Imagine it's year 2030 — mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and TVs have all been replaced by comfortable smart glasses and perhaps a few wearable sensors. I put on the smart glasses, and instantly experience being with my kins living far away, go to a soccer match, play soccer, make friends, or go shopping for anything, anywhere and anytime - or go to school or work. All these experiences will be immersive, which means that I can feel being with my acquaintances and I can convey my feelings with gestures and facial expressions.
After following the eXtended Reality (referring to both virtual reality and augmented reality) industry closely for six years, I believe that eventually XR will emerge as the next major computing platform will result to a major paradigm change in the way we interact with the world and each other. This conclusion seems to be shared by most of the global consumer electronics giants, as they all have been investing heavily into XR. In the transformation that XR eventually brings about we can easily see parallels with the previous emergence of PC and mobile phone markets.
Metaverse was popularized in 2021 by Meta's Mark Zuckerberg as a term to define a digital copy of the world, in which people can meet, buy, and sell goods and services and enjoy without the restrictions of space and time. Zuckerberg considers XR as "one of the hardest technical challenges of the decade". Several deep technologies will still have to be mastered to enable the true metaverse but missing out on the metaverse is not an option to anyone.
Particularly in XR, which is often considered the core of Metaverse, Finland has got a globally unique and versatile ecosystem of metaverse companies. The Finnish ecosystem of XR companies covers all stages of the value chain ranging from XR headset and hardware development to various XR development platforms, use case-specific developers (e.g., education, architecture, healthcare,) and customer-specific XR content.
The thriving ecosystem of companies has been enabled by decades of research at several universities and research agencies in several supporting technologies such as machine vision, mobile phone technologies, and photonics/optics. Particularly the Finnish photonics cluster of several research agencies and start-ups is in global perspective one of the "gems" of the Finnish XR ecosystem. Many of the Finnish XR companies have also greatly benefitted from the R&D expertise generated by the Nokia cluster in Finland and the Finnish gaming cluster.
Internationally the most successful Finnish XR companies include Varjo Technologies, which is developing high- end XR headsets for enterprise use, Optofidelity with its XR testing solutions, Dispelix with its Augmented Reality waveguide technologies, and Mekiwi with its Cave Digger VR game available on all VR platforms.
HCL Technologies (HCL), a leading global product and technology company recently launched HCLTech MetaLabs for exploring, building and adopting the Metaverse to strengthen its enterprise architecture along with that of its client's. According to the Tech Trends 2022 by HCL Technologies, metaverse holds the potential to change how we will live and interact – a place where reality meets imagination.
Estimated to be worth $800 billion by 2030, Metaverse is being characterized as the next megatrend in the world of technology. Metaverse is at a point where the enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders are stepping up to recognize its potential, explore, and adopt. Business Finland has been supporting XR and its supporting technologies for decades with the use of innovation funding, global connections, accelerators, advice, and most recently by providing match making services with Indian system integrators such as the HCL Technologies.
HCLTech MetaLabs is backed by an open innovation ecosystem with more than 40+ identified use cases supported by 300+ startup creator partners and 500+ identified HCLites interested in exploring this burgeoning and futuristic tech solution. Business Finland and HCL Technologies kicked-off their metaverse journey, with a call for innovation campaign launched in February 2022.
During 2022 HCL Technologies and Business Finland jointly organized HCL Metaverse Startup Exploration Series of events. During these events, several Finnish metaverse companies and Professor Jussi S. Jauhiainen, University of Turku (Finland) have met HCL and investigated concrete ways in which both parties could benefit from the gradually emerging metaverse. One of the results of this series has been cooperation between HCL and a Finnish XR software company. I personally certainly believe that HCL Technologies having international contacts and impressive development capabilities and Finnish tech companies fuelled by decades of research can greatly benefit from each other. Consequently, both countries will have a significant role in the coming metaverse!
HCL Technologies believe that metaverse is the next generation of cloud native architectures and applications, built on Web 3.0 with each use case in metaverse being consumed as DAAP's (Distributed Apps). The aim is to leverage diverse set of cloud native technologies from our strategic partner ecosystem and open innovation ecosystem comprising of innovative startup solutions.
Learning disability is not acknowledged in India. Metaverse has the potential to help bridge learning disabilities in students therefore education/training activities can get transformed.
Metaverse as centrally controlled or decentralized is an ongoing debate and the entire motion is to strike a balance between the two. Having it too much controlled is raising suspicions of losing innovative capabilities. Ubiquitous connectivity and secure digital access are some of the initial charters that we should aspire for as strategic priorities.
If you are an enterprise looking forward to start, accelerate, and scale their Metaverse journey with HCL Technologies, then write to metalabs (at) hcl.com
If you want to hear more about XR and Metaverse in Finland or investigate business opportunities with Finnish XR and Metaverse companies, please contact: Robin Singh, Senior Advisor, System Integrator, robin.singh (at) businessfinland.fi
Finnish companies looking to collaborate with global system integrators, please contact: Jani Jokitalo, jani.jokitalo (at) businessfinland.fi