The World Wide Web (WWW) has come a long way since it was introduced in the late 1980s. It evolved and expanded its horizon to cover the entire planet that is labeled as today’s future. With AI, Augmented and Virtual Reality moving at a faster and faster pace, WWW made a significant change of perspective in technology. As AI, AR and VR continues to develop, a new trend is on the horizon that merges the three megatrends into one. This trend is known as Spatial Web, but what does it mean?
WWW started it’s widespread adoption in the early 1990s with Web 1.0, with simple web pages connected via slow dial-up internet connections. The number of servers powering the WWW grew extensively, which gave birth to Web 2.0 where everything from social media became a key driver in internet traffic through sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to video sharing sites like Youtube, and much much more.
However, Web 2.0 has experienced various boundaries to connect the digital space with the physical space. This is where the Spatial Web comes into the picture.
There are various understandings and explanations of how this new era of the WWW is coming to life. It is the modern utopia of the WWW generation. Here is a simple graphic explaining the difference:
Spatial Web will create an atmosphere in a 3D space. It has different elements such as AI, Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). This is the fusion of the physical world and virtual realities. The user will have an overview of an exact copy of their physical world into a virtual domain. It’s a holographic simulation of reality.
The future era will not be all about looking at our screens but through them, as the convergence of AI, AR and VR begin to digitally populate our physical worlds. Do you remember Pokemon Go that has been a breakout hit in 2016? They had 27 million users in the US and 84 million in the Asia Pacific and are expected to grow 67 million and 311 million respectively this 2020.
But the future era has more to offer.
Today the application of AR and VR in the workplace is growing. The AR market is expected to reach $35.22 Billion by 2022. Last year one of the leading traditional toy companies LEGO launched its AR app. In this way, children can enjoy both physical and digital engagement. LEGO has made a ghost-hunting app that uncovers mysterious happenings in different hometowns in the app.
General Electric also uses AR in their warehouses. A study has been conducted that order fulfillment was improved by 46% when workers use smart glasses to receive real-time and dynamic instructions in their warehouses. This both enhances the efficiency in the workplace but also removes the border between traditionally manual labor and the digital age.
Let’s take a look at how they have done it.
How will the Spatial Web work?
Spatial Web enables us to use a digitally-mediated universal language, our pieces of information are placed spatially and contextually in different devices and locations. Through this the interaction will be more natural and intuitive, in a very simple way such as looking, speaking and moving. In this new era, everything will be digitized with the combination of AI, VR, and AR. The AI will act as an intermediary to process the data from the users and pass it through VR and gives the result for the users in a more personalized way.
Source: Toby Tremayne, Magic Industries.
There are two major developments that need to be in place for the Spatial Web to unfold:
High-resolution wireless VR/AR headsets
The high-resolution wireless VR/AR is finally launching this year. According to Statista, based on the previous year estimation, VR headsets will reach around seven million units, while AR will climb about 600 thousand. The forecast above shows that for the next few years there is a massive growth with both technologies for 30 million units per year by 2023.
Mass deployment of 5G
Next-level internet speed is here and being rolled out! The fifth generation of wireless technologies — also referred to as 5G networks — will completely change how we use the internet and empower a technologically reliant society that hates to wait.
The mass deployment of 5G will drive 10 to 100-gigabit connection speeds in the next 6 years, matching hardware progress with the needed speed to create virtual worlds. 5G provides a huge advancement in terms of speed and reliability to mobile devices. This could also enable a new wave of technologies that will greatly impact smart cities, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare systems.
Companies are popping up pushing the technology powering the spatial web, including the company literally named Spatial that raised $14m to build a holographic 3d workspace app. This is only the beginning…
For the next 30 years, the people and the technology will be unified. The Spatial Web will move the digital world from the inside to the outside of the screen. In this era, we’re about to spend more time in the virtual world than ever before. From using it as a form of entertainment. Our daily living will be mediated by a web electrified with AI, 5G, VR, and AR. This is the reality, the future, and how the Spatial Web is defining the most awaited Web 3.0.