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In its Simplest Form, Metaverse is the Digital Extension of a Smart City

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The city’s metaverse is an online version of the city that works in tandem with the real city and community. Benson Chan, Chief Operating Officer of Strategy of Things said: “The metaverse, in its simplest form, is a digital extension of the smart city. “

Strategy of Things is a Silicon Valley-based innovation company that provides consulting and professional services to help governments and businesses plan and incorporate the next generation of transformative “smart” technologies, making them smarter and more resilient. Create cities, communities, buildings, and spaces that are powerful and responsive. The organization Smart corridors for underserved communities in Silicon Valley.

In this interview, Chan discusses how the Metaverse can be used to build the smart, resilient and inclusive cities of tomorrow.

Smart cities take physical data from many sensors, building information models, digital infrastructure, and geospatial information to replicate and create models in the metaverse, enabling them to function and behave like physical cities. .

Smart cities create policies that encourage the deployment of digital broadband infrastructure and the development of services, enabling residents and businesses to go online and build a presence in the metaverse. Smart City builds partnerships and encourages community her members to create digital services and experiences in the Metaverse for themselves and each other.

Although some of the ways we interact with the metaverse are different from the way we interact with the physical communities of smart cities, the urban metaverse is aligned with the same needs and priorities of residents, businesses and visitors. produces the same result. physical smart city.

How will the Metaverse solve real-world problems when integrated into smart city concepts and the like?

The COVID-19 pandemic has re-prioritized smart cities, putting diversity, equity and inclusion back at the top of the agenda. Cities have long faced the challenge of providing equity, accessibility and quality of life for their most vulnerable populations. For example, mobility issues limit elderly and disabled residents from fully accessing services, visiting businesses, and attending events. Residents of lower socio-economic communities do not have the same variety of stores and services as they do in other areas, nor do they have access to quality education or health care services. Face-to-face meetings and town halls have been effective means of engaging with the community, but limitations on physical meetings have limited their effectiveness.

The Metaverse cannot fully solve all these challenges, but its immersive nature can make a meaningful impact in ways never before possible. For example, homebound seniors and disabled residents with limited mobility are no longer restricted in their travels and activities. In the Metaverse, you can visit and socialize with friends, attend classes and events, exercise, access services, and more in ways that are similar to in-person activities. Residents of lower socio-economic communities can use the Metaverse to attend classes, take classes from remote schools, and do so in an engaging, immersive and learning-enhancing environment in ways online learning cannot. City leaders and administrators use the Metaverse to hold more effective community engagement and collaborative meetings with residents and businesses.

Also Read: The Metaverse Is The 3D Evolution Of The Internet

How is the Metaverse different from the virtual worlds of the past we’ve talked about so far?

Today’s Metaverse is an evolution of past virtual universes. These virtual worlds represent a different reality than the real world we live in. They don’t look or behave like the world we live in. These virtual worlds are compartmentalized from our physical world.

In contrast, the metaverse is an extension of our physical world, not a disconnected and disconnected reality. increase. Likewise, what we do in the physical world is reflected and can be done in the metaverse.

A lot of things happening now help differentiate the Metaverse even further from virtual worlds of the past. Technological advances in processing and virtual reality are making immersion and interaction in the metaverse seamless, making it feel like engaging in the physical world. The pandemic has accelerated and mainstreamed remote work, online meetings and collaboration, and transactional services.

5G, satellite broadband, and government-led infrastructure investments to address the digital divide will connect more people and bring more services to the Metaverse. Our cities and urban infrastructure are beginning to incorporate sensors, Internet of Things devices, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) to facilitate operations. As such, the digital twins representing the physical infrastructure are integrated into the metaverse. Finally, many companies are building tools and platforms that make it easy for anyone to create, monetize, and bring real-world services, content, and experiences into the metaverse.

Is it correct to say that the Metaverse will be a digital twin with highly immersive AR/VR experiences?

While somewhat accurate, that interpretation is a bit of a simplification of what constitutes the metaverse. From a technology perspective, digital twins and VR/AR are one of the most important enabling components of the metaverse, but they are not the only ones.

Smart city layers metaverse.Image provided strategy of things

It’s helpful to think of the metaverse in layers. There is a technology layer made up of components such as VR/AR and digital twins. There is a data layer that feeds the metaverse digital twin and other reality models and services. There is a connectivity layer that allows residents, businesses and visitors to access and interact with the metaverse. There are layers of content and experience. These are the interactions and engagements between the community and other members that bring, grow, and sustain the Metaverse to life. Finally, there is the Innovation Layer, which contains tools and means for members of the Metaverse community to continuously create Metaverse content, experiences, and services. Each layer is required and must exist. There are interdependencies between layers.

How far has technology gone to make the Metaverse a reality?

Despite technological advances, the metaverse is still at version 0.1. What we have today is a functional metaverse, but the experience is a far cry from the vision that today’s metaverse is supposed to be.

For example, VR goggles are fine for gaming, but too big, bulky, and heavy for use in the non-gaming metaverse. Gestures, user interfaces, and user experiences are designed for more advanced users and are not intuitive for most people in communities that currently range from good to bad in their ability to use computers. Digital twins rely on real-world data, but not all cities are physically equipped. AI algorithms are still emerging to help predict and create interactive environments for the metaverse, and the data they use to train them is limited. High-speed, low-latency broadband services that connect users to the metaverse and facilitate a seamless experience are still unavailable to the vast majority of people living in cities and communities around the world.

While there is no open metaverse platform, there are various solution providers offering their own private metaverses that require their own access methods and APIs. Over time, these challenges will be resolved either unilaterally through the marketplace or through other forms of intervention by industry associations and standards bodies.

How does Strategy of Things contribute to the metaverse? Can you briefly tell us about some of the projects you’re working on and the partners you’re involved with?

For the past three years, we have been hosting smart city summer internships for high school and college students with our partner Pilot City. The focus of this year’s internship was on the smart city metaverse. Our interns will use the Metaverse to address a variety of challenges faced by urban residents, including access to government services, promoting quality of life, resilience, public safety, economic vitality, culture, and mobility. I searched for a way. They identified specific real-world challenges and worked to develop use cases that the metaverse could uniquely address.

The metaverse is still in its early stages of evolution and many use cases and applications are yet to be discovered and developed. It is today’s youth who will ultimately develop and use these future applications. They are all digital natives who grew up with computers, mobile devices and the internet. Many of them have early experience with the metaverse in the form of multiplayer games like Fortnite. And most of them will live in and build the smart cities of tomorrow.

we also Smart corridors for underserved communities in Silicon Valley.

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