Top 10 technology trends powering the metaverse


The metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds where digital avatars interact with each other  through activities such as gaming, socializing, and doing business. And right now, the metaverse is having a moment – enjoying a surge in popularity as more and more users start to engage with it. In fact, experts predicts that by 2026, a quarter of people around the world will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse.

It’s no surprise then that tech companies have ramped up their metaverse investment. Here are the top metaverse technologies that are shaping our future - today.

1. Beyond the headset: augmented reality takes the lead

Augmented reality (AR) is the backbone of metaverse technology, delivering a fully immersive digital experience. AR creates physical simulations that users hear, feel, and interact with as if they are actually present in the metaverse. Through AR glasses and smartphone apps, users can also view their real environment and make virtual changes to it, such as text, audio, graphics, and video – merging the physical and digital worlds.

2. AI - the metaverse’s orchestrator: personalization & optimization

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a pivotal role in optimizing every process in the metaverse, from computing and user interface to business planning and decision making. With the help of machine learning, AI algorithms use historical data to deliver a personalized experience – for example, through the creation of unique and realistic-looking avatars. It also enhances user interactions in the metaverse, leveraging technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), speech recognition, translation, and world generation.

3. Blockchain & crypto: metaverse technology building the economy

Most applications within the metaverse run on blockchains, making this technology essential for monetizing digital assets. Blockchain acts as a virtual ledger that records transactions chronologically and stores information in a decentralized database. As well as providing transparency to the metaverse, it enables the integration of functions such as digital ownership and authentication. Platforms in the metaverse only accept cryptocurrencies, so users must exchange their real-world money into crypto to buy non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital real estate and in-game purchases.

4. 5G & edge computing: supercharging the metaverse experience

The metaverse generates enormous amounts of data – for a smooth user experience, this must be processed without any lag time. With edge computing, data doesn’t need to be uploaded to the cloud, enabling faster data transfer with fewer delays, and reducing the load on both network and servers. What’s more, the rollout of 5G technology means that more users can engage with the metaverse from their devices, enjoying high network speeds and greater bandwidth.

5. Haptics & sensory feedback: touching the future

 At least half of metaverse users say they would like to feel physical sensations. Haptic clothing is wearable body technology that immerses users more deeply in the virtual world by creating a sensory experience. A range of haptic garments are already available, including gloves and vests - with more in development. These use technologies such as electrical stimulation, vibration actuators, and pressurized air to simulate sensations such as weather and temperature changes. 

6. Spatial computing & mixed reality: the canvas for a new dimension

Spatial computing seamlessly blends physical and digital environments, by combining 3D mapping and models, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR). It overlays virtual elements onto the real world, allowing users to manipulate them as though they were physical objects – through natural gestures, movements, and voice commands. In addition to delivering interactive experiences, spatial computing enables users to be tele-transported to different locations within the metaverse.

7. The rise of the virtual workforce: metaverse technology redefining work & collaboration

The metaverse has the power to take remote working to the next level – creating virtual spaces that can be shared with coworkers and clients. Users can create 3D avatars to help communicate body language and expressions authentically in the digital world, and collaborate in real-time on a wide range of virtual projects such as 3D models. AR technologies will soon mean that people can take their workspace with them wherever they go, simply layering digital keyboards and screens across their physical environment.

8. Metaverse education: learning without limits

The metaverse is rapidly transforming education, bringing together teachers and students remotely from all over the world to connect and collaborate in virtual classrooms. These digital spaces harness 3D models and AR/VR technologies to create immersive and interactive learning environments. They also offer the ability to tailor lessons to the individual preferences and needs of students – leading to greater confidence, focus and engagement among learners.

9. Beyond gaming: The metaverse expands to healthcare, retail, & more

In the future, no industry is likely to be untouched by extended reality (XR) technologies – and the metaverse is already changing the way that certain services are delivered. Healthcare patients can receive a highly personalized experience in the metaverse using AI and AR to boost health outcomes at lower cost. Eventually we can expect hospitals to rely on virtual triage and consultations, using digital twins for more effective diagnosis and treatment planning. Similarly, retail businesses in the metaverse can deliver personalized shopping experiences using virtual 3D showrooms, digital assistants, and interactive product demos for deeper engagement with customers.

10. Securing the metaverse: challenges and solutions

Ensuring security and privacy is a key challenge for the metaverse, given its collection of sensitive user data and reliance on technologies which are vulnerable to exploitation by hackers. To enjoy their virtual experience, users need to feel confident that their digital assets and personal information are protected – however, identity authentication and privacy controls are difficult to implement for digital avatars. However, potential solutions are already being developed, including robust security protocols and AI-powered security tools, the use of encryption, and education campaigns aimed at promoting safe behaviour.