We use cookies to ensure our website operates correctly and to monitor visits to our site. This helps us to improve the way our website works, ensuring that users easily find what they are looking for. To allow us to keep doing this, click 'Accept All Cookies'. Alternatively, you can personalise your cookie settings.

Accept All Cookies Personalise settings

Blogs

CES 2022 and the Metaverse

17/01/2022

David Taylor, Immersive Technology Lead and Dr Dave Hutber, Head of Artificial Intelligence

CES


Following last year’s announcements from Facebook of a name change to Meta, and the significant media coverage of their annual $10bn investment in “The Metaverse”, visitors to CES 2022 and those observing virtually had high expectations of further Metaverse technology hype.

What is the Metaverse?

Firstly, people frequently ask “What is the Metaverse?”. Presently we cannot define it precisely because it does not exist as a whole yet. This said, components of the Metaverse do exist, and at varying levels of maturity – game engines and tools, spatial computing, open standards, and virtual worlds could be considered the key building blocks. Brought together, the next generation of the internet may firmly blend our real and digital lives.

Did the Metaverse arrive at CES?

In terms of businesses attempting to bring elements of the Metaverse to reality (be it, wearable technologies, software, or platforms), there were a few surprises this year. Whilst many vendors were keen to convince that their offerings had (loosely connected) Metaverse credentials, analysts have stated the bigger vendors such as Meta and Apple are planning launches for later in 2022 – innovative XR hardware was most definitely thin on the ground.

Will there be one company that will take over the Metaverse?

Most of the tech giants (e.g. Apple, Microsoft, Meta, Google) are saying they will all have a part to play, as they build off the back of the Internet. Facebook, by re-branding as Meta are showing their intention to be a major player in the Metaverse.

Headsets for the Metaverse

Delivering strong visual elements of a Metaverse experience will require further maturing of headset technologies. Whilst some vendors at CES remarked on their wearable devices providing this type of support, there was little to convince of a next generational leap.

Meta

Image credit: Qualcomm

One item of note in terms of augmented reality devices came at the Qualcomm keynote when a tie up with Microsoft was announced in terms of a next-gen augmented reality (AR) chip to be developed that will integrate with Microsoft’s Mesh platform.  This leads to a potential follow-up to the Hololens 2 headset that arrived in 2019.  Presently, a modified version of that headset (IVAS) is used by the US Army, who may well be looking for a lighter, more performant device in the future.

The XTAL 3 virtual reality headset, was a device which did capture attention, and not because of the $10,000 price tag. It was reported to reach a 180° horizontal field of view (human capability is 210°). Whilst targeted at enterprise and defence uses, consumers, with current 90 - 110° headsets such as Oculus Quest 2, may be waiting a number of years for something equivalent.

Meta

Image credit:Upload VR

Peripherals

Panasonic subsidiary Shiftall announced a “Metaverse-linked wearable heating and cooling device”. The idea is to replicate the temperature conditions of a virtual world in the real world by embedding representative data using common gaming techniques.  The high-performance Peltier element can run for up to 25 hours on a single charge. 

Meta

Image credit: Shiftall

Tools

Nvidia used CES2022 to publicise free access to their Omniverse platform.  The intention is to give content creators free access and collaborate with businesses demanding rapid world creation, advanced avatar use such as AI lip sync, and physics based visualisation.  By integrating with game engine technologies such as Unity 5, developers can generate richer content in less time.

Meta

Image credit: Nvidia

Concepts

Alienware revealed a prototype “Concept Nyx” server for the home – a single processing box to manage and deliver content to multiple devices simultaneously. Whilst the concept presently manages PC games, it will not be a significant step to consider how the consumption of Metaverse experiences may well require intermediate “edge” devices to smooth the delivery of content.

Meta

In summary, what we saw at CES was vendors starting to shift their thinking towards how their offerings could adapt to Metaverse concepts. Whilst some were stretching their marketing somewhat in having any real investment in this space, others are understanding the potential opportunity. What is exciting is that real progress in Metaverse development will accelerate in the coming twelve months as vendors realise strategies – this space certainly will have a lot to offer our customers.

 

Liked this blog? View our other content from CES 2022:

 
CES 2022 Tech Trends

Mike Sewart, Group Chief Technology Officer and Mark O'Dell, Principal Engineer share what they have seen and heard so far emerging from CES 2022.

 
CES 2022 Round-up: Technologies with significance

Discover some of the significant technologies showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, with impressive innovation continuing to emerge at pace.