Info-tech

Virtual banks, digital humans, social chat spaces — Inside TCS’ metaverse game plan

Debangana Ghosh | Updated on: Mar 29, 2022
Metaverse, virtual reality technology, user interface 3D experience with smartphone and digital devices. Man and woman with VR headset glass online connecting to virtual space and universe.

Metaverse, virtual reality technology, user interface 3D experience with smartphone and digital devices. Man and woman with VR headset glass online connecting to virtual space and universe. | Photo Credit: kate3155

Aims at creating an extended reality (XR) environment where virtual and real objects co-exist to create persistent digital spaces

Metaverse is the new buzzword in the technology world globally, and IT companies seem to be leading the way. IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has already started working on several metaverse projects including a “virtual bank” for retail transaction and a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace using its own blockchain solution, a senior company executive told BusinessLine.

TCS’ metaverse journey will be backed by its Avapresence offering, which converges physical and digital worlds.  The platform is built on technology powered by TCS IP and its capabilities in cloud, blockchain, AI and IoT. It uses core XR (extended reality) elements that together enables the creation and functioning of different Avapresence components.

Inter-operable devices

Elements of the Avapresence TM are currently being used to assemble solution offerings across industry verticals including retail, manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences. The solution combines multiple physical devices including like VR headsets, mixed reality glasses and haptic gloves, and are interoperable to build enterprise applications. 

“As a concept, the immersive virtual ecosystem has been around for more than three decades now. At TCS too, we have been working on parts of this ecosystem in research mode.

Extended reality (XR)

AR, MR and VR with AI, 5G, iOT and Blockchain will intersect and interfuse to create an extended reality (XR) environment where virtual and real objects co-exist to create persistent digital spaces. This is the next evolution of the internet, which will enable people to inhabit these spaces not only for social connections in a spatial web, but for a multitude of interactions, and for digital asset ownership,” Dr Ashok Maharaj, Head, TCS XR Lab said.

He added, “We have taken up several works in retail, BFSI, CMI, manufacturing and other segments, including working on proof of concepts and successful implementation of products and platforms.”

TCS has already implemented solutions in the retail space and are currently working on critical pilots, in both the B2B and B2C sections across various verticals, which will be released soon.  

According to TCS, sector-wise, the first movers in the immersive ecosystem space are retail/CPG, Education and Media, real estate. The IT major expects other domains such as Fashion, Food and Beverages, Life Sciences and Healthcare, Automobile, Manufacturing and Construction, too, will start using metaverse technologies to accelerate delivery of experiences.

Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst & CEO, Greyhound Research believes metaverse will see a phased evolution similar to web in 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 versions. And in its initial 1.0 phase, IT services majors will most likely lead the way. Rightly so, recently Infosys launched its dedicated metaverse foundry, and Tech Mahindra has TechMVerse apart from TCS’ Avapresence.

“IT companies like Infosys were already offering 5G, blockchain, IoT, AI, experience re-designing and digital twins to name a few, as isolated solutions in a centralised architecture. Now they will bring these same services under one single solution, architected and distributed in a decentralised manner and that in itself will become Metaverse 1.0,” Gogia told BusinessLine.

What’s new?

TCS expects AR and VR to continue evolving and disrupting the BFSI industry.

Maharaj said, “At TCS, we are currently working on Virtual Branch concept for retail transaction and an NFT marketplace using our own blockchain platform.”

“Digital Humans for Digital Therapeutics, social spaces for chat are going to disrupt the way people interact online with Web 3.0. Metaverse engages all five senses to create engaging and immersive experiences, so spatial audio, haptics (touch) and olfactory (smell) inputs are going to be just as crucial,” he added.

Finding the right talent

TCS is training its associates in-house for various levels of proficiency to improve its collective capabilities in Metaverse. Apart from training, the company is focussed on research, design and implementation of solutions.

“Our Design Studio works on cutting edge technologies in improving user experiences. TCS Paceports are our research hubs that are working on various aspects, across industries. Dedicated Metaverse offerings are being channelled through extended reality lab (XR Labs),” Maharaj said.

Published on March 28, 2022

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