Metaverse: What Will Make Immersive Experiences a (Virtual) Reality?

By Raymundo Peixoto, Senior VP of Datacenter Solutions, Dell Technologies Latin America

Digital and immersive experiences are blurring the boundaries of our physical experiences. In an increasingly distributed world, we are finding new ways to connect “virtually” from any part of the globe.

Much of this debate is about the “metaverse” which, despite its level of diffusion, is not a new concept. It is built upon immersive technological experiences and digital “universes” that many of us have experienced through games, hologram activations at events, or on stage – even our “virtual” meetings are in some ways – a foundational element for this immersive future.

So why is this conversation gaining momentum? Technology investments are accelerating. Microsoft recently acquired game developer Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Google has been developing technology related to virtual and augmented reality for years. Fortnite introduces a personal avatar that battles other people’s avatars. It’s been six years since Sony launched PlayStation AR. Walmart is even evaluating a digital presence with a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFT).

We’re looking for ways to connect with people, places and entertainment without having to leave a physical space. And these experiences go beyond entertainment and retail. Chile has already deployed an immersive experience in the mining industry, offering digital twins of industrial plants for mineral exploration.

We will see immersive learning opportunities with virtual classrooms around the world. We will be able to “travel” to new places and engage with more people without having to get on a plane or drive long distances.

Gartner forecasts that, by 2026, 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day experimenting in the metaverse (for work, shopping, education, interacting with others on social networks and/or entertainment). This requires the adoption of global connectivity, including the widespread deployment of 5G and the cloud-enabled edge infrastructure that supports it.

We will need real-time computing capabilities that support massive data workloads combining visual data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. And as all of these workloads occur in edge environments, we will see an acceleration of data and decentralized computing: we will need more computing power in more places along with powerful PCs, mobile devices and edge platforms and applications.

Today, the way forward is to combine the physical and the digital in real time. It’s about creating truly immersive experiences while bringing value to multiple industries, where data becomes a competitive advantage at the point of creation. The technology requirements to create an immersive experience range from AR/VR and cell phones to sensors powered by reliable infrastructure. Servers, networks and storage will be hosted in a multi-cloud environment that will deploy high-performance, scalable applications with end-to-end security.

As with so much of the technology advancements Dell Technologies has enabled over the past 30 years, it’s the ecosystem and open standards that make these game-changing experiences a reality. It’s why we’re investing in the technology ecosystem of the future, to provide the innovation and technology breakthroughs that deliver computing at the Edge and everywhere data exists across a multi-cloud ecosystem. It’s why we’re investing in an open ecosystem for telecom and communications service providers to make 5G and hyperconnectivity a reality. It’s why we’re creating highly customized PC and gaming experiences built for the digital experiences of the future, and investing in AR/VR capabilities that have the potential to transform not just entertainment, but the way we work, live and learn.

Immersive experiences will offer incredible opportunities for connection, collaboration, learning and empowerment: they have the potential to bring us together and bridge the gaps created by physical distance. Years of innovation and discovery have brought fundamental advances in immersive experiences, and we are on the cusp of a new “virtual” reality that will require the full weight of the open technology ecosystem to make it a reality.