The seven layers of the metaverse
Jon Radoff, CEO of Beamable, a Live Game Services platform, is another prominent industry commentator on the topic of the metaverse and is widely quoted by various articles associated with the concept. His prior work has focussed on online communities, internet media and computer games. Jon sees the metaverse (link) as composed of seven layers:
The experience layer is where users do things in the metaverse including gaming, socialising, shopping, watching a concert or collaborating with co-workers. The metaverse experiences do not need to be 3D or 2D, or even necessarily graphical; it is about the inexorable dematerialisation of physical space, distance and objects. When physical space is dematerialised, formerly scarce experiences may become abundant.
The discovery layer is about the push and pull that introduces people to new experiences. Broadly speaking, most discovery systems can be classified as either inbound (the person is actively seeking information about an experience) or outbound (marketing that was not specifically requested by the person, even if they opted in). The discovery layer could include the curated portals, online agents, rating systems and advertising networks drawing users to discover different areas.
(3) Creator economy:
Not only are the experiences of the metaverse becoming increasingly immersive, social, and real-time, but the number of creators who craft them is increasing exponentially. This layer contains all of the technology that creators use daily to craft the experiences that people enjoy.
(4) Spatial computing:
Spatial computing has exploded into a large category of technology that enables us to enter into and manipulate 3D spaces, and to augment the real world with more information and experience. The key aspects of such software includes: 3D engines to display geometry and animation; geospatial mapping; voice and gesture recognition; data integration from devices and biometrics from people; and nextgeneration user interfaces.
The ideal structure of the metaverse is full decentralisation. Experimentation and growth increase dramatically when options are maximised, and systems are interoperable and built within competitive markets. Distributed computing powered by cloud servers and microservices provide a scalable ecosystem for developers to tap into online capabilities without needing to focus on building or integrating back-end capabilities. Blockchain technology, which enables valueexchange between software, self-sovereign identity and new ways of unbundling and bundling content and currencies, is a large part of decentralisation (this area of innovation can be called Web 3.0).
(6) Human interface:
Computer devices are moving closer to our bodies, transforming us into cyborgs. Smartphones have evolved significantly from their early days and are now highly portable, alwaysconnected powerful “computers”. With further miniaturisation, the right sensors, embedded AI technology and low-latency access to powerful edge computing systems, they will absorb more and more applications and experiences from the metaverse. Dedicated AR/VR hardware is also coming into the market, and in the coming years will likely evolve significantly. Beyond smartglasses, there is a growing industry experimenting with new ways to bring us closer to our machines such as 3D-printed wearables integrated into fashion and clothing.
The infrastructure layer includes the technology that enables our devices, connects them to the network and delivers content. This includes the semiconductors, battery technology, cloud servers and storage, and 5G and Wi-Fi transmission required. The infrastructure upgrades on compute, connectivity and storage supplemented by AI should dramatically improve bandwidth while reducing network contention and latency, with a path to 6G in order to increase speeds by yet another order of magnitude.