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Tencent has its Meta moment as CEO Pony Ma outlines 'immersive convergence'

Video confs to add multi-sensory interaction and by 2040 maybe even brain/machine interfaces

Chinese gaming and web giant Tencent has shared its vision of the techno-future, predicting "immersive convergence" is the coming thing.

The term "immersive convergence" was first used by Tencent founder and CEO Pony Ma in 2020, without explanation.

Tencent yesterday, without warning, published an explanation of the term's meaning.

Sadly the full explanation [PDF] of the concept is available only in Chinese – but The Register has spent even more time than usual in online translation tools and referred to Tencent's brief English-language explanation in an attempt to interpret it.

Ma's vision seems to involve creating a digital twin of the physical environment you inhabit for work and play, so you can move between meatspace and bitspace as needed to take advantage of the best features in each "world".

"Real people can communicate with AI without hindrance, and real objects can be simulated or even changed by the digital world," Tencent enthused. "People can travel in real space and digital space in the form of digital avatars."

Tencent believes that we'll soon have "extended reality" – an augmented reality experience that engages the body as well as sight and sound – and that the internet of things and real-time communications will allow "multi-sensory interaction and multi-modal fusion sensing technology" that will mean "remote interaction can be upgraded into two-way interaction [and] a full sensory experience."

Curiously, the example offered to demonstrate the last paragraph was: "Port operators can use audio and video technologies, coupled with multi-angle cameras, to handle containers remotely in a more efficient way."

The company also offered its "VooV Meeting" Zoom clone as an example of an early "immersive convergence" experience.

But that experience is ripe for upgrade. Technologies like quantum computing, holographic projection, folded optical path technology, and brain-computer interfaces should be rather more advanced by the year 2040, according to Tencent, making it possible for immersive convergence to be more fully realized by that far-off date.

Tencent's cloud will help to deliver the vision by scaling up and out, and by adding data analytics capabilities. Blockchain gets a few mentions as a guarantor of trust among parties enjoying immersive convergence.

Ma's intro to the document explaining the concept states that Tencent was founded to connect people and aims to develop and deliver immersive convergence to keep connecting people.

Which may sound familiar to those of you who could bear to pay attention to Mark Zuckerberg rebooting Facebook as Meta Platforms and declaring "The Metaverse" is the future of human interaction.

Tencent, however, hasn't restructured or rebranded in order to deliver its immersive convergence vision. ®

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