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‘Groundbreaking and revolutionary’: TRT enters the Metaverse

Türkiye’s public broadcaster, TRT, has revealed a trailblazing project that it hopes will chart out the future of media and broadcasting.

The TRT Metaverse project was unveiled to the public at the ‘TRT Metaverse & Broadcasting Forum’ in Istanbul on June 10, with opening speeches made by TRT Director General Mehmet Zahid Sobaci and Presidency’s Director of Communications, Fahrettin Altun.

The forum aimed to explain the public broadcaster’s vision for the future that will introduce viewers to a bold, new and exciting three-dimensional world.

In his opening remarks, Altun said that TRT has been a company of firsts and will continue to be at the forefront of media in Türkiye.

“The Metaverse is one of the technologies that is going to shape our future,” Altun said. “At the moment, people are limited at what they can do in the Metaverse, but it looks like it will soon change the way we live, do business, and perceive the world.”

And one industry ripe for such change is media and news broadcasting. Enter: Türkiye’s first Metaverse agency, STANDBY.ME, and ILLUSORR, the world’s first design-oriented Metaverse platform.

In the first of four panels during the forum, ‘Designing the Metaverse’, Can Yurdakul, CEO of STANDBY.ME, moderated a discussion with ILLUSORR co-founders Sara El Jamal, Begum Aydinoglu and Faisal U-K about the TRT Metaverse and the significance of the project for the industry.

Aydinoglu described the TRT Metaverse project as a “benchmark” that will set broadcasting industry standards moving forward. “When you watch the news, it’s a one-way interaction,” she said. But with the immersive nature of the Metaverse, users will be able to “teleport to an environment to experience the qualities of that environment,” she said.

Faisal U-K called it a “groundbreaking and revolutionary” project that will set the standard for both the Metaverse and broadcasting industry moving forward. “It’s equivalent to the first media network to have a website; they had a large advantage over everyone else,” he said.

Highlighting the Metaverse as the next stage of the internet – what is referred to as Web 3.0 – Faisal U-K said that projects like TRT Metaverse will prompt a new conversation around how digital content is broadcasted and consumed.

“Imagine instead of having to go on Twitter to see news or watch it on TV, you can enter the Metaverse with your avatar, click on a certain channel, and be immersed in a live 360-degree feed in Rwanda, Egypt or Ukraine,” he explained. “You are there with reporters, experiencing the news in real time. Those are the kind of immersive experiences the Metaverse is going to introduce to the conversation.”

Aydinoglu emphasised the idea of being able to live through experiences in the way storytelling aims to do. “Through our research, the experience of an avatar and accessing information is at the forefront of design,” she added, underscoring the importance of striking a balance between content creation and design in the Metaverse.

After a brief launch video showcasing the TRT project, the ILLUSORR trio touched upon how it will work. The main feature is an interactive globe, which an avatar can manipulate by picking a country from which they can directly consume its news. The project will be linked to TRT’s exhaustive archive and all its channels.

Faisal U-K described the creative process behind the project like “a dream you’d like to have in reality”. Only, it’s a “functional dream” which can be manifested in the Metaverse.

“Clicking on a specific country and getting an immersive experience of it is something that changes the way you interact with news and broadcasting,” he said. By interacting with the news in such a dynamic and immersive way, it can also educate you about geography, he added.

“It has layers of functionality that enhances the experience of the physical world.”

Türkiye’s broadcaster spans lifetimes into the future

Can Yurdakul said he grew up with Türkiye’s – at one time only – broadcaster, TRT. “When I was a kid, I used to watch my favourite show on TRT.” Yurdakul said he only found out recently that his father had worked for TRT as well, telling TRT World that the public corporation was a big part of his life.

Yurdakul said TRT’s Metaverse project has already moved past the conceptual stage and is being coded at the moment. “We have the architecture ready,” he noted, “but we want to hear the voice of the people. We want to create [the TRT Metaverse] together.”

Sara El Jamal said that during ILLUSORR’s own launch event in the Metaverse, their guests arrived as avatars and were able to communicate with each other. “This is something that’s currently missing right now on social media channels, because it’s only through a chat where you’re able to communicate,” she pointed out, whereas in the Metaverse, communication flows both ways.

Jamal warned that the Metaverse needs to be regulated to offer its users protections from ill-meaning parties. In addition to providing users with privacy and security options to protect themselves, Jamal also said that companies need to define their audience before they take their Metaverse presence to the masses.

“Without this, I think it’s just going to end up being another entertainment gaming social media platform.”

Faisal U-K said there are two ways that a user can interact with the Metaverse: “Either you’re fully immersed in it through VR goggles, or you’re not fully immersed through devices.” He predicted that within two to five years a device will emerge that will allow for a fully immersive experience, as well as a mixed reality experience with the physical world.

“I think that device is smart glasses,” he concluded.

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