The metaverse is essentially a virtual world in which each user interacts with others through avatars. Although the basis for the creation of a metaverse is in virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are also present. This convergence of technologies would allow users to carry out all kinds of activities in their daily lives, from home and interacting with people from all over the world.
The possibilities to apply this innovation range from entering the retail sectors to the creation of virtual classrooms with this technology. However, its construction is not yet complete, as the prototypes are under constant testing and adjustment. Even so, there are several brands that want to apply the technology of the metaverse in their services.
“This emergence of a virtual environment, which makes it possible to replicate what we do on a day-to-day basis, becomes a challenging new way to connect with consumers. Brands today have the challenge of defining their role and presence in the metaverse and how to interact with their customers in it”, mentions José Manuel Jurado, director of the communications agency Havas Group.
Does the metaverse exist in Peru?
It can be thought that since the development of this convergence of technologies is recent, it is most likely that Peru does not have advances or development in the field. However, technology solutions agencies that have been using augmented and virtual reality for years in their projects have been developing their own metaverses.
An example of this has been Vex Soluciones, a multinational company based in the country, which has been working on the incursion of metaverses for large shopping centers. Among its projects is the creation of a ‘market place’ for clothing or furniture stores.
“We are making the shopping center in virtual reality, which, as the project progresses, we plan to make it a metaverse. This is where we apply different technologies. For example, we made an application that allows users to try on clothes or paint their lips with products from the market place. That is where augmented reality is applied and also artificial intelligence to track the lips on the screen”, comment to Trade Orlando Yabiku, CEO of Vex Solutions.
Another agency that has recently been developing its own metaverse is the company Metaverse Studio, which was born from the merger of two immersive technology companies: AMQ and Next Latin America. It is common to see the union of companies to develop these projects, since a specialized team in different technological fields is needed so that they can complement each other.
“What is needed for the construction of these virtual worlds is a troupe. Because we can have the best technology, but if there are no users or companies that apply it, not much progress can be made. It’s like having a TV when there are no shows or movies.” tells us Alonso Miró Quesada, executive of Metaverse Studio.
Although Metaverse Studio is a company that only came out a few months ago, the experience they have had in managing technological teams for several years has given them more experience in the field of immersive technology.
“It is also about finding professionals in the country who specialize in this technology. There are few university centers that train young people in the creation of alternative realities under the metaverse. Most of us have had to specialize abroad”adds Miró Quesada.
Metaverse in universities?
Although there are no careers that focus specifically on the management of immersive technologies in our country, there are courses related to these areas. In recent years, some universities have been adding Oculus VR headsets for virtual reality management, or HoloLens for mixed reality. By having these teams, the university students have been able to familiarize themselves with the bases of the first prototypes of a metaverse in the country.
Teófilo Chambilla, professor of Computer Science at the University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC), indicates that “University students are at the right stage to be trained in the development of technological projects. You have to encourage them and give them the necessary tools. The creation of a metaverse could depend on them.”
One of the examples that Chambilla shows to Daily is the exhibition of final works in the career of Computer Science. The theme was the construction of the bases for a virtual classroom. Each group of students designed their own virtual classroom, which recreates the same university hall, to perfect the project in the future and transform it into a metaverse.
“The objective of these projects is that the students have a notion of the construction of a virtual world. In addition, it teaches them that there are various fields where they can be applied. Since the arrival of the pandemic, for example, everything has been done to hold classes from home. However, imagine that one of the projects in this exhibition prospers and becomes a metaverse. Probably, video calls would be outdated “Chambilla comments.
The exhibition of the virtual classrooms culminates with the tests of the virtual universe by the students. Through the Oculus VR, students get into their projects and show their creations in the spotlight. Some of them claim to continue with the work until they achieve full interaction with other users within the created universe.
Professor Chambilla concludes that “University students who study the management of technologies related to the elaboration of 3D or virtual elements are the most committed in their work. Quite a bit of discipline is required. That is the objective of these courses: to motivate students to continue with what they have already developed.”.
What obstacles must be overcome?
Great technological advances are being made in the country to build our own metaverse. However, among the obstacles present to advance is the dependence on foreign equipment or devices. The steps of the agencies have been closely related to the launches of viewers or smart devices by large American companies.
“Our path depends a lot on what is manufactured outside. That’s a big problem, because if Meta hadn’t released, for example, Meta Quest headsets for virtual reality, the company would probably be stuck in production.”comments Orlando Yabiku, from Vex Soluciones.
But it is not only about the devices, a trained human team is also essential and; however, professional training is still scarce, due to the high cost of preparation material.
Alonso Miró Quesada, from Metaverse Studio, also details the importance of a national commitment, from both citizens and institutions, to create their own metaverse in the country.
“It is about the constant support of an entire system, which goes beyond the companies. In the sense that institutions and investors must create points of production of augmented reality, of virtual reality, which are the bases of this. In the end, everything should be part of a national project. It should be clear that the metaverse is now what the Internet was 20 years ago. The metaverse is the future”, concludes Miró Quesada.