Tech heavyweights form metaverse standards group

By June 22, 2022Metaverse
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Qualcomm Technologies, Huawei and Microsoft are some of the tech heavyweights that are getting together to form the Metaverse Standards Forum to foster the development of open standards for the metaverse.

Announced Tuesday, the forum will explore where the lack of interoperability is holding back metaverse deployment and how members can work with other standards organizations to address metaverse needs.

Standards developing organizations (SDOs) specifically called out in the announcement are The Khronos Group, the World Wide Web Consortium, the Open Geospatial Consortium, the Open AR Cloud and the Spatial Web Foundation. The plan is to foster cooperation between diverse SDOs and companies to define priorities for metaverse standards and reduce duplication of efforts across the industry.

Hosted by the Khronos Group, the forum is open to any company, standards organization or university at no charge. There’s also a principal member level for those that want to fund forum projects and provide oversight.

“The metaverse will bring together diverse technologies, requiring a constellation of interoperability standards, created and maintained by many standards organizations,” said Khronos President Neil Trevett. “The Metaverse Standards Forum is a unique venue for coordination between standards organizations and industry, with a mission to foster the pragmatic and timely standardization that will be essential to an open and inclusive metaverse.”

Some other founding members are Adobe, Alibaba, Autodesk, IKEA, Nvidia and Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is part of the forum. But Reuters and others noted the absence of Apple, which is expected to become a big player in the metaverse race when it introduces a mixed reality headset this year or next.

In a blog post last month, Meta’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg said there won’t be a Meta-run metaverse, just as there isn’t a “Microsoft internet” or “Google internet” today. “Like the internet, the metaverse will be an interconnected system that transcends national borders, so there will need to be a web of public and private standards, norms and rules to allow for it to operate across jurisdictions,” he said.

He likened the structure of the metaverse to a building, where each floor supports the one above it and for each floor, and within each floor, there will be different kinds of rules and regulations. At the foundation of the building are the hardware, such as phones, VR headsets and AR glasses, and the technical protocols and standards that ensure the various technologies are interoperable.

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