Setting Course for an Open Metaverse Part 1: Updates from the First 60 Days of the Metaverse Standards Forum

Sep 1, 2022

In June 2022, following an initiative inspired by Neil Trevett, Patrick Cozzi and Marc Petit, 37 founding member companies, standards development organizations (SDOs), and industry associations joined together to launch the Metaverse Standards Forum — a venue to cooperate and coordinate on building a pervasive, open, and inclusive metaverse at global scale.

The 37 Founding Members of the Metaverse Standards Forum in June 2022

The goal of the Metaverse Standards Forum is to foster alignment on requirements and priorities for metaverse interoperability standards and accelerate their development and deployment through pragmatic, action-based projects. In just two months after launch, over 1500 companies and SDOs have joined! This level of interest is a strong indication that the industry does believe that the metaverse needs to be based on a foundation of open standards, and that we need cooperation to build those standards effectively.

1500+ Members of the Metaverse Standards Forum in August 2022

The Forum is not a new standards organization – it is a venue for discussion and coordination between SDOs and the wider industry. Our goal is to identify critical requirements for metaverse standards and exercise real-world interoperability with plugfest, pilot and testbed projects. The Forum does not create interoperability standards; it fosters their creation at the SDOs by communicating requirements and priorities. Open to all with no participation fee, NDA, or patent licensing obligations, the Forum is a unique venue where multiple standards organizations and the industry have gathered to coordinate over the creation of open interoperability standards that will be needed for the metaverse. If the Forum is successful, the industry will have more effective metaverse standards and it will have them sooner!

The Industry Role of the Metaverse Standards Forum

With over 1500 members, the Forum has a unique opportunity to create widespread visibility, and drive cooperation on metaverse standards with meaningful participation that can make a significant difference in the industry. But of course, it also creates interesting challenges to organize for effective action and decision-making! In the first 60 days, the Forum kicked off with a regular meeting cadence, and is following a multi-step process to identify which metaverse topics the Forum membership wishes to focus on via the Forum’s online portal and tools, to organize those topics into domains, and then establish working groups to execute projects focused on solving interoperability issues in those domains.

In the early weeks of the Forum, a wide diversity of over 200 topics were suggested by the Forum membership, ranging from avatar animations, decentralized user ID, cross-blockchain interoperability, physics simulation, interactive behaviors, standardized protocols for Visual Positioning Services and ethical standards for the metaverse.

These topics have been grouped into domains, and Forum members upvoted the domains they felt would have the most industry impact. So far, the most upvoted domains include:

  • Interoperable 3D Assets
  • Privacy, Safety, Security, Inclusion
  • User Identity
  • Avatars and Apparel
  • Real/Virtual World Integration and Geospatial
  • Teaching and Education
  • Payments and Economy
  • XR and UI

The next step in the process is to form Domain Working Groups to generate and execute specific project proposals. These Domain Working Groups will elect chairs from the membership and focus on executing project work products such as guidelines and recommendations, pilot projects, open-source tooling, plugfest data, and generating use case and requirement data to pass on to SDOs.

In July, the Forum formed its first pilot working group to create a Metaverse Standards Register, as a comprehensive, interactive database of SDOs and standards activities that are relevant to the metaverse. This work is actively in progress and once completed, will be made openly available to enable anyone to navigate the landscape of metaverse standards more easily.

Over the upcoming weeks and months, the Metaverse Standards Forum will establish a pipeline of Domain Working Groups with active projects beginning to take form.

It is a great time for any company or organization with an interest in the metaverse to get involved in engaging with the diverse membership on requirements and opportunities for metaverse standards and leverage the broad cooperation at the Forum to further their business or mission. Any company, SDO, or organization interested in participating in these ongoing conversations is invited to join the Metaverse Standards Forum at no cost.

Find out more about the first in-person event that many Forum members participated in recently at SIGGRAPH in a blog recapping the “Building the Open Metaverse” Course.