Buzzword Hell at CES 2022

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CES 2022 has been caught up in the uproar of the Metaverse with occasional strange marketing excesses.

When Mark Zuckerberg, the former head of Facebook, revealed his plans for the Metaverse in the summer and did so so emphatically that he renamed his company “Meta,” he seemed to make a lasting impression. From day to day, Zuckerberg turned the outdated term “metaverse” in the 1990s into a vision for the future of the tech industry.

Unfortunately, Zuckerberg wasn’t very specific when describing his Metaverse vision. What happens when a technology leader presents incomplete insights at scale can now be seen at CES 2022: In about three months, the marketing departments have drafted their documents, booths, and logos onto the metaverse. The result is … well, see for yourself.

Metaverse: No one knows it, everyone owns it

Product Manager Nima Zigami, who is active at Leica in the XR region, walked through CES 2022 and documented the Metaverse hype in showrooms with some photos.

There is, for example, the “Lotte Metaverse” of the South Korean Lotte Data Communication Company, which, according to the press release, sells virtual dream homes linked to real commerce.

It looks like this in the company’s announcement: “The Metaverse services currently on the market do not allow consumers to purchase real products or experience virtual concerts as in the real world, so they are unlikely to attract customers.”

Does Mark Zuckerberg really know about his omission?

In any case, Lotte Metaverse has a remedy at hand—through a connection from a Metaverse kitchen to a real home goods store: “If a user clicks on a home appliance, they’ll be directed straight to a home goods store, which isn’t possible in real life. It’s not Not only is it possible to see the product, but users can have a unique experience where a real person advises them on their purchase. A new era of convenient shopping has arrived, where users can compare and try the home appliances they want without going to the store.”

More reverse marketing gaffes

Cyvision Hood displays AR for cars that put navigation data directly into their field of view and on the road – comparable to putting AR in Google Maps. The demo convinces some trade show visitors. Advertising promise too?

There are many other examples: for example, data-glass manufacturer Vuzix advertises a logo to connect the metaverse to the real world – rather than dropping useful digital information into the field of view, as in the past, so that you have both hands free when working.

“Goart Metaverse” or “Go Art Metaverse”, wants to create a metaverse of digital art. Unlink VR is working on a universal wireless adapter for virtual reality glasses, including the Valve Index. Interesting for the Metaverse, of course.

The German company Oqmented was represented at CES 2022 with its AR / VR display technology and a mobile 3D LiDAR camera. The Metaverse isn’t mentioned in the press release (typical!), but direct access to the Metaverse is promised at the kiosk.

Mudro and Coolso promise metaverse interfaces across wristbands and smartwatches, Extriple offers an “industrial metaverse solution” and Seerslab a “mirror city” that can move people, things and environments into a “metaverse space” in real time.

“Metaverse City” particularly activates my eyebrow muscles: the company promises companies a Metaverse starter pack consisting of the Metaverse domain and a piece of Metaverse land.

And before you ask: Yes, the “real Metaverse” can of course be found at CES 2022.

All the examples shown here and some others can be found at Share on Twitter by Zigami.

Metaverse: Just hype or is there more?

So will CES 2022 prove that the Metaverse is just a buzzword, a marketing gimmick, empty hype? My answer is a hesitant yes.

Some of the technologies associated with the Metaverse, such as VR, AR, and AI, are changing or expanding the human-computer relationship. The basic guide has already been provided here. Now it is a matter of concrete implementation and scaling.

In my view, the metaverse serves as a collective term for a vision of a computer future that differs from the present one in many respects. Metaverse is another word for change, the signal to leave. It remains to be seen whether the term itself or a concept closely related to the 3D digital medium will survive this change.

What the Zeighami CES shot definitely shows: The vision of the Metaverse is still chaotic and the term is used as a buzzword. Metaverse noise is also spreading in China, everyone wants to go to Yuanyuzhou.

Let’s see who’s still printing intractable visions on glossy paper and plastic walls at CES 2023.

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