I had a privilege to visit Mobile World Congress 2022 (MWC22) summit in Barcelona in the beginning of March. MWC is the most important mobile industry summit in the world. It is huge and packed with wow-effects related to today’s and tomorrow’s applications of connectivity, processing power, mobile devices, autonomous machines and so forth. If one is to pick up a single theme determining this year’s summit, that would be metaverse.
The term metaverse has been gaining popularity and interest during the last few years. It has been around since early 90’s when it was introduced in certain sci-fi novels. Still after decades, experts have a wide range of definitions and concepts of metaverse. A conventional simplistic definition of a metaverse is a 3D version of the internet and computing at large. One needs to know the developmental history of various technologies to be able to appreciate that definition. When internet and computing emerged, all interactions were primarily text-based. These are very familiar to all of us, as all of us have used emails, messages, usernames etc. Then later during the development these incrementally became more media-based and stated to include elements such as photos, videos and even livestreaming. At the moment we are getting closer of adopting user interfaces and also user experience that includes 3D elements.
Just imagine 3D model of the internet, a place parallel to the physical world where one can spend digital life. A place where people have avatars and you can interact and cooperate with them fluently. And talking about fluency, metaverse won’t be limited to a separate entity of internet. It will be available also as augmented elements and intelligence integrated in your physical real life. With the help of high quality devices we will be able to add and enrich our field of view with endless variety of elements that are immersive, instant, and very reactive and in that way supporting the users motivation to adopt them both in their work and free time.
I personally believe that metaverse is also an approach of design and technology development. And that is the fact that makes metaverse more than just a new word for virtual reality. On the one hand the concept sets performance targets for technology that is roughly 1000 times more powerful that current capabilities when metaverse is largely deployed in the future. On the other hand, the concept challenges traditional product and service concepts in every industry and sector. A company should start their process by understanding how it is adding value for the customer in the context of metaverse. And moreover, companies should evaluate how are their processes in the future? Probably there are several elements of creativity and cooperation located in the work surroundings that are in metaverse or at least that are in many ways defined by metaverse. The possibilities are really endless and the transformation is overwhelming for all stakeholders of society.
This was very visible in Barcelona. Companies varying from global giants to small startups predominantly presented their technology and services from the metaverse point of view. The key contents were related to connectivity and wireless networks’ performance, integrating machine learning software elements into controlling the networks efficiently and in a sustainable way, bringing more focused processing power into various processes, adopting heavily artificial intelligence technology into countless applications of software based applications that will develop the user experience substantially. Metaverse was also a key theme in dozens of presentations and debates that were organized in the event.
Oulu and Oulu-based companies are in a very ready position to go forward in various technological key domains related to metaverse. Our companies are actually very visible actors globally in cellular connectivity. Close and well integrated cooperation within the local ecosystem including also University of Oulu and naturally the 6G Flagship, Oulu university of applied sciences and VTT is the cornerstone of next generations’ wireless networks with amazing performance enabling metaverse applications. We have hundreds of companies operating in the field of software development. There is a well formed subcluster of cyber security, dozens and dozens of companies developing state of the art internet of things applications. NFT is definitely a rising theme that is being adopted by several Oulu-based actors. And let’s not forget local hardware cluster, in many ways unique composition of capabilities in Finland, either.
One thing is clear though in Oulu. Because of a steep and long lasting positive development of our local ICT industry, we are facing a shortage of skilled workforce. We have multiple ongoing activities and interventions that we are deploying to ease the work market situation. The market development and application possibilities related the metaverse – both the services and the technology, are at the same time creating more long lasting growth to Oulu-based companies.
You may be a foreign degree or exchange student in the field of ICT e.g. at the University of Oulu or at OAMK, or maybe some other Finnish university, certain technological domain specific professional considering career building possibilities further and living currently outside of Finland. Or maybe you are a new talent to be, considering your alternatives in terms of different study fields. I strongly recommend and that you would take a deeper look at Oulu’s ICT sector. Firstly, we have got the cluster that is wide and high enabling your career building locally. Secondly, there is a world class research and development ecosystem operating in a very integrated way with local businesses. Lastly, we are very international location. There are well established cooperation connections with most of the leading technology hubs around the world and Oulu is internationally known for its ICT development stack.
And we have lost of open positions related to technologies making the metaverse closer to reality. They are easy to find online, but you can absolutely contact us in BusinessOulu as well.
Let’s meet in Oulu’s corner of the metaverse!