Engineering is ultimately what will make the metaverse a more useful tool for businesses, optimizing the quality of service they offer and streamlining operations. If the metaverse is a vehicle, engineering is the fuel that drives it.
Why Quality Engineering is Critical for the Metaverse to Live Up to Its Potential
Walker Sherk, Capgemini Engineering | Capgemini
Innovation requires change, but for that change to occur great engineering – and engineers – need to be at the forefront. Take the metaverse, for example. Much like the launch of the internet, the metaverse is poised to fundamentally transform the way we live, work, and play. The internet was built on a bedrock of engineering talent, whose work brought it into the mainstream and ushered in significant societal changes. This will also be the case for the metaverse.
The internet is filled with cautionary tales about what happens when enterprises don’t make engineering a top priority. Think about all the retailers, government agencies, and organizations across industries whose websites crashed because they underestimated demand for, say, a product or service launch. Consider the online businesses that floundered because they didn’t prioritize cybersecurity, user interfaces, and other key engineering aspects. These mistakes are all too common, despite them being avoidable.
But engineering is about more than damage limitation, preparedness, and maintenance. It’s about exploration, innovation, and pushing the envelope of what’s possible. Developing a technology like the metaverse is a feat of its own, but adding functions such as 3D avatars, extended reality (XR), and mid-air haptics that can elevate shopping and entertainment experiences is experimental engineering at its best. Likewise, engineering is ultimately what will make the metaverse a more useful tool for businesses, optimizing the quality of service they offer and streamlining operations. If the metaverse is a vehicle, engineering is the fuel that drives it.
An engineering-first approach
The metaverse isn’t a game-changer, it’s a game-maker. Businesses that can leverage it to their advantage will be able to offer the most immersive and engaging customer and employee experiences on the market. If the internet presented an opportunity for people to connect in a digital world, the metaverse will take this several steps further, bridging the gap between physical and digital spaces as people connect in virtual worlds, both public and private.
It took businesses and consumers a long time to leverage the internet to its full potential. Personalized marketing, e-commerce, and instant messaging weren’t created overnight – they took countless false starts and millions of hours of engineering prowess to refine, and these functions are still being perfected today. The metaverse will follow the same course – the groundwork is laid, but businesses are going to need more than a connection and a headset to realize its capabilities.
Take the automotive industry, for instance. Automotive companies are already adapting metaverse use cases, from virtualized showrooms for customers, to digital twin applications for designers and manufacturers. But such applications have one thing in common – they could be viewed as mere extensions of augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). The internet was designed to give users read-only access to documents and information. The emergence of Web2 made for easier data transmission, enabling communication and transactions to occur more seamlessly. Web3, which forms the basis of the metaverse, is the next phase, making way for truly decentralized and immersive technologies. Thinking of the metaverse as a mere extension of AR/VR applications is like discovering the internet and only using it for email – much more can be achieved. But for that, an engineering-first approach is required.
Call in the experts
Enterprises shouldn’t risk their reputation and bottom line by trying to create their own metaverse with a mix of consumer-grade technologies, such as VR headsets built for gaming.
Consider how some businesses use TVs for digital signage because they’re less expensive than professional-grade displays but wind up paying more in the long run because the consumer products weren’t designed for always-on usage. Developing and executing a successful metaverse strategy is even more complicated. One reason is that it’s a brand-new concept, making it difficult to grasp all of the considerations, nuances, options, and pitfalls. Think of trying to understand why you need training wheels when you’ve never even seen a bicycle.
By working with vendors and consultants with extensive engineering pedigrees, enterprises can identify where and how to start using the metaverse to save and make money, attract customers, and more. In the case of 5G, for example, an engineering expert could identify digital assets that a mobile operator already has and show how metaverse tools could ingest them so they can be analyzed and acted upon in unprecedented ways. The savings from this initial use case could then be used to fund additional metaverse projects.
This incremental, self-funding approach is also ideal for grounding the metaverse in existing concepts so a science fiction buzzword can mature into tools every business can use. The metaverse has a bright future, but quality engineering is key to ensuring it lives up to its potential.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow
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