As the next evolution of the internet, the metaverse will be a continuum of rapidly emerging capabilities, use cases, technologies and experiences. It applies across all aspects of business, from consumer to worker and across the entire enterprise; from reality to virtual and back; from 2D to 3D; and from cloud and artificial intelligence to extended reality, blockchain, digital twins, edge technologies and beyond, in every industry and the communications sector is no exception.
As industries are extending from a solely physical presence to a hybrid, or fully digital experience, that encompasses the consumer and enterprise business models alike, the role played by CSPs has never been more vital.
From enabler to disruptor
5G, with all its mobility, superior speed and throughput benefits combined with the latest technologies, will transform CSPs into enablers of the metaverse. Their access to customers and trust will give them the advantage to bring new solutions to life in the metaverse, while also using it to disrupt their own learning experience and operating models.
5G and the metaverse will unlock new promising use cases such as digitizing towns and cities, wireless factories, real-time immersive learning experiences, development of new digital skills and jobs, more affordable and seamless healthcare to name a few.
In this year’s Technology Vision, we explore trends across the entire continuum, from the virtual to the physical, across humans and machines alike. They identify where ambitious CSPs can find value by uprooting themselves from today and planting themselves firmly in the future.
Trend 01. WebMe: Putting the Me in Metaverse
WebMe explores how the internet is being reimagined on two fronts: the Metaverse and Web3. Activities that occur in metaverses may – and often will – be enabled by Web3. Web3 is CSPs' opportunity to leverage emerging technologies like edge computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital twins, and hybrid cloud platforms to their advantage building new business models and operational approaches, beyond traditional connectivity will set them up for success. They must now rethink their online presence and become a part of shaping the next platform revolution as they build new ways to connect to customers, partners, and their own digital workforce.
of Communications executives believe the Metaverse is a significant opportunity for their company.
People and enterprises are gaining unprecedented command over the physical world as it becomes innately programmable. The rise of new technologies including 5G, ambient computing, digital twins, augmented reality and smart materials is embedding digital capabilities into the fabric of our environments. These environments will reshape not just how people engage with worlds, but also redefine everything built in it, how people sense and interact and the control they have over it.
To meet our new expectations for digital and connectivity conveniences, CSPs will need a deep understanding of three layers that comprise The Programmable World: the Connected, the Experiential, and the Material.
However, as more connected, intelligent devices are introduced to the world – and more devices from more companies are connected – risks to privacy and security are growing. CSPs’ ability to safely connect programmable world technologies will impact the environments they can design or be part of, the partners they can have, and how quickly they can introduce new offerings.
of Communications executives agree that leading organizations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for persistence and seamless navigation between the digital and physical worlds.
Trend 03. The Unreal: Making Synthetic, Authentic
The Unreal—a trend where our environments and businesses are increasingly filled with machines that are passably human. “Unreal” qualities are becoming intrinsic to the artificial intelligence, and even the data that CSPs are putting into mission-critical functions.
Historically, CSPs have been trusted partners for consumers and businesses. They provide the most critical resource in a digitally connected world -- connectivity. Secure and authentic communications while living, working and playing in the metaverse will be an industry imperative and a major call to action for the telcos.
of Communications executives say that the Metaverse will create new data security and privacy risks, and that Digital Identity fraud and manipulation is a concern.
Trend 04. Computing the Impossible: New Machines, New Possibilities
We are on the verge of resetting the boundaries of traditional industries as we begin Computing the Impossible. The prospect of a quantum internet has people excited about endless possibilities, and CSPs are again at the forefront of a new, ground-breaking technology. Just as they transformed earlier technological breakthroughs like AI and cloud computing into chatbots, data analysis and other practical equipment, CSPs are now poised to design and develop the services that underpin the quantum communications. CSPs who start learning quickly about the rapidly evolving world of quantum communications, find partners and fund to jumpstart their quantum journey are the ones poised for success in the new quantum Internet era.
of Communications executives believe that their organization’s long-term success will depend on the next generation computing they leverage to solve the seemingly unsolvable problems not addressable by classical computing.
Getting started today
Competing in this next decade will require more than just increasing technology and innovation skills. As we have learned to understand, the metaverse phenomenon will give CSPs the chance to boost 5G’s adoption and monetize their investments by leveraging technological breakthroughs like AI, digital twins, cloud computing to name a few. However, to unlock the full spectrum of opportunities within the metaverse, CSPs must act now by expanding beyond traditional connectivity services to new capabilities and operational models. The Metaverse Continuum is an opportunity for CSPs to both enable and benefit from. And just as was the case with previous revolutions before, those who do not join in timely are at risk of being left behind.
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