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What is the metaverse? Tech CEO Helping Build It Explains | Economy



Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, gained a lot of attention when it renamed itself to reflect its focus on the ‘metaverse’. But Meta isn’t the only company building the immersive digital world that could be the next big thing on the internet.

Cesium, a Philadelphia-based software company, provides a platform for building applications using three-dimensional location data. For example, construction equipment giant Komatsu uses Cesium’s platform to create digital construction site twins to track safety and progress. Customers can use drones and rovers to collect location data to create up-to-date models using Cesium’s platform.

CEO Patrick Cozzi said his company is deeply involved in building the Metaverse and one of the strongest advocates for its openness and interoperability, so users can own their data and move it from one metaverse to another. other. The company was formed out of Analytical Graphics, based in Exton, Pa., In 2019. It now has approximately 40 employees and clients in the energy, defense and real estate industries.

Cozzi spoke to The Inquirer to explain what the Metaverse is and why it’s important. The conversation has been edited slightly for length and clarity.

I think if you ask 10 different people you will get 10 different answers and you will get 80% overlap. As if 30 years ago you were asking someone what the Internet was about, right? Because we’re at a very exciting time in the metaverse where this is starting to unfold. A very simple way to think of the metaverse is an immersive 3D Internet future. So today we see the Internet with text, images, audio, video. Well the next kind of media is full and immersive 3D just like games today with Fortnite and Roblox – where instead of being on that video chat, we can be immersed as if we are in one place and able to interact.

How will we access the metaverse?

Today you can access the Internet from your phone, from a tablet, from a laptop. With the metaverse, you’ll be able to access it from full virtual reality (VR), right? So [a headset] completely above your eyes and you are looking around and you are completely inside. You will also be able to access it from future portable augmented reality (AR) devices. So, like the glasses you and I are wearing right now, we will be able to overlay virtual information on the physical world. And you’ll be able to access it from a game console or computer like we do today.

What can people do in the Metaverse?

So people look at something like Fortnite and think, “This is a game.” Well this is a future platform for much more than a game like these [virtual community] concerts. A big challenge right now is how to increase the number of simultaneous people who can participate in this concert in essentially a virtual place? But everything from truly immersive virtual meetings, to concerts, to games, to corporate use cases, like a virtual inspection of a construction site for [military] defense use cases such as planning.

What are the business opportunities?

Much like the early days of the internet, where so many businesses ran and became dot-coms and became internet companies, I think you’re going to see a lot of businesses turn into metaverse businesses or have a strategy. metaverse. And right now you’re starting to see it a lot with companies like Nike wanting their products displayed in the metaverse, or we saw the Ferrari car at Fortnite. So I think there will be a lot of business opportunities, especially to enable a designer economy.

If you look at the types of internet business models over time, advertising has certainly become quite popular. When we kind of project forward with the metaverse, I think advertising can be a part of it, but I don’t think it’s going to be the dominant model. We want to empower creators, whether they are software developers who create experiences, whether they are people who create levels in a game, or people who create digital assets, like an avatar, like a virtual car. And those people who have a market or sell that content, and you personally own that content.

When will the Metaverse be widely adopted?

In some ways, the metaverse is here today with things like Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox. And in some ways, this augmented reality that can be worn on a contact lens can take many years. A lot of experts are saying today that the vision we talked about may be 10 years away.

How does cesium contribute to the metaverse?

One way is to use our technology platform to activate these massive real-world models. An entire city modeled with every brick and blade of grass, and to be able to effectively bring it to all of the different metavers with a technique called streaming. Just like you stream videos for Netflix or YouTube, we enable the streaming of these massive digital worlds. And then the other thing that we’re trying to contribute to the metaverse is just awareness and support to make sure it’s open and interoperable so that you own your content and can bring your content to different metaverse experiences.

Why is interoperability important?

Just as the internet was not built by a business or organization, the metaverse – which is an even bigger vision than what the internet is today – no business is going to build it. And we need great organizations to work together to accomplish this mission. And so, we need interoperability between their different offerings. It is therefore you, as the user and the participant, that you do not want to be locked in a walled garden. You want to own your identity, you want to own your digital assets, and you want to be able to spend your time with your content in the experiences you want.

Imagine if you bought a digital car asset. Then you can bring the car into two different video games where the car could interact with the world, or you can even bring the car into a virtual house. That sort of thing.