Forward-thinking companies are beginning to understand that the metaverse holds great promise for their industry. That’s if a wide-ranging discussion at Capacity Europe 2022 is anything to go by.
In a panel titled Metaverse: The Connectivity Conundrum, two industry speakers discussed the keys to a successful virtual ecosystem, with monetization and decentralization repeatedly highlighted as desirable features.
The Connectivity Conundrum
The fireside chat, which was chaired by Hadaara Consulting partner Carl Roberts, featured Mark Cooper, Vice President of edge strategy at edge data center business AtlasEdge, and Jezzibell Gilmore, the co-founder of network connectivity platform PacketFabric.
Roberts started the conversation by noting that if he asked each person in the audience for a definition of the metaverse, you would receive something completely different – and that “every definition would not be altogether right or altogether wrong.”
Cooper was the first to talk about how his own company, which manages a vast portfolio of distributed data centers throughout Europe, could tap into the metaverse to better serve its users.
“We’re very focused on enabling edge technologies, so for us the metaverse is an incredibly interesting topic,” he said. “If you look at what we’ve done as an industry, whether it’s as a networking industry or as a data center industry, we’ve got very good at scaling up and centralizing.
“If the metaverse, in whatever form it takes, has any chance of success, we need to reverse that trend. We need to change the way that we do interconnection – you can’t have everything centralized… you’re going to have to decentralize the infrastructure.”
Jezzibell Gilmore, meanwhile, talked about who was going to “develop the physical infrastructure [for the metaverse], because the infrastructure itself requires upgrade in the last mile.”
Aligning Incentives in the Metaverse
Elaborating on the need for interoperability and cohesion in the metaverse economy, Cooper said the industry would need a joined-up approach. “You need to have every piece fully aligned and not just in one country or region but across the planet, and this is where cooperation across not just telecom operators but also software companies, the platform providers… You imagine what kind of back office systems you need for this.”
Interestingly, the speakers poured cold water on the notion of aggressively regulating the metaverse as some lawmakers have suggested. “The internet is self-regulating, there’s no internet regulation agency, so I don’t see why there should be one for the metaverse,” said Gilmore. “Collaboration between the different participants can also be self-regulating.”
One thing both panelists agreed on was the need for significant investment in metaverse technologies, both to expand the use-cases and deliver a superior user experience.
“There needs to be investment across the spectrum, whether it’s the compute platforms, the data center platforms, the network service providers… We need to find a way to make it open for everyone,” said Mark Cooper, who also expressed interest in creating VR data centers: “The best data center you build… is the one you don’t have to build.”
Panels like this one are becoming altogether more common, as senior executives wrestle with the implications of a maturing metaverse. You can watch the conversation here.