China’s Metaverse Is Totally Work-Related

The people in charge want the metaverse to focus more on helping people stay healthy and making important things, instead of just playing games and buying things. In China, they have a special virtual world called the Metaverse where people mostly go to do their jobs.

Authorities in the province in the subtropical south of China were focused with the mosquito-borne illness dengue fever, which causes chills and muscular problems, before COVID-19 shut down Guangzhou. Officials in the central Tianhe area sought to remove puddles from building tops because the aedes mosquito that carries the infection flourishes in stagnant water.

However, it was time-consuming and prone to error to check and monitor every rooftop because they all largely resembled one another.

(Picture Source: Google)

As a result, the district began utilising an augmented reality system from HiAR in 2017. Local authorities marked any rooftops with puddles using drones flown above the rooftops. The data was subsequently sent in real time to a dashboard that teams on the ground may access via a graphical user interface.

Before Guangzhou was shut down due to COVID-19, officials in the region were focused on eradicating dengue fever, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes. The aedes mosquito, which carries the virus, thrives in stagnant water, so officials in the Tianhe district aimed to remove puddles from rooftops. However, identifying and monitoring every rooftop was time-consuming and susceptible to mistakes.

In 2017, the district began using a system from HiAR, which is an augmented reality company. Officials flew drones over the rooftops to identify any puddles and this data was immediately sent to a dashboard for the ground teams to access through a graphic interface.

(Picture Source: Google)

HiAR was established in 2012, long before the term metaverse became popularized again by Mark Zuckerberg’s interest in creating virtual worlds, leading to the rebranding of Facebook as Meta in 2021.

Chinese startups and tech investors eagerly followed the trend of the metaverse after Meta’s supposed pivot, trying to launch their own versions or integrate virtual or mixed reality elements into consumer products. However, the Chinese government has also taken an interest in the metaverse, supporting technologies it sees as strategic and establishing rules to regulate activities within it.

As a result, the metaverse that is emerging in China is different from those envisioned in the West, with a focus on using technology to support the economy rather than just appealing to consumers.

Brady Wang from Counterpoint, a tech market research firm, says that the Metaverse is a loosely defined idea and each company has their own interpretation of it. In China, the government has a significant role in promoting the concept.

The metaverse is a vague concept that includes virtual and augmented reality, virtual worlds, and Web3. It involves combining digital and physical spaces and has been envisioned as a new type of internet with its own economies and currencies, often involving blockchain and cryptocurrency.

(Picture Source: Google)

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in China, which investigates corruption within the Communist Party, defined the metaverse as consisting of three technologies: digital twins, mixed reality, and virtual reality. Digital twins are detailed virtual representations of real-world objects, mixed reality combines digital and physical spaces, and virtual reality creates entirely digital environments. This definition was published in December 2021.

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