The post-pandemic era and the Metaverse

Are we ready?
Image: Bloomberg

As the South African economy is slowly and cautiously emerging from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations are starting to look to the future and what emerging trends hold for their business.

One such trend is the concept of the Metaverse which, in essence, represents the convergence of digital and physical world.  It’s a 3D virtual space where users can gather as a group of avatars, interacting with one another in surroundings that replicate the physical world with select modifications.

It’s almost sounds like the real world and Sci-Fi is finally starting to cross paths, and ironically the idea is based on a Neal Stephenson’s book Snow Crash published 30 years ago.

The Metaverse concept opens a world of opportunities for users to try out various activities from travelling, shopping, trying on clothes and attending virtual concerts. And already major brands are entering the Metaverse, so to speak, eager to find a place in this immersive Internet experience.

Preparing for the Metaverse

The world is going through major digital and technological changes, which in turn means organisation must keep up with current customer demand while also remaining agile and ready for future economic environments.

And whilst the Metaverse is still a concept for now, given its immersive nature, it can present a myriad of opportunities for companies. Organisations must be ready to bring their digital presence to the next level once the Metaverse becomes a reality.

The opportunities are exiting, with the post-Covid hybrid or remote working environments, organisation should leverage these increasingly creative virtual business experiences to connect and collaborate with their own people, enhance their business process, and maintain a competitive edge.

Bringing the Metaverse Closer to the Edge

The Metaverse will undoubtedly be persistent and comprise of large amounts of information. Connecting to this digital reality will require fast and reliable online speed to manage the requisite bandwidth and interoperability demand.

However, latency can also become a major concern, and this is where edge computing bridges the gap. The Metaverse trend will further drive the adoption of edge computing as it is a key infrastructure that enables the Metaverse to reach full potential, enabling providers to scale their offerings sustainably.

A sustainable, virtual world

Unfortunately, with the increase in data volume, bandwidth, and continuous operations, comes higher energy usage and even more heat release from IT gear.

Leveraging existing infrastructure can help to reduce the formation of new and bigger data centres that could potentially negatively impact the environment. Already the pandemic resulted in an increase in data centre functionality, with the construction of hyperscale data centres spreading across the world due to the surge in cloud services that require large-scale servers and storage.

If the pandemic can bring about such a massive leap, the realisation of this virtual world integrating with our daily functions will require super computing power and sophisticated, edge computing-powered data centres.

It is therefore important that as companies move towards the Metaverse, and commission more data centres to support their individual offerings, they should work with experts to organise and prioritise data centre sustainability.

Organisations should review their current energy mix and consider clean technologies to address their carbon footprint and prepare for future expansion efforts like the Metaverse.

George Senzeresolutions architect: Secure Power at Schneider Electric.

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