For the metaverse to grow, mobile digital identities are necessary

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What exactly are metavers? Is it a fully immersed, parallel, digital 3D world in which we live, play and work? Or is it a series of interconnected virtual experiences that we navigate seamlessly with our portable digital avatars and accessories? The exact form of metavars is not yet fully clear, nor is it the degree to which it exists today.

While there may still be no definitive definition of metavars, there is no denying its presence in all aspects of life. In fact, Gartner expects that by 2026, “25% of people will spend at least one hour a day at work, shopping, education, social media and / or entertainment.”

I believe Metavers is not just a destination we reach through technological devices, but a digital identity that we carry across platforms and experiences. It seems that regardless of how we define this concept, the role of digital identity remains static in all aspects of metavars. This digital identity will include how we present ourselves visually as well as audibly. It will include the digital assets we own and the digital spaces we are active in.

For Metavers to be ultimately successful, I believe there are three key technical capabilities that must be present:

  • User identity or personalization of identity.
  • Ability to carry identities across platforms.
  • Access from the user’s mobile device.

Cross-identification, cross-platform

Today, our online individuals are usually associated with an email address, user ID, and profile photo, and we often use the same username on different platforms, even when logged in with a different email. Fast-forward to the future: Our digital avatar now serves as our online identity, allowing users to spend more time in metavars for both business and entertainment. It is natural that users will want to take ownership of their personal data and the identity they have customized for Metavers, which will vary depending on their activity. Their personality in the Metavers workplace will be different from their identity in the Metavers nightclub, for example, just as it will be different in real life.

Users can choose a visual avatar from one system, sonic identification from another system, and animation from a third, using this customized avatar to connect their real and virtual worlds. As Venture Capitalist Rex Woodberry notes, “In Web 3, identities become portable and composable … what’s important is that the different elements of your identity come together in a digital location that you own and control.”

For metavars to really start, there must be a strategy in which individuals can access and create meaningful connections with their digital identity on devices on a daily basis. Developers are working to expand existing augmented and virtual reality experiences to improve VR headset design and make it lighter and more connected and affordable.

Companies that want to attract more users will need to be able to take their digital identity across metaways, regardless of entry point or platform – for example, implementing a standard like Universal Virtual Studio Technology (VST) for audio avatars.

What does this mean for short and long term vision for metavers? Our digital identity should be easily accessible in all aspects of our lives. A digital identity that is only accessible through a VR headset or desktop computer will only be relevant for the hours we spend with such devices. In other words, meteors need to exist on a journey just like us.

Smartphones: The gateway to metavers

Metavers also need to be accessible to the widest audience possible from the most comprehensive, easily adopted device. Today, that device is a smartphone. Currently most of the internet activity is done through mobile phones. In many countries, including the US, people prefer smartphones if they can afford only one Internet connectivity device. With that in mind, it is not surprising that smartphone users worldwide could reach 4.5 billion by the end of 2024.

Just as laptops did not disappear with the advent of smartphones, browser-based social metavars experiences will continue even as AR glasses and headsets become commonplace. While the hardware may take a while to catch up with the software, it is an essential step in reaching out to the vast majority of potential Metawars citizens who are in the gaming world.

When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard in January, he strengthened the company’s ability to deliver gaming footprints and mobile experiences, explaining that gaming would “play a key role in the development of the Metavers platform.”

With an estimated three billion players worldwide in 2021, smartphones are the key to running mobile gaming, which, in turn, will drive metavers.

While technology has not yet reached the vision of metavars, companies are making progress. NewZoo’s Intro to Metaverse The report confirms that “we are moving towards greater engagement in a collectively connected simulated environment that is even more unlimited than our actual environment.”

Successful companies in this space will be the ones that attract a wide audience through immersive, inclusive and mobile experience. They will help create metavars that are widely accessible and allow users to personalize their digital identities, which can then take them to the interconnected virtual world – whenever and wherever they may be.

James Bosch is the co-founder and CEO of VoiceMode,

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