When “Ready Player One” came out, many teenager dreams of enjoying gaming in virtual worlds seemed closer to reality, at least at the big screen. Nowadays we are implementing technologies like Data Centers, Edge Computing, Virtual Twins, Internet of Things, Blockchain, and Cybersecurity. These technologies are the foundation for the Metaverse (If you want to learn more about what the Metaverse is, read this blog post).
This new digital world will enhance our physical world with augmented reality and offer equipment for you to feel, touch, see and hear like you live in a virtual reality world. In short, the Metaverse will transform all aspects of our lives: work, entertainment, social interactions, and relationships. If you analyze the promises closely, most companies are focusing on creating the software and the applications. A few businesses are focusing on developing the virtual reality headsets. As a result, we are starting to see some emerging trends on hardware which we will discuss further below.
Hardware as a Service
We are still suffering the consequences of the logistics issues, and shortage of components. Many companies are looking at transforming the way they acquire hardware, and some providers are starting to offer Hardware as a service. Instead of a huge capital investment, hardware can become an operational expense. This is happening now. What can we expect to happen in the future Metaverse? The Metaverse will focus on the software and the apps while hardware provides the foundation for regular operations. Since hardware will be out of the spotlight, perceived value will come from being able to connect and use apps. Hardware will not be as important as long as it does what users need. It will become a commodity. You will not necessarily purchase hardware because you like it, you will purchase it because you need it to connect to an application, software, or system. As a result, apps owners might be tempted to offer hardware and software as a package for a monthly subscription, taking the current hardware as a service to the next logical step.
Hardware Agnostic Applications
Are you an Apple enthusiast or are you sticking with an Android smartphone? This on-going debate if you are an Apple or Android kind of person has made it clear that hardware and software work together to build an environment. This means that once you purchase a smartphone, you would probably purchase home or corporate devices from the same environment. This approach is likely to continue developing alongside the software companies that offer hardware agnostic solutions. What do we mean by hardware agnostic software? We mean software that must be run in as many different devices as possible: smartphones, tablets, laptops, AIOs, etc.
As stated above, on the Metaverse, perceived value might come from the apps more than from hardware. If you are taking the hardware-agnostic, your priority is to offer software that is 100% compatible with as many devices as possible. In this case, users will be responsible for choosing the appropriate hardware for their needs.
What happens with highly technical and specialized applications? As a software company you might prefer to create a complete environment that ensures a positive user experience and truly blurs the barrier between digital and real worlds. In this case, your company must remain relevant both on the hardware and software fronts by working in the environment as a key differentiator. In addition, you might want to analyze if the Hardware as a Service Business model can become a good fit to help customers with their ROI and their lifecycle management, opening the opportunity for additional business for your company.
Connectivity Features Become a Must
Automation, lights-out facilities and remote monitoring are technology trends that depend on Edge Computing, Data Centers, Internet of Things, and the Cloud. As a result, you need almost all devices connected to a network or the Internet. Nowadays, we are still overcoming connectivity and integration challenges to truly leverage IOT and Edge Computing in many applications (You can read more in this blog post). In fact, nowadays, hardware manufacturers offer most of the connectivity features as optional for specific applications: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SIM slots, RFID and barcode readers. Nevertheless, in the Metaverse, companies looking to eliminate the barriers between physical and virtual worlds will require all these features to create a positive user experience. First, users will need to access apps or software through the Internet and then, users will need to interact with each other in the virtual world, which could leverage Bluetooth connections. Moreover, users will need to interact in the physical world and send information to the digital world, which can leverage the SIM connection and the RFID or barcode readers. Consequently, we can expect that in the Metaverse, hardware devices will offer connectivity features as a norm.
In a world where software will dictate priorities and needs, hardware will still be the foundation to experience the Metaverse. After all, hardware will continue to be the physical connection to the digital world. As discussed here, there are at least two possible approaches to make sure hardware devices remain relevant for users now and in the future. For more information in the Metaverse, please visit this page.