June 24, 2022
BEIJING – Imagine a world where you can move beyond the constraints of screens or the limits of physics by teleporting yourself as a hologram, or a 3D virtual figure, to be with your friends wherever they may be.
You can hug them, and make real eye contact to show your love, just as you would do in real life.
That is part of what the tech buzzword metaverse promises. You are likely to experience it sooner than expected, as global tech giants and pioneers are rushing to develop industry standards for the virtual space.
Chinese tech heavyweights Huawei and Alibaba are among the first group of companies－along with Meta, which used to be known as Facebook, and Microsoft from the United States－to form a standards group that aims to accelerate the development of the metaverse.
Participants in the Metaverse Standards Forum include many of the biggest companies working in the sector, from chipmakers to gaming companies, as well as established standard-setting bodies like the World Wide Web Consortium, the group said in a news release on Tuesday where it announced its creation.
“Industry leaders have stated that the potential of the metaverse will be best realized if it is built on a foundation of open standards,” the group said. “Building an open and inclusive metaverse at pervasive scale will demand a constellation of open interoperability standards.”
The move signified that companies are racing to build the concept of a metaverse and want to make their nascent digital worlds compatible with each other, said Yu Jianing, executive director of the metaverse industry committee at the China Mobile Communications Association, a Beijing-based industry body.
That could make it easier for developers to build the same content for different metaverse platforms or for users to export data from one service to another, which will help build a thriving ecosystem in the future, Yu said.
Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University’s International Business School, said having Huawei and Alibaba as the standards group’s founding members showcases the influence of Chinese companies in the emerging field of the metaverse.
Seven of China’s big technology companies, including Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, Oppo and Alibaba, are among the top companies that filed the most virtual reality and augmented reality patent applications globally in the last two years, data from Singapore-based research and development analytics provider PatSnap showed.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are key technologies to be used in the metaverse.