What is the Metaverse?

The internet is a network of billions of computers, millions of servers and other electronic devices. The metaverse doesn't compete with the internet -- it builds on it.

There are a number of drivers for our Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity investment theme, model, and index, but during our recent jaunt through Europe meeting with investment management firms invariably the “metaverse” was brought up. Not surprising really as the term is being tossed about and many have questions pertaining to what is it? 

What can individuals use it for? 

Same question for companies? 

And of course, which companies are poised to benefit from it being built? 

All good questions.

While those answers will come in time, it should go without saying that the metaverse will create an enormous amount of data that will be carried across the digital infrastructure ecosystem fostering the need to add capacity and the development of next-gen connective technologies. We’ve seen that time and time again as improved latency and faster data speeds have enabled new applications that have led to a increased data creation and consumption. There isn’t any reason to think the metaverse will be any different, especially given the data rich environment it is expected to be. 

We suspect that much the way the internet of today has developed compared to its early beginnings back in October 1994 when Netscape, the first commercial web browser was released, we have only an initial sense as to what the metaverse will bring. Back in the mid-1990s, could you 

  • Order an item online? No.
  • Stream a movie or TV show? No.
  • Conduct a digital payment, banking transaction, or send funds via a fintech application? No, no, and no.
  • Send messages or email? Nope, and nope.
  • Use a smartphone? It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that we had devices based on Windows Mobile and Blackberry smartphones.
  • How about video calling similar through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Webex? Nope.
  • Collaborative applications like Google Documents or Slack? No siree Bob.

As those applications came about, the way we use and what we consider “the internet” became the backbone for our increasingly digital lives with applications and capabilities evolving significantly along the way.

Odds are there will be applications in the metaverse that we haven’t even considered yet, but we do know they will further increase the amount of data that is created, shared, and consumed. In other words, it will continue to drive the ongoing buildout and densification of the digital infrastructure. 

Now let’s get to the question we asked above - what is the metaverse? Watch the video below.

And for those that would prefer to read some background on what the metaverse is, here are some helpful articles:

Related: The Metaverse Will Be Worth Trillions