Metaverse - Hardware for a world of data

04/24/2024 Know-How

The metaverse is poised to become the “next big thing”. However, high-performance hardware is needed to make virtual worlds happen. This also applies to plug connectors for wired communication and data exchange.

The term metaverse comes from the Greek word “meta”, meaning in the middle or between, and “verse”, short for universe – a kind of parallel universe, in other words, in which the Internet comes very close to reality in the form of a 5D virtual reality space. 

The metaverse was initially created in the early 1980s, but it is only now becoming real. Facebook’s foray into the metaverse has not been very successful so far, but numerous other companies have now entered the development arena, including BMW, Caterpillar, DHL, and many others. For the gaming, entertainment, social media, and AR&VR hardware segments alone, Bloomberg Intelligence estimates the revenue potential at US$783 billion by 2024. But industry is also discovering the metaverse, merging the digital and physical worlds more and more to achieve the promised efficiency gains. After all, in addition to the virtual worlds in which people will meet friends in the future, there are numerous application scenarios for industry, such as remote support for repairing complex plants or creating a digital twin of production, including the supply chain, infrastructure, and value creation processes. 

Potentials of a metaverse for companies

For companies and entire industries, the metaverse could add economic value especially where interaction and exchange play a crucial role: along the supply chain, in purchasing and after-sales, or in coordinating suppliers. It will enable companies to save valuable time previously required for travel. This will have a major impact on customer service and sales. Collaboration between colleagues and with business partners can be optimized and the need for office space reduced. Interactive simulations can accelerate training and education and lead to better results by enabling employees to learn how to operate equipment as they would in the real world or practice a sales pitch to key accounts. Information on highly complex machinery and equipment no longer needs to be exchanged in the form of abstract data sheets; instead, machines can be viewed from any angle in a matter of seconds. This immediately creates a precise idea of their size, mode of operation, or integration into a production line.

Real building blocks for virtual worlds

Despite being virtual, the metaverse is based on hardware. To enter these worlds as an avatar and to interact with others, such as when a service technician from a plant manufacturer repairs a plant together with the customer, users need gadgets and computer hardware such as graphics cards, VR headsets, high-speed Internet connections, and high-end computers. However, most current components are not powerful enough for the immense amounts of data required. Nor do today’s Internet and data centers have the speed or capacity for truly permanent, immersive computing that people can access in real time. This would require a 1,000-fold increase in processing power over the current state of the art, according to Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group at Intel. And that will take time: A standard Moore’s Law curve will only get us to about an eight or ten-fold growth over the next five years, Koduri said in an interview in late 2021.

Moreover, to reduce communications latency to near zero, data centers must be located in close proximity to users. For a smart, secure, and decentralized network, edge and cloud computing devices and servers in multiple locations will be connected via the cloud. Cloud providers will likely connect dozens of distributed data centers in a single city to achieve the fast response times and the low latency required for new edge computing services. As metaverse applications bring high-speed data closer to the end user, there is a growing need for server operators to create an open source-based infrastructure to meet metaverse performance requirements. That is because open source technologies and projects help organizations accelerate time to market for new applications, delivering faster payback on infrastructure investments. At the same time, this lays the groundwork for a collaborative industry model that enables the improved interoperability, scalability, and programmability required for metaverse applications.

Connectors for the transmission of enormous amounts of data

In order for the edge infrastructure to deliver metaverse applications, the need for hardware acceleration will also grow. To bring Ethernet to the edge, for example, edge server operators can turn to Amphenol’s newly developed standard single-pair Ethernet jack. Its edge-to-cloud connectivity with 50 W power over data line makes it easy to connect numerous devices (Fig. 2). Data-intensive metaverse applications that use AI and transfer audio, video, high-resolution images, and large files between multiple devices require enormous bandwidth and power. More data, in turn, requires faster and more reliable communication. Amphenol’s DDR5 SO-DIMM socket, for example, is meets these needs. It offers data rates of up to 6.4 Gbit/s with single-ended pin assignment. For comparison, DDR4 DIMMs are only half as fast (3.2 Gbit/s). It is also only half the density of conventional models. With a lower memory voltage of 1.1 V, it consumes up to 20 percent less power and offers better thermal management. This also reduces the power consumption of edge centers (Fig. 3). 

As the metaverse becomes more prevalent in industry, it will become increasingly important that components have a long service life – some plug connectors are not replaced for years. At the same time, they should be power efficient and as immune as possible to electromagnetic interference. Amphenol’s new generation of high-density MCIO (Mini Cool Edge IO) plug connectors meets this demand. It can transmit high-speed signals of up to 64 Gbit/s over a distance of 1 m and meets the new PCIe Gen6 requirements. In addition, the MCIO plug connectors are a cost-effective, highly scalable and durable component, making them ideal for edge servers (Fig. 4). Although it will be some time before the metaverse is a reality, it is already safe to assume that it will be the next big working platform. Rutronik accompanies its customers and suppliers as a partner on this digital journey and offers solutions that pave the way into the new virtual universe.



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Only with edge cloud servers can the fast response times and low latencies for the metaverse be achieved.

Figure 2: Amphenol’s standard single-pair Ethernet jack with edge-to-cloud connectivity of 50 W power over data line.

Figure 3: Amphenol’s DDR5 SO-DIMM socket offers data rates of up to 6.4 Gbit/s with single-ended pin assignment.

Figure 4: Amphenol’s durable Mini Cool Edge IO (MCIO) plug connector can transmit high-speed signals of up to 64 Gbit/s over a distance of 1 m and meets new PCIe Gen6 requirements.