Going forward, attributes such as control, customization, and automation – things taken for granted in software – will be increasingly enmeshed into the environment around us. People will have unprecedented ability to command the world to meet their own individual needs, deciding what they see, interact with, and experience with greater ease and fidelity than ever before. And enterprises will build and deliver these experiences, as well as reinvent their own operations for a new kind of world. Simply put, the world is becoming a place that can be shaped as broadly, as personally, and as often as our experiences on the internet – fundamentally changing the way we live.
In these scenarios, digital capabilities are woven into the very fabric of the world, making the physical world as smart, configurable, and programmable as we expect the digital one to be. People have more information about their real-world surroundings, along with greater context, and they can frictionlessly interact with their environment in novel and more efficient ways.
We’ve been building toward the programmable world for years: Digital technologies have proliferated across the physical world for over a decade. We’ve put cameras everywhere and filled our homes with smart devices and microphones. Now, advances in natural language processing, computer vision, and edge computing are amplifying the capabilities of those devices, freeing digital interactions from being trapped and turning them into an ambient and persistent layer across our environment.
The global 5G rollout adds more fuel to the fire, setting the stage for the further proliferation of low-power, low-latency connected devices. And researchers across enterprise and academia alike are working on even more transformative technologies, like augmented reality glasses, new methods of manufacturing, new kinds of smart materials, and programmable matter.
As we enter a new era of digital change, our belief is that it is helpful to think of the metaverse as a continuum: a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities, and business models that will revolutionize nearly all aspects of life and business in the next decade by accelerating collaboration in virtual spaces, augmented physical places, and a blend of both. Moreover, it will create new lines of business and transform interactions between citizens and government agencies.