The first Metaverse Roadmap (MVR) is now complete and available in both web and PDF formats at http://metaverseroadmap.org/overview. The MVR has been a year-long, a cross-industry effort to vision the near term convergence of Web 2.0, simulation and video games into an integrated metaverse. factors in the growth of the metaverseIt considers factors like the growth in network density, bandwidth and storage capacity to predict typical usage of metaverse technologies in the next ten years. The MVR project report continues:

In recent years, the term (metaverse) has grown beyond Stephenson’s 1992 vision of an immersive 3D virtual world, to include aspects of the physical world objects, actors, interfaces, and networks that construct and interact with virtual environments. We have collected several definitions in the Glossary (Sec. 20) of the MVR Inputs. Here is one that seems as good a starting point as any: The Metaverse is the convergence of 1) virtually-enhanced physical reality and 2) physically persistent virtual space. It is a fusion of both, while allowing users to experience it as either.

There is no single, unified entity called the Metaverse—rather, there are multiple mutually-reinforcing ways in which virtualization and 3D web tools and objects are being embedded everywhere in our environment and becoming persistent features of our lives. These technologies will emerge contingent upon potential benefits, investments, and customer interest, and will be subject to drawbacks and unintended consequences.

In time, many of the Internet activities we now associate with the 2D Web will migrate to the 3D spaces of the Metaverse. This does not mean all or even most of our web pages will become 3D, or even that we’ll typically read web content in 3D spaces. It means that as new tools develop, we’ll be able to intelligently mesh 2D and 3D to gain the unique advantages of each, in the appropriate context.

In an extensive article this month MIT’s Technology Review calls this coming persistent virtual environment Second Earth:

The World Wide Web will soon be absorbed into the World Wide Sim: an environment combining elements of Second Life and Google Earth.

When you consider the Metaverse Roadmap and MIT Second Earth reports with the previously noted work that IBM has been doing, you’ve got good a foundation for imagining where information, communications, educational and entertainment technology is headed.