The digital world that we know today is nothing compared to what’s ahead of us. A revolution is coming. Every day, we are moving closer to WEB 3.0 — the creation of the Spatial Web. This digital revolution is a big one and it will transform every aspect of our lives.
What is WEB 3.0 or the Spatial Web?
Most tech visionaries see the Spatial Web as a thriving computer environment inside a three-dimensional digital space. It is a world made of multiple layers of meaningful, engaging, intense, exciting, interactive, and dynamic data which we can explore using a digital version of us.
Imagine the Oasis in the 2011 novel and 2018 science fiction film, Ready Player One. Experts say that the Spatial Web might look like that. People can live a different life in this virtual world. We can build and invest in smart assets, do business, interact with other people, collect real estate, establish a new political system, and support an entire economy.
In that case, the Spatial Web is a digitalized twin of reality and could become an enhanced version of our physical environment. This is an era when we digitalize our lives.
The WEB 3.0 is not something we should be scared of. In fact, we should be excited about this. It will transform everything in our lives from the way we learn and educate other people to the way we interact with other people and many more.
There’s no going back now. Everything we have today leads to the creation of the Spatial Web. All we have to do now is walk cautiously towards it.
How will the WEB 3.0 happen?
For us to understand the creation of the Spatial Web, we need to look back at how the World Wide Web developed into the indispensable information space we have today.
Let’s travel back to the late 1980s when the World Wide Web is still in its infancy. Back then, people only saw static web pages. All information travelled in one direction. And, who can’t forget the annoying, slow, and unstable dial-up connection. Yes, people had to go all through that to connect to the internet. All of these happened in WEB 1.0.
Then, WEB 2.0 happened. At this point, the World Wide Web connected computers and people all over the world. We witnessed turbo-charged information sharing, the use of interactive web applications, the advent of social networking sites, widely-available and multimedia content, quicker online communication, and more. This is the time when the internet took the world by storm. People embraced everything that happened in WEB 2.0.
But, that’s not the end of the story. We haven’t reached the end of the road.
Tech visionaries feel like there’s less room for competition in WEB 2.0. Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Wikimedia Foundation, Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, and Schu are the biggest names that control the internet today. These companies have the most money, they have all the data, they hire the best people to create the best algorithm, and they have the most computing power. They have all the resources and control all the traffic. It’s hard to compete with them now, especially if you’re a startup or a young business who dream to be as big as them one day.
Also, we humans exist in a three-dimensional world. The WEB 2.0 is flat. The platform for sharing information is two-dimensional and is only accessible using flat screen devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs etc.).
But not for long…
In the next two to six years, the convergence of 5G, artificial intelligence, rapidly proliferating sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality technologies will create a world in a 3D virtual space. A world where all information is spatial, everything is smarter thanks to AI, and all data point about a person in the virtual and physical world is reliably stored, secured, enhanced, and monetized.
That’s WEB 3.0, the Spatial Web.
In WEB 3.0, flat screen devices are no longer the only portal to the World Wide Web. Virtual and augmented reality headsets are taking us online and immersing us in a real-time, three-dimensional digital world. Products of wearable technology like smart glasses with revolutionary AR/VR interfaces, we will integrate the Spatial Web seamlessly into the real world.
What new-era of technologies are responsible for this?
Massive change is underway thanks to the convergence of these technologies:
Artificial Intelligence. The explosion of the AI industry will make everything (gadget, application, software) smart, self-programming, and independent.
Internet of Things (IoT). More and more devices are connected to each other. Gadgets with robotic sensors possess a powerful physical computing feature.
5G Technology. The deployment of 5G connection will unlock high-speed connection which the modern hardware needs to explore virtual worlds.
Blockchain and cloud-enabled services. Decentralized computing enables greater security and data authentication. With a secure data layer, WEB 3.0 put data back in our hands and allows us to build complex rule-based infrastructure in the virtual world. Edge computing, on the other hand, distributes computer power depending on where it’s most needed which speeds everything up.
Virtual and Augmented Reality. Two-dimensional, flat screen devices are no longer the only portal to the World Wide Web. Advanced AR and VR hardware will be our tool to move in a digital world made with layers of interactive data.
How will it work?
Back in the day, programs took in data, created a database, and presented information on our desktop.
Then, we migrated loads of data to servers. Information comes from websites which people access using browsers.
Now, we save information in the Cloud. The Cloud enables us to access all our important files using any device — anytime and anywhere we are.
Apart from the creation of the cloud, our mobile devices are getting smarter. Geared with artificial intelligence, our phones assist us (think of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant). Features like fingerprint scanners, AI cameras, and hypersensitive screens read our identity and learn our gestures. The internet connected all of our devices and gadgets as well.
Then, augmented reality came in. It enabled people to combine the physical and virtual world. Remember Pokemon Go? It drove millions of mobile game players on a virtual hunt for cute Japanese cartoon characters on the streets. IKEA does the same, but theirs is not a game. Their app help homeowners see how certain furniture pieces will look in their homes.
What’s more, augmented reality apps pop everywhere like popcorn. Businesses create their own AR apps to engage consumers. For one, the Dominos Pizza mobile app uses AR to help you customise your pie. AR is everywhere and we see multiple technologies unite to make our lives easier.
When WEB 3.0 comes, everything we have now will become more advanced. Imagine yourself speaking to your personal AI. Your AI will do some of the work for you like buying stuff from the internet, transferring money from your bank account to another, answering your question, turning on your coffee maker, lock the doors, and more. Then, you receive information using your VR headset or AR glasses. The AI feeds information to your smart home, thanks to the IoT.
Think of Tony Stark (Iron Man) and his sophisticated AI named Jarvis. One day, people will experience that. It’s not impossible.
Right now, we are still attempting to create that ‘smart world’. We are still building an infrastructure for the Spatial Web, figuring out the supply chain, and everything else needed. We are yet to come up with a set of protocols that apply in the Spatial Web; something like TCP and IP that we have today.
What we have now are the structural designs for WEB 3.0. I’m talking about the VR web experiences that are available today. For example, Firefox offers Firefox Reality which is a search engine for immersive 3D content online. Instead of giving us text-based internet results, the search engine gives you VR content that answers your inquiries.
In addition, more and more people create immersive 3D content that’s widely available to people with a VR headset. Sooner or later, we will populate the internet with immersive content. People will make money out of it.
For example, a real estate company can build a virtual yet realistic version of the properties they sell in the Spatial Web. New mapping technologies enable us to scan real items and create an accurate digital version of it. One day, an agent will sell residential and commercial real estate online even if the client hasn’t been in the real property. They’ve seen the exact digital version of it and that will be enough.
Do not worry about fraud. In the near future, the Spatial Web will have a governing system who is in charge of posting, organizing, and moderating content. There will be rules that will protect you.
What lies ahead of us?
The Spatial Web is complicated and it will transform every facet of our daily lives. It will change the way we play online games, do our jobs, communicate with other people, and even how we decide. We might spend more than 5.9 hours a day online (this is the daily average according to the latest 2018 statistics) meaning, we might completely digitalise our lives.
Are you interested to know how the Spatial Web will affect your business? We discussed it in the second part of this blog. Read it here.