If the past two years have proved anything, it is that technology has absolutely no limits. Through the pandemic years, the world had to adapt to a different model of life. A life with physical distances but maximum connectivity. With this, technologies such as cloud computing, edge computing, data centers, Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, the Internet of things, everything-as-a-service became the new normal. The world figured out how to live in isolation and continue everyday activities without being there in person.
Apart from the toilet paper hoarding, grocery store benders, and sheer panic, 2020 saw people adapting and learning. It was the year of change, growth, and the year of technology. With corporates and institutions resorting to remote models, people had to adapt to going pro-technology in a very short period. Moreover, corporations had to figure out the best way to keep their workforce connected and motivated from home. Digital transformation was paramount.
Let’s just say that 2021 takes the cake in terms of being original. Jeff Bezos went to space, Facebook launched the “meta-verse,” Windows 11 was revealed at Microsoft, and much more. As a result, people collectively understood that technology was here to stay. There was a new perspective on how going digital was the only way for businesses to sustain in the new normal. Continuous evolution and innovation was the only way to proceed in an uncertain environment.
With this tech recap over the last two years, let’s see what 2022 has in store!
|| Did you know that the term “metaverse” was first mentioned in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash? ||
In a nutshell, a metaverse is a digital world or a digital reality combining Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Social media, and cryptocurrencies. It is a world where the digital and physical worlds find common ground. In this ‘phygital’ (part physical part digital) environment, people can wander around with friends, attend events, visit new locations, and buy (digital) goods and services. Above all, it allows users to create a virtual community and experience virtual reality.
Metaverse truly became a buzzword after Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook announced the new name ‘Meta’ at Facebook’s Connect Conference on October 28, 2021. The company spent around $10 billion on the metaverse alone. In fact, Google searches for the term ‘Metaverse’ peaked from 24th-30th October, around the same time that Mark Zuckerberg broke the news.
Apart from Facebook, various companies have invested and shown interest in the Metaverse. Nike recently announced their acquisition of RTFKT, a leader in the digital shoe market. With this, Nike made their footing in the Metaverse more prominent. The company has already opened “Nikeland,” a virtual showroom on gaming platform Roblox, where visitors can dress their avatars in Nike clothes.
Leading clothing brand H&M made a splash as the first clothing brand of the Metaverse. Customers will be able to walk through the store, choose the product they want and purchase it in the CEEK City universe. An NFT collector recently spent $450,000 to buy a plot of virtual land in the Snoopverse. The Snoopverse is an interactive world the rapper is developing in The Sandbox- an Ethereum-based platform for creating and monetizing online hangout spaces and gaming experiences.
What can you do in the Metaverse?
There are endless possibilities over at the Metaverse. Facebook has already introduced the concept of Horizon workrooms, with companies like Microsoft following suit. This will help address the issues that people are facing while working remotely. Increased collaboration, communication, and connection can be expected with this innovation.
The Metaverse and entertainment go hand in hand. For example, watching a virtual concert, socializing with real-life users, making new friends, staying connected with old ones, the entertainment that can be expected from the Metaverse is not comparable.
Real estate is another hot topic of the Metaverse. There have been significant investments in virtual land within the Metaverse in recent months. For example, PwC, an accounting firm, recently purchased real estate in The Sandbox, a virtual gaming world. As mentioned earlier, even Snoop Dogg got in on purchasing some real estate within the Sandbox. The Metaverse Group, a real estate company in the metaverse economy, bought a piece of land in Decentrland (a virtual platform) for a whopping $2.43 million.
You must be wondering what the point of buying virtual land is, right? If you buy a physical property in the real world, you will get tangible results – a place to live, host family and friends, to take pride in. While virtual property, on the other hand, may not provide shelter, there are some parallels. The Metaverse will ultimately boom into a fully functioning economy in the near future and seamlessly blend in with our lives, just like social media became an indispensable part of our lives.
Augmented & Virtual Reality – Is it real?
Remember Pokemon Go? Ever since the world was collectively wowed by the immersive game, people have been waiting for something bigger, maybe better. Augmented Reality is pretty much the same concept. AR can be accessed by anyone that owns a smartphone. AR brings together the mundane reality we live in and morphs it into a glorified visual experience by projecting virtual pictures and characters through a phone’s camera or video viewer.
On the other hand, virtual reality requires a headset, making it less accessible than AR. Virtual Reality is a simulated experience in a virtual world. Apple is working on the most advanced chips for its unannounced AR/VR headset, and now a new report has claimed that the headset will still hit stores before the end of 2022.
AR in retail and e-commerce
It’s safe to say that online shopping is a boon to society. You can easily purchase clothes, makeup, electronics, groceries from the comfort of your homes. With AR in retail and e-commerce, the experience of shopping in person can be replicated while you snooze in bed. Nykaa has leveraged the power of AR and launched its virtual try-on technology that uses an advanced face tracker algorithm that applies virtual cosmetics. Consumers can understand how the product will actually look once applied. This addresses the problem of hesitation that most women face while purchasing makeup online.
Similarly, various brands used virtual fitting rooms as a way to make the online buying experience seamless. Imagine being able to try on clothing, shoes, watches, hats, makeup, sitting at home!
Power of Artificial Intelligence
In simple words, Artificial Intelligence is the opposite of natural human intelligence. In other words, it is intelligence that is demonstrated by machines. AI leverages machines to replicate the problem-solving capabilities of the human brain. Do you remember Sofia, the first robot citizen of the world? She even appeared on Jimmy Falon’s late-night talk show. Sofia is a humanoid robot created by Hanson Technologies in 2016. At the time, she stole the show due to her likeness to an actual human being, ability to make facial expressions, image recognition, and communicate through AI.
While having robots among us is a distant reality, movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Her, Ex Machina have opened up to the possibilities of AI. AI has been an integral part of day-to-day activities over the past decade. From using smartphone voice assistants (Siri, Alexa, etc.) to hyper-intelligent computers, AI has made lives considerably more manageable. Amazon, Google, and Facebook have even invested billions of dollars in hiring researchers who can potentially improve everything from search engines and voice assistants to certain aspects of the Metaverse. Today, you can use Google Duplex, a part of Google Assistant to make an appointment or reservations with the simple ‘Ok Google’ command.
Various companies across the spectrum are leveraging AI/ML to create a wave of innovation. Among them is Rizzle. At Rizzle, AI-ML is used to make editing a seamless and entertaining activity for its users. Numerous innovative features present on the application help reduce the complexity of editing and make it time-efficient. Do check out this blog on how editing is made simple at Rizzle.
Mobile Connectivity and 5G
As of November 2021, 53.98% of the web traffic in the world came through mobile phones. If you were to look back a decade, this figure was a meager 6.96%. As a result, it is safe to say that mobile connectivity has taken a turn for the better. In 2022, mobile providers are shutting down their 3G networks to make room for advanced network services such as 5G. Telecom service providers have established 5G trial sites in selected cities. As a result, the cities set to get the 5G telecom services in 2022 include Gurugram, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jamnagar, Ahmadabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Pune, and Gandhinagar.
With all the possibilities unlocked in 2022, it is essential to connect to a faster network. A 5G network is 100 times faster than your regular 4G network. Now imagine how fast that is. As a result, this will create bigger and better opportunities for people and businesses. Increased bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and faster connectivity will aid in expanding civilizations, revolutionizing industries, and radically improving day-to-day experiences.
So, where do we go from here?
Although humans were exposed to technology very many years ago, technology has been truly democratized ever since the pandemic hit the world. Tech has revolutionized the way people do the smallest of tasks and the ease with which they manage to live comfortably through a global pandemic. Technology’s advancements have provided faster ways to communicate through instant messaging apps, social media platforms, and short-video apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Rizzle. Something as simple as joining your check-in call with your peers from various parts of the world in itself is a significant advancement.
Technology connects people from remote corners of the globe and completely eliminates distance. People are able to grow, learn, work, collaborate, socialize through their screens. In conclusion, the experiences and innovations that technology has built and continues to build will only further improve the quality of life. So, if this blog piqued your interest, do leave a comment down below with some of your tech predictions for 2022!