How network connectivity and the metaverse will shape the future

Metaverse VR

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Niall Norton, Amdocs General Manager & Amdocs Networks Division President, explores how the metaverse is likely to evolve.

We’ve already seen bumps in the economy this year, and many expect these to continue throughout the second half of the year and beyond. So where will network technologies fit in the big picture?

In the macroeconomy environment, communication is just as important as electricity. In that sense, it’s almost recession-proof. However, where people spend their money will change. For example, they may not buy that VR headset for games, but they’ll still invest in their business — this is where telcos should focus.

Additionally, we must offer the right things in the business domain. For instance, businesses may put the more speculative aspects of 5G on the back burner for six months as the economy settles. But the move towards cloud computing may accelerate — not only from the dollars and cents but also from the green perspective (i.e., power consumption.)

While telcos may dial back on purchasing features they don’t need right away, they will double down on technologies that drive customer experience and revenues, such as billing capabilities (e.g., subscription, credits.)

Going beyond goofy goggles

The shift in focus will impact the trajectory of the metaverse, which requires an unprecedented level of connectivity. If we consider the metaverse to be as a bright shiny object, its progression may stall. If we see it as a business necessity, its adoption will accelerate.

So, will the metaverse become a reality? Yes, but not in a way that some expect.

What many call the metaverse today (people swinging a controller with shoebox-sized goggles on their heads) won’t become the next generation of the web.

The real value of the metaverse lies in changing how things work in the business domain — for example, making smart factories more cost-efficient and using holographic technology to deliver training.

The shift will take place gradually over the next two to three years, and things will converge because they all solve similar business problems. These solutions won’t be flashy — the real change will be incremental and allow us to use the internet in more engaging ways.

So, what will the metaverse look like?

The metaverse has many use cases, and smart cities are a great example of how the technologies can drive changes at multiple levels.

A smart city has a digital twin of its IRL version. The virtual version portrays everything from where the power lines are, how the sewage works, how the traffic flows, and even where crimes are happening.

You can overlay an inventory of systems, such as streetlights, to know when the last maintenance happened and if anything is faulty. You can zoom in on every aspect of the inner workings and precisely see where actions are needed.

All these functionalities require monitoring devices and connectivity — this is why telcos’ enabling capabilities are critical in the value chain. Imagine you can make building maintenance sexy!

The granularity of how people access and use services will also change the pricing approach. Companies can charge for services based on time criticality, bandwidth consumption, etc. Customers can purchase on a per-use basis and have the option to pay more for premium content and features when they want them.

Creators will have more ways to monetize their content (e.g., a concert replayed from different camera angles and at different resolutions at various price points.) Meanwhile, telcos can create content stores and self-service capabilities to facilitate distribution and transactions.

Bottom line: Telcos must deliver solutions that remove complexities and make the experience as convenient as possible.

Looking forward

Today, every service — from financial services to healthcare — requires a network component, and companies need telcos as their strategic partners.

Beyond immediate business needs, networks and connectivity are key to enabling the green agenda. They also democratize access to information and services to give more people a shot at creating a better life.

This reality is within reach: The cost of the software I’m building is now 50% lower because we’re using much less data center capacity (i.e., a smaller carbon footprint) to achieve the same output. Besides solving business problems and adding value, we’re setting up solutions to address broader societal challenges.

We’re on the right path, and this will be the year when we land the plane, see how things come together, and what it all means. The metaverse is an accumulation of functionality enabled by a series of platforms, and it will be exciting to see how things unfold.


After holding C-level positions at Openet, Telefónica and O2 Ireland, Niall Norton is now General Manager for Amdocs Networks. Niall has responsibility for the commercial strategy related to Amdocs portfolio of software and services for the network market domain which includes business development and support for customers and partners spanning dozens of projects across service and network automation, 5G PCC (policy and charging control), network slicing, private networks, API exposure and more. He also works closely with operators worldwide to help craft transformation strategies for the 5G-era.

Niall joined Amdocs in August 2020 following its acquisition of Openet where he served as board member and Chief Executive Officer for 14 years and played a key part in the company’s recognition by Deloitte in its Best Managed Companies Awards 2017. Other executive positions held by Niall include Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary at Telefónica and earlier, CFO of O2 Ireland, a position he held for four years.


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