Making the Metaverse Accessible with 5G

Kai Frazier
October 27, 2022

Scientists Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf  developed the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol as the foundation of the modern internet in the 1960s. Nobody would have predicted how far technology would advance in the coming decades. One of the most prolific being the 5G metaverse

Technology–especially the internet–has progressed rapidly for years, and it's not slowing down any time soon.

We've gone from playing Atari's Pong to exploring the enchanting world of Half-Life through a virtual reality (VR) headset. We’ve gone from accessing dial-up internet on desktops to connecting smartphones to 5G from almost anywhere in the world.. Though still in their early stages, technologies like virtual reality, 5G, and the metaverse have significantly impacted our lives and society.

In some ways, technology has sparked more opportunities to bring people together. For example, the metaverse is a virtual world where you can be anyone, do anything, and go anywhere. It's a place where users can connect in real-time — sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, and even meeting new friends. However, the rapid advancement of technology has also caused a divide for many populations who don't have the infrastructure or resources to use them. The digital divide prevents many rural and underserved urban populations from accessing leading technologies like virtual reality and the metaverse. 

Soon, however, this will change–thanks to 5G connectivity. 

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband. Its speeds are 100 times faster than current 4G networks, enabling consumers to stream ultra HD videos on their mobile devices without interruption or lag time. This means that more people can access the metaverse from their smartphones or computers using less bandwidth than ever before.

These technologies have broader implications than just delivering a new form of entertainment to families worldwide, especially in the virtual reality and EdTech industries. As a digital learning platform that leverages 360° virtual reality experiences to provide virtual field trips to classrooms, the team at Kai XR is incredibly excited about the possibilities. Since the launch of 5G, Kai XR has been using 5G to help bridge the digital divide by putting more virtual reality experiences in the classroom. 

"We're showing them careers; we're showing them new ideas. And that really changes their outlook on life," says Founder and CEO Kai Frazier. "It took a lot of kids off the sidelines and let them participate in emerging tech." 

Kai XR is just one of many startups seeing promise in the future of emerging technologies. In this article, we'll take a closer look at: 

  • the history of the internet through the development of 5G,
  • what 5G means for internet accessibility,
  • how 5G will generate growth for the metaverse, and
  • how these technologies can be used in the classroom

A Brief History of the Internet 

Before diving into the leading edge internet technologies, let's take a moment to look at how far we've come.

While there are so many significant milestones in the history of the internet, we'll focus mainly on how new advancements have provided higher speeds, more bandwidth, and improved accessibility over time. First, let’s dig into some tech terms! 

  • Bandwidth - The maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time. 
  • Bytes per second (bps) - A measure of data transmission speeds, the amount of bits transferred in a single second.
  • 1G - 5G - Refers to the “generation” of internet technology, often based on bandwidth and bps speeds. (ex. 5G is fifth generation)

Now, let’s go back to the future! 

  • 1970s - Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) are created by DARPA Scientists Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, commonly known as the fathers of the internet
  • 1979 - The UNIX computer operating system spawns USENET, a UNIX-based system for transferring data over phone lines with a dial-up connection, developed by Tom Truscott and Steve Bellovin. 
  • 1993 - The World Wide Web (WWW) becomes accessible to the public when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee publishes the first webpage and the first web browser, Nexus. 
  • 1996- A 56k modem is developed to allow internet users to use the web at 56,000 bps
  • 1999 - Apple creates technology that enables Wi-Fi access in the iBook laptop.
  • 2000s - Broadband becomes a popular alternative to dial-up internet. It also offers up to 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. 
  • 2003 - The first useful mobile data standard, 3G, is introduced when media can be sent in addition to calls and text. It featured speeds of up to 7 Mbps. 
  • 2010 - 4G wireless technology is released, offerings speeds of up to 35 Mbps
  • 2013 - Cable broadband introduces 505 Mpbs speeds. 
  • 2017 - 17 million miles of fiber optic cable are deployed nationwide to provide speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
  • 2020 - Infrastructure for 5G internet begins to roll out, providing speeds of up to 20 Gbps.

As you can see, we've come a long way! The more internet speeds advance and infrastructure progresses, the more accessible the internet will be around the globe, and the more tech companies can flourish!

Let's talk a little bit more about the impact this widened accessibility will have on society. 

What 5G Means for Internet Accessibility 

The internet is an essential part of our lives. We use it to work, search for information, connect with people, and find entertainment. But the current state of the internet is not perfect. There are still many parts of the world where people don't have access to the web or where it's too slow or expensive to use, causing a growing digital divide. 

The next generation of wireless technology will play a critical role in bridging the digital divide. Whereas the first generation brought us text message and phone calls, and the third generation (3G) added the ability to transfer media like music and video, 5G (fifth generation) will make it possible for everyone in the world to have access to high-speed mobile internet — everywhere, all the time. This wireless technology has the potential to completely change the way we live and work – from enabling smart cities and autonomous vehicles to helping us cure diseases.

T-Mobile, one of the leaders in implementing 5G and our network of choice for delivering our 360° virtual experiences, cites the following major benefits of 5G

  • Faster speeds to download video content or video chat on the go 
  • More connected devices with a faster signal at large events
  • Quick responsiveness during data-demanding activities, like cloud gaming (or VR streaming!)
  • Low latency to enable the use of drones and autonomous vehicles
  • Reliable connections that allow content streaming from virtually anywhere

But one of the most exciting developments is its potential to make internet access more accessible to everyone worldwide. For example, T-Mobile recently announced the expansion of the 5G network to nearly 5 million homes in the rural midwest states of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Of those 5 million households, 1.1 million did not previously have access to any home broadband. This, combined with the other leading internet service providers following suit, will make great strides in bridging the gap in internet accessibility. 

For many, 5G means finally gaining access to reliable internet to do essential tasks like conducting research for a high school essay, paying utility bills online, or finding a new job. For others, it means being able to download movies within seconds or stream high-definition video on your mobile phone without buffering issues. Or how about being able to use virtual reality (VR) headsets without having any lag time between movement and screen response? These technological advancements will radically change our lives over the next few years – whether we're talking about healthcare, education, entertainment, or business applications.

5G and the metaverse 

Since Mark Zuckerberg's 2021 announcement of Facebook's rebranding to Meta and their future investment in the metaverse, this new space has been all the tech world can think or talk about, aside from 5G. 

While still in its early phases, the metaverse's 3D extended reality nature is expected to require a significant amount of data. This leads us to the true epicenter of emerging technologies–the powerful combination of the metaverse and 5G. The proper infrastructure to support the virtual reality world has finally arrived. 

Before we dig into how these two technologies will work together to revolutionize the internet as we know it, let's talk a little bit more about the meaning of the metaverse

What is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is a network of 3D extended reality experiences that can be developed by anyone and hosted online. Pioneers of the technology are still outlining a complete definition. However, at its core, the metaverse offers a digital space where we can experience overlap between our physical and digital lives and interact with others worldwide.

The metaverse is the next step in virtual reality, where users can create their avatars, meet friends and explore virtual worlds. It's an open platform where developers can create their own applications and experiences to enable users across the globe to interact with each other seamlessly through VR headsets and mobile devices. 

Some of the most common applications of the metaverse include: 

  1. Virtual Gaming - The gaming industry has been a peer-to-peer and virtual gaming pioneer. With the metaverse, gaming experiences can level up with live, fully immersive virtual reality games. 
  2. Virtual Workspaces - In the advent of remote work, many large companies are looking for new ways to bring employees together. With a virtual work environment in the metaverse, colleagues and partners can work together in virtual rooms where each person is presented as an avatar. 
  3. Education - Virtual reality for teaching has become increasingly popular as platforms and devices become more accessible. Instead of pre-recorded 360° virtual field trips, students can now learn and engage in a virtual world where they can collaborate on projects in an interactive VR classroom.
  4. Consumer Product Marketing - The metaverse opportunities are endless in the retail industry. For example, designers can host virtual fashion shows where shoppers can see the garments on a virtual model in 360º.
  5. Social Media - Facebook is so excited about the metaverse that its name changed to META! The next generation of social media platforms will become full-fledged metaverses with avatars instead of profiles. 

With the metaverse, the possibilities are endless. 

How can 5G support the growth of the metaverse? 

While the metaverse is an exciting new frontier in technology, it still faces many challenges before it can be as widely adopted as Zuckerberg predicts. Industry experts are sorting through potential safety, privacy, and equity risks. 

While there is likely to be a phase of access inequity in the initial adoption of the metaverse, we are hopeful that the power of 5G can expand opportunities for populations traditionally left out of breakthroughs in tech.

The impact of 5G internet on the metaverse is three-fold:

  1. It will allow users to interact with their digital content more realistically by increasing data transfer speed and quality. 
  2. Users can experience new worlds with a higher level of immersion. 
  3. More users can access the metaverse due to wider coverage in rural and underserved urban populations. 

The first impact is relatively straightforward: more bandwidth means more information can be transferred simultaneously. Thus, if you have an augmented reality device that displays holograms that look like real objects in your room, 5G will allow for better-quality holograms than 4G. Similarly, suppose you're streaming VR video games or movies through your headset or goggles. In that case, 5G should provide higher resolution and smoother frame rates than 4G would allow.

The second aspect is also straightforward: faster data speeds mean less lag time between when you move your head and when the image updates on-screen, which improves immersion in virtual reality experiences. A low-lag virtual reality experience makes it feel like you're there instead of just wearing goggles and headphones; without it, even if everything else about the game or movie were perfect, it'd feel like watching a film through a window rather than actually being there.

The third aspect is an exciting one to think about. Even beyond the metaverse, 5G will bring the internet to millions of households without access to wireless or broadband connections. As a result, it will be one of the single most important developments in closing the digital divide. 

Harnessing the Power of 5G and the Metaverse in the Classroom 

Kai XR was built on the belief that students and teachers deserve access to emerging technology that can empower students through experiential learning and developing 21st century learning skills. We seek to break educational barriers by making these technologies more inclusive and accessible. The metaverse and 5G are critical aspects of achieving this. 

The ability to interact with others in virtual reality is one of the most exciting features of 5G. It will open up a whole new world of possibilities for educators around the globe. Collaborating on projects and lessons remotely without leaving desks will make students more productive and enable teachers to reach more students than ever before. With VR tech, students can explore places they've never seen in real life, visit historical sites from hundreds of years ago, or even travel through time!

We are ushering in the future of education with virtual experiences that increase engagement and spark creativity. In particular, Kai XR is leveraging the following types of virtual experiences for K-12 education: 

  1. Virtual field trips
  2. Metaverse games 
  3. Metaverse makerspace 

With Kai XR, the virtual world is your oyster! 

Virtual Field Trips with the Metaverse

Virtual reality is a powerful tool for educators. It allows us to create immersive experiences that are impossible to recreate in the physical world. The latest developments in 5G wireless networks will allow us to create more immersive experiences in VR than ever. 

That's because 5G enables faster speeds and lower latency than previous generations of mobile network technology—which are commonly leveraged for VR experiences, especially in virtual reality headsets. 5G wireless networks are expected to deliver speeds over 100 times faster than LTE connections and enable immersive experiences that are far more realistic than anything we've seen before. 

Kai XR leverages these technologies to create 360° virtual field trips for educational programs and schools, as well as families. One of the most significant benefits of virtual field trips is that students can take part in a field trip anywhere in the world without leaving their hometown or even their classroom! This means they will have better access to education than ever before because they don't have to spend money on transport costs or accommodations. 

With Kai XR VR field trips, educators can provide their students with a wide range of experiences covering any curriculum subject you can think of! 

A few of our favorites are: 

  • A trip to the Great Wall of China, where you can learn about the history of ancient civilizations.  
  • A visit to Chernobyl to study the history of the nuclear disaster and learn how humanity has worked to prevent similar tragedies in the present day.
  • A tour of the White House, also known as the People's House, to learn about the daily lives of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. 

With over 100 different virtual field trips, your students will never get bored! 

Metaverse Games

Educational games have also taken the education world by storm. Metaverse games are the perfect pathway to learning for Gen Z and Gen Alpha. 

The metaverse enables a mixed reality experience that makes the game experience feel more natural than 2D experiences. In addition, it can engage players at new levels by bringing them directly into the game setting. 

Socializing is a significant part of gaming. This technology also emphasizes connections, meaning playing with others online will be more immersive and interactive than ever! The combination of immersion and socialization will hold the attention of any student playing an educational metaverse game. In fact, plenty of research proves that metaverse games can make learning feel more like play, inspiring more motivation, engagement, and information retention. 

Kai XR is one of many producers of metaverse games for education, and we do so with safety in mind. We create educator-approved VR games for kids that can be viewed through any device on a secure platform. Some of our best metaverse games include: 

  • A dance party with everyone's favorite Cartoon Network characters  
  • A game of virtual hide and seek 
  • A fun intergalactic story with  Mac & Cheez, two aliens plotting to take over the world until they meet two adorable bunnies.

Makerspace Metaverse

Makerspaces have been around for decades but have recently expanded their reach thanks to technological advances. The latest developments in 5G wireless networks enable more individuals to engage in a digital makerspace even when they are not physically present at one location.

The metaverse makerspace is the world you enter when you visit a digital makerspace. It's a virtual environment where people can share their ideas, collaborate on projects, and learn new skills from each other. Here, students can use digital tools to collaborate, create, and innovate to encourage discovery and problem-solving. In addition, they provide resources that may not usually be available in the physical classroom.

Our digital makerspace, Kai XR Create, is a drag-and-drop makerspace classroom where students can build their own world in five different settings: 

  • Empty canvas
  • Forest 
  • Blocks 
  • Snowy Mountain
  • Space
  • City 

With this platform, students will learn how to design in 3D, collaborate remotely, and navigate the metaverse–a critical skill for the future! The best part is, right now, you can try our metaverse makerspace for free until the end of September 2022! 

The Future of EdTech with Kai XR

The future the founders of the internet imagined has finally arrived, surpassing their wildest dreams. With the help of 5G and metaverse technologies, we believe our platform is the future of education. Through experiential, immersive learning, students can tinker, test, toy, and explore new experiences from across the globe. 

We aim to connect 1 million kids through 360˚, AR, VR, and XR technologies by 2030. Kai XR is ready to help educators help build the skills your 21st century learners need to succeed. If you want to help your kids explore this new world in a safe, educational, and engaging environment, we invite you to take the next step and schedule a demo to get started.

In the meantime, check out our other posts: 

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In memory of my sunshine, Ky(ra) G. Frazier. Love you to the moon and back.