HGC wants to be the ‘engine’ of the metaverse

Metaverse VR

Hong Kong-based HGC is completely sold on the whole metaverse idea, and has launched a new suite of services in an effort to capitalise on the hype.

Casting itself as the ‘engine’ of the metaverse, its new portfolio is called EdgeX, and leverages HGC’s various infrastructure assets and managed services, and stitches them together into a cohesive offering that promises OTT companies all the ingredients they need to launch successful metaverse services.

These ingredients include high-speed, low-latency, long-distance IP connectivity, for example. They also include enterprise-grade cloud connectivity, and data centre services including edge storage and compute resources. Cybersecurity will also be available to EdgeX customers, as will various managed services and systems integration services.

“EdgeX by HGC not only offers faster and smoother service delivery, but it also expands OTT services with increased edge agility to capitalise on the enormous growth potential around this sector,” said Cliff Tam, HGC’s international business SVP for global data strategy and operations, in a statement on Thursday. “By allowing OTTs to offload their cloud infrastructure and colocation services while increasing the network speeds, we are enabling users to focus on pushing the boundaries of innovation which is so crucial as the metaverse begins to take shape.”

The shape of the metaverse is still very much abstract. From the examples we’ve seen so far, it is like Animal Crossing but with none of the charm. Or fun. A polite way of putting it would be to say there is a lot more work to be done.

The industry is up for the challenge though. A group of tech firms that includes Meta (Facebook), Nvidia, Epic and Microsoft were among a group of companies that last month banded together to try and hammer the metaverse into some sort of shape. Together they have founded the Metaverse Standards Forum, which among other things aims to bring some consistency to metaverse service development and deployment. They also plan to grapple with issues like privacy, identity management and financial transacting.

Once this consistent and compelling metaverse content has been developed, it still needs decent underlying infrastructure to actually work. This is where HGC thinks its EdgeX portfolio can play a role, providing an optimal networking and cloud environment.

“Companies across the globe are moving fast into this new segment,” the telco said. “However, many lack the knowledge, experience, or scale to build and manage the needed digital backbones to succeed, which require high levels of performance, redundant systems, and seamless integration across the different segments of digital infrastructure. This is where the newly introduced EdgeX by HGC set of services solves the problem.”

Despite the mountain of work that still needs to be done to usher in the era of the metaverse, the hype train has well and truly left the station. Gartner reckons that by 2026, a quarter of people will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse, where they will work, shop, get educated, socialise or generally be entertained. Meanwhile, PwC thinks XR technology – which includes augmented reality, virtual reality, and encompasses all related use cases, not just metaverse stuff – will contribute $206.5 billion to global GDP this year. By the end of the decade, it thinks it will contribute north of $1.5 trillion. Hopefully by then the metaverse experience will be several orders of magnitude more compelling than it is today.


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