Metaverse is a familiar buzzword today, but few people grasp what it really means. In the simplest terms, the metaverse is an online ‘place’ where physical, virtual and augmented realities are shared. The term, Metaverse, suggests a more immersive online environment that combines elements of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
Expectations of the metaverse today are largely built on hype. You hear more about future and eventual potential than about the current situation. However, the long-range business opportunities are large enough to get the attention of Microsoft, Google, and other big-tech companies, all seeking to carve out a presence and lay claim to future riches in the metaverse.
The marketplace aspect of the metaverse will be crucial. How eager are people to pay ‘real-world’ dollars for digital items? Successfully monetising the metaverse will help to expand its usefulness, as a tool for non-revenue-generating activities.
Creation of a complex online environment
The looming creation of a complex online environment offers possibilities and challenges
For the physical security industry, the looming creation of a complex online environment offers possibilities and challenges. Establishing identity will be a central principle of the metaverse and various biometrics are at the core of ensuring the identity of someone interacting in the virtual world. Cyber security elements are also key.
On the benefits side, the security market is already taking advantage of technologies related to the eventual evolution of the metaverse. For example, the industry has deployed AR to provide information about a door lock’s status onto a screen, headset or smart glasses as a patrolling guard walks by.
Three-dimensional virtual dashboards
Three-dimensional virtual dashboards will revolutionise user interfaces, by providing information in real-time, superimposed onto video of a live scene. Think of it as a PSIM you wear on your head. Anything that needs immediate attention can dominate the virtual screen. Virtual reality has also found its way into various training scenarios, including security.
“We now have tools at our fingertips to support security in a physical building, including hardware, software applications, and even smart phones,” said Rob Martens, Allegion’s Chief Innovation and Design Officer, adding “The metaverse will become an aggregation point to make it simpler to pull more tools together seamlessly.”
Information aggregated into a ‘virtual workspace’
Today, rather than viewing security data on a laptop, security operators can see all the information aggregated into a ‘virtual workspace’. The heightened level of automation comes with more tools to simplify how operators interact with the data, which is combined into a seamless, customised augmented reality interface that facilitates easy control of the physical environment, using tools in the virtual world.
Elements of the metaverse will enable the physical security industry, among many others, to deal with employee labour shortages. The term ‘virtual workspaces’ can describe the various technology ‘hacks’ that have been developed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New tools that aid in remote working
In addition to Zoom calls, companies have developed new tools that employees can use to work remotely
In addition to the familiar Zoom calls, companies have developed new tools that employees can use to work remotely. Elements of the metaverse will promote evolution of these tools into a seamless, responsive, real-time system that broadly encompasses more and more of an employee’s work experience into virtual form.
The trend towards working remotely and the development of tools to enable the new trend were accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. As these tools evolve, more employees will be able to work remotely, using the same tools that are driving the metaverse.
Development of more virtual workplace tools
A critical shortage of workers in many industries will also drive development of more virtual workplace tools. Performance of even traditionally ‘hands-on’ jobs will evolve to include remote capabilities with the help of virtual tools.
For example, imagine a warehouse worker who completes his tasks remotely from a computer screen or virtual reality headset that controls and directs a robot to do the heavy lifting in a factory that is miles away. People with disabilities will be able to perform more types of jobs.
Remote patrolling and operation of robots
In the security industry, a similar scenario is possible with the remote operation of robots to patrol a distant building. The security professional can control the robots using tools from the metaverse, such as a virtual reality headset, to direct their activities and to respond to situations, all with complete situational awareness.
Video enables the operator to ‘see’ what the robot sees and the video view is augmented with various datapoints in a dashboard configuration that is completely customisable to any situation. In the virtual world, a ‘button’ can be created anywhere to control anything. In short, the same technologies that are driving the metaverse will enable more workers to accomplish more jobs from home (or the local coffee shop).
Elements of the multiverse
You will see more automation, more robotics, and more remote piloting“
Rob Martens, Allegion’s Chief Innovation and Design Officer, said “Our labour scarcity problems will drive how successful the metaverse is for technology jobs. You will see more automation, more robotics, and more remote piloting. It’s just another way to interact with each other, with companies, with commerce, with tools – it’s just more immersive.”
Elements of the multiverse could also one day replace the expensive need for security operations centres (SOCs). The familiar room full of video monitors and other hardware could be replaced with virtual or augmented reality headsets driven by software.
Virtual Reality approach will save on power and space utilisation
In addition to saving the hardware costs of building the SOC, a Virtual Reality (VR) approach would save on power and space utilisation, rent, and the ability to retain employees. VR headsets further enhance the experience of a security centre operator by incorporating 3D graphics, video, customisable dashboards, and other elements. And everything is seamless.
The greater ability to interact with others in the metaverse promotes collaboration among security professionals and ensures more efficiency. The operators in a security centre would not need to be in the same room, if they are in the same ‘virtual space’, thus enabling them to collaborate even more effectively.
Travelling to various ‘places’ in the metaverse would enable an operator to ‘visit’ any number of remote physical locations and interface efficiently with the robots, and other systems in various places – all from the comfort of their home office.