The Metaverse Standards Forum is a unique cooperative organization encouraging interoperability for an open and inclusive metaverse through gathering industry requirements and expertise—and promoting the success and visibility of standardization efforts through the Forum’s broad membership and close connection to standards organizations, industry, and academia.
The Forum’s Domain Group Process is a cornerstone of its activities to ensure that all members can influence the priorities and work of the Forum, and that the Forum focuses on pragmatic projects and deliverables that meet urgent and meaningful metaverse interoperability needs.
The Metaverse Standards Forum Domain Group Process
The Forum follows a consensus-based, bottom-up, three-step process to identify activities and projects where the membership wishes to focus their efforts. The first step is to poll all Forum members for their highest priority metaverse interoperability-related topics and to upvote those topics that they consider to be most important.
Using the prioritized topic list as input, any Forum member may propose an Exploratory Group to address interoperability topics in the domains with the highest member interest, and the Forum maintains a pipeline of Exploratory Groups proposals that the membership can upvote. If a proposal gains member interest, an Exploratory Group is approved, and is tasked with building consensus on projects and activities that can best progress interoperability in that domain, and capturing those insights in a draft Working Group charter. The Forum encourages charters that identify pragmatic projects with short-term deliverables that drive well-defined interoperability benefits.
If a proposed Working Group charter enjoys strong member support, then that Working Group is approved and begins work to execute the projects in its charter to produce publicly available deliverables to provide benefits both to Forum members and the wider industry. Any Forum member is welcome to initiate, participate in, and stand for election to lead Forum Working Groups.
The Metaverse Standards Forum Domain Group Process
Forum Exploratory and Working groups meet regularly, typically every 1-2 weeks, and there are often multiple Forum meetings happening every day. Working Groups often start their work by inviting a series of distinguished speakers to present to Forum members, to gain the insights into state-of-the-art activities in that domain. The Forum has collected those sessions into a publicly available video library that continues to grow.
The Metaverse Standards Forum Domain Group Pipeline
With its pipeline of member-driven Domain Groups, the Forum has fostered an unprecedented level of regular, open dialogue among the standards development community and wider industry. In another milestone moment for the Metaverse Standard Forum, five new Domain Groups and one new Exploratory Group have been approved by the Forum Oversight Committee. They are now up and running to help solve the challenges of creating an open and inclusive Metaverse. Today the Forum has ten active Domain Groups, with an additional three Exploratory Groups, working on projects across domains including: 3D Interoperability, Digital Twins and Geospatial, Ecosystem Navigation and Discovery, Technology Stack, Engagement and Education, and Legal/Policy issues.
Metaverse Standards Forum Domain Groups as of February 2024
A look at our newly approved Working Groups
Privacy, Cybersecurity & Identity Domain Group
The Metaverse has inherited many of the same concerns and challenges we face in our everyday lives when it comes to protecting sensitive information. Ensuring privacy, security, and robust identity management is foundational for the Metaverse to be a safe, enjoyable, and productive space for everyone.
This domain group’s priority is to deliver recommendations for responsible innovation that mitigates human and societal harm from objective and subjective privacy risks, which includes personal privacy, cybersecurity, and identity risk management at the global level. The Working Group is charged with curating standards, guidelines, policies, and technical frameworks for various metaverse-related use cases across various jurisdictions.
Interoperable Characters/Avatars Domain Group
The popularity of avatars and characters in gaming, virtual worlds, and the Metaverse shows no signs of slowing down. A myriad of creator tools, often designed to be used with specific applications, are now available in the market. Multiple platforms and applications leverage diverse techniques, providing use-case-focused avatars and characters across multiple market segments.
The group seeks to foster collaboration and discourse among avatar and character creators, including companies, open-source projects, and standards-developing organizations (SDOs). The goal is to identify and resolve interoperability issues and create opportunities in key use cases, encouraging the incremental expansion of interoperable avatar and character capabilities that grow technical and commercial opportunities for all involved.
Digital Fashion Wearables for Avatars
The goal of the Digital Fashion Wearables Domain Group is to generate insights and interoperability around digital fashion such as: clothing (including a layering system), shoes, hats, accessories. The Domain Group is surveying the current landscape of existing file formats for storing avatars and related assets, generating use cases and requirements for avatar customisation, and defining logic for a wearables system including dress up, dress down, and replace options. The group is also considering developing an open source avatar validation tool for reliable import and export from popular authoring tools such as Blender.
End-User Technical Troubleshooting Domain Group
The Forum has always had a strong emphasis on troubleshooting. The Domain Group will provide guidance to the industry to help enable proper troubleshooting in case of errors by identifying the source.
They will also provide a testbed, including already existing requirements and tests to confirm that devices support a common set of features so that end users can enjoy consistent experiences no matter what brand of device they own. The quality of the graphics/audio might be scaled to device capabilities, but the experience should be usable without manual user intervention.
3D Web Interoperability Domain Group
The mission of the 3D Web Interoperability Working Group is to enable Metaverse capabilities and content to be deployed on the web by informing and encouraging the web standards ecosystem to evolve to support Metaverse use cases and for the web to support and leverage broader Metaverse interoperability initiatives. Increasing synergy to avoid redundancies is a critical component of success.
The Working Group’s specific goals will include informing and fostering cooperative standardization on asset interoperability, tooling for mixed-use asset formats, building consensus on how browsers should evolve to support 3D, and exploring what networking services will be required for a sustainable Metaverse experience.
New Exploratory Groups Approved!
Industrial Metaverse Exploratory Group
The Industrial Metaverse enables collaboration between geographically dispersed teams through virtual environments, expert avatars, digital twins, data visualization, AR/VR, and the emerging concept of Shared Reality (SR). The Industrial metaverse is expected to be deployed at scale first, before the consumer market. The consumer market is mostly gaming-centric with willingness-to-pay, QoE, and form-factors still requiring improvement for mass-scale deployment and device proliferation. The industrial metaverse benefits from use cases having immediate return on investments. While the consumer market is still awaiting a technological breakthrough, the industry and enterprise domains are closer to deployments at scale.
Volumetric Media Exploratory Group
Because of the widespread interest and isolated initiatives, the volumetric media ecosystem is becoming fragmented. Building understanding on various volumetric media solutions would be beneficial for the industry to try and identify possible interoperability points between different systems or contribute to harmonizing them. The Volumetric Media Exploratory Group is working to establish a platform for facilitating the discussion between multiple SDOs and industry forums, as well as working on identifying and solving interoperability issues that can help accelerate adoption of volumetric media services.
Educational Register Exploratory Group
The Educational Register Exploratory Group is hoping to build consensus between SDOs about how educational content could be presented, stored, and taught within this new environment. This would also include working within domain groups to align educational content with the working groups efforts.
Exploring New Domains
The Forum members have been making new proposals for Exploratory Groups for the membership to evaluate, provide comments, and vote up or down. We may soon see future Domain Groups around accessibility, ownership and identity, metaverse in real estate and ethics.
We warmly invite any organization to join the Forum and propose, lead, participate in, or monitor Forum Domain Groups that are helpful in accelerating their own objectives. Learn more about the Metaverse Standards Forum Domain Group pipeline here.