Lesson 22 of 22
In Progress

Spatial Web In Depth Overview

UPG Team March 20, 2023

The Spatial Web has been described as the next era of computing. Deloitte put out a report in 2020 that walks through the broad strokes of what the Web means.

They boil down to the integration of the digital and physical world. But I’m going to take you through a much more detailed perspective of the Web. So it begins with the usual suspects of emerging modern technology. Names and terms you’ve heard of that seem to be unrelated, except that they’re all occurring in the same era.

You know, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 5G, crypto, data rights, blockchain, and quantum computing. These are all separate technologies, but they’re all emerging around the same time. If you boil it down, there are really four major trends that these fit into.

So those trends are essentially immersive computing, which includes augmented and virtual reality. There’s physical computing, which you can think of as the Internet of Things. It’s various sensors, cameras, devices, robotics, autonomous vehicles, and more. There’s cognitive computing, which is artificial intelligence and machine learning.

And then there’s distributed computing, which is more about computing moving from the cloud to the edge, happening on devices, on robotic systems. Autonomous vehicles need to be able to compute in real time. They can’t go to the cloud and ask whether or not they should hit the brakes. Distributed ledgers, like blockchains, also belong to distributed computing. So these four major trends, though, are really about a single meta-trend, and that is computing moving into the space around us.

Whether that’s holographic or immersive information where we’re moving into virtual worlds or virtual content overlaying physical objects in the real world, physical computing itself, all these various sensors and robotics that are making sense and tracking activities in the world. Whether this is a temperature sensor or a Nest device, or this is an AI-powered drone. It’s part of the same thing – AI and cognitive computing. Increasingly, by using information about the real world and having what we call even AI at the edge in what’s called federated computing, where those artificial intelligence agents and capabilities are happening in those distributed computing environments.

So distributed, immersive, spatial, and ambient computing – you may have heard of these various different terms. They’re all really talking about some sort of spatial computing. The other lens to look through is the lens of Eras. We talked about all those various technologies, and you can fit them into those four major trend buckets.

There are other perspectives, really, on these technologies. So there’s what’s called the Human 2.0 lens. This is about digital health and wellbeing, CRISPR, genomics editing, and even the role of humans interfacing with artificial intelligence, like things like Elon Musk’s company, Neuralink, which is going to have the brain become the interface to technology. It’s a Society 5.0 lens, which is really about the different ages of human societies, and the Japanese have emerged with this narrative around what they call the smart society. There is the Industry 4.0 lens, which is predominantly around automation and robotic systems, advanced technological systems in our industrial enterprise environments.

And then there’s the Web 3.0 or Web three narrative, which is kind of at the intersection. Being able to use computing systems to, in a trustworthy way, execute certain activities as well. As many of us would argue, it’s about that being multidimensional. So it’s kind of this intersection of metaverse-type narratives.

Taking that step back. What everyone is really interested in is not just that these technologies are powerful in and of themselves, they’re all exponential in the sense that they have incredible power, but the convergence of these emerging exponential technologies and being able to use them together is really what this whole era is about.

And the outcomes, goals, and applications that we’re looking for have to do with the relationship between these various different types of tech. So you can think of this through a lens of several perspectives. This is called Integral Theory. Integral Theory basically says there are four major perspectives on any one thing at any given time.

When we take that bucket of buzzword salad and put it here in our bowl. In the middle, you can have an individual perspective that is an interior perspective. So this would be kind of more about if I told you I’m in love, well, I can’t prove that that’s a very subjective perspective.

On these technologies, that’s an individual interior perspective. There’s an individual exterior perspective. This would be an objective perspective. So if I was talking about love, you might say, “Self, this is just chemical reactions in your brain.” There are two different perspectives on the same event.

In the bottom left, you’ve got a collective interior perspective. This is like the area of culture and value. So maybe a religious perspective on love. And then there could be an external collective perspective, which we consider an inter-objective perspective, more of a systems theory point of view. We might talk about the result of what happened when different characters or beings or people fall in love, essentially to produce more mammals at scale.

When we take the thing in the middle and replace love with this pool of emerging technology, an individual exterior perspective, or objective perspective, is the Human 2.0 perspective. They see these technologies through the lens of advancing human biology, intelligence, health, and well-being.

If you look at these technologies through an individual interior perspective, more of the experiential perspective, that’s a metaverse perspective. It’s really saying, “Hey, what is the experiential view of that?” So, I’m interested in all these technologies but more about how I experience entertainment, education, environments, or travel.

The Industry 4.0 perspective looks at this through the lens of productivity, optimization, and autonomous systems. And finally, there’s a Society 5.0 perspective as well. All these perspectives are equally valid, right? They are valid unto themselves, and they are also collapsible into each other, but they’re not reducible.

You cannot reduce a subjective perspective to an objective perspective. And so, what’s powerful about this is that these various different views are sector or industry perspectives on the relationship of these technologies. They would all like to use IoT, AI, 5G, holographic data sets, robotic systems, and blockchain for certain things, but their perspectives on those are quite different. There are different books, theories, groups, and forums driving these various narratives.

So, those are these four perspectives on emerging technology. What we would really like, and what I mentioned in the beginning, is we would like to network these various technologies. What that means is we’d like them all to be able to work together. We’d like to compose different combinations, and in fact, the applications that each of those different sector perspectives on these technologies are taking is really about how they can use them for the applications that are relevant to them.

Our argument is that the spatial web enables the inter-networking, the interoperability of these various different technologies, and that these different lenses are just sub-perspectives on a network that would serve all of them. And so, the spatial web actually enables the inter-networking of these emerging technologies that can power all of the various applications that these different sectors are looking for with respect to the way that they combine technologies to get the kind of applications they’re looking for.

This is in part why Deloitte is calling this the next Era of computing. It’s why it’s so consequential because once you have a standardized approach to making those different technologies work together, you can essentially get what are called network effects, where there are scalable benefits and scalable value for all the participants in that network.

At Verses, they have developed some of those core standards, which are standard ways of enabling these technologies to be interoperable, enabling them to be governable, and they donated that early research and development to their own spatial web foundation. They created a non-profit, and it has many of Verses’ original members, and they started to develop these standards.

It was critical to be able to do this because the World Wide Web Foundation today, which is a non-profit organization that developed and standardized all of the World Wide Web standards that we’ve been relying on for the last 30 years or so, is a really critical piece in order to enable free market opportunities on top of it, but not to have a competitive base.

They started developing this core standard and partnered with the IEEE, one of the largest standards bodies in the world. Hundreds of thousands of engineers and scientists from every country collaborating for over a hundred years on everything electrical, electronic, and large network scale computing that we do today. Wi-Fi is an IEEE standard, and so is Ethernet, which powers 95% of all the activities we do today on the web, on the internet. So, they developed the Spatial Web Protocol, Architecture, and Governance Working Group with the IEEE. They donated the IP, which was the specifications of the white paper, and that has been declared a public imperative by the IEEE, their highest designation. This is because they recognize the importance of enabling the kinds of outcomes that we talked about for these various sectors and why interoperability and governance over data, devices, and content become so critical in this next era.

To walk you through this by going backward to go forwards, when the web first came out, we had web domains. We’re all familiar with how that works. HTML was a way to program layout information on a page, and HTTP protocol allowed us to link and connect those various pages, essentially teleporting between them.

One last point to mention is that the web itself was designed as a stateless system. That means the states, the activities that happen when you surf the World Wide Web, don’t get captured in the web in any way. They get captured by the companies that intermediate our access to the web, like browser companies such as Safari, Chrome, or Microsoft Explorer. These companies capture those states, which we call data, and they’ve monetized that data in powerful ways, building multi-trillion-dollar businesses on top of it.

In the era of the spatial web, the addresses for locations are called spatial domains. These can be three-dimensional locations instead of just addresses for pages. The programming method we use for websites is HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), while for the spatial web, we use HSML (Hyperspace Modeling Language), a way of modeling objects and environments in a space in a standard manner. Then there’s HSTP (Hyperspace Transaction Protocol), a stateful protocol that captures the states of the spatial web, allowing individuals to own and control the states they generate.

This new approach to the spatial web enables a more interconnected, interoperable, and user-centric experience that can revolutionize various sectors and industries. By working together and using common standards, we can unlock the full potential of emerging technologies and create a more inclusive, efficient, and innovative future.

The Spatial Web focuses on data privacy, ownership, and control as first-class citizens, as opposed to an afterthought they have often been in the Web 2.0 era. This starts with new kinds of addresses, and spatial domains, which can represent various locations in a city, regardless of shape. These locations can be nested, creating a Russian doll effect, allowing for permissions around IoT devices, robots, drones, or holographic content, and controlling where they can appear and what they can do.

Similar to how web domains allow control over content access and user interaction, the Spatial Web extends these concepts to multidimensional spaces. The major difference lies in the nature of the web itself. The Spatial Web is not just a web of documents or pages, like the World Wide Web, but a web of spaces. These spaces can be physical, virtual overlays over physical spaces, or entirely virtual spaces.

The popular concept of the Metaverse has emerged as a potential multi-trillion dollar sector and is a subset of the Spatial Web, sharing principles for what users and objects can and cannot do in these spaces. This is why we represent it in the Web 3.0 metaverse lens. The movement of objects and users between the web of spaces is just a subset of the Metaverse, which is itself a subset of the Spatial Web.

The Hyperspace Modeling Language (HSML) essentially describes the context of any situation involving any class of user, object, policy, or activity in physical, digital, or virtual spaces. There are categories of who’s and what’s, and how’s, which dictate what can be done where, and when across different dimensions, including space and time.

In the physical reality we exist in today, different jurisdictions, such as city, county, state, and federal governments, may have certain policies related to autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, access to specific data sets, or facial recognition cameras. These policies might not apply to virtual versions of the same location, such as a simulation environment or a virtual sci-fi entertainment metaverse. We need all of these policies to exist, but with different approaches for managing activities, credentialing authorities, and governing the actions of actors and assets.

This structure is organized into what we call a graph, which looks at the relationships, interrelationships, and interdependencies between different hyperspace elements. Here, the focus is on the edges that govern the relationships between these elements. For example, a user or actor must have the authority to perform an activity that applies to an asset in a particular space and time. This authority comes from an organization like the FAA or DMV, which issues digital credentials to the user.

Unlike the World Wide Web and the Internet, where many interactions are open and security is often applied as an afterthought, the Spatial Web has security and privacy built into its design by default. It is a permission system in a zero-trust architecture, meaning every interaction or transaction in the Spatial Web must ask for permission and present the appropriate credential or authority. This is especially important as computing moves into the world around us, into our homes, streets, and schools, ensuring a more secure and private environment in this new era.

A few years ago, an article posed the question, “Who owns your Fitbit data?” When a company that’s tracking all this information about you goes out of business, the data could vanish or be A few years ago, an article asked, “Who owns your Fitbit data?” This question highlights the growing importance of data governance, especially with the rise of smart devices, wearables, and data-driven experiences that are increasingly becoming part of our daily lives. The Spatial Web aims to address these challenges by offering data interoperability and data governance by design and by default.

Smart clothing and wearables are part of a massive market that is set to evolve even further, involving advanced features and capabilities such as health monitoring and augmented reality experiences. It is essential to ensure these devices work together seamlessly, and users can control where their data goes while maintaining their privacy and security. With the help of the Spatial Web, these concerns can be addressed, paving the way for better integration of technology into our lives.

Smart cities are the future, with an estimated 70% of the human population expected to live in cities by 2050. These cities must adopt new approaches to transportation, mobility, government services, and retail, making transactions automated and frictionless. Imagine a world where you can walk into any store or restaurant, get what you want, and leave without having to worry about payments – all transactions would be automated, just like getting in and out of an Uber. The Spatial Web can play a vital role in turning this vision into a reality.

To achieve this vision, we need smarter maps with more meaning attached to them, encompassing indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as real-world and virtual spaces that both humans and machines can understand. The Spatial Web enables a new generation of interfaces with secure access control over data sets, interfaces, and dashboards for industrial, enterprise, and city-scale systems.

The future will involve advanced educational experiences and virtual spaces for exploration and collaboration. With the development of new technologies like smart glasses, we can expect a shift in the way we interact with information and each other. As we move into 2023 and beyond, smart glasses and other similar technologies will become more common, replacing mobile phone apps and changing the way we access and share information.

Digital twins, or digital representations driven by real-time sensor information of objects, will enable collaboration and information-sharing at an unprecedented scale. These digital twins can represent anything from a motor in a plane to an entire city, allowing users to interact with and share data about any object, location, or combination thereof. The Spatial Web facilitates global collaboration in ways never before possible, bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds.

The primary goal of the Spatial Web is to enable a smarter world where humans and machines work well together. This collaboration is crucial for addressing global challenges such as climate crises, pandemics, and economic issues. By simulating the impacts of our decisions at scale, we can better prepare for and address the challenges of the future. The Spatial Web enables global collaboration, not just for documents, but for any object, location, or combination thereof at any scale. This powerful capability allows humans and machines to work together in ways never before possible, verifying and authenticating information about any object, its change of states, and simulations around its potential future.

In conclusion, the Spatial Web’s primary goal is to enable a smarter world where things and people work well together, addressing global challenges such as climate crises, pandemics, and economic issues. By leveraging the Spatial Web, we can adopt new ways of thinking and simulate the impacts of our decisions at scale, better preparing us for the challenges ahead. With a combination of advanced technologies, secure data governance, and global collaboration, the Spatial Web has the potential to revolutionize the way we live, work, and learn, bringing about a new era of seamless integration between the physical and digital worlds.

As we progress towards a future of increasing technological innovation, the Spatial Web offers an incredible opportunity to rethink and upgrade our civilization. The concept of Society 5.0, pioneered by Japan, explores this potential in great detail, emphasizing the importance of interoperability, connectivity, traceability, automation, and adaptation across various aspects of life, such as smart factories, smart warehouses, smart retail, smart construction, and smart cities.

Smart factories and warehouses are among the first to benefit from the Spatial Web. These facilities can implement collaborative design, asset tracking, automated fulfillment, fleet management, drone deliveries, and spatial contracts. The Spatial Web optimizes layouts and fosters harmony between humans, robots, and machines, leading to significant productivity gains and reduced cognitive load on workers. This creates a healthier and more efficient work environment, benefitting both employees and businesses.

In the realm of smart retail, auto-checkout systems and real-time inventory management will revolutionize the shopping experience. Personalized routing through stores based on grocery lists or dietary concerns will improve efficiency for both customers and businesses. Additionally, the Spatial Web can facilitate the automation of restocking and the efficient use of space within retail stores, streamlining the entire retail process.

Smart construction will also benefit from the Spatial Web’s advanced capabilities. Workers can follow 3D blueprints, smart equipment, and tools, allowing them to adhere to precise instructions and avoid hazards such as underground gas lines or electrical wires. The technology can also help construction teams better visualize and plan their projects, reducing errors and waste.

Smart mining and supply chain management stand to witness vast improvements through the automation and contractual obligations embedded within the Spatial Web. The HyperSpace Transaction Protocol (HSTP) enables seamless transactions and the fulfillment of requirements between various parties, automating processes and increasing efficiency across the entire supply chain.

The same technology can be applied to smart oil and gas operations, intelligent mining, and smart airports. The Spatial Web considers the impact on climate and incorporates policies and incentives as part of this transformation. Ultimately, these technologies will be integrated into smart cities, where standards and interoperability ensure that everyone benefits from technological advancements, regardless of implementation level or maturity.

The ultimate goal of the Spatial Web is to create an intelligent, planetary-scale network that positively impacts the world. Whether it’s fulfilling the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, running simulations to envision the world in 2050, or finding ways to tackle global challenges, the Spatial Web provides the tools necessary to make a difference.

By harnessing the power of exponentially emerging technology, we can build a smarter world together, one in which we address global crises and continuously improve the human condition. The Spatial Web allows us to envision a “white mirror” future, where technology is used for the betterment of society, rather than a dystopian “black mirror” reality. In this future, we create a world that is smarter, more efficient, and works well for everyone, fostering global collaboration and innovation across a multitude of industries and applications.

In conclusion, the Spatial Web has the potential to create a more interconnected and efficient world, addressing pressing global issues and making a real impact on our lives. With the power of the Spatial Web, we can upgrade our civilization, create a smarter world, and work together to face the challenges of the future. By embracing the Spatial Web and the principles of Society 5.0, we can achieve a “white mirror” future that harnesses the power of technology for the benefit of all.

The Spatial Web is A Revolution in How We Live, Work, and Thrive

Jay Samit, former vice chairman of Deloitte and current board member at Verses, believes that the impact of the Spatial Web will dwarf that of the internet itself. This revolutionary concept centers around computing moving into the world around us, enabling network effects across various technologies, and fostering interoperability and governance. Ultimately, the applications and implications of the Spatial Web will exceed those of the internet as we know it today.

The Spatial Web encompasses a web of smart spaces, where objects and activities can be automated and governed seamlessly. Verses, the company behind this vision, sees each of these smart spaces as a “verse.” The name Verses is derived from the word “verse,” which signifies a space containing objects moving in time and space and governed by a set of laws or rules. This concept is applicable to the universe, the metaverse, the multiverse, and beyond.

Verses aims to enable interoperability and harness the benefits of various powerful technologies and applications across all the “verses.” As a company, Verses is dedicated to imagining a smarter world and building the next generation of tools on top of the standards discussed earlier. These tools will assist us all in creating a more interconnected and intelligent future.

For those interested in learning more about the Spatial Web, a book by Gabriel Rene and Dan Mapes, titled “The Spatial Web: How Web 3.0 Will Connect Humans, Machines, and AI to Transform the World,” is available on Amazon. This book dives deeper into the ideas and potential of the Spatial Web, providing valuable insights into the transformative power of this emerging technology.

In conclusion, the Spatial Web represents a groundbreaking shift in how we live, work, and thrive. By embracing the potential of this technology and the vision of companies like Verses, we can collaboratively build a smarter, more interconnected world that benefits everyone. The Spatial Web offers an exciting glimpse into a future where technology transcends traditional boundaries, empowering us to innovate and create a better world together.

In conclusion, the Spatial Web represents a groundbreaking shift in how we live, work, and thrive. By embracing the potential of this technology and the vision of companies like Verses, we can collaboratively build a smarter, more interconnected world that benefits everyone. The Spatial Web offers an exciting glimpse into a future where technology transcends traditional boundaries, empowering us to innovate and create a better world together.