How to Leverage Internet of Things (IoT) Opportunities in the Metaverse?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is possibly as broad and complex as the metaverse. At its core, IoT is about instrumenting things, connecting them, and using analytics to extract meaning and insights from the data collected from the long-anticipated tens of billions of linked IoT devices. The Internet of Things industry is well-known for its battle to balance years of inflated expectations with a long tradition of being present before the name “Internet of Things” was invented. The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to broaden in breadth in quest of a TAM that will deliver on the high promises of an IoT of connected gadgets and economic value.


What exactly is IoT + Metaverse?

If we want to understand what IoT + Metaverse means or is, we should look at where the two worlds meet. This point of convergence would be the digital twin. It would be an unusual use of digital twin, but there are interesting ramifications to consider. Another buzzword that has its origins in NASA and the field of PLM is a digital twin (Product Lifecycle Management). A digital twin is not the same as a digital avatar, which is more like a character in a fantasy MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game). Typically, you resemble a Silvan elf like Legolas more than your own physical form.

The extent of digital twins can be defined in two ways. According to one viewpoint, a digital twin is an umbrella term that encompasses data input, data management, modeling, and simulation. With this approach, the concept of the digital twin is becoming increasingly sophisticated and overcrowded. The second approach is to define digital twins in terms of their core role, which is to serve as a mirror for a distinct physical object and its digital reflection.

What does the term “digital twin” signify in the context of the metaverse? A fitness tracker or wristwatch that can measure your heart rate in a social fitness application is the closest thing we have today to a digital twin application for what you might term the metaverse. An early example may be Sony’s Playstation Eye or Microsoft’s now-defunct Kinect motion controllers, which translated gesture and skeletal detection into gaming control signals. To map gesture control impulses to the appropriate limbs of a digital avatar in a game, a type of digital twin would have been required.


Why Is the Intersection of IoT and Metaverse Important?

There appear to be two types of metaverses or at least two strands of discussion about metaverse. The first is the virtual reality metaverse, which Meta (formerly Facebook) is promoting. The other type is AR, or augmented reality, which is concerned with cyber-physical meta settings that will serve as the foundation for the future of AR. These “metaverse” archetypes already exist. The maps application on your phone is an excellent example of a foundational application. This is most likely the most popular AR application that we use today.

We just don’t see it that way right now because it’s only informational and requires you to look down at your smartphone or listen for directional or contextual clues. We don’t call it AR because we’ve been brainwashed into believing that AR can only occur if you have trendy spectacles that people who don’t require glasses will wear. IoT will enhance your sensory interface into a virtual environment or metaverse for the VR Metaverse. Much like today’s game interfaces, which seek to capture your movements and control. You will have IoT devices linked to your body or a sensor-laden body suit to instrument your status and health, which may elicit a response in the virtual realm.

For example, a combined reading of elevated heart rate and breathing rate may cause your avatar, who may not look anything like you, to sweat, or your avatar’s virtual constitution may deteriorate, diminishing its strength in the virtual world and making it more susceptible to tiredness. Such a technique could be found in a Dungeons and Dragons metaverse or an athletic simulation, for example. IoT serves as your sensory network in the AR metaverse, bringing physical objects into the digital sphere. It gives AR applications context and situational awareness, as well as triggers for things in the digital and virtual realms to interact with you in the physical world.

Whether it’s the spatial placement of digital things in your field of view, as is already happening with AR systems like Hololens, an AR object reacting to your finger gestures, or triggering a cyber-physical application or function based on an event in the physical world, the IoT provides that physical-to-cyber bridge.

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