The Rise of the Metaverse Will Have Major Impacts on the Internet Infrastructure and Data Centers
It’s clear that many large companies are investing billions of dollars in metaverse implementations targeting a wide range of entertainment, business, and other applications. It’s also becoming increasingly evident that, however the metaverse evolves, it will have major impacts on the existing internet infrastructure and the demands on data centers to ramp up in support of new applications.
What is The Metaverse?
In their announcement, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to it as “an embodied internet that you’re inside of instead of just looking at.” While quite broad, that definition is a good starting point.
The technological underpinnings of the metaverse are deeply rooted in both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), complementary concepts that are already deepening and expanding the ability to deliver more immersive experiences for users.
VR puts users into fully immersive virtual environments and enables them to interact with their surroundings and with other people accessing the same virtual world.
In contrast, AR starts with the users’ real surroundings and adds elements, such as information overlays and nearby services, that enrich and expand their real-world interactions. Emerging metaverse applications focus on leveraging both VR and AR technologies to monetize deeper immersion experiences within a variety of products and services.
For example, business conferences will evolve from today’s patchwork of faces on a screen to participants using lifelike avatars for meetings and interacting in a shared virtual conference room. Similarly, remote learning classrooms, telemedicine appointments, gym workouts, shopping, customer visits, creative collaborations, family interactions, and much more can benefit from enriching shared metaverse experiences.
In addition to Meta (Facebook), other major companies such as Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), Nvidia, Apple, Walmart, Adobe, and Amazon are making major investments in metaverse applications and/or the tools and infrastructure to support metaverse delivery. These huge initiatives, along with hundreds of other smaller companies and startups are poised to bring metaverse experiences to billions of users over the next few years.
Metaverse’s Impacts on Infrastructure and Data Centers
While today’s global internet infrastructure is an amazing achievement and it has recently survived major stress tests from pandemic related spikes in demand, current technologies fall far short of what will be needed to support the metaverse.
The key goal is to make metaverse applications seamlessly available in real-time to millions of users in interconnected communities that span the world. Instead of accessing, viewing, and downloading data as in today’s internet, metaverse users will be totally immersed in digital environments and will be continuously interacting with other users who may be on the other side of the world. Any noticeable lack of immediacy or degradation of the immersive experience will be a major detriment to adoption.
Some of the key challenges include:
- Enabling hyper-scaling
- Optimizing proximity to users
- Minimizing latency
- Expanding storage capacities
- Integrating artificial intelligence (AI)
- Enhancing security
- Managing carbon footprint issues
By building on this deep and wide experience, Interplex’s engineers are now helping the industry design and deploy new-generation servers that will enable the metaverse to become a reality.