Museums, Web3.0, & the Metaverse

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What is the Metaverse? What is Web3.0? And what does it mean to be building towards web3.0 and the Metaverse? This question has been floating around for the better part of a decade, but with the recent rebranding of Facebook to “Meta,” questions surrounding these topics have become more rampant.

These questions can be difficult to address because there is not widespread agreement on what exactly the Metaverse, or web3.0 are defined as. There are however core factors that most thought leaders in the space agree on. Both these terms describe what will be the technical shift of the future. Not an actual place in the ether, or a virtual space you see with goggles, or even your second virtual life as a separate space from physical reality. Rather, these terms describe the increase in interaction, and fluid existence our daily lives will inhabit between our physical environments and the “online” world. But what is the timeline for this?. Is it 3-5 years or 10-15 years? The answer? No one knows for sure. The important thing is that innovative start-ups and tech-forward leaders are building towards making it a reality.

What is web3.0?

A large component of this technological progress, which experts agree is foundational to both of these concepts, is the decentralization of the internet.  This notion comes from a desire to break down the “walled gardens” of companies, a setup which allows the companies to control users’ data on the platform (we’re looking at you, Facebook!). This decentralization can be achieved by adopting a wider use of peer-to-peer (P2P) applications running on a blockchain network of computers known as dApps.

Another way decentralization can be achieved is by leveraging AI blockchains to create user security and data privacy. We all have heard of how blockchains are used in cryptocurrency, but what you may not know is that the same concept and technology can be more widely utilized across many business applications. At the risk of sounding too simplistic, one can sum up this idea of a decentralized internet as web3.0, or the next version of the internet. 1.0 was users simply receiving information on the web, 2.0 was users both providing and receiving information on the web, and now 3.0 is users owning or having more control over their information on the web. 

Museums and the Metaverse

An application of this concept is the idea of the Metaverse. Some are still using these terms interchangeably, but it is more broadly accepted that web3.0 is a term used for the future evolution of the internet, whereas the Metaverse is a consequence of it. When industry leaders speak on the Metaverse, they refer to the future of web3.0 and these advancements in technology integrating with our everyday lives. As said by the Godmother of the Metaverse Cathy Hackl, “It is like your digital lifestyle catching up to your physical life.” What this means for museums, is that new digital strategies need to be aligned with this specific outcome. This is no longer a concept. Web3.0 and the Metaverse are fast approaching realities.

At Guru Experience Co. we are excited by the idea that tomorrow’s internet will be one that centers on user experience i.e., the Metaverse. Metaverse advocates have actually been working towards this evolution in technology for years. The advancements of virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality have been largely adopted by the gaming community but have become more mainstream over the past few years. Many of our museum partners have been evolving their digital experiences starting with 360 images and videos, all the way into VR and AR.

Moving forward in the Metaverse

There are endless possibilities of what could exist in the Metaverse as it is not a single place or location but rather a concept of a whole system of components. Just like your smartphone is not the “internet” but rather a piece of hardware allowing access to a network and shared environment. The Metaverse does not consist solely of VR headset technology as some have alluded to, but can be the experience of a mixed reality with wearable glasses, or advanced augmented reality with our own devices.

This technological movement is already happening. For it to continually grow it takes a future-focused mindset across all industries to actively build towards the future, to transform the way we work, learn, educate, create, socialize, game, communicate and experience the wonders of life.

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