It is safe to assume that the majority of the population started being aware of the word and concept of Metaverse due to Mark Zuckerberg rebranding Facebook into Meta. However, the term Metaverse originated from a science fiction novel called “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson in 1992. Taking into account the terminology of the word, it has two syllables: Meta, meaning beyond, and verse, referring to the universe.
According to a published survey, “All One Needs to Know about Metaverse: A Complete Survey on Technological Singularity, Virtual Ecosystem, and Research Agenda”, some of the terms used to define Metaverse are lifelogging, collective space in virtuality, embodied Internet, or spatial Internet, a mirror world, and an omniverse. The corresponding research defines it in a most simplified version, as a virtual environment blending physical and digital components, utilizing the combination of Internet, Web technologies, and Extended Reality.
Indications of the current applications are the creation of a digital twin of the physical world, with its economic system being based on blockchain technology, and offering the capabilities of content creation through new worlds, identities, and social interactions.
With IoT being around as a technological breakthrough since the early 2000s, one can only imagine the potential of combining Metaverse and IoT. According to experts in the field, one of the expected foundations of the respective combination is IoT enabling data analytics and interaction with the physical world, while the Metaverse provides a 3D user interface for the IoT devices and platforms.
Focusing more on the specific idea, it is believed that the main interconnection component is cloud technology, by providing the necessary processing power and speed required for the IoT physical devices to transmit the collected data to Metaverse platforms, in real-time.
Moreover, due to the underpinning technologies required for the development of such complex environments, it should be clarified that the Metaverse is not a simple case of Virtual Reality, but a combination of Augmented Reality, Extended Reality, and Artificial Intelligence, concluding in the need of designing advanced IoT architectures.
As mentioned above, one of the most significant byproducts of combining IoT and Metaverse is the creation of digital replicas of physical objects and devices, also known as Digital Twins. The difference between a Digital Twin and a digital replica of an object inside the Metaverse environment is that Digital Twins are structured with meta-data and the collected data of IoT devices.
According to Microsoft, Digital Twins can be anything from energy distribution grids, warehouses, and factories, to personal devices, and machinery. Once the object of choice is transmitted into the Metaverse it can be used for testing modeling techniques, simulations, optimizations, enhancing automated techniques, comparing performance data with their physical counterparts, as well as interacting with the digital model through an overlaid physical environment utilizing Mixed Reality.
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