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The metaverse is a transformative evolution of the internet into a community of people, in the form of digital avatars, populating perennial digital spaces to make a living, connect, enjoy experiences and claim ownership of their shared and individual digital estates and assets. The digital world continues to evolve rapidly as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), the internet of things (IoT), 5G, blockchain and cloud computing technologies advance — enabling highly personalized and deeply collaborative interactions.
For enterprises with a legacy IT landscape assembled over decades and still counting on waterfall-style IT development, it only stands to reason that the metaverse – a world where capabilities must emerge as quickly as users imagine them – is practically shut.
IT modernization is a pressing imperative for enterprises looking to effectively learn, grow and thrive in the metaverse.
Decentralize the enterprise core for flexibility
Because the metaverse is a whole new world of emerging opportunities, it is not without its unresolved complexities. The shift to Web3, based on the tenets of decentralization and community ownership — which will require custodians and leaders of IT to embrace — also means adopting agile, transparent, highly automated ways of working and leaning on elastic infrastructure that enables them to do so.
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The days of IT landscapes as walled gardens and cryptic black boxes are numbered as users on the metaverse look to build, purchase and participate in and monetize experiences that are only limited by the human imagination. It will no longer serve enterprises well to build sophisticated cloud infrastructure and massive server capacity only for the CIOs and their teams to manage. In the metaverse, every user is also a live and dynamic creator, responding to the demands of the community in near real-time.
These users come together, unconstrained by the highly centralized monolithic platforms and policies, to create inherently interoperable and hugely data-rich scalable creative economies that will create value greater than the sum of the parts.
As the metaverse ushers in the age of Web3, organizations need to rapidly modernize their core to be able to meaningfully participate in this hugely democratized maker-universe.
Prep to create and harness connected landscapes
Digital twins, mixed reality and autonomous systems are converging because of the power of cloud and edge computing – creating a whole new of possibilities for enterprises. Companies are exploring the delivery of value for customers when live, data-rich digital twins of physical environments come together in mixed reality with the physical world. This means wielding the power of data analytics and data simulation to drive autonomous decisions, actions and interactions in truly transformative ways.
For example, shop floor process flows can be adjusted and optimized in real time based on predictions based on data from the digital twin of the factory. Metadata and insights into anything one might need to do in the real-world shop floor can come from this digital replica. And interactions can be continued purely in the virtual space, bridging the gap for workers and their guiding mangers and foremen anywhere in the world.
IT infrastructure with connected and seamless stacks that include AI and machine learning platforms that let one build autonomous systems and a frontend with devices that make immersive and ergonomic mixed reality possible will soon become commonplace. This will serve as the base for Metaverse apps born from the union of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, sustained by digital twins that every enterprise will start to leverage to dramatically transform themselves.
IT modernization: Protect against a new generation of cybercrimes
In addition to the hacking, phishing and malware attacks that come with pervasive digitalization, the metaverse will bring with it security and privacy challenges emanating from sensors collecting data, connected hardware and the as-yet unregulated and evolving spaces of crypto and NFTs.
Upping the game in data security, identity management and compliance with new laws and regulations will all mean having a modern IT landscape as a foundation – or risking bad actors sabotaging the under-protected enterprise. This will be key to remaining cyber resilient as enterprises explore the metaverse.
Success will belong to companies that can build an agile, flexible core and easily integrate all that’s digital and emerging with the ability to launch new experiences by applying these state-of-the-art technologies. It is an ask that can only be fulfilled with robust IT fundamentals and a well-coordinated technology evolution strategy. IT modernization is a must for metaverse-ready digital reinvention.
Gautam Khanna is the vice president and global head of the modernization practice at Infosys.
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