin, IEEE senior member, IEEE Consumer Technology Society, who made this prediction: “Metaverse-related technology will be a major contributor to reducing carbon emissions because it allows technologists and engineers to perform simulations in cyberspace, rather than relying on real-world demonstrations that run on traditional energy.”
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Sustainable Metaverse (source: IEEE).
The report also indicated metaverse-related technologies are expected to be deployed in various ways. IEEE said 91 percent of respondents agree that, in order to bring employees together for corporate training across offices, conferences and hybrid meetings, their company will actively adopt metaverse technology strategies next year. “In addition, over three-quarters (76 percent) of global technologists say 26 percent-75 percent of interactions with colleagues, customers and management at their company will be conducted virtually in 2023.”
Being a primary point of focus among respondents, the metaverse is explored further in an accompanying article titled “The Building Blocks of the Metaverse Are All Around Us.”
That article further addresses Lin’s sustainability prediction that making multiple simulations before using energy on a real-world test could lead to lower carbon emissions. Expanding on that, Lin further said, “The next great metaverse breakthrough will use VR to make industry more efficient.”
The IEEE article states: “A strong majority of survey respondents — 92 percent agree, including 50 percent that strongly agree — that metaverse-related technologies will be major contributors to reducing carbon emissions because they allow simulations in cyberspace instead of using traditional energy to conduct tests. A second finding reinforces that datapoint: 98 percent of respondents said digital twin technologies will be important in 2023, (including 68 percent who said very important), to efficiently design, develop and safely test product prototypes and manufacturing processes.”