What is the metaverse and what's in it for the telecom industry?

The term metaverse was conceived in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his novel “Snow Crash”, belonging to the cyberpunk literary genre that is centered on technological developments. This term, metaverse, became extremely popular lately when Mark Zuckerberg decided to use it to start a new project with his group, Meta.


What you will find in this article

  • The definition of metaverse
  • How to access the metaverse
  • New frontiers for the telecom industry
  • Advertising and communication
  • Laws and regulations
  • Risks of the Mateaverse

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is an Internet evolution, but it does not replace it. We are talking about a digital space, where everything is made of data and information; it is a structure with its own length, width, depth, and time called cyberspace. Yet, there is a strong connection between the material world and the metaverse. The future seems to hold a digital world and a material world that are connected one another through technologies and that influence and shape each other.

How to access and experience the metaverse

The metaverse is a digital universe that takes root from many technologies including video, augmented reality and virtual reality; to access the metaverse you need technological support such as a smartphone, computer or console and a 3D visor that will allow you to live authentic virtual experiences.

To do that, you have to create a realistic avatar that will allow you to interact with other people – avatars – and do any sort of activity. For example, you can have a meeting with your coworkers in a virtual room, you can go shopping at the mall, go to concerts or sport’s games, but you can also travel to different places.

New perspectives for the telecom industry

The metaverse represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the telecom industry: it’s not just an infrastructure, but it’s also an economic and strategic asset for telecom industries that choose to take part in it.

Data is central in the development of the metaverse and there will be an increasing demand for it. Technologies required to access the metaverse, such as VR, need five to 40 times more bitrate than it takes to stream an HD video. Network infrastructures need to be fast and efficient in the metaverse era in order to assure customers a satisfying experience. And this is where telecom businesses can make a difference: they have to develop enabling technologies that will make it easier for users to access and navigate the metaverse, starting from fast infrastructure, to Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Laws and regulations on the metaverse

The metaverse cannot realistically replace real life, but it could generate a hybrid solution: parts of our day could take place in the material world, others in the digital one. If that’s going to happen, it’s important to be aware of the main risks we could be facing in the future.

It’s important to notice that there are still no laws or directives concerning crimes and behaviors in the metaverse. It’s not even clear yet which is the unit that should be held responsible for matters related to digital life such as fraud and cyber-attacks.

What are the main risks we take entering the metaverse?

The main risks related to the metaverse, at least for now, are:

  • Individual identity: the metaverse is centered on the idea of a virtual identity – avatars – that represents each individual. Every person would move through the digital word through an avatar, but there is still no theory on how to prevent digital identity theft.
  • Privacy and data security: there are no clear directives on how to protect data and how to react to an eventual crime.
  • Intellectual property: copyright and intellectual property are going to be central in the development of the metaverse and, even though there have been some implementations regarding blockchain and NTFs, we are still far from a clear regulation.
  • Security issues technology related: technologies required to access and live in the metaverse have their own security issues in terms of data.

A clear set of laws and a dedicated unit are essential to make the metaverse a place as safe as possible. But it’s also important to educate and raise awareness in every potential user to build a common consciousness and shared best practices.