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Huawei: Current infrastructure can’t support the metaverse

Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it’s geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter: @Gadget_Ry

Huawei’s chief strategist in the Middle East believes that current infrastructure cannot support the metaverse.

Most current “metaverse” experiences are just online games capitalising on the hype around the term. Long term, the ambitious vision for the metaverse is a series of decentralised interoperable virtual worlds. 

True metaverse experiences will allow users to take their avatars and items from one to another, control real world devices, conduct business, socialise, perform transactions using digital ledgers, and generally carry out their daily activities in a virtual world. Although not strictly required, they’ll be made more immersive through VR.

Meta, with its rebranding from Facebook, is betting its future on the metaverse. Investors have been concerned that Meta is focusing too heavily on the metaverse with the belief that it will be a key revenue driver in the near future.

Comments from Huawei Middle East Chief Strategist Abhinav Purohit suggest that Meta, and the rest of us, could be waiting a while for polished metaverse experiences.

“Delivering such an experience will require innovations in fields like hybrid local and remote real-time rendering, video compression, edge computing, and cross-layer visibility, as well as spectrum advocacy, work on metaverse readiness of future connectivity and cellular standards, network optimisations, improved latency between devices and within radio access networks (RANs), and more,” said Purohit.

Purohit says that latency (network responsiveness), symmetric bandwidth (data transfer speed), and quality of experience (throughput) are holding back the metaverse.

“5G networks will dramatically improve bandwidth while reducing network contention and latency, while 6G will increase speeds by yet another order of magnitude.”

Away from network advancements, Purohit highlights that web3 innovations such as “digital currencies and non-fungible tokens” will also be necessary to realise the metaverse vision—enabling traceable, trusted, and verifiable transactions.

Semiconductors improving to a 3nm process over the next year will help to improve the hardware enhancing metaverse experiences. 3nm semiconductors will enable smaller, more powerful, and longer-lasting mobile devices like VR headsets.

(Image Credit: Jon Radoff under CC BY 4.0 license)

Jonathan Hunt, Senior Creative Technologist at Wunderman Thompson, said: “The best we have right now in terms of shared/simulated spaces are generally very expensive and powered entirely in the cloud, such as big computers like the Nvidia Omniverse, cloud streaming, or games, and these rely heavily on instancing and localised grouping.”

Global networks of computers like Filecoin will also be required to provide the exabytes of storage and resilience that are beyond centralised data centres but will be necessary for the metaverse.

“Current internet infrastructure is unsuitable for building a fully-immersive content-streaming metaverse environment that enables users to move seamlessly from one experience to another,” explains Purohit.

“To make the vision of the metaverse a reality, significant investment is expected to be made towards a confluence of technology.”

Related: Web3 Studios: Sporting metaverse is ‘at an inflection’

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