The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established an expert focus group to work towards international technical standards for the metaverse.
The focus group will support laying the groundwork for technical standards that can help create an underlying technology and business ecosystem — one that encourages market entry, innovation and cost efficiency in a sector that some industry analysts expect to grow to a value of nearly $800 billion by 2024.
“The metaverse and its layers of technologies can help human development and progress," said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “The work of this ITU focus group is the first step in ensuring that these technologies work well and that they work for all. The benefits of the metaverse should be shared broadly and equitably, and the risks should be well understood and addressed."
Stressing the importance of making metaverse services and applications interoperable with high-quality user experience, security and protection of personal data, Seizo Onoe, director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, noted, "Standards development must be driven by everyone that will rely on the resulting standards. This focus group will support our work together to envision technology use cases for the metaverse, determine the associated technical requirements and develop standards that help meet these requirements on a global scale."
ITU focus groups, open to all interested experts, accelerate standardization by leading intensive studies in areas of rapidly evolving strategic importance. The metaverse focus group will be active for one year and will conduct "pre-standardization" work as a basis for developing new ITU standards.
To stimulate cohesive metaverse standards development, the focus group aims to elaborate common terms and definitions and promote collaboration among relevant standards bodies. The group will report to the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group.
The focus group will meet for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 8–9, 2023, hosted by NCA, following an ITU forum on embracing the metaverse on March 7, co-organized by ITU and NCA. The forum and meeting are open to online participation.
Uniquely in the United Nations family, the ITU brings together a global membership of 193 member states and over 900 member companies, universities and international and regional organizations to work on issues such as technical standardization.