Being a member of Generation X, I grew up watching linear TV and reading offline newspapers. My social interaction with friends was mainly face to face. However, I have rarely seen my children watch traditional TV shows or read an offline paper. Watching them grow up, I realise the importance social networks and video games have in their everyday lives, particularly in terms of staying in touch with their friends.
This illustrates how, in the ever-evolving media and entertainment landscape, the transition from traditional TV consumption to the metaverse can captivate the hearts and minds of a new generation of consumers. But what does this transition imply and what tools are needed?
Generational shift in media consumption
Traditional television is losing ground across generations. While Generation X still holds onto linear TV, Generation Z increasingly uses mobile devices and streaming services to consume media, including interactive and immersive experiences. Media and entertainment companies need to adapt to cater to this population and the metaverse has the potential to meet younger generations’ demands, and more.
The metaverse allows users to engage with a computer-generated environment in a highly immersive way. In the metaverse, users can explore new realms thanks to immersive six degrees of freedom (6DOF) experiences. They can move freely, manipulate objects and engage with others with unprecedented precision and fluidity thanks to gaming engines such as Unity and Unreal. This evolution presents an exciting opportunity for media and entertainment companies to connect with younger generations, but for metaverse experiences to reach their full potential, several critical requirements must be met.
The first is fast interaction. In the metaverse, immediate responses are essential for creating a seamless and immersive experience. Low latency is crucial to ensure that interactions, communication and feedback between users and the virtual environment occur in real time.
Secondly, the user needs high bandwidth. To craft 6DOF virtual worlds with stunning realism and intricate detail, 3D and 360-degree videos are required. These video profiles demand higher bandwidth to deliver the desired level of immersion.
Consistent quality must also be maintained to keep users engaged and satisfied. Any quality fluctuations can disrupt the immersive experience and lead to user dissatisfaction.
Lightweight and simplified devices are the final requirement to make the experiences more enticing and broaden accessibility. Cumbersome and complex devices can hinder widespread adoption.
A catalyst for metaverse evolution
5G is a pivotal enabler of the metaverse and mixed reality experiences, bringing several key advantages. Firstly, 5G enables application deployment in a multi-access edge computing (5G-MEC) node. This architecture reduces latency by processing data closer to the user and facilitates the creation of distributed applications running in the cloud instead of the user devices themselves. This is key for developing lightweight headsets that require less processing power and memory to operate.
Furthermore, 5G higher bandwidths and ultra-low latency empower 6DOF gaming engines to deliver seamless, real-time interactions within virtual environments. This means players can interact with others and the environment with precision, which fosters an unparalleled sense of presence and immersion. 5G also supports multicast-broadcast technology, ideal for delivering content to a large audience simultaneously. This is essential for live events, concerts and sports in the metaverse.
The technology also offers efficient and seamless application programming interfaces for the highest quality metaverse applications. With network slicing, the 5G network can reserve a virtual private network, so they can execute smoothly and securely.
As media and entertainment companies strive to meet the evolving demands of younger audiences, the integration of 5G and metaverse applications based on Ateme solutions via Microsoft Azure offers an exciting path forward. This synergy promises to reshape the way we consume entertainment and opens limitless possibilities for the immersive, interactive and interconnected world of the metaverse. The future of media and entertainment has never looked more promising, thanks to the power of 5G.
Williams Tovar is director of 5G media streaming solutions at Ateme
This article was originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.