Huawei and Qualcomm are part of the Metaverse Standards Forum to develop industry guidelines that ensure the compatibility of immersive VR worlds. Creating interoperability and promoting collaboration will be at the center of the forum.
Remember that the metaverse is a term coined by Neal Stephenson in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash. Although there is no precise definition of the term, it encompasses the idea that the Internet exists as a worldwide virtual experience, accessible via VR or mixed reality (AR/VR) headsets. Facebook has been the strongest proponent of the idea that the metaverse represents the future of the Internet, while Apple has taken a more reserved stance. Building a comprehensive, open, and globally inclusive metauniverse will require collaboration and coordination among a constellation of international standards organizations, including the Khronos Group, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Open Geospatial Consortium, OpenAR Cloud, the Spatial Web Foundation, and many more.
The Forum will not create standards itself, but will coordinate requirements and resources to promote the creation and development of standards within standardization bodies working in the relevant areas. It can be noted that at this stage there is no Web3 company present or any metaverse like TheSandBox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels…
In a statement, the forum detailed plans to develop uniform terminology and implementation guidelines, as well as various projects to promote testing and adoption of metaverse standards. The Metaverse Standards Forum is open free of charge to any organization and provides a venue for collaboration between standards organizations and businesses to promote the development of interoperability standards.
The forum is hosted by software company Khronos Group with Adobe, Sony, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia … and standards groups including the World Wide Web Consortium also among its participants. The Metaverse Standards Forum is open free of charge to all companies, standards groups and universities. Meta, Microsoft and other tech giants struggling to build the new concept of the metaverse formed a group to support the development of industry standards that would make budding companies’ digital worlds compatible with each other.
Forum activities will be driven by the needs and interests of members and may involve various areas of technology, including but not limited to:
- Interactive 3D assets and photorealistic rendering
- Human interfaces and interaction paradigms, including AR, VR and XR
- User Generated Content
- Avatars, identity management and privacy
- Financial operations
- IOT and digital twins
- Geospatial systems
Basic members include: 0xSenses, Academy Software Foundation, Adobe, Alibaba, Autodesk, Avataar, Blackshark.ai, CalConnect, Cesium, Daly Realism, Disguise, Enosema Foundation, Epic Games, Express Language Foundation, Huawei, IKEA, John Peddie Research, Khronos, Lamina , Maxon , Meta, Microsoft, NVIDIA, OpenAR Cloud, Open Geospatial Consortium, Otoy, Perey Research and Consulting, Qualcomm Technologies, Ribose, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Spatial Web Foundation, Unity, VerseMaker, Wayfair, Web3D Consortium, World Wide Web Consortium and XR Foreningen (XRA).
Forum activities will be driven by the needs and interests of its members and may involve various technology areas such as 3D assets and rendering, human interfaces and interaction paradigms such as AR and VR, user-created content, avatars, identity management, privacy and financial transactions. Forum meetings are expected to start in July 2022.
Standards are the foundation of a pervasive infrastructure, especially since widely used platforms require numerous hardware and software standards. An open and inclusive metaverse at scale will need the right standards at the right time, from many standards bodies! For example, there is a potential beachhead opportunity for meaningful industry standards collaboration between USD and glTF. Both formats actively add attributes and behaviors to transition from 3D assets to metaverse assets. Many questions are asked such as: To what extent are standards and protocols converging? What is the level of interoperability between the different platforms? Is there one unified economy across all platforms? Will digital goods purchased in one metaverse be available in another? Are identities persistent across platforms? Are there consistent design and programming standards?
Of course, regulation will be needed so that IP and digital assets are reliably protected.
While the future of the metaverse is still unknown, there are several actions leaders can take right now, according to Deloitte:
- Don’t underestimate the potential: Formulate a metaverse strategy, but keep it flexible enough to adapt to changes in technology and consumer preferences. Take a “test and learn” approach to consumer and business functions.
- Take a long-term view: Since the general metaverse and the corresponding monetization will likely happen several years from now, companies need to take a long-term view of investments and consider KPIs around consumer and employee engagement in addition to ROI. Consider investments in conjunction with broader digital transformation programs.
- Focus on demand and what drives users : Organizations should focus on how to create compelling content and engaging experiences (eg, exclusive partnerships, user-generated content tools, robust data and insight collection) to establish market share and remain competitive.
- Commit to a “responsible metaverse”: organizations will need to address a range of complexities and risks in the metaverse (e.g. privacy/security, availability, sustainable energy use) and ensure that they proactively build a responsible metaverse and effectively maintain consumer and employee trust.