What will the weather be like in the metaverse?
The opportunities will likely go “beyond what we can imagine,” and the applications could even help to save lives.
Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has partnered with NVIDIA to create virtual versions of its wind farms. (NVIDIA and Siemens Gamesa)
The metaverse -- a network of virtual worlds where people can interact online -- has exploded online as a topic of discussion and conjecture. More and more people are logging into the metaverse, and many more will soon join them. However, before you make your plans to join the metaverse, you might like to know what the weather will be like there.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is one of the companies at the forefront of developing the metaverse, alongside technology companies like Google and Apple and video game developers and service providers NVIDIA, Epic Games and Roblox.
Meta describes the metaverse as a space that allows people to "socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what we can imagine." Users will be able to access the metaverse through technologies like virtual reality headsets, augmented reality tools, and smart glasses.
Richard Kerris, the vice president of the Omniverse development platform for NVIDIA, sees the metaverse as the next evolution of the internet.
"The term 'metaverse' is synonymous with the term 'network,'" Kerris explained. "Metaverse simply is the network of the next generation of the web, which will be a 3D-based web."
NVIDIA is developing Omniverse, which Kerris describes as an operating system for building and connecting virtual worlds. Inside these spaces, true-to-reality simulations can be run, something, for example, that could be extremely important to architects looking to build structures to withstand extreme weather, especially in a world with increasingly intense storms fueled by climate change.
Kelly Taylor tries out a metaverse virtual shopping experience at the LOTTE Data Communication booth during the CES tech show Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Joe Buglewicz, File)
"If an architect is designing something, they’ll want to know what it is going to be like in the wintertime or what's it going to be like in high winds, will it sustain something as extreme as a tornado for example," Kerris said. "With the core of Omniverse being based in true-to-reality simulation, the ability to simulate those things in virtual worlds and have them be accurate to the physical world is one of the features that's key to Omniverse."
Still, even when plugged into the metaverse, you might be concerned about what the weather will look like in real life. Kerris told AccuWeather that some companies are already looking at ways to allow people to take virtual tours of travel destinations, and the weather will be an important factor.
“You're going to go to a destination, someplace you've never been before. You might look at the weather report and see what's the weather going to be like there, or you might go to a virtual representation of that destination and be able to experience it in different weather scenarios," Kerris said.
AccuWeather is also entering itself into the magical world of the metaverse, which is growing every day, with ordinary people logging into the metaverse to play games, conduct business or even go to church.
"AccuWeather is in a strong position to enhance a metaverse experience by bringing off-chain, real-world experiences into a metaverse," said Matthew Vitebsky, the senior director of products at AccuWeather.
AccuWeather and other companies that are interested in warning people about the dangers of the weather might also find a use for simulating weather in virtual worlds, using the technology to show the effects of severe weather, something that might help convey the severity of the situation.
Pastor D.J. Soto, the lead pastor of VR Church, delivers a sermon in his home Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Fredericksburg, Va. Soto sings, preaches and performs digital baptisms in the metaverse to a growing congregation of avatars. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
"The metaverse may provide an opportunity to help people see and feel the impacts of severe weather – which could enable more awareness of severe weather risks and interest in better preparation and response to natural disasters," said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter.
Porter added that while the metaverse is an exciting prospect, it will remain important to still be aware of the day's weather where your physical body remains.
"Being immersed in the metaverse still means you need to be aware of these immediate risks to your physical location – and having warning tools such as those which AccuWeather offers within our free AccuWeather app will be even more important to maintain situational awareness of what is happening in the real world in your location."
For now, AccuWeather is working on building its place in the blockchain — which Vitebsky describes as a decentralized ledger of data that can be used to transparently store and share data, transact and build applications — before giving all of its focus to virtual reality and metaverse technology.
"We hope to one day be able to bring the chaotic, extreme and beautiful nature of weather to users in a safe environment in the metaverse," Vitebsky said.
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