Companies have worked on metaverse-related technologies – augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), or extended reality (XR) – for years, if not decades. In 2021, commercial and consumer interest finally caught up. While technologies and applications are in the spotlight, the developing industry structure deserves attention, too.

Miikka Rosendahl, founder and CEO of virtual-world creator ZOAN, believes that the metaverse at this early stage offers many ways to become successful in a marketplace where legacy rules don’t apply in the same way as they do in mature markets.

He concedes the need for big players’ infrastructure technologies and components, but sees ample opportunities for a wide range of smaller players. The metaverse could create thriving companies seemingly from nowhere, similar to the way the internet allowed unknown startups to become today’s household names.

Geoff Bund, head of software partnerships for headset manufacturer Varjo, notes that smaller companies already create business opportunities for his business. For instance, he cites virtual-prototyping company ESI Group, which develops applications to simulate component behaviour and manufacturing processes. The company is working with Audi to simulate assembly operations in a virtual environment. The company’s IC.IDO software can virtually represent “inertia and gravity and collision and sliding when handling parts”, says Bund.

He also mentions ITI Systems, an audio-visual integrator that designs and builds command centres for large companies and governments. ITI previously mainly worked in the hardware space, but now is working on AR and VR systems and implementations.


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