The metaverse plays an important role in promoting the construction of smart cities.

On the one hand, the real physical urban space will be digitally transformed in the metaverse, so the metaverse can greatly enhance the user's sense of space; on the other hand, with the blessing of digital technologies such as geospatial information, digital twins, and big data, Metaverse will empower city management departments to realize real-time, refined and dynamic operation of the city.

  The "cosmology" of the metaverse ③

  ◎Zuo Pengfei

  To be precise, the metaverse is not a new concept, but a rebirth of a classic concept under digital technology.

However, limited by technology and industrial scale, there are many prospects and scenarios for the metaverse, and there is still a long way to go before its practical application.

  Facing the rising popularity of the metaverse, what layouts have the digital technology giants made?

What new landing methods may appear in the future?

What kind of development pattern will the metaverse industry form?

  The layout of digital tech giants

  At present, the traditional Internet dividend has reached its peak and is beginning to show a trend of fading.

There is no doubt that the rise of the metaverse has ignited new hope for Internet companies, and major digital technology giants at home and abroad have also started the exploration of the metaverse.

On the whole, under the constraints of technical capabilities and industrial scale, major companies based on their own characteristics, resources and other internal factors, the layout of the metaverse can be divided into the following three modes:

  First, hardware and software layout patterns.

After the fierce competition in the Internet field, digital technology companies deeply understand that only by mastering key core technologies can they gain the initiative in competition and development.

The current layout of digital technology giants for key core technologies in the metaverse field is mainly reflected in hardware and software.

From the perspective of hardware, Nvidia, Qualcomm and other companies are accelerating the development of GPU chips; industry insiders believe that VR headsets may replace mobile phones in the next 10 years, and companies such as Meta, Apple, and ByteDance are accelerating their deployment in this field.

From a software point of view, Meta and Google compete fiercely on virtual reality operating systems; Microsoft is accelerating the launch of Microsoft mesh, a mixed reality program for enterprise applications.

  Second, the business scene layout mode.

The Internet field has a significant Matthew effect, and it is often easy to form a winner-take-all industrial ecological pattern.

According to estimates, more than 90% of human activities in the future can be carried out in the metaverse, and it has a larger-scale scene connection function than the real world.

In the face of the new round of huge business opportunities brought by the Metaverse, traditional Internet giants have relied on their existing advantages to accelerate the deployment of Metaverse application scenarios such as social networking, e-commerce, and conferences on their advantageous tracks.

Companies such as Meta, Tencent, and GREE are accelerating the social development of the Metaverse, companies such as Amazon, Alibaba, and are accelerating the deployment of e-commerce platforms in the Metaverse, and companies such as Microsoft and Meta are constantly exploring the Metaverse conference scene.

  Third, the infrastructure layout mode.

Operators play a pivotal role on the metaverse competition track.

The development of the Metaverse has put forward higher requirements for infrastructure such as networks and data centers, and the main providers of these infrastructures will still be operators.

Judging from the current layout, the three major domestic operators have foreseen the huge business opportunities of Metaverse: on the one hand, the three major operators have jointly established the first Metaverse Industry Association in China to jointly promote the development of Metaverse-related businesses; on the other hand, Major operators are also actively developing track layouts independently.

For example, China Telecom launched the "Pangu Plan" this year to enhance its competitiveness in the Metaverse field with innovative 5G applications; China Mobile accelerated the construction of the Metaverse computing power network and promoted the construction of a "grab-and-go" computing power service system; China China Unicom accelerated the development of the VR industry and consolidated the digital base.

  At present, the global unbalanced development trend of the Metaverse industry is accelerating, and my country should further strengthen the layout of Metaverse related technology industries, and take the initiative in the future market competition of the Metaverse.

  Possible new landing methods

  At present, although many digital technology giants have deployed their layout around the metaverse, on the whole, it is still a reflection of the popularity of concepts and capital, and the related layout methods are also mostly manifested in the competition of traditional Internet business tracks.

Starting from the essential attributes of the Metaverse and the actual development of the industry, there may be some new ways of landing in the Metaverse in the future.

  First, public service.

At present, the Metaverse industry is still in its infancy, and the relevant layout is mainly focused on the commercial field. At present, few companies have deployed the Metaverse public service field, and only the Korean government is actively promoting the construction of a Metaverse public service platform.

Since the Metaverse can further overcome the limitations of objective conditions such as time, space, and language, and provide more visual services, under the conditions of more mature technology in the future, the Metaverse is expected to achieve large-scale applications in the field of public services.

  Second, smart cities.

The metaverse plays an important role in promoting the construction of smart cities.

On the one hand, the real physical urban space will be digitally transformed in the metaverse, so the metaverse can greatly enhance the user's sense of space; on the other hand, with the blessing of digital technologies such as geospatial information, digital twins, and big data, Metaverse will empower city management departments to realize real-time, refined and dynamic operation of the city.

At present, the huge application prospects of Metaverse in the field of smart cities have been widely recognized, but there are not many companies that have actually deployed them.

  Third, manufacturing applications.

At present, the metaverse is mainly used in entertainment, games and other fields, and the metaverse has practical value only if it has positive feedback to the physical world.

Therefore, the industry is full of expectations for the application of Metaverse in the manufacturing field.

Metaverse can promote the dynamic visualization of scenarios in different industrial chains, and promote the visualization, scenario-based and personalized transformation of the manufacturing industry.

At present, there have been small-scale exploration experiments. For example, Anheuser-Busch InBev cooperated with Microsoft to establish a Metaverse Brewing Factory, which can remotely realize real-time control of production and sales in the factory.

But there is still a lack of concrete cases for the deep integration of the metaverse and manufacturing.

  Fourth, the three-dimensional cultural and creative industry.

From the Internet to the Metaverse, due to the comprehensive integration of visual simulation factors, the expression of information has been upgraded from a two-dimensional plane to a three-dimensional space. The Metaverse will realize content output in a more vivid, concrete and vivid way, effectively enhancing the user's sense of reality. , presence and immersion.

In this process, the rapid development of Metaverse will drive the comprehensive upgrade of content production such as film and television, animation, and music, and bring a new development opportunity to the cultural and creative industry.

At present, companies such as Tencent and ByteDance have begun to deploy the cultural and creative metaverse.

  The future development pattern of the industry

  As a new upgrade of information form and carrier, Metaverse is entering various fields of economy and society as a "new species".

It is foreseeable that as long as all walks of life grasp the development opportunities of the Metaverse and do a good job in the connection work, the transformation and upgrading of the industry can be realized.

In the future, the development pattern of the Metaverse industry mainly consists of the following three components.

  First, the metaverse technology industry.

The realization of the metaverse scene is a complex systematic project, which requires the comprehensive integration of multiple digital technologies.

The metaverse technology industry mainly includes three categories, one is the directly related technologies of the metaverse, such as XR, AI, 3D, space mapping, digital twin, etc.; the other is the underlying architecture technology of the metaverse, such as blockchain, cloud computing, big data, The future network, etc., ensures the normal operation of the metaverse system; the third is the metaverse connection technology, such as wearable devices, embedded technology, brain-computer interface, micro-sensors, etc., to achieve a stable connection between the digital world and the real world.

  Second, the industrial metaverse.

In the future, under the influence of the Metaverse, traditional industries will be reshaped and transformed at an accelerated pace, realizing the transformation from the Industrial Internet to the Industrial Metaverse.

On the one hand, e-commerce, entertainment, social networking, conferences and other sub-sectors that are currently closely integrated with the Internet will accelerate their entry into the metaverse, and experience upgrades will be ushered in these areas.

On the other hand, production, planting and other fields that are currently relatively weakly integrated with the Internet will surpass existing application scenarios in the Metaverse.

  Third, the metaverse auxiliary industry.

The orderly operation of the virtual economic and social system formed by the Metaverse requires a series of widely recognized standards and protocols as the basis to promote the realization of a large connection between the different ecosystems of the Metaverse, which is inseparable from payment, security, credit, certification, etc. Support for auxiliary industries.

  (The author is an associate researcher at the Institute of Quantitative and Technological Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)