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What is the Metaverse and Why It’s Going to Save the World

What is the Metaverse and Why It’s Going to Save the World 2

At first glance, the term Metaverse seems like something straight out of the Marvel Universe.  In reality, the Microsoft Metaverse is the culmination and integration of a set of applications both in the intelligent cloud and at the edge — working in harmony to bring this concept to life right here on planet Earth.  The vision of the Metaverse is to allow us to build a digital representation of anything in the physical world.  This digitization could encompass something as small as a single product like an audio headset, to more complex systems like a farm, full manufacturing operation, or something as large as the energy grid.  Once this digital representation is constructed, and bound to real-time analytics, we can learn and identify patterns, detect anomalies, and model potential scenarios and outcomes for that entity.  However, before we discuss the real benefits of taking on such an enterprise, let’s discuss some of the key technologies required to make this all work.  I’ve broken these out into three key areas — Data Collection & Digital Representation, Analysis & Modeling, and Visual Engagement. 

Data Collection & Digital Representation 

In order to digitize anything, you first have to capture the appropriate data/inputs of the physical system you are trying to bring into the digital world.  This requires the use of sensor technologies, edge computing devices, and a few key cloud computing tools. These include Azure IoTAzure Digital Twins, and Azure Maps.   

Analysis & Modeling 

Once that Digital Twin foundation is built, the next step is to leverage all of that data collection to better understand what’s currently going on in that entity or system, as well as leveraging predictive modeling to work on “what if” scenarios.  The key technologies used here are Azure Synapse AnalyticsAzure AI & Azure Autonomous Systems: 

Visual Engagement 

One of the ongoing challenges our industry has been trying to address is the reduction of end-user friction with the underlying technology.  Using cutting-edge visualization technologies can allow for real-time and simple engagement with your digital twin.  Technologies within the Microsoft Power Platform, as well as Microsoft Mesh and HoloLens, are key to making this a reality. 

Concluding Thoughts

While its admittedly an incredibly optimistic view on my part, I am convinced that the Microsoft Metaverse will have a tremendous impact on how we are going to be able to see and have an impact on our world.  It will help us both visualize some of our toughest challenges as well as model and test potential solutions to these problems in a way that was previously not possible.  Whether we’re discussing climate change, a global pandemic, or optimizing a food supply chain in a third-world country, we now have the tools to give us a fighting chance. 

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